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Archive for the ‘At Versailles’ Category

Madame Elisabeth as Earth

Mesdames Elisabeth, Henriette, Adélaïde and Victoire as the four elements

Now that we have become more familiar with the elder daughters of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska, we can better appreciate this beautiful series by Nattier. It is typical of the artist’s allegorical portraits. First we have Madame Elisabeth, Duchess de Parma as Earth. A woman of power. Then her twin, Madame Henriette, as Fire. […]

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Madame Victoire, daughter of Louis XV

Yet another daughter of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska. Though she was born in 1733, and thus only one year younger than her sister Adélaïde, Marie-Louise-Thérèse-Victoire was raised quite differently. What had happened? Budget troubles already. If Madame Victoire and her three younger sisters had grown up in Versailles, each princess would have required her […]

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Versailles Hall of Mirrors Ball of the Yew Trees

A breach of étiquette at Versailles

Versailles étiquette may sound daunting, but it fell by the wayside on special occasions. Such was the case during a masquerade in the Hall of Mirrors on the 25th and 26th of February 1745. It was given in honor of the Mardi-Gras period that precedes the Lent fast, and in celebration of the marriage, two […]

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Madame Adelaide Nattier

Madame Adélaïde, Daughter of Louis XV

After the twins Madame Elisabeth and Madame Henriette, Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska had another daughter, Marie-Louise, and two sons, Louis-Ferdinand and Philippe. Marie-Louise and Philippe both died in childhood, an all too commonplace tragedy at the time. Louis-Ferdinand, the eagerly awaited Dauphin, would be the father of the future Louis XVI. The next royal […]

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Versailles Petit Trianon Belvedere

Marie-Antoinette and the Last Garden at Versailles

I recommend Marie-Antoinette and the Last Garden at Versailles by Christain Duvernois, with photographs by François Halard. I own, thanks to a gift certificate that was burning a hole in my pocket, a copy of the French version, more soberly titled Trianon: le domaine privé de Marie-Antoinette (“Trianon, the private domain of Marie-Antoinette.) I guess […]

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Madame Henriette Gobert

Madame Henriette, daughter of Louis XV

Anne-Henriette de France, thanks to her beautiful portrait by Nattier with a viole de gambe (cello), sparked the idea of this series on the daughters of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska. She was born on August 14, 1727, minutes after Madame Elisabeth. The sisters, as is obvious from their respective portraits, were fraternal twins. They […]

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Madame Elisabeth Duchess of Parma

Madame Elisabeth, Duchess of Parma, daughter of Louis XV

On August 14, 1727, Marie Leszczynska, Louis XV’s Queen, gave birth for the first time, to twin girls, the first born being Marie-Louise-Elisabeth, known as Madame Elisabeth, or simply, as the King’s eldest daughter, Madame. Louis XV, who was only seventeen, had of course been hoping for a male heir, but he was nonetheless delighted […]

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Marie Leszczynska Gobert

Marie Leszczynska, France’s Polish Queen

Talleyrand, the Bishop turned diplomat extraordinaire, said of Queen Marie Leszczynska that “her virtues had something sad about them that failed to inspire sympathy.” That has remained the judgment of history, which remembers her as a dour, charmless, rather stupid but innocuous figure. This is, in my opinion, most unfair. True, Maria Karolina Zofia Felicja […]

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Anne of Austria Rubens

A pink ribbon for Anne of Austria

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A reminder to all of us that, when it comes to cancer, vigilance, early detection and aggressive treatment are key to survival. This brings us to Anne of Austria. Like two of her successors, Queens Marie-Thérèse (wife of Louis XIV) and Marie-Antoinette, she was a Hapsburg. Daughter of King […]

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Versailles Petit Trianon Facade

Petit Trianon: after the restoration

Le Petit Trianon, like much of Versailles, has undergone a major  and much needed restoration over the past decades, and now the final part of the project, the servants’ quarters, is opening to the public.

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