The Tragic Life Of Marie Thérèse of France

We take a closer look at the life of Marie Thérèse of France, the daughter of King Louis XVI of France and his wife Marie Antoinette.

For centuries upon centuries now, monarchies from all across the world have shaped our collective history. Some have been adored and revered, whereas others have been despised and feared.

Whatever your stance on royalty may be, however, we can all agree on the fact that learning about them is incredibly interesting.

The French royal family, for example, is one of the most infamous families and one of the most fascinating families to learn about.

Specifically, we’re going to take a closer look at King Louis XVI of France, and his wife Marie Antoinette’s daughter, Marie Thérèse of France.

So, Who Was Marie Thérèse of France?

Marie Thérèse was born on December the 19th, 1778 at the Palace of Versailles.

Her parents were King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, who had her seven years into their marriage. As was often the case at the time, the King was hopeful of a boy which meant that her gender did come as a disappointment to him.

Marie Antoinette, though, did not share her husband’s displeasure. Instead, she reportedly said ‘Poor little one, you are not desired, but you will be none the less dear to me. A son would have belonged to the state – You will belong to me’.

Marie Thérèse was baptised on the same day that she was born.

She would soon be joined by three siblings.

The Princess was born at a time of political uncertainty, where tensions were growing and a revolution threatened. Incidentally, these tensions would eventually boil over, resulting in the French Revolution.

When the Bastille was stormed on the 14th of July, 1789, she was just 11 years of age.

Incidentally, Marie Thérèse was the only one of her siblings to reach adulthood, as the others sadly passed away before they were 11 years of age.

Life During The Revolution

As Marie-Thérèse Charlotte of France grew older, the French Revolution threatened.

Because the country supported the American Revolution, funds were very low and France was borderline bankrupt.

Attacks on the royal family became more vicious and the monarchy’s popularity plummeted.

Within the Court of Versailles, xenophobia and jealousy were the primary causes of resentment towards Marie Antoinette, and due to her unpopularity with high-ranking officials within the court, she became the target of a vicious smear campaign.

Pamphlets and leaflets were printed accusing her of a wide range of sexual deviancies and of sending France into financial ruin.

Now, experts agree that Marie Antoinette was unfairly victimised and did little to deserve such treatment. At the time, however, this smear campaign worked and the public turned on her.

A Family Tragedy

On the 21st of January 1793, Marie Thérèse’s father was deposed and executed, whilst the rest of the family were imprisoned.

In October of the same year, her mother was also executed, and her aunt less than a year later on the 10th of May, 1794.

Marie Thérèse was now alone and did not know that her family had been executed until years later. She was reportedly incredibly bored whilst imprisoned, as she had virtually no form of entertainment or interaction with other people. Her only form of entertainment came in the form of two books.

Exile and Marriage

In 1796, Marie Thérèse was exiled to Vienna though she wouldn’t stay for long and would find herself in Latvia, due to the fact that her father’s oldest surviving brother resided there.

He proclaimed himself as Louis XVIII, the king of France after the death of Marie Thérèse’s brother.

As he had no children of his own, he arranged for his niece to marry her cousin, Louis Antoine, a shy and socially awkward young man.

Marie Thérèse agreed and on the 10th of June, 1799, the two were married.

Unfortunately they had no children of their own.

After the abdication of Napoleon in 1814, her years in exile officially and finally ended.

Death and The Ruin of a Princess

Sadly, on the 19th of October, 1851, Marie Thérèse passed away as a result of pneumonia.

Marie Thérèse of France was buried in a plot next to her father-in-law/uncle Charles X and her husband, Louis XIX.

Interestingly, she left behind memoirs of her life, which she gave the appropriate title of ‘The Ruin of a Princess’.