Princess Henriette of France

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Madame Henriette
Princess of France
Jean-Marc Nattier 003.jpg
Henriette by Jean-Marc Nattier
Full name
Anne Henriette de France
House House of Bourbon
Father Louis XV of France
Mother Marie Leszczyńska
Born (1727-08-14)14 August 1727
Palace of Versailles, France
Died 10 February 1752(1752-02-10) (aged 24)
Palace of Versailles, France
Burial Eventually Basilica of Saint Denis, France
Religion Roman Catholicism

Anne Henriette de France[1][2](14 August 1727 – 10 February 1752) was the twin sister of Louise Élisabeth de France, the eldest child of King Louis XV of France and of his queen consort Marie Leszczyńska.


The twins were born at the Palace of Versailles on 14 August 1727. She was the younger of the twins and as a result was known at the court of her father as Madame Seconde. As the daughter of the king, she was a fille de France. In her later life she was known as Madame Henriette.

While her younger sisters were sent to be raised at the Abbey of Fontevraud in 1738, Henriette was raised in Versailles. She was put in the care of Marie Isabelle de Rohan, duchesse de Tallard. She spent her childhood at Versailles with her sisters Louise-Élisabeth and Adélaïde and their younger brother, the Dauphin of France.

Marriage plans[edit]

Her twin sister moved to Spain in 1739 to marry Infante Philip of Spain, a younger son of Philip V of Spain. Henriette was despondent about being separated from her twin sister, and she withdrew further into her music. After the departure of Louise Élisabeth, the eyes of the court focused on the more reserved of the twins.[citation needed] Henriette fell in love with her cousin, Louis Philippe d'Orléans, duc de Chartres, the heir to the House of Orléans, and the two wished to marry. The King initially liked the idea, but changed his mind as it would raise the status of the Orléans family and challenge the French succession rights of the Spanish King if Dauphin Louis died childless. Marriage was no longer an option. The two drifted apart, and, like her younger sisters, Henriette never married.


Henriette was passionate about music, as Jean-Marc Nattier's portrait shows. Her favourite instrument was the viola da gamba, which she studied with Jean-Baptiste Forqueray.

Her sister-in-law, Infanta Maria Teresa Rafaela of Spain, the first wife of her brother, died in childbirth in 1746. Henriette liked her second sister-in-law, and influenced her brother, who mourned his first spouse, to a better relationship with her.

Growing up at the Palace of Versailles, Madame Henriette was in constant contact with her father's mistresses, the most famous of whom was Madame de Pompadour. The children of the king despised Mme de Pompadour because she caused their father to neglect their mother, the queen. With her brother the dauphin, and her sister, Madame Adélaïde, she called the powerful mistress, Maman Putain ("Mother Whore").[3] When Louise Élisabeth returned from Parma for a year-long visit to Versailles in 1748, she and Madame de Pompadour became close friends. This led to a temporary estrangement between the sisters.


Henriette died of smallpox in 1752 at the age of twenty-four. She was buried at the Basilica of Saint Denis. Her tomb, like other royal tombs at Saint-Denis, was desecrated during the French Revolution.

Her nephews included Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, Louis XVI of France, Louis XVIII of France, Charles X of France. Her nieces included Madame Élisabeth and Queen Maria Luisa of Spain.



  1. ^ Achaintre, Nicolas Louis, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de Bourbon, Vol. 2, (Publisher Mansut Fils, 4 Rue de l'École de Médecine, Paris, 1825), 154.
  2. ^ Antoine, Michel, Louis XV, Fayard, Paris, 1989, p. 467, ISBN 2-213-02277-1
  3. ^ Lever, Evelynne (2003). Madame de Pompadour: A Life. Macmillan. p. 85. ISBN 0-312-31050-1. 



This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the French Wikipedia.

Further reading[edit]

  • Zieliński, Ryszard (1978). Polka na francuskim tronie. Czytelnik.

See also[edit]