Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Angoulême Emerald Tiara

Duchesse d'Angoulême

The legitimate line of the French Monarchy was abolished in 1830, not 1848. From Tatler:
The French king and queen at the time, Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, had attempted to escape Versailles during the uprising but were captured, imprisoned and eventually guillotined. When they had married in 1770 Louis and Marie-Antoinette were 15 and 14 years old respectively, and it was eight years later that their long-awaited first child, Princess Marie-Thérèse, was born. Despite having three more biological children, Marie-Thérèse was the only surviving family member of the Revolution and was imprisoned until she was nearly 17.

Upon her release, she was surrounded by throne enthusiasts keen to use her to regain monarchic power, and was quickly married off to her first cousin Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême in 1799, who was living in the Baltics while Napoleon held power back in France. Napoleon’s defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, however, finally saw King Louis XVIII and the House of Bourbon reinstated – with the added bonus of allowing Marie-Thérèse full access to the state jewels. In 1819, crown jeweller Maison Bapst was commissioned by the duke to use 14 emeralds from the royal collection, along with over 1,000 additional emeralds and diamonds, to make the Angoulême Emerald Tiara for his wife. However, Marie-Thérèse faced upheaval once again with the outright abolishment of the monarchy in 1848, theoretically becoming `Queen of France’ for about 20 minutes (which was the time between her father-in-law and husband signing their abdication papers). She left France and her beloved tiara for the final time and sought exile once more. (Read more.)

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