Princess Marie Adélaïde of France

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Marie Adélaïde
Duchess of Louvois
Madame adelaide de France.jpg
Madame Adélaïde with a medal showing her parents and the then King, her nephew Louis XVI
Full name
Marie Adélaïde de France
House House of Bourbon
Father Louis XV of France
Mother Marie Leszczyńska
Born (1732-03-23)23 March 1732
Palace of Versailles, France
Died 27 February 1800(1800-02-27) (aged 67)
Triest, Italy
Burial Basilica of Saint-Denis
Religion Roman Catholicism

Marie Adélaïde de France,[1] Daughter of France (23 March 1732 in Versailles – 27 February 1800 in Trieste), was the fourth daughter and sixth child of King Louis XV of France and his consort, Marie Leszczyńska. As the daughter of the king, she was a Fille de France. She was referred to as Madame Adélaïde from 1737 to 1755 and from 1759 to her death, and simply as Madame from 1755 to 1759.

Originally known as Madame Quatrième ("Madame the Fourth"), until the death of her older sister Louise Marie in 1733, she became Madame Troisième, ("Madame the Third"). Adélaïde also possessed the Duchy of Louvois with her sister Madame Sophie from 1777, and which had been created for them by their nephew Louis XVI, in their own right. She outlived both of her parents and all of her siblings.[citation needed]


Madame Adélaïde was raised at the Palace of Versailles with her older sister, Madame Henriette, in the shadow of her brother, Louis, the Dauphin. Her younger sisters received their education at the Abbaye de Fontevraud.[citation needed]

She was put in the care of Marie Isabelle de Rohan, duchesse de Tallard.


Adélaïde was never married: in the late 1740s, by the time she had reached the age when princesses normally married, there were no consorts available in Europe; she preferred to stay unmarried rather than marry someone who was not a monarch or an heir to a throne.[2] She became the head of the group of the three unmarried, younger sisters who survived into adulthood; the others were Madame Victoire and Madame Sophie. They all found solace in music.

Madame Adélaïde (1750)

In the early 1750s when the health of Madame de Pompadour was deteriorating, Adélaïde, who was a good rider, became the favorite and close companion of her father for a time, and often accompanied him during his riding and amused him with conversation. Their new close relationship caused rumors that they had an incestuous relationship.[3] A rumor also claimed that Adélaïde was the true mother of Louis de Narbonne (born 1755) by her father.[4] There is nothing to indicate that these rumors were true, and Adélaïde's new relationship to her father did not last for many years. Adélaïde was described as intelligent and was the only one of the unmarried sisters with political aspirations, and she attempted, without much success, to gain political influence through her father the king, her brother the Dauphin, and eventually her nephew, the next Dauphin.[5]

Madame Adélaïde, as well as her siblings, attempted without success to prevent their father's liaison with Madame de Pompadour, which began in 1745.

She was deeply affected by the death of her sister Madame Henriette at the age of twenty-four in 1752, and by the death of her brother, the Dauphin, in 1765. By 1770, Adélaïde and her sisters were described as bitter old hags, who spent their days gossiping and knitting in their rooms.[6] They seldom dressed properly, merely putting on panniers covered by a coat when leaving their rooms.[7] They did, however, alternate with the Countess of Provence in accompanying Marie Antoinette on official assignments.[8]

Madame Adélaïde despised her father's last maîtresse-en-titre, Madame du Barry. When the fourteen-year old Marie-Antoinette became Dauphine in 1770, Madame Adélaïde tried to win her support against Mme du Barry, but the empress Maria Theresa opposed it. This was a factor which would cause Adélaide to bear subsequent malice toward Marie Antoinette.

After the dauphin's death in 1765, followed in 1767 by that of his second spouse, Marie-Josèphe, Madame Adélaïde took custody of the late dauphine's papers, with instructions concerning their son, Louis Auguste, should he become king. The papers were opened on 12 May 1774, after the death of Louis XV, who was succeeded by his grandson Louis Auguste as Louis XVI. Three distinguished names were suggested for the position of Prime Minister (Premier Ministre), that of Jean-Frédéric Phélypeaux, comte de Maurepas, Emmanuel-Armand de Richelieu, duc d'Aiguillon, and Jean-Baptiste de Machault d'Arnouville.

Later life[edit]

Madame Adélaïde and her sister left Versailles with the rest of the Royal Family on 6 October 1789, the day following the Parisian women's march to Versailles, and the sisters took up residence at the Château de Bellevue.

Revolutionary laws against the Catholic Church caused them to leave France for Italy on 20 February 1791. On their way, they were arrested and detained for several days at Arnay-le-Duc before they were allowed to continue their journey. They visited their niece Clotilde, sister of Louis XVI, in Turin, and arrived in Rome on 16 April 1791. As a result of the increasing influence of Revolutionary France, they traveled farther afield, moving to Naples in 1796, where Marie Antoinette's sister, Marie Caroline, was queen.

They moved to Corfu in 1799, and finally settled in Trieste, where Victoire died of breast cancer. Adélaïde died one year later. Their bodies were returned to France by Louis XVIII at the time of the Bourbon Restoration, and buried at the Basilica of Saint-Denis.

Among her nephews were the kings of France Louis XVI, Louis XVIII, and Charles X, and Ferdinand, Duke of Parma. She had as nieces Madame Élisabeth, Clotilde, Queen Consort of Sardinia, and Queen Maria Luisa of Spain.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Achaintre, Nicolas Louis, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de Bourbon, Vol. 2, (Rue de L'École de Médecine, 1824), 154.
  2. ^ Joan Haslip (1991). Marie Antoinette. ISBN. 
  3. ^ Joan Haslip (1991). Marie Antoinette (in Swedish). p. 38. ISBN. 
  4. ^ Joan Haslip (1991). Marie Antoinette (in Swedish). p. 39. ISBN. 
  5. ^ Joan Haslip (1991). Marie Antoinette (in Swedish). ISBN. 
  6. ^ Joan Haslip (1991). Marie Antoinette (in Swedish). ISBN. 
  7. ^ Joan Haslip (1991). Marie Antoinette (in Swedish). ISBN. 
  8. ^ Joan Haslip (1991). Marie Antoinette (in Swedish). ISBN. 


Further reading[edit]

  • Antoine, Michel, Louis XV, Librairie Arthème Fayard, Paris, 1989, (French).
  • Castelot, André Charles X, Librairie Académique Perrin, Paris, 1988, (French).
  • Lever, Évelyne, Louis XVI, Librairie Arthème Fayard, Paris, 1985, (French).
  • Lever, Évelyne, Marie Antoinette, Librairie Arthème Fayard, Paris, 1991,(French).
  • Lever, Évelyne, Louis XVIII, Librairie Arthème Fayard, Paris, 1988, (French).
  • Zieliński, Ryszard, Polka na francuskim tronie, Czytelnik, 1978, (Polish).

Titles and Styles[edit]

  • 23 March 1732 – 27 February 1800 Her Royal Highness Princess Marie Adélaïde of France