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Etienne,DuchessofBurgundy 08-15-2003 05:27 PM

Children of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette
German grave to unlock 'mystery of the Bourbons'
By Tony Patterson in Berlin
(Filed: 28/07/2002)

The 165-year-old remains of a mysterious woman known as the Dark Countess are to be exhumed from a moss-covered grave in east Germany this year by historians who are convinced that she was the daughter of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI of France.

History records that Marie-Therese Charlotte, who as the eldest female child had the title Madame Royale, died near Vienna in 1851 in her seventies and was buried in the Bourbon family vault in what is now Slovenia.

Several German historians believe, however, that Marie-Therese was secretly replaced by her illegitimate half-sister at the height of the French Revolution and lived incognito for more than 30 years in the town of Hildburghausen in Thuringia before her death there in 1837.

They argue that Ernestine de Lambriquet, Louis XVI's illegitimate daughter, was given Marie-Therese's role and title of Madame Royale, possibly because the real one became pregnant in prison in 1795 when she was 17, and the scandal had to be covered up.

While her parents were dispatched to the guillotine, Marie-Therese was incarcerated in Paris's Temple prison. Letters from a friend of the French royal family at the Spanish court in 1795 suggest that Marie-Therese had been raped while in the Temple and had become pregnant.

Hildburghausen's records refer to the mysterious woman, who arrived in the town in 1807, as the Dark Countess. They report that she never spoke to anyone in public and always appeared with her head covered in a thick veil. Local leaders were said to have sworn to keep her identity secret.

Dr Dietz said: "There is virtually no doubt that the Hildburghausen grave contains the remains of Marie-Therese who is the real Madame Royale.

"Two world wars and 45 years of Communist rule in East Germany meant that there was no interest in her fate, but now we are in a position to solve the mystery once and for all."

Dr Dietz and Peter Claus Hartmann, a German historian of Louis XVI, aim to use DNA testing to compare bone fragments with specimens of Marie Antoinette's hair.

"This would establish whether the body really is that of Marie-Therese," said Dr Dietz. "It would also blow the whistle on one of the Bourbon dynasty's best-kept secrets."

thissal 08-15-2003 06:48 PM

Angouleme, Marie Therese Charlotte, duchesse d'
1778-1851, wife of Louis Antoine d'Angoulême; daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. She was imprisoned (1792-95) during the French Revolution. Energetic and ambitious, she exerted considerable political influence after the restoration of the French monarchy during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X. She died in Frohsdorf, Austria.

thissal 08-15-2003 07:50 PM

Here's another article about the "dark countess", and if it sounds weird, blame googles translation:

The dark countess of Hildburghausen

Madame Royale, also Marie Therese Charlotte mentioned of France, was the daughter of the French pair of kings Ludwig XVI. and Marie Antoinette. The royal family was redeemed in the revolutionary France on the Guillotine execute-executing those 16-jaehrige entmachtete heiress to the throne 1795 by the Viennese yard as only survivors in the exchange against prisoners.

Madame Royale, Marie Thérèse Charlotte of France, © www.Madame

So far the undisputed historical expiration. Which happened then, was reason enough, in order to fill whole shelf rows from special books and novels to. Because the official version reads, which became, played madame Royale the duchess of Angouleme during the restoration in France an important political role and is in the bourbonischen Familiengruft in Goerz (Slovenia) buried. The others maintain, it were a double. Because the correct madame Royale was geschwaengert during her time in the prison, which at the time at that time a scandal was. It did not prove thereby as the no more "yardable" and by another person same age was replaced.

City museum Hildburghausen

The correct Marie Therese Charlotte was the "dark countess" from Hildburghausen, which was never seen without green veil before the face, with a mysterious companion anonymous lived together, over inexhaustible funds ordered and under the personal protection of the duke stood. It died in ice living and in a grave without inscription to school PUCB suppl. in Hildburghausen was buried.

Marie Therese Charlotte at the age of 12 years

In such a way everything tunes not, says Mrs. Brigitte becomes lumpy, in Hildburghausen lies an unknown quantity... and offers a completely new variant: Marie Therese Charlotte could flee from the revolution dungeon; but on the way to the pc. Petersburger Zarenhof resulted complications; the king daughter had to establish itself in west Prussia, where she lived and died then as a farmer's wife. Mrs becoming lumpy must know it - as westPrussian Ur Ur Ur granddaughter of the madame Royale Marie Therese Charlotte.


Etienne,DuchessofBurgundy 08-15-2003 09:10 PM

[Marie-Thérèse de France was exchanged in October, 1795, for the four commissioners of the Convention delivered up to Austria by Dumouriez in April, 1793. She left the Tower of the Temple during the night of December 18, 1795. That tragic building,–about which Marie-Antoinette exclaimed on hearing where she and her family were about to be imprisoned: "How often I begged the Comte d'Artois to have that vile Tower of the Temple demolished! it was always a horror to me,"–that monument to anguish was razed to the ground by order of Napoleon in 1811. Until then could be read, scratched upon the wall of the room where [Page 290] the child, Marie-Thérèse, lived her solitary life, these piteous words:–

"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."

O my God! forgive those who have made my family die."

She went from the Temple to Vienna, where she lived, against her will, three years and a half, resisting all attempts to make her marry the Archduke Charles of Austria. At last, in 1799, she was allowed to go to her uncle the Comte de Provence (Louis XVIII.) at Mittau in Courlande, where she soon after married her cousin the Duc d'Angoulême, son of the Comte d'Artois (Charles X.). Driven from Courlande with Louis XVIII. by the Emperor Paul, she followed her uncle through all his exiles to Memel, Königsberg, Warsaw, again to Mittau, thence to Godsfield Hall and Hartwell in England. "She is the consoling angel of our master," wrote the Comte d'Avaray, "and a model of courage for us."

The portrait of her in this volume was painted by Danloux during the first months of her life in Vienna, when she was seventeen years of age. Its sorrowful expression deepened upon her face as the years went by until at last she became an ideal of Sorrow, and the courtiers of the Restoration reproached her for her sadness and turned from her! But her courage remained. She was absent from the side of Louis XVIII. when the first Restoration fell, but she made a gallant struggle to uphold the royal cause [Page 291] at Bordeaux where she then was. It was that struggle which lead Napoleon to say of her that she was the only man of her family.

Later, she was at Vichy in 1830, when Charles X. signed the ordinances which cost him his throne. From that day until her death, a period of twenty-one years, she lived in exile, at Holyrood, Prague, Goritz, and Frohsdorf. Her husband's nephew, the Comte de Chambord, in whose behalf Charles X. and the Duc d'Angoulême abdicated, regarded her as a second mother, and she had a stronger influence over him than his own mother, the Duchesse de Berry. The last glimpse we have of her is at Frohsdorf in 1851, the year of her death, when the Comte de Falloux thus describes her: –

"Madame la Dauphine was, if I may express it, pathos in person. Sadness was imprinted on her features and revealed in her attitude; but, in the same degree, there shone about her an unalterable resignation, an unalterable gentleness. Even when the tones of her voice were brusque, which often happened, the kindness of her intention remained transparent. She liked to pass in review the Frenchmen she had known; she kept herself closely informed about their family events; she remembered the slightest details with rare fidelity: 'How Madame loves France!' I said to her one day. 'That is not surprising,' she replied. 'I take it from my parents.' At Frohsdorf she was seated nearly the whole day in the embrasure of a certain window. She had chosen this window because of its outlook on copses which reminded her a little of the garden of the Tuileries; and if a visitor wished to be agreeable to her, he remarked upon the resemblance."

She died at Frohsdorf on the 18th of October, 1851, in the seventy-third year of her age, and the twenty-first year of [Page 292] her last exile. She was buried at Goritz, in the chapel of the Franciscans, between Charles X. and her husband, the Duc d'Angoulême. On her tombstone are carved these words: O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus. Read more on the "Dark Countess: Marie-Therese" at this link:

Etienne,DuchessofBurgundy 08-15-2003 09:58 PM

"On her tombstone are carved these words: O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte si est dolor sicut dolor meus."


"O ye people who pass by on the road, stop and see if there is any sorrow like unto my sorrow."

-[From the book of Lamentations 1:12 (Latin Vulgate Bible)]

USCtrojan 08-19-2003 10:55 AM

WOW! What an interesting, yet sad story! Thank You for sharing.

frenchy11 08-21-2003 11:59 AM

Very interesting... it would make for an excellent Hollywood movie.

Duchess, Thanks for the story and your hard work!! ;)

Hope 09-07-2003 07:11 PM


German grave to unlock 'mystery of the Bourbons'
A deeply sad and disturbing story...thanks for sharing!!! :flower:

Dennism 06-08-2004 03:28 PM

The Burial of the Heart of the "Lost" Dauphin

A royal funeral has been held in France for the co-called "lost Dauphin", the son of the beheaded king Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette.

A heart widely assumed to be that of dauphin Louis-Charles was laid to rest in a basilica outside Paris.

He died of tuberculosis at the age of 10 in a prison cell in 1795, two years after his parents were guillotined.

Louis-Charles's fate remained a mystery for two centuries, until a DNA test on a preserved heart in 2000.

The genetic data showed that the organ belonged to the child of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.

On Tuesday it was placed near his parent's grave at the royal crypt of Saint Denis basilica, north of Paris.

More than 2,000 people - including European royalty - attended the ceremony, which began with a funeral mass.

Royal squabbles

The test in 2000 quashed rumours that the dauphin - who would have reigned as Louis XVII - had somehow escaped from Temple prison in Paris.

The doctor who performed the autopsy on the boy in 1795 cut out the heart and kept it in an alcohol-filled vase.

He boasted of his possession to a student, who stole it.

When the student died of tuberculosis himself his widow returned the organ to the doctor, who sought to give it to France's royal Bourbon family.

He was thwarted by royal squabbles. The heart found its way to the Spanish Bourbons, and eventually back to France.

Despite the genetic test, there is still controversy about who the preserved organ belongs.

Some commentators have argued that it could belong to the dauphin's older brother, who died in 1789.

Humble 06-08-2004 09:06 PM

France: Kings, Queens and Royal History
French Royalists Stage Funeral for Relic:

"French royalists staged a pageant-filled funeral Tuesday for a tiny, rock-hard relic they hailed as the heart cut from Louis XVII, who died at age 10 in a filthy revolutionary prison. "

More is in here:

Louis XVII

GrandDuchess 06-09-2004 10:48 AM

This article is basically about the burial of the heart, and the story behind the whole mystery. It also says that the question if King Louis XVI was the real father of his son King Louis XVII remains. The DNA tests that has been made are only with Queen Marie Antoinette's hair and her living relatives - so nothing from the father. The article leaves a vague question if the Swedish nobleman and Marie Antoinette's lover, Axel von Fersen (who tried to resque King Louis XVI & Queen Marie Antoinette during the Varennes night) could be the real father...

Picture of the crystal thing which keeps the heart

Article from Swedish Aftonbladet, 9 June 2004:

Här begravs franske kungen
Ludvig XVII kan ha varit son till Axel von Fersen

Under rojalistisk pompa och ståt begravdes i går hjärtat av Ludvig den XVII - arvinge till Ludvig den XVI och Marie-Antoinettes franska tron. Men hjärtat kan vara halvsvenskt. För Axel von Fersen var Marie Antoinettes älskare.

Till toner av trumpeter och stark lukt av rökelse begravdes Ludvig XVII i Saint-Deniskatedralen utanför Paris. Jordfästningen betyder slutet på ett 209 år gammalt mysterium. Och början på ett nytt.

Det lilla, läderliknande hjärtat bankade en gång i tiden i bröstet på Marie-Antoinettes barn, Ludvig. Det har dubbla DNA-tester bevisat.

Drottning Marie-Antoinette och Ludvig XVI:s tronarvinge dog 1795, tio år gammal: ensam, tuberkolossjuk och utsvulten i en smutsig fängelsecell utan dagsljus. Två år innan hade Ludvig den XVI och Marie-Antoinette giljotinerats av de franska revolutionärerna.

Men i stället för att slänga hela barnkroppen i en massgrav skar obducentläkaren, doktor Pelletan, ur hjärtat. Läkaren gömde det hemma hos sig, i en kristallvas där en av hans studenter stal det.

Så har barnhjärtat bytt ägare flera gånger. En gång blev det liggande ett dygn i rännstenen i Paris under revolutionen 1830.

DNA-testerna stämmer överens med Marie-Antoinettes hårtussar och hennes i dag levande ättlingar, habsburgarna Anne av Rumänien och hennes bror André de Bourboun Parme. Ingen DNA-test har däremot gjorts på Ludvig XVI:s sida.

Vem tioåringens pappa var är därmed en öppen fråga. Marie-Antoinettes älskare var den svenske adelsmannen Axel von Fersen. Det var han som försökte rädda kungaparet under den så kallade Varennesnatten. Kung Ludvig XVI jagade då i väg älskaren innan hela ekipaget körde fast och kungafamiljen fick återvända till fängelse och giljotiner i Paris.

Axel von Fersen dödades av en folkmassa i Stockholm 1810.

GrandDuchess 06-09-2004 11:02 AM

Article from The Australian (by AFP though), 9 May 2004:

Picture of the service in the Saint Denis Basilica

Nobles farewell the 'lost dauphin'

FRANCE laid to rest one of its most intriguing mysteries Tuesday when it installed the tiny heart of Louis XVII - the son of the beheaded king Louis XVI and queen Marie-Antoinette - in a royal crypt outside Paris.

European aristocrats were among the 2,500 people who packed into the Saint-Denis basilica north of Paris to watch the 209-year-old organ in its crystal vase given a final burial after spending a long period as a much-traded curiosity in the wake of the French Revolution.

A 12-year-old descendant of France's former royal family, Amaury de Bourbon-Parme, handed the heart over in a formal mass broadcast to another 1,000 people watching outside.

The presiding priest, archbishop Jean Honore, paid homage to the "lost child who knew nothing of what he was and of what he is".

Louis-Charles, the so-called "lost dauphin" who would have reigned as Louis XVII, died of tuberculosis at the age of 10 on June 8, 1795 in a windowless cell in the French capital's Temple prison, where he had been incarcerated with his parents before they were guillotined.

The boy's fate was the source of rumours and speculation for two centuries, until DNA tests four years ago finally proved the heart belonged to a Hapsburg, the lineage of Marie-Antoinette.

The story of the heart is a bizarre tale that began when the doctor who performed the autopsy on the boy cut out the organ to save it as a memento in an alcohol-filled vase kept on his bookshelves.

He boasted of his possession to one of his students, who swiped the prize. Years later, after the thief died of tuberculosis himself, his widow returned the heart to the doctor.

The physician tried for many years to return the heart to members of the Bourbon family but was thwarted by royal squabbles. Louis XVII's remains finally found their way to the Spanish Bourbons, and eventually back to France.

Historians and conspiracy theorists seized on the amazing journey of the heart to argue that maybe it did not belong to Louis XVII after all, suggesting that instead of dying in prison, he had escaped or been spirited out of France to safety, and that the heart belonged to another child.

In the 19th century, several pretenders to the throne surfaced, including a German clockmaker named Karl Wilhelm Naundorff. Although he never claimed it himself, many thought US naturalist John James Audubon was the long-lost heir.

In 2000, scientists conducted DNA tests to put the rumors to rest. Result: the heart indeed belonged to a descendant of Marie-Antoinette.

Those who wanted to keep the "lost dauphin" myth alive argued that the heart could belong to Louis-Xavier-Joseph, Louis XVII's older brother who died in 1789.

But the heart of the older brother had been properly embalmed according to royal custom, while the one that had been examined -- that of Louis XVII -- had not.

For historians, the debate was over.

"This is a way to give this child-martyr, who passed away in tragic circumstances and around whom mystery swirled for more than 200 years, a proper death," said Charles-Emmanuel de Bourbon-Parme, one of Louis XVII's relatives.

semisquare 08-11-2004 07:42 PM

thx for the interesting story about madame royale

hillary_nugent 08-19-2004 06:36 AM

Golly what a tragic story....thanks for sharing...does anyone know the results of the historians??? it would be really interesting what they find ^__^

hillary_nugent 10-25-2004 02:05 AM

Did Marie-Antoinette's children survive?
Did all of Marie-Antoinette's children die during the revolution? wouldn't their descendents be the heir to the French throne?

queenanne 10-25-2004 02:47 AM

Not all of her children died during the French Revolution. The eldest boy fell ill and died before any of the revolution broke out and their other son died in prison from tuberculosis of the bones. Their only daughter to survive infancy also survived the revoution. She married her cousin and became the Duchess of Angouleme. Much to her sorrow, she and her husband were not able to have children, so the direct line ended there.

hillary_nugent 10-25-2004 03:47 AM


Originally Posted by queenanne
Not all of her children died during the French Revolution. The eldest boy fell ill and died before any of the revolution broke out and their other son died in prison from tuberculosis of the bones. Their only daughter to survive infancy also survived the revoution. She married her cousin and became the Duchess of Angouleme. Much to her sorrow, she and her husband were not able to have children, so the direct line ended there.

What a sad ending...i'm reading a biography on Marie Antoinette at the moment and she is not as evil as everyone has portrayed her to be...

queenanne 10-25-2004 04:23 AM

No, she was not. What a lot of people don't understand is that she and Louis were very young when they were wed and eventually became King and Queen. They had very little experience and were not at all used to running a country like France was at that time. As she grew older, Marie Antoinette became a very good mother and wife. However, it was too late, as her fate was already sealed in the peoples' minds.:( May I ask which biography it is? I'm looking forward to reading the one by Antonia Fraser. Another one I like, but its kind of hard to find and isn't as well known, are the two books Trianon and Madame Royale both by Maria Vidal.

hillary_nugent 10-25-2004 04:35 AM

MUHAHAHAHAHAHAH what a coincident!! i happen to be reading the biography written by Antonia Fraser!!! i recommend really informative and a you a good insight of Marie-Antoinette's life ^____^

queenanne 10-25-2004 04:58 AM

Well, you know what they say, "great minds think alike". :D Glad to hear that its good. I hope to get it for Christmas, but may break down and just go ahead and buy it myself. I'm so impatient.:)

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