Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Portrait of Madame Royale

Thérèse slowly lifted her veil, revealing her penetrating gaze, which flickered from sapphire to agate according to the light, deep set in classic features like a stern Athena. It was a face in which energy strove with sorrow, like fire with rain. With the weather-beaten complexion of one who spends hours a day in the open air, her countenance was more noble than beautiful. The bitter droop of the mouth, set in the stubborn Hapsburg jaw, seemed to have put every hint of beauty to flight, yet one felt compelled to search for it in fascinated futility when gazing upon her.
from Madame Royale by Elena Maria Vidal

Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte of France, the Duchesse d'Angouleme, around 1815. Share


Anonymous said...

Dear Elena,
Your literary description painted as real a portrait as the one done with an artists brush. I have read "Madame Royal" twice, and I still am intrigued when I read the excerpts you sometimes include in your blog.

Anonymous said...

The 1815 portrait is really lovely. The style looks similar to another picture of her that you posted some time back.

Anonymous said...

I finally received your second book in the mail last week. I read the first one over a year ago. I'm so anxious to begin but am finishing "In This House of Brede" first.

Your blog is so insightful and educational and interesting and fresh.

I love it!

Thanks for all the knowledge you share so freely with all of us amateur history buffs.

elena maria vidal said...

Thank you, alaughland, for the kind words!!

Yes, Elisa, the style is Madame Royale's own variant on the Empire-style gown, with the skirt flaring out a bit more. She wanted to bring back the hoops and wide skirts that her mother had worn.

Thank you so very much, Cay, I am so glad that you are enjoying my little offerings!

Anonymous said...

Is this a couched endorsement for the other Madame Royale, Segolene Royale?

She was born in Dakar, I can't but suspect that her father, very devout man that he was, knew a certain Archbishop of Dakar.

The irony of a Socialist whose last name clearly bears witness to a monarchist past is too delicious.

elena maria vidal said...

Ha, ha. I was just waiting for someone to say that....

Anonymous said...

The more I think about it, the more delicious it becomes:

France's Left has the choice between voting for a man who's not afraid to call people scum (so much for Rousseau and the Noble Savage) and a woman whose father must have been a friend of Archbishop Lefebvre. People can change, but you can't ever erase having grown up in a traditionalist household from your soul.

What's a philosophe to do?