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Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

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Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Didishroom on Thu Mar 08, 2012 3:14 am

Dear Elena,

A couple months ago I bought Susan Nagel's amazing biography of Marie Therese. I am re-reading it for the second time at the moment. I remember reading when you first gave the review of it, how appalled you were at the allegations made in the book that Louis XVI fathered two illegitimate-one with a serving girl and one with Madame Polignac. In the book, the author mentions that Marie Antoinette was suspicious of Louis' "friendship" with her friend and that it caused her much distress. Yet the author provides no quote of Marie Antoinette's or any of her contemporaries. I know you noted Dr. Nagel's reasons for the allegations about Louis XVI.

The hunch that Madame de Polignac's son Jules was fathered by Louis XVI is based upon information gleaned from letters among Maria-Theresa, Count Mercy and Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI's brothers also treated young Jules as a family member during the Bourbon Restoration with special appointments, etc...(see pages. 313-14 in the book). No other child of Polignac's was ennobled a prince nor treated as a member of the Bourbon family.

As for the story of Louis XVI's alleged daughter, "Ernestine," Montjoye, who was a contemporary of the murdered royal couple, referred to her in his account. Madame Campan referred to her as well as the "girl who is always with Madame Royale." The fact that she was mentioned at all is, according to some scholars, a signal that Ernestine's origins may have been unique
.

When I first Evelyn Lever's biography of Marie Antoinette I remember how convincing her argument was that MA and Count Ferson were lovers. Later I read your four excellent articles dispelling the nonsense. I also greatly enjoyed the dissection of the supposed 'love letter' on Vivel La Reine.

I was wondering if you have any given any more thought as to the strange circumstances concerning Jules and Ernestine. Do you have any explanations? Do you know any instances where Marie Antoinette actually did show concern for her husband and friend's relationship? What excerpts from the letters of the Queen, Mercy and Marie Therese were Dr. Nagel referring to? Any insight or information would be much appreciated. I have tremendous respect for your insights, as well as your friend, Gareth Russell. I read both of your blogs religiously.

p.s. I truly enjoyed Dr. Nagel's book! I was very pleased by the details and specific examples of MA and Louis' generosity to the poor and their trust in religion. I also was very intrigued by the evidence showing the influence and plotting of Orleans in the beginning of the Revolution. In other biographies, he comes off as just some nuisance. In this biography he is quite the mastermind of the early Revolution. The author also made the October attacks on Versailles and the August attacks of the Tuilieres much more clear. I feel alot of historians give a kind of a vague confusing picture of the events with plot holes.

I also finished Vovk's superb biography of Maria Theresa's five ruling children. I also noticed he gave no credence to the idea that Ferson was Marie Antoinette's lover. He is briefly mentioned in passing as a friend and accomplice in the Royal Family's attempted escape-not much more.

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Elena on Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:30 pm

Great questions! I will be answering them, soon!

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  May on Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:47 pm

I just don't believe the stories of Louis XVI's supposed affairs. They seem very out of character and I haven't seen serious evidence to back them up.

I look forward to your responses, Elena.
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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Elena on Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:35 am

I agree, Matterhorn. Didishroom thank you for this discussion.

Here is what one friend who is a scholar of history has written about Louis and Gabrielle de Polignac:
I liked John Hardman's analysis of the relationship between Louis XVI and Madame Polignac. He saw Louis XVI as friendly with Madame Polignac for two reasons: a. She was an easy going, calm, non-threatening woman, and he could sit with her and relax, knowing she was out of reach. b. Politically, she and her circle provided a distraction for Marie Antoinette that kept her out of politics and happy
I totally agree.

Here is a discussion in which the members of a forum tried to find the exact reference in Mercy's letters about Louis having an affair with Madame de Polignac and they cannot find it. http://forum.marie-antoinette.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=1539 If anything, MA encouraged her husband and her friend to be friends. She was glad when Louis went to see Madame de Polignac at her house after she had a baby.

As I wrote in my post about the Nagel book:
Not in any biographies of either Louis or Antoinette have I ever come across such an assertion, which includes Louis’ fathering of little Jules. Of course, I have not read everything and nothing is outside the realm of possibility, I suppose. It is known that Louis was close to Madame de Polignac and wrote her many letters, bestowing marks of honor upon her that he showed to no other lady. As outrageous as an allegation of an affair may be to those who are familiar with Louis XVI’s life, at least it goes against the stereotype of Louis as an impotent, asexual drone. However, I have to draw the line at the book’s claim of the king begetting a child with one of the servants. The image of Louis XVI chasing a helpless chambermaid produces too much cognitive dissonance.
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2008/04/marie-thrse-child-of-terror.html

Ernestine is the "girl who was always with Madame Royale" because she was always with Madame Royale. Ernestine was adopted after the death of baby Sophie. Madame Royale was heartbroken at losing her sister so Marie-Antoinette adopted a "sister" for her. And let us remember that MA wanted to adopt every child she saw so she welcomed an excuse to have another "daughter." It's late; more later.

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Didishroom on Fri Mar 09, 2012 9:56 pm

Thank you so much! The thread from the other message board was quite illuminating! It seems Dr. Nagel is not willing to provide true evidence for her theories. She just reiterated in the private letter what she wrote in her book-Louis XVI had a mistress and 'everyone' knew it so take my word for it. It's a bit disappointing as it was otherwise an exceptionally wonderful book.

I am still curious as to why Jules was given such a high honor amongst the court. I hope you had good night's rest. :-)

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Elena on Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:33 pm

Thanks, Didishroom! Smile I did. I have a full-time day job now which is why I am so late in answering your questions. I read somewhere why Jules was raised so high during the Restoration and I am trying to find the exact source. I will keep looking and if anyone else knows the source I am referring to feel free to chime in.

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Elena on Fri Mar 09, 2012 11:36 pm

I have been reading up on this tonight and everything I am reading confirms the original research I did (see bibliography of the novel MADAME ROYALE). study Prince Jules de Polignac was honored by Charles X NOT for being the long lost son of Louis XVI but because of his ultramontane conservatism. Not only was he the son of the the Polignacs, whom Charles X knew quite well, but his ideas matched those of the Charles (Artois) himself, the most conservative of the brothers of Louis XVI (in some ways more conservative than Louis XVI himself and later in life just as religious.) It was Jules' politics, religious fervor, and fidelity to the Bourbon dynasty that made him Prince and Prime Minister of France. sunny

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Didishroom on Sat Mar 10, 2012 12:25 am

Thank you! I figured there was a more reasonable and simple explanation. So many like to assume the worst; yet the truth is always more fascinating. How's the new job? Do you like it?

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Elena on Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:52 pm

It's a great job, taking care of Alzheimer's patients. Very Happy I love it!

Here is Prince Jules de Polignac:


He suffered imprisonment, poverty and exile due to his faithfulness to the Royal Family. His title of "Prince" came from the Pope, not from the Bourbons. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jules,_3rd_Duke_of_Polignac

His mother, Gabrielle de Polignac:



A rare picture of Gabrielle in court dress. She rarely wore jewels, but preferred fresh flowers.
http://madameguillotine.org.uk/category/polignac/

A pretty good summation, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yolande_de_Polastron

His sister, the Duchesse de Guiche, called "Guichette" by Marie-Antoinette:
(Sorry, I can't get it centered.)

She looks like her brother, if you ask me. They obviously had the same father.

Can't find any pictures of Gabrielle's husband. If anyone can find one, let me know


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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Elena on Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:54 pm

It is popular now to look for lurid explanations for often very simple things.

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  May on Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:57 pm

Elena wrote:His title of "Prince" came from the Pope, not from the Bourbons.
Yes, I remember reading that and thinking that it undercut the suggestion that he was made a Prince because he was Louis' son.
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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Elena on Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:09 pm

Yes, it certainly does! pirat

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  May on Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:17 pm

It seems quite tasteless to spread these new unfounded rumors about Louis and Antoinette.
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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Mata Hari on Sun Mar 11, 2012 4:24 pm

Sometimes authors are at the mercy of their publishers. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Mon Jun 30, 2014 4:32 pm

Late on this topic. But I agree, there's no reason to believe Louis would have cheated on Antoinette.

There was likely no operation and they knew that the marriage was not yet being fully consummated so there was no reason to suspect she was incapable of conceiving.

I do wonder where this rumor is founded. Someone said according to some archives "Ernestine's" mother was given a pension from royal funds. If this is true, could it not be contributed to just generosity? MA and Louis treated their servants well and I'm sure Antoinette would have wanted to help expectant mothers. I refuse to believe Louis XVI was unfaithful to his wife. They needed an heir but I don't think he was so desperate as to "test" himself.

It was totally out of character and I don't think he would have excused this behavior as only being for the sake of the need to have children. Any thoughts on the supposed pension given to Marie-Phillipine Lambriquet? I'm also curious about her husband Jacques. Apparently people knew he had been a cuckold from the King. Sounds absurd.
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Re: Louis XVI and extra-marrital affairs.

Post  Kaitlyn Lauren on Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:37 am

**Update**

Ernestine's birth mother was given a pension and that money was transferred to her daughter's account after her death. Could someone translate this for me?

I can make out some of it...but I'm a little confused. I didn't know Lambriquet was in service of Madame Royale. It's a little confusing to whom this is referring.

" LAMBRIQUET (Demoiselle Philippine), 11. M. du R. 1788 1,200. Sans retenue; en considération des services de feue sa mère, l'une des femmes de chambre de Madame, fille du roi."
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