Figure 1.--This portrait by Madame Vigée LeBrun looks to have been painted about 1784. The boy is Charles-Ferdinand d’Artois (1778-1820), the second son of the Comte d'Artois, who became King Charles X in 1824. Before that, however, Charles-Ferdinad who would have become the Dauphin was stabbed and killed at the Paris opera. Unfortunately, we have only this very poor image.
At the death of Louis XVIII, a younger brother, Charles X, acceded and was the last Bourbon king of France. He set about re-establishing the old regime. But you cannot kill ideas and a whole generation had experienced the power of ideas that grip the mind of the masses. France was becoming a capitalist country and the new capitalist class was busy developing its own gravediggers in the form of a working class for its growing number of factories and mills. The people, including the new capitalists, had had enough of the old
regime, however. They and especially the peoople of Paris knew how to get rid of kings. A popular 1830 Parisian insurection deposed Charles and his reactionary regime. A popular assembly elected a new liberal king, Louis Phillipe, the former Duke of Orleans.
Charles' father was the Dauphin (crown prince) Louis de France (1729-65), the eldest son of Louis XIV (1710- ) and Maria of Poland Leczinska (1703- ). His father died in 1765, however, before inheriting the crown. Louis XVI's mother was Marie-Josephe (Wettin) de Saxe (1731- ). The Wettin dynasty is more familiar to us as the male founder of the current British royal family. Prince Albert was related to Marie-Joseph. Her father was Frederick Augustus II (Wettin) of Saxony, King of Poland (1696- ). Her mother was the Habsburg princess Marie Josephe (1699- ).
Charles was born in 1754 at Versailles. He was the younger brother of Louis XVI and Louis XVIII. Before becming King, Carles had the title of Count of Artois. As Louis' only surviving son, Louis XVII, died during the Revolution. he was suceeded by two brithers, first Louis XVIII and than Charles X.
We have little information about Charles' childhood. He was born in 1757 and was about the same age as his two older brothers.
One report indicates that Charles' older brother Louis was traumatized by his mother who dressed him in reproductions of her own clothes. In the 18th century it was common for young boys to wear dresses like their sisters. Apparentlty Louis' mother Marie-Josephe kept him in dresses longer than was common at the time. We have, however, few details on this. Nor do we know if Loous' younger brothers like Charles had the same experience.
Charles before the Revolution married Maria Theresa/Clotilde of Savoy.
There were two children, both born before the Revolution. The eldest was Louis of Angoulême, Duke of Angoulême (1775-1844). His second son was Ferdinand Charles du Berry, Duke of Berry (1778-1820). We have little information on how the boys were dressed. We assume they wore skeleton suits like the children of Louis XVI. The image here suggests that they did. Notice the very large, but open collar that Ferdinand Charles was wearing about 1784 (figure 1). Louis of Angoulême married Marie Therese, daughter of Louis XVI. Ferdinand Charles married twice, the first to Amy Brown in 1806 while in exile in England. He divorced her before returing to France in 1815. He then married Maria Carolina de Bourbonn in 1816. They had two children. Louise du Berry (1819- ) and Henry de Bordeaux, Duke of Bordeaux, (1820- ). Ferdinand died in 1820, stabbed to death at the Paris Opera. When Charles abdicated he tried to do so in favor of his grandson, Henry Duke de Bordeaux, rather than his elder son. I am not sure what the problem was with Louis.
Charles in 1789 after the outbreak of the Revolutuin fled France and became the leader of the émigrés. He was the commander of a British force which sailed to Brittany in 1795 designed to gather the support of Frebnch Royalists to attack the Revolutionary forces. Some accounts suggest that the Vendéans were prepared to support the Royalist cause, but that Charles retirned to Engkand because of cowardice.
Charles returned to France when his older brother was restored to the throine as Louis XVIII. He assumed the leadershiop of the ultra-royalist factioin in Frebnch politics, meaning a belief in royal absolutism.
Upon the dearth of his brother Louis XVIII in 1824, Charles became king. Charles set about re-establishing the old regime. His coranation inclided an oath of allegience to the Charter, but his intention from the beginning was to restore the Ancien Regime and royal absolutism. Opposition arose almost imnediately. The King attempted to deflect domesic cruiticism through foireigbn adventures, seizing Algiers in 1830. Objecting to address of remonstrance in reply toma royal speech, Charles adjourned the Chamber of Deputies in March 1830 and dissolved it in May and new electuions were held. The deputies signing the letter, however, weree reelected. Charles on July 25 disolved the Chamber again, but this time issued ordinaces ending already limited press fredoms and creating a new electoral system aimed at achieving victory in the next election. France had changed graetly since the reign of the last absolute king, Louis XVI. A whole generation of Frenchmen had experienced the power of ideas that grip the mind of the masses. France was becoming a capitalist country. The new capitalist class was busy developing its own gravediggers in the form of a working class for its growing number of factories and mills. The working class had greatly expanded in number and importance and demanded a voice in their governance. The people, including the new capitalists, had had enough of the old regime. Parisian newspapers played a key role in inciting Parisians. [Mansel] The French and especially the peoople of Paris knew how to get rid of kings. The people of Paris took up arms and overthrew Charles and the royalist forces.
King Charles X abdicated on August 2 in favor of his grandson, Henry Duke de Orléans. A popular assembly elected a new liberal king, Louis Phillipe, the former Duke of Orléans. Charles and his again family fled accross the English Channel.
Mansel, Philip. Paris Between Empires: Monarchy and Revolution, 1814-1852 (St. Martin's, 2003), 559p.
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