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Provence and Artois
http://forum.marie-antoinette.org/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1489
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Author:  AxelRocksMyWorld [ Fri Dec 26, 2008 3:22 am ]
Post subject:  Provence and Artois

From the six biographies relating to Louis XVI regime I get different pictures of Artois and Provence. I can't seem to hit a medium with these two. I find either they were untrustworthy to their brother and anti-Antoinette or fans of our dear Antoine had a tight formed circle around her and sometimes Louis. What really fascinates me with these two men are the roles they played after the executions and fall of the monarchy. It's a shocking tale of Marie Terese following her uncle bravely across Europe through life threatening weather and in a state of financial distress so terrible. All this earning her the nickname of the new Antigone. Looking back at what I previously read about Provence I am amazed at the affection he, I believe, held for his niece. It's such a strange story. Provence getting so fat he needed help walking ect...? Could he really have gotten THAT fat? He did a lot of walking around europe right?

And Artois? Did he despise his wife? Was she really ugly? Or did they have a passionate love affair in the bedroom? I have read very conflicting accounts of this. Also, who is this Amy Brown character?

I am at a loss as to the relationship Louis and Antoinette, seperately and together held with the two men. Can you all offer your own insight?

On a different note, I just finished "Queen of Fashion, What MA wore to the Revolution". I didn't care very much for it. I felt like I was reading a bunch of clips and cutouts. I also thought that the author was VERY liberal with her assumptions of MA's liasons but wrote them in as facts.

Author:  Rosalie [ Fri Dec 26, 2008 9:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Provence and Artois

Yes, I also wondered this. In some books, MA and Louis are shown as very close to they're brothers (or brothers-in-law), while in others it seems they actually didn't trust them so much. Obviously the situation got worse with the Revolution, because the view of the events the emigrates had was not the same the king and queen had in their different positions. In some occasions the king and queen saw the manoeuvres of their relatives as a trouble, also because the emigrates tended to take a very extrem position, while the royal couple had to show more moderate and try to treat with the constitutionals.
On the other hand, I don't think Provence was really so bad as some depict him...But I'm waiting for your impressions!

Author:  AxelRocksMyWorld [ Sat Dec 27, 2008 6:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Provence and Artois

I realized that I wrote that kinda funny. I should have said the six biographies that I have read so far. I made it sound like I think there are only 6 biographies written! Sorry!

Provence is the biggest mystery to me. I was surprised to see how quickly he reinstated all royal protocal when he was in a "borrowed castle" as a "king without a kingdom". I know that it is the only lifestyle that he knew but he must have been really well educated. Honestly it seemed a bit thick to me choosing to focus on royal lifestyle rather than royal affairs. But maybe I am judgeing to harshly. The weight issue also gets to me and shocks me. Maybe weight problems ran in the family line but I am imagining this dude trudgeing through snow across Europe and getting that obese? It doesn't make sense to me. Also, the relationship that he shared with Marie Therese is really interesting. Marie Therese trusted him above anyone, a genuine trust as she did her own parents. I was also thinking about the stress that Provence was under and if he and Marie Therese ever had a moment like " hey Therese, I'm so sorry that your parents were murdered"? What a heavy subject for the two of them. Did they have a heart to heart about her mom and dad?

Well, I could go on forever about this. Part of me also feels some strange sense of guilt, reading the life of Marie Therese when her mother, who loved her so much, didn't get to be there to see her daughter really grow up and some dummy like me gets to read the whole story.

Author:  Drake Rlugia [ Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Provence and Artois

I don't think Provence was a very big fan of Marie-Antoinette, nor was his wife, at least during the days of Versailles when Marie-Antoinette was Queen. Often when Marie-Antoinette became pregnant, the Comtesse de Provence would claim she was pregnant as well--even though Provence was most certainly impotent; at least I think he was, although the Comtesse had at least two true recorded pregnancies that ended in miscarriages in 1774 and 1781. Can anyone better informed tell us anything about the martial life of Provence and his wife?

As for Provence being overweight--it was true. I doubt he 'walked' all over Europe; being a member of the exiled Bourbons, it's most certain he was carried about via carriage, being that he was too fat to even sit on a horse. He weight problem was most certainly glandular. The Bourbon dynasty seemed to be somewhat fat; Louis XIV's son was called Le Grand Dauphin because his weight. Louis XV married Maria Leszczyńska, whose father Stanislaw was somewhat fat. Louis XV's son, the Dauphin (and father to Louis XVI, Provence, and Artois) was quite chubby--it probably didn't help that the Bourbon dynasty had it's own fatty genes, mixed with the Polish ones--when you throw it on top of that, the Dauphine, Marie Josepha de Saxe was the granddaughter of August II the Strong, who was quite fat--her father was known as August III The Corpulant and was also quite fat. So Provence probably owed some of his weight problems to his genes, although his habits probably contributed. Louis XVI was not exactly slender himself, and one of their sisters, Madame Clothilde was known as the Gros-Madame at court.

Artois, on the other hand, was a fan of Marie-Antoinette from what I recall...they seemed to be very close, and many of the rumors pervading the court at the time suggested that the two were involved in a love affair, and that one Marie-Antoinette's sons, either the first Dauphin or the Duc d'Normandie, I can't remember--were fathered by Artois. He certainly had a reputation as a womanizer. I can't recall if it was the Comtesse de Provence or Artois that was regarded as ugly--there is certainly topics about it here on the forum. I believe Mercy said that the Comtesse de Artois looked like a 'Stavred Witch,' although Louis XV said that her bosom was at least well developed. These are found in Fraser's biography of Marie-Antoinette. At any rate, Artois was at first the only of the brothers to have any children--the Duc d'Angoulême and the Duc d'Berri was born before Louis XVI's children and were the first Bourbons of that generation.

Amy Brown was the Duc d'Berri's wife during the House of Bourbons exile. He married her and had two recognized daughters with her. However, upon the Restoration of the monarchy, he had to divorce her for political reasons. He later married Caroline Louise of the Two Sicilies, although Amy Brown remained in France--she saw the Duc d'Berri on his death bed in 1820 and entrusted her and his children to the royal family.

Author:  Délicate fleur [ Sat Jan 03, 2009 3:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Provence and Artois

Thank you for your informed contributions, Drake!

Author:  AxelRocksMyWorld [ Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Provence and Artois

I appreciate the information on Amy Brown. I really had her mixed up and now her role is much more clear to me. But I am not clear on her age and wonder if she was younger than the Duc d'Berri. I understand what you mean about the weight issues within the family history. The reason it boggles my mind with Provence is the timing. When he got so big that he couldn't walk it such seems like it was the worst time in his life. I tend to lose weight when I am in the midst of tragedy.

I am still conflicted on the Artois issue. I cannot seem to lean more one way than another with his and MA's relationship.

On the point of Clothilde (Gros- Madame), it really touched me to hear that when she met her husband to be for the first time he said something along the lines of ah..you are not as fat as they said you would be and I find you adorable. Something along those lines.

Author:  Drake Rlugia [ Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Provence and Artois

Amy Brown was born in 1783 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Brown_Freeman) so she was a couple years younger than the Charles, the Duc de Berry.

For Provence, I suppose it's something we'll never know. A lot of people are different, during difficult times, so people put on weight, but others tend to lose it. Marie-Antoinette herself lost a lot of weight during her imprisonment because of all the ordeals she suffered. By the time of the revolution, though, Provence was already quite fat...plus, it doesn't seem he suffered very much. He left France in 1791 and wasn't really imprisoned with at the Tuileries with Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. He and the Comtesse continued to live at their Parisian residence. While the loss of his brother and his wife were tragic, I wonder personally if Provence was very much effected. Even during those difficult times he seemed to play the role of politician more than brother--On Louis XVI's death he didn't waste anytime declaring himself Regent for the Dauphin (Louis XVII), and when the Dauphin died in 1795, Provence declared himself King.

Author:  Marija Vera [ Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Provence and Artois

Drake Rlugia wrote:
Artois, on the other hand, was a fan of Marie-Antoinette from what I recall...

I got that impression too.

Author:  History Detective [ Wed Feb 13, 2013 3:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Provence and Artois

Hi, everyone! I found a tidbit of information at the following website that seems to shed a little light on why the Comte de Provence had such a problem with weight and difficulty walking. The information on the website is written in French, so I apologize to those who might not be able to translate. The information I discovered there is as follows (French first, then my awkward translation):

Petit, très enveloppé, souffant d'une déformation congénitale de la hanche, il marchait cambré en se dandinant.(Small, very chubby, suffering from a congenital deformation of the hip, he walked bent with a waddle.)

Here's the link to the website...

http://instants.over-blog.com/article-12604291.html

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