Madame Marie-Louise, daughter of Louis XV

If Marie-Louise, third of the children of Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska, is mentioned here last, blame it on my earlier (and now reversed, thanks to a blog reader’s remarks) decision to study only those daughters who had reached adulthood.

Madame Louise Gobert

Madame Louise of France Gobert

Marie-Louise, known simply as Madame Louise, or Madame Troisième (“Madame the Third”) was born in Versailles on July 28, 1728, less than one year after her twin sisters, Mesdames Elisabeth and Henriette. Everyone, most of all her parents, hoped for a boy this time, since women were not eligible to inherit the French crown in their own right. As soon as it became known that the baby was a girl, all of the celebrations that had been planned in anticipation of the birth of a Dauphin were canceled, except for a mass in at the Royal Chapel of the Palace.

We have scant information about little Madame Marie-Louise, apart from the circumstances of her untimely death. Fortunately remains this charming portrait of the princess as a toddler, by Pierre Gobert. A healthy, plump little girl, with a rather determined jawline and fearless gaze.

During the winter of 1733, when she was four and a half years old, she caught a cold. Nothing unusual for a child of that age in that season, and the princess might have survived but for the “care” she received at the hands of one of the Court physicians. To alleviate her fever, he bled her four times in a row. This in itself must have caused severe dehydration, which was aggravated by the emetic she was given. The poor little girl did not stand a chance against 18th century medicine. She was christened in haste and died a few days later, on February 19, 1733.

This concludes my Daughters of Louis XV series. So are we done with these ladies? Certainly not. While researching each sister, I discovered more about her siblings. I also have more portraits to share with you. And readers nudged me in directions I hadn’t anticipated (what about the romantic life of Madame Adélaïde, for instance?) So we will go back to these fascinating ladies in short order.

In the meantime, here are links to the entire Daughters of Louis XV series:

Madame Elisabeth, Duchess of Parma
Madame Henriette
Madame Marie-Louise
Madame Adélaïde
Madame Victoire
Madame Sophie
Madame Thérèse
Madame Louise (Venerable Mother Thérèse de Saint-Augustin)


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