Marie Thérèse of France  

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Marie Thérèse Charlotte de France (19 December 1778 – 19 October 1851) was the eldest child of King Louis XVI of France and his wife, Queen Marie Antoinette. As the daughter of the king, she was a Fille de France, and as the eldest daughter of the king, she was given the traditional honorific Madame Royale at birth.

She married her cousin, Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême, the eldest son of the future Charles X. Once married, she assumed her husband's title and was known as the Duchess of Angoulême. She became the Dauphine of France upon the accession of her father-in-law to the throne of France in 1824. It can be considered that she was Queen of France for twenty minutes, in 1830, between the time her father-in-law signed the instrument of abdication and the time her husband, reluctantly, signed the same document, twenty minutes later.

Marie Antoinette's death

On 1 August 1793, Marie Antoinette was taken to the Conciergerie prison and brought to trial under the accusation of treason, and incest with her son. While there was no evidence to support the latter charge, it was well known that the former queen engaged in extensive covert correspondence with foreign powers during the Revolution. Regardless, it was a foregone conclusion that she would be declared guilty. She was executed by Charles Henri Sanson, the former royal executioner, on 16 October. In the evening of 9 May 1794, Élisabeth was taken away and executed the following day. Marie-Thérèse Charlotte was the only one to survive the Reign of Terror.

During the remainder of her imprisonment in the Temple Tower, Marie-Thérèse was never told what had happened to her family. All she knew was that her father was dead, and she felt alone in the world. The following words were scratched on the wall of her room in the tower:

"Marie-Thérèse is the most unhappy creature in the world. She can obtain no news of her mother; nor be reunited to her, though she has asked it a thousand times. Live, my good mother! whom I love well, but of whom I can hear no tidings. O my father! watch over me from heaven above, life was so cruel to her. O my God! forgive those who have made my family suffer."
Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte est la plus malheureuse personne du monde. Elle ne peut obtenir de savoir des nouvelles de sa mère, pas même d'être réunie à elle quoiqu'elle l'ait demandé mille fois. Vive ma bonne mère que j'aime bien et dont je ne peux savoir des nouvelles. Ô mon père, veillez sur moi du haut du Ciel. Ô mon Dieu, pardonnez à ceux qui ont fait souffrir mes parents."

On 11 May, Maximilien Robespierre visited Marie-Thérèse in prison, but there is no record of the conversation. It was only once the Reign of Terror was over that Marie-Thérèse was allowed to leave France. She was liberated on 18 December 1795, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday and taken to Vienna, the capital city of her cousin, the Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, and also her mother's birthplace. She arrived in Vienna on 9 January 1796, in the evening, twenty-two days after she had left the Temple.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Marie Thérèse of France" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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