Marie Thérèse of France – A final exile (Part eight)

marie therese of france
(public domain)

Read part seven here.

King Charles X had begun making decisions, which even worried Marie Thérèse. Soon, the situation spiralled out of control. Crowds of angry men and women refused to work, and police fired into the crowd, costing several lives. This turned into a full-out insurrection at the end of July 1830. King Charles packed up the family and headed to Versailles as the flags of the revolution replaced the flags of the Bourbons.

As she returned to her father-in-law’s side, he said, “My daughter, will you forgive me?” She replied, “Let us forget the past.”1 As she had feared, King Charles was forced to abdicate. On 2 August 1830, King Charles signed the document of his abdication, and Marie Thérèse’s husband reluctantly signed 20 minutes later. The young Duke of Bordeaux was now the new King of France at the age of 9. The following day, 14,000 armed Parisians headed towards the royal family, and they prepared to leave France again.

Once again, Marie Thérèse tearfully said goodbye to her childhood friend Pauline, and this would be the last time they would see each other. Marie Caroline intended to remain in France as regent for her son. However, they soon learned that the young Henry would not be King, and the Chamber of Deputies had elected the Duke of Orleans as the next King. He was now Louis Philippe I, King of the French. Meanwhile, Marie Thérèse watched from a ship as the French coastline faded away.

The family eventually settled in Edinburgh, and she rented a house at Regent Terrace for herself, her husband and Princess Louise. The others settled at Holyrood, where Marie Thérèse would become a frequent visitor. She focused on her nephew and his road to the throne, which she still believed could happen. It soon became apparent that they could not stay in Edinburgh, and contacted the Austrian Emperor for help. He offered them the Hradschin Palace in Prague.

In October 1832, Marie Thérèse returned to her Habsburg family and the family was installed on the second floor of the palace. Once more, she unpacked the family altar in her bedroom, which contained mementoes from her parents and brother. But even here, they would not stay long. In 1835, the Emperor died, and the new Emperor, Ferdinand I, wanted to use the palace. They eventually settled on Gorizia, known for its good air and rented the medieval Castello di Strassodo. However, King Charles soon developed a cough, and it was feared he had cholera. He died on 6 November 1836, even though Marie Thérèse had done her best to nurse him.

To the Legitimists, Marie Thérèse’s husband was now King Louis XIX, and she was his Queen. They led a very simple life in Gorizia with Louise and Henry. The children’s mother, Marie Caroline, had long since thrown herself into a scandalous life. By December 1843, Marie Thérèse’s husband was ill with cancer, and he declined rapidly. For six months, he suffered terrible pains and eventually went blind. He died on 3 June 1844 as a sobbing Marie Thérèse repeated the words of Abbé Edgeworth to her father on the scaffold, “Son of Saint Louis, ascend to heaven!”2 He was buried in the Kostanjevica Monastery with his father.

The widowed Marie Thérèse felt it was time to change and bought Schloss Frohsdorf. She also tried to welcome Marie Caroline back to the family. The following year, Marie Thérèse hosted the wedding of Princess Louise to the future Duke of Parma at Schloss Frohsdorf. Princess Louise would name her first child after her aunt. In 1846, Henry married Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Este, and Marie Thérèse agreed to have Schloss Frohsdorf as their primary residence when they were not travelling.

In 1848, Louis Philippe I was forced to abdicate, and the French Second Republic was proclaimed. Just four years later, another Bonaparte became Emperor – Napoleon III, which lasted until 1870 when the monarchy in France truly came to an end. When Louis Philippe died two years after his abdication, Marie Thérèse did not take pleasure in his death. She even organised a memorial service for him.

Marie Thérèse continued to devote her life to her loved ones and charity. She also continued to take a walk daily until she caught a chill on 12 October 1851. She continued to get worse, and a doctor was called. She received a visit from Archduchess Sophie, the mother of Emperor Franz Joseph I.  By the 15th, she was so ill that only Henry was allowed to visit her. On the 16th, the anniversary of her mother’s death, she insisted on commemorating the day. She said, “Nothing could stop me from going to the chapel to render to the memory of my mother; I have never failed in those duties.”3 However, she was too ill and eventually the Abbé Trébuquet came to her room.

The Emperor’s personal physician diagnosed pneumonia and pleurisy as she rested on her divan. With the help of her secretary, she organised her papers and had many of them burned. Her family mementoes were to go to Henry. Over the next two days, her fever pitched, and she fell into a coma during the night of 18/19 October. At 11.15 a.m., she spoke her final words, “I am annihilated.”4 Abbé Trébuquet spoke the words, “Daughter of Saint Louis and of Louis XVI, ascend to heaven!”5 

On 25 October, Marie Thérèse’s funeral took place at the chapel at Schloss Frohsdorf. She was buried at the Kostanjevica Monastery. In her last will and testament, she wrote, “After the example of my parents, I pardon, with my entire soul, and without exception, all those who have injured or offended me. I pray to God to shower down his blessings upon France – France that I have never ceased to love even under my bitterest afflictions.” 6

  1. The fate of Marie Antoinette’s daughter by Susan Nagel p.316
  2. The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter by Susan Nagel p.356
  3. The fate of Marie Antoinette’s daughter by Susan Nagel p.363
  4. The fate of Marie Antoinette’s daughter by Susan Nagel p.363
  5. The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter by Susan Nagel p.363
  6. The Fate of Marie Antoinette’s Daughter by Susan Nagel p.364

About Moniek Bloks 2747 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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