Princess Victoire of France
|Fille of France|
|Victoire by Jean-Marc Nattier as the 'water'|
|Victoire Louise Marie Thérèse de France|
|Father||Louis XV of France|
11 May 1733|
Palace of Versailles, France
|Died||7 June 1799
|Burial||Basilica of Saint-Denis|
Victoire de France, Daughter of France (Marie Louise Thérèse Victoire; 11 May 1733 – 7 June 1799) was the seventh child and fifth daughter of King Louis XV of France and his Queen consort Maria Leszczyńska. As the daughter of the king, she was a Fille de France.
Originally known as Madame Quatrième (her older sister died in February 1733, before her birth) she was later known as Madame Victoire. She outlived eight of her nine siblings, and was survived by her older sister Madame Adélaïde by less than a year.
Marie Louise Thérèse Victoire de France was born at the Palace of Versailles. Unlike the older children of Louis XV (including Adélaïde, just one year her senior), Madame Victoire was not raised at the Palace of Versailles. Rather, she was sent to live at the Abbey of Fontevraud. She would remain there till 1748 when she was 15. She was one of many children.
At the age of 15, she was allowed to return to her father's court. Close to her religious mother, brother and sisters, she shared their moral indignation at the king's frequently open adultery, a situation which served to push the king's immediate family away from him as he turned more and more to Madame de Pompadour and later Madame du Barry.
Often thought to be the most beautiful of the king's daughters, she never married. In 1753, it was suggested that she marry her brother-in-law, Ferdinand VI of Spain, as his wife was seriously ill at the time. Despite her illness, though, the Queen of Spain survived another five years.
In 1765, her older brother died of consumption at Fontainebleau at the age of 36. Victoire, like all of her sisters, mourned intensely. The family was again pushed closer together. By 1768, Versailles was again in mourning for the death of the Queen, her mother Maria Leszczyńska. This sorrow was exacerbated by the fact that her father had acquired a new maîtresse-en-titre, the comtesse du Barry. Victoire, like all her sisters, was jealous of the amount of time the king spent with his many mistresses.
On 16 May 1770, Madame Victoire's nephew, Louis-Auguste, the Dauphin of France, married the Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria. The wedding occurred at Versailles. Victoire and her older sister, Madame Adélaïde, met the girl and tried to use her influence over the king in order to get rid of La du Barry. This idea only worked temporarily. Although, she initially snubbed the comtesse du Barry, the new Dauphine quickly changed course when she was advised by her powerful mother, the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, that she was worsening Austria's relationship with King Louis XV by such behavior. The king's daughters, however, got their way when Louis XV sent Madame du Barry away from Versailles just before he died in 1774 in order that he could receive the last rites of the Catholic Church. His successor Louis XVI, Victoire's nephew, then permanently exiled the powerless mistress from court.
Life changed greatly for "Mesdames", as the surviving daughters of Louis XV were collectively known, during the reign of Louis XVI. Although the princesses were allowed to stay at court and keep their apartments at Versailles, the courtiers of Versailles soon forgot about the ladies as they were much more concerned with showing their loyalty to Louis XVI and his wife. As a result, Victoire and her older sister Madame Adélaïde, began touring the country, travelling in a lavish style. Such expensive travels became a constant financial burden on the state and thus helped fan the flames of the French Revolution.
After the storming of Versailles by an army of hungry Parisian women on 6 October 1789, Mesdames Victoire and Adélaïde, now alone as the only surviving children of Louis XV, took up residence at the Château de Bellevue. Horrified by new revolutionary laws against the Catholic Church, the religious sisters left France for Italy on 20 February 1791, although they were arrested and detained for several days at Arnay-le-Duc before they were allowed to depart.
As a result of the increasing influence of Revolutionary France, the sisters were forced to constantly move. They went to Naples in 1796, where Marie Caroline, the sister of their niece, Marie Antoinette, was queen. They then moved to Corfu in 1799, and finally ended up in Trieste, where Victoire died of breast cancer. Adélaïde died one year later in Rome. The bodies of both princesses were later returned to France by their nephew, King Louis XVIII, and buried at the Abbey of Saint-Denis.
Madame Victoire's nephews included (among others) Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, Louis XVI of France, Louis XVIII of France, Charles X of France. Her nieces included Madame Élisabeth and Queen Maria Louisa of Spain. Her goddaughter was Angélique Victoire, comtesse de Chastellux.
- It has also been suggested that it was she that said the phrase let them eat cake but it is not for certain
- She is portrayed by Molly Shannon in the 2006 film Marie Antoinette.
- 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), 155.
- This article is based on a translation of the equivalent article of the French Wikipedia on 1 November 2006'
- Zieliński, Ryszard (1978). Polka na francuskim tronie. Czytelnik.
Titles and Styles
- 11 May 1733 – 7 June 1799 Her Royal Highness Princess Victoire of France