Madame Thérèse, daughter of Louis XV
At first I had planned to limit this series on the daughters of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska to those who had reached adulthood. Then a reader mentioned privately that she hoped I would include the little princesses who had died as children. Indeed in their own sad way they too illustrate life and death in the 18th century.
Thérèse-Félicité was born in Versailles on the 16th of May 1736, the ninth of the royal children. She was barely two when, with her sisters Victoire, Sophie and baby Louise, she left, never to return, for the Abbey of Fontevraud under the supervision of an under-governess.
Little Thérése did not adapt well to the humid climate of the Loire Valley. The Abbess of Fontevraud noted that she was often sick. At the end of September 1744, the princess’s health deteriorated dramatically. This time is was not a mere cold, but the dreaded smallpox. She received full baptism then, with her nurse and a valet as godparents, and died on the next day, at the age of eight. She was buried in the crypt of the Abbey, among the Plantegenêts. Royal tombs, though not those of her family. Louis XV was then very sick, the country feared for his life and no one paid much attention to the death of one of the King’s many daughters, exiled far from Paris.
I could not find any portrait of the Madame Thérèse. Indeed none may have been painted during her short life. So I will be content to post a picture of the funeral monument of Alénor d’Aquitaine at Fontevraud. The mighty Queen of France and England keeps the forgotten little princess company in her last earthly rest.
Links to the entire Daughters of Louis XV series: