Sunday, 9 June 2013

Marie Clotilde, Princesse de France

Marie Adélaïde Clotilde Xavière was born on September 23, 1759 as the daughter of Louis, Dauphin of France and Maria Josepha of Saxony. She was the sister of Louis XVI. Marie Clotilde became an orphan in 1767 when her mother died and she would then be raised by Madame de Marsan. Marie Clotilde was overweight as a child which resulted in the (rather mean) nickname "Gros-Madame" which means "Big Madame or even Fat Madame". Shortly after her brother became King of France she left France to be married - a proxy wedding had taken place in Versailles on August 27, 1775. Her new husband was Charles Emmanuel who was Prince of Piedmont and the official wedding took place in Turin.

At the Sardinian court she was taught Italian since she was to be the Queen of Sardinia. But her weight was still in focus at her new life. The French court continued the remarks on her weight, joking that Charles Emmanuel had received two wives instead of just one. Her father-in-law was mostly concerned about her ability to conceive a child. And how did her husband react to his wife's weight? He merely said that he had been given "more to worship". Their marriage would indeed be a happy one and the couple had one thing particularly in common: their steadfast and strong belief in Roman Catholicism. They did not have any children.

Marie Clotilde became Queen of Sardinia in 1796 but this happy event was soon over-shadowed by far more sinister ones. Marie Clotilde received news of her brother and her sister's executions in 1793 and in 1798 France declared war on Sardinia. This resulted in Charles Emmanuel being forced to give up almost all of his lands until it was just the island of Sardinia left. After this the couple moved to Rome and on to Naples.  During her stay in Rome she came to know Pope Pius VII and would even receive her aunts who had fled the French revolution. Marie Clotilde died on March 7 1802 - Charles Emmanuel grieved her death so much that he abdicated shortly afterwards.

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