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 King Louis' bloodstained shirt 
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Post King Louis' bloodstained shirt
I have just read Susan Nagel's book about the Princess Marie Therese Charlotte the daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. I skim read it the first time but with historical books I re-read again and again more slowly. It seems that that the shirt His Majesty wore to his execution was removed after his death and given to his daughter the Duchess of Angouleme many years later who kept it nearby for the rest of her life. I feel very skeptical about Nagel's book. An example is that she suggests King Louis had an affair with a servant to prove his ability to father children and she gave birth to a daughter Ernestine. From what I have read about Louis, he adored his wife and could never have cheated on her. She also states that Madame (Duchesse of Angouleme) was given a scarf belonging to Madame Elizabeth which was supposed to have blown away whilst she was in the tumbril on the way to the place of execution. I would like to know where the provenance of these statements originate comes from. In spite of this, the book is full of accuracies and very interesting.


Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:54 pm
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
Hi Maggie, I have read Nagel`s book also, and it raised my eyebrows with her pionts of view on certain matters, however do you really think that it might of been an unreasonable assumption that Louis could be the father of Ernestine ! She is not the only historian that makes this assumption, in fact Louis is rumored to have fatherd a second illegitmate child. Infidelity amongst the noble classes in the eighteenth centuary was no big deal, just as its no big deal today for certain people of noble birth.
If you are searching for a difinitive answer to this matter i dont think you will ever find it, because at the end of the day its about an opinion of events that happened over two hundered years ago, all you can do is read as many biographies and research the topic as well you can, then form an opinion, and then there will be those that agree with you and those that dont! I myself am absorbed by Louis and Antoinette, but i certainly do not put them on a pedestal of unreproached virtue, they lived in a differant time to us but shared the same human temptations that we all do. If you have not read Stefan Zweig`s book about the life of Marie Antoinette you should as that will give you plenty of opinions which you might not like, but its a view of her that needs to be studied. So for what its worth Maggie i am of the opinion that Ernestine could well have been the daughter of King Louis XVI and also the father of a second daughter by Madam de Polignac! Count Mercy even mentions this matter in his letters to Maria Theresa, Antoinettes mother. Enjoy your research.


Fri Aug 05, 2011 6:11 pm
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
mercy-argenteau wrote:
So for what its worth Maggie i am of the opinion that Ernestine could well have been the daughter of King Louis XVI and also the father of a second daughter by Madam de Polignac! Count Mercy even mentions this matter in his letters to Maria Theresa, Antoinettes mother.

I have never heard this before! It seems too unreal to be true. Can you please name your sources - is it only in the correspondence?

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:11 am
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
I have heard that Louis XVI may have been particularly close to Madame de Polignac, but not that close! :) We know that her's was the only private house that he visited outside of Versailles at the time of her giving birth. And we know, the De Coursac mention this in their exhaustive study of the Royal couple, that MA was surprized at the ease with which her requests for money for her favourite and her surrounding clan were accepted by the King.

As for Ernestine, I tend to believe it possible. This was at the height of the tension between the Royal couple, when MA was sleeping apart and shutting her door at night to the 'poor man'! It started to be an affair of State between France and Austria, so maybe the King was advised to prove a point and show that the problem was not of his making. How else does one explain away the presence of Ernestine's name on the list of the 'children of France' and the fact that she was brought up in the Royal household alongside MTC? In these matters one cannot take things at face value, so much was at stake, the Alliance depended on there being an heir.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:16 pm
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
I read Nagel's book a while back and remember the inaccuracies as well. I haven't been able to make up my mind as to what the relationship of Ernestine was in regard to the Royal family. It is odd that she would be listed with the children of France. But due to the way I feel about Louis' sexuality, I'm still not convinced that Ernestine was fathered by Louis XVI. All men are capable of doing something out of their character - and this would seem totally out of character for Louis XVI. But I'm sure it's not out of the realm of possibility.


Sat Aug 06, 2011 5:56 pm
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
Well, I don't think it is contradictory that Louis XVI "adored" his wife on the one hand and on the other hand cheated on her. Marie-Antoinette even said that she would not care too much. So the Ernestine story has some ground.

It seems also true that the King thought Madame de Polignac attractive and enjoyed her conversation. He hoped that she would help the queen shun some of the entertainments she indulged in -namely gambling- and induce her to settle for a simpler life style, which she did. He may also have relied on her to provide substantial information about the Queen's privacy. I think the rest of the story is preposterous, but that's my personal feeling.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:54 pm
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
I too have Nagel's book lying somewhere in my room, and I do remember the mentions of Louis' alleged illegitimacies. While I don't feel it's quite right, she is not (as someone mentioned above) the only one detailing this, and it's not exactly unfounded. I began some research into it a while back, checking with certain archives, but it's difficult to find specific references. I don't believe it, definitely, but it's not quite right to call them upfront as 'inaccuracies'.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:55 am
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
Personally I never believed the Joseph II story with the business of showing up Louis' sexual inadequacies and saying that he would beat him like a donkey to make him come from rage!!!!

Can you imagine the King of France opening up to his brother in law like that on their first meeting, ridiculing himself in this way?! I think this was Joseph's invention because of the tension the situation caused between the two courts!

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:41 am
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
MMm. Where did the bloodstained shirt come from which was given to Madame Royale. Was it removed from the King's body at the Madeleine Cemetry? Does it still exist?


Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:51 pm
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
Nagel's book is the only place I have come across this information about the blood-stained shirt. She talks about it on pages 205-206 where she says Marie-Therese received a package from the Elector of Treves, with a miniature of her brother and his prayer stool and this blood-stained shirt. She references the shirt again on page 306. Then she says on page 363 that Marie-Therese, before she died she instructed for her parents rings, the bloody shirt, the miniature and the prayer stool "should all remain at Frohsdorf with Henri". Nagel provides no references for this information.
Her nephew Henri's estate would be worth looking into to see if there is any mention of these items and possibly where they ended up.


Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:55 pm
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
I remember there being a number of new claims made by this author, some of them very interesting . Its just that I can't remember her quoting sources either...so one doesn't know what to think! I need to get the book out again and re-read it and note all these claims....for example the bloodstained shirt! My understanding was that Louis XV's jackets and any personal effects were torn to pieces by souvenir hunters at the scene of the execution, but his shirt would have been on him...so was he undressed when put in his grave at the Madeleine? This would have been the moment where a Royalist sympathizer could have got hold of the shirt. But I'm wary of only one source or author quoting such a thing...as is the case here.

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Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:41 pm
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
Personally I am highly skeptical of any 'historian' or author that does not provide any sources, particularly when they offer new and controversial ideas. Just me. :wink:

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Tue Aug 09, 2011 12:19 am
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
You don't need to add the "just me", as your reaction is totally logical. Anyone can make unsubstantiated suppositions, they are dangerous and the stuff of myths and legends, just like "let them eat cake!"

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Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:13 am
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
It seems i overstated about the kings friendship with madam du polignac, as i have not been able to find sources to back this claim. I was of the opinion that this was fact, but it seems i have been wrong, so i can only apologise for misleading the forum and i bow to the above posters superia knowledge on this matter.


Wed Aug 10, 2011 8:26 am
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Post Re: King Louis' bloodstained shirt
Not necessarily...I heard sth about this, but maybe it was the Nagel book and unsubstantiated. I wouldn't rule it out altogether, and it could explain the sudden cooling of the friendship between the Queen and her erstwhile favourite! We shouldn't make Louis out to be a complete loser as far as women are concerned....he was the King, his wife was in love with Fersen, and he wasn't gay!

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Wed Aug 10, 2011 9:05 am
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