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 Children adopted by Marie Antoinette! 
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Post Children adopted by Marie Antoinette!
I am starting this topic in reply to a request by members, severina", :) and "Elizabeth", :) about children Marie Antoinette helped/and or adopted. I thought this would be a good place for members to reveal stories of children adopted by Marie Antoinette. For many of the children she loved and helped are lost memories I thought as many as we know should be revealed in this forum. There is a story that is rarely revealed in most biographies of her life about a small black child given to her.
In 1787, Chevalier de Boufflers, a great traveler, brought back to the Queen from Senegal a parrot....and a young negro child. Instead of treating the black child as a little blackamoor, as was customary, and taking him into her service, Marie Antoinette took the little child in her arms and in front of the french court, kissed him, declared she was adopting him and then had him baptized at Notre Dame and gave him the christian name of Jean Amilar. Muller, one of the Queen's houseboys, was instructed to look after him. After the days of October, when revolutionary conditions made it difficult to find a lodging for him at the Tuileries, Marie Antoinette had him placed in an institution for children at St. Cloud and made monthly payments for him up to August 10th through
Monsieur de Salvert. When the monarchy fell and Marie Antoinette was made a prisoner in the Temple, nobody had the charity to look after this black child. Driven from the place where he boarded, he died of cold and hunger. THIS was the legacy of the revolution.

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Sun Jan 28, 2007 7:57 am
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This story is both so beautiful and so sad.
Beautiful because it shows who Antoinette was: a loving (and modern) woman, who didn't care about differences in skin colour.
Sad because the child was discarded as soon as MA was unable to ensure his safety.
A very good illustration of the History of the times....this story should be told to children learning History in French schools.

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Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:49 pm
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i remember reading about another child (i think it was a little boy) that was almost run over by the queen's carriage. when she saw the child, she took him in her arms and told the child's mother, "i must take him." she really did have a great affinity for children and wanted genuinely to give them better lives.


Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:56 pm
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You're right papillon :wink:

This child was called Jacques Armand, he was adopted by Marie-Antoinette. But it aparaît that after becoming mother, Marie-Antoinette dealt less with him (he would have been forsaken a little by Marie-Antoinette ), and Jacques Armand became a republican thereafter :?

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Sun Jan 28, 2007 9:01 pm
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Thanks for posting the story about an overlooked adopted child of La Reine! :)


Sun Jan 28, 2007 10:10 pm
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Post Armand.....What REALLY happened!
Arietta wrote:
Thanks for posting the story about an overlooked adopted child of La Reine! :)


Contrary to what is usually presented in most books on Marie Antoinette's
treatment of Armand after she had her own children, these are the facts;
While Dauphine a few days after that famous incident during the King's hunt when she helped the vine-grower injured by the stag and took care of him she came across a group of orphans with their wretched grandmother, she suggested she take one of the young boys to be brought up in her own suite at Versailles.(Remember now this is still years before her first child is born and more years to the birth of the Dauphin) Little Armand was to live amidst the Dauphine's attendants. When she became Queen, Armand had meals with the King and Queen was virtually living with them as a royal son which many in the court did not approve of. He received the SAME education as her own sons when they were born. What many people do not know is that when Marie Antoinette adopted "Francois Michel Gagne", known as Armand, the WHOLE of his family was placed under royal protection. Denis Toussaint, the eldest brother, who showed even greater musical talent than Armand, joined the "Musique du Roi", as a page. This farmer's son not only received the same education as the pages who were children of noble families, but also completed his musical training. In 1787 he was appointed cellist to the King; and it was the Queen,(our beautiful Marie Antoinette) who paid the entire cost of his keep up to that date. Even at the time when the monarchy fell, she thought of the young musician; and to enable him to embark alone on a career which was to turn out brilliantly she sent him the sum of 2000 pounds in 1792. Armand stayed with the Queen until the birth of her first child. Marie Antoinette continued to concern herself with him and his education and paid for all his studies.
At the time of the Revolution, Armand, now a young man became passionately devoted to the new ideas, entirely forgot his benefactress, bravely enrolled in the armies of the Republic, and met a hero's death. The remaining two siblings of Armand, Marie Madeleine and Louis Marie, were provided for and educated by the Queen. When Marie Madeleine got married, the notary entered in the contract among her assets, "3000 pounds from the benefits she received from the deceased, at that time the wife of Louis Capet, who took care of her maintenance until the 10th of August. What I find touching in all of this is even when she was suffering and fearing for her life and that of her own children and husband until the power was literally taken away from her, Marie Antoinette continued to provide and care for all the children she had adopted and their families until she was imprisoned and could not longer protect them.

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Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:02 am
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It is the greatest responsibility of the wealthy to help others, I believe. These stories are more 'proof' of M.A.'s generosity and care for the people she encountered. :wink: Is there another adoption story Princess?


Mon Jan 29, 2007 3:31 am
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Very interesting Princess Diana Lenska! :D

Marie-Antoinette indeed dealt very well with Armand until about 1781 dates where her first son was born.
But certain historians affirm (I will look for in my books), that after this time, Armand was less "followed” by Marie-Antoinette....but I find it normal considering his age.
I did not know the acts of Marie-Antoinette in favour of Armand during the revolution…Armand had however become an experienced revolutionist … the reason intrigues me besides… why did he changed of party, him who had been educated by Marie-Antoinette? Did he regretted his old life and hisformer parents? The mystery remains whole…

But your information is very useful Princess Diana Lenska thank you! :D What are your sources?

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Mon Jan 29, 2007 4:13 pm
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Another child "adopted" by M.A. was Ernestine, a little girl who had the same age of Madame Royale. M.A. loved to dress them with identical clothes and they shared their toys. This decision was taken by M.A. also because Madame Royal was a bit arrogant, and her wanted to have a sweeter child. She had waited the be mother for such a long time that I think she wanted to have a very sweet child! :wink:

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Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:34 pm
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Post An answer to Louis-Charles about..Armand
[quote]Armand was less "followed" by Marie Antoinette......"AND what is my sources for the information on Armand.

My source for information on Armand is the 1971 Viking Press book on "Marie Antoinette". The authors, Philippe Huisman, who wrote numerous biographies, and Marguerite Jallut who at the time was Curator of the Museum of Versailles.

What I question about numerous sources claiming Marie Antoinette neglected Armand is the fact that she adopted several children of the same age as her own children at the time and raised them equally with her own. As Armand was an adolescent at the time and too old to be a companion to Marie Antoinette's children what should be obvious to anyone is that Armand who up to that time had been the EXCLUSIVE center of Marie Antoinette's world now was experiencing sibling rivalry. Look at XVI and his brothers! Study many of the royal houses of Europe and you will find the same jealousy among the natural born children of royals. Look at the jealousy between many a crown prince and his younger brothers....history is full of such tales. One account after the Dauphin was born finds Armand quietly staring at the new heir to the
throne while Marie Antoinette turning to leave the room, sees Armand, acknowledges him, plays with Armand's hair and then leaves the room.
To me this shows she was still sensitive to him, if she was indifferent,..she would not have acknowledged his being present and simply left the room.
I do not know as of yet of any account in Armands own words as to why he turned against Marie Antoinette during the Revolution but what I am trying to reveal here is what the normal reasons would be among any family where new brothers and sisters start being born. How could any royal child let alone an adopted child compete with the heir to the throne? The heir will always, especially when first born be subject to numerous honors and attention from ALL the royal court. Just think how this affected Armand who up to that time had been treated like A SON, the ONLY son even by the King himself! By the very protocol of the court it would of been difficult for Marie Antoinette to counteract the growing feeling of being put aside that Armand must of been experiencing.

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Mon Jan 29, 2007 5:58 pm
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Your analysis is very just indeed Princess Diana Lenska! :D

Thank you for your sources, I did not know thos book!

I had not thought about it, but it is indeed probable that Armand was jealous of the Marie-Antoinette 's children and that by his age he could not take part in their plays.
I do not think either that Marie-Antoinette was indifferent, it was not hes style, her who was so nice, but like she had after raising her own children, she devoted normally less time to Armand. Armand was surely bored… and the new ideas were for him a means of breaking this trouble and this daily newspaper. :D

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Mon Jan 29, 2007 6:09 pm
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I meant Jean Amilar, Princess Diana Lenska. Sorry, I should stated that.


Tue Jan 30, 2007 1:49 am
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These are fascinating! thanks for posting

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Thu Feb 01, 2007 8:40 am
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Indeed, thank you, Princess ! Your comment and analyse are fascinating. Thanks for mentioning your sources too. It's so difficult to find accurate information about these adopted children... Jallut and Huisman are very serious scholars. Their book "Marie Antoinette, l'impossible bonheur" is a reference to me !

... and, Chou, it shows a complete letter to Mme de Polignac... :wink:

Do you know anything about Zoé, Princess, a girl Marie Antoinette adopted too ? We are currently searching for her surname...

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Thu Feb 01, 2007 9:26 am
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Quote:
... and, Chou, it shows a complete letter to Mme de Polignac...


...Ah... thanks to you I imagine all the small nice mistakes of writing... :wink:

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