The ladies of Versailles, Adelaide and Victoire!

And I continue with my saga of Versailles. My beloved old home in the Yvelines dept 78 of the region of ïle de France. As said, the castle not been the only thing to see here, it is imposing of a must visit. You need time to see it and better yet understanded all but 3 days should be it;one day is cutting it short. In my opinion of course.

If you have read my blog, you know that in my rumbling mumbling of words I love history. I am living in the right country of Western civilisation. Versailles has the most as it is the de facto capital of France by the constitution because history matters even more than governments. While telling you of this history, I am always  intrigue by the Royal families and their experiences and histories especially after the French revolution. This is my take on telling you a bit more on two remarkable ladies that history did not serve them well after all.

I like to tell you a bit apart on the lives of Mrs or Madame Victoire and Marie-Adelaide ;whose rooms you can see in the Castle museum of Versailles.

The Daughters of Louis XV bear the title of “Madame”. The four cadets, Victoire, Sophie, Thérèse and Louise, were thus placed at the abbey of Fontevraud, while the elders, Louise-Elisabeth, Anne-Henriette, Marie-Louise and Marie-Adelaide, remained alongside the king. Separated, the influence of the ladies was limited.

Victoire Louise Marie Thérèse de France, called Madame Fourth then Madame Victoire in 1745, was born in Versailles on May 11, 1733 , baptised at Versailles on 27 April 1737, died in Trieste, Italy on June 7, 1799, was one of the eight daughters of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska.  With her younger sisters, Victoire de France was raised from 1738 by the nuns of the abbey of Fontevrault, The Queen of the Abbeys she was called. Madame Fourth received baptism in 1745, at the same time as her sisters, and was now called Victoire (victory). Victoire learned as her brother and sisters to play various musical instruments.

During the French Revolution, she and Madame Adelaide were left with the ten children that Louis XV had with the Queen. The two princesses, opposed to the anti-Christian politics of the revolutionary assembly, left France in February 1791, not without having suffered some affronts on their way of exile. They only were lucky and thanks of their salvation because of the intervention of Mirabeau in the revolutioinary assembly. They took refuge in Italy. First in Turin, where their niece Clotilde, wife of the Prince of Piedmont and then in Rome, protected by Pope Pius VI who hosted them at the Palais Farnese. Upon the arrival of the French troops, they joined Naples, where a sister of Marie-Antoinette, Marie-Caroline of Austria, was the ruler, very little delighted to see them. The two old ladies had to flee again in 1798 and crossed the Adriatic on an oil boat.

Versailles

Versailles

Madame Victoire was extinguished the first, in Trieste, of breast cancer, on June 7, 1799. Adelaide only survived her for eight months. Their bodies were repatriated to France under king Louis XVIII, another of their nephews, and were buried in the abbey-Basilica of Saint-Denis, the tomb of the Royal family. A novel by Frédéric Lenormand, Les Princesses Vagabondes (the Vagabond Princesses ) of 1998, describes the escape of the ladies to Italy from 1791 and until their death. In her biography Mesdames de France (Ladies of France), Bruno Cortequisse honors the daughters of Louis XV and describes their existence full of emptiness.

Marie Adelaide of France, called Madame Adelaide, then from 1752, Madame, fourth daughter and sixth child of Louis XV and Marie Leszczyńska, was born on 23 March 1732 in Versailles, baptised at Versailles on 27 April 1737, and died on 27 February 1800 in Trieste, Italy. Madame Adelaide rooms were the former bedroom of Madame de Pompadour ,where she died in 1764.

Sent to complete their education at the Abbey of Fontevraud, Madame Adelaide succeeded in softening her father and remained in Versailles, where she was raised with her two eldest sisters Madame Elisabeth (who married as early as 1739 the infant Philip of Spain) and Madame Henriette. The three girls lived there in the shadow of their brother the Dauphin Louis. Louis XV, who loved her very much, was amused to name her Madame Rag because of her taste for housework. Endowed with a lively character, she knew how to impose herself as a true head of the family with her sisters. Only the young lady Louise, who entered Carmel in 1770, escaped her ascendancy.

Versailles

Versailles

Versailles

On the death of the Dauphin in 1765 and then of the Dauphine in 1767, Madame Adelaide had been the custodian of their papers, as well as an instruction destined for the future king. This document was opened two days after the death of the King, on May 12, 1774, in a small family council, in the presence of the new king Louis XVI. He designated three possible premiers minister Maurepas, d’Aiguillon and Machault . At the dawn of the French revolution, no one remained alive as children of Louis XV and the Queen as Madame Adelaide and her sister Victoire.

The two princesses had to leave Versailles and prefer to settle in Bellevue, near Meudon , on a Castle offered by their nephew Louis XVI rather than at the Tuileries.

The laws against the Church prompted them to flee France to join Italy on February 20, 1791. Their departure aroused some emotion and they were arrested and detained for a few days in Arnay-le-Duc. Mirabeau defended them before the assembly. Mocking the assembly which had deliberated for hours on the fate of the two ladies who preferred to hear Mass in Rome rather than at Versailles, the Tribunal obtained that the princesses could enter the Savoy whose heir had married their niece Clotilde de France. They arrived in Rome on April 16, 1791, where they met from the day after their arrival in a private audience, Pope Pius VI. However, Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise to power and his conquests forced them to flee even further, first to Naples in 1796, then to Corfu in 1799 and finally to Trieste, where Madame Victoire soon died, Madame Adelaide passed away a few months later, On 18 Februray 1800, at the age of 68 years.

Some further reading can be done in the below webpages

Officia Chateau de Versailles on the ladies

Official Chateau de Versailles on the daughters of Louis XV

Official Chateau de Versailles on the placement of the apartments of the daughters of Louis XV

Hope you enjoy the brief introduction and allows for your curiosity to take flight and learn more of these fascinating characters of our history.  All of course, in royal Versailles, where else!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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