Thursday, March 11, 2010

Louis-Antoine in Art

An exhibit in San Francisco is displaying a portrait of the ten year old Louis-Antoine, Duc d'Angoulême, nephew of Louis XVI and the future frustrating husband of Madame Royale. According to one description:
In the Legion’s European Gallery 7, look at the boy in Joseph Boze’s 1785 portrait of Louis-Antoine de Bourbon, the Duke of Angoulême, who eventually became the king of France — for less than half an hour.

He was 10 when he posed for the painting; King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were his godparents. Two years later, they decided he should marry his cousin, their daughter, Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte de France, who was 9 at the time.

With the French Revolution came the execution of the king and queen, but the wedding finally did take place in 1799, making the boy in the painting the last crown prince of France.

In 1830, Charles X, Louis-Antoine’s father, was forced to abdicate, which he did, crying copiously. At that moment, Louis-Antoine automatically became King Louis XIX — for 20 minutes. That’s how long it took his wife — afraid of her mother’s fate befalling on her — to talk Louis-Antoine into giving up the throne. As a consequence, he retains the title of “shortest-ever reigning king” to this day.

Here is another article about Louis-Antoine and Madame Royale, with pictures of the hapless Duc throughout his life.


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