French Royalty: Louis XVII--Clothes

Figure 1.--This is the Dauphin Louis XVII painted in 1789. The Prince wears a pink or peach colored skeleton suit. The painting is attribited to Madame Vigée LeBrun. The painting is also notable because it shows the Prince playing with a with a yo-yo, commonly called "l'émigrette" in French. The modern yo-yo was introduced at about this time in Europe. As far as we know this is the first depiction of a yo-yo.

HBRC has little information on how Louis-Charles was dressed, either before of after the Revolution. One report indicates that the issue of how the princes were dressed came up in France in the years before the Revolution as the monarchy made a vain attempt to appeal to the population. Another report suggests that his father was so tramautized by the dresses his mother made him wear as a boy, that he insisted that his two sons be dressed more boyishly. HBC is unable at this time to document either of these reports. We are unsure about his mother's attitude as to how the children were dressed. The Prince did wear baby dresses as an infant, but all the images we know of show him wearing a skeleton suit, at least before the Revolution. Several reports show Louis-Charles wearing a skeleton suit as about age 7 or 8 years. This would have been when the Revolution was well under way and about the time his mother was guillotined. HBC has no information on how he was dressed once he was taken away from his mother. There are many drawings, but seem to be prpaganda pieces rather than relaiable depictions (figure 2). Interestingly, while Louis-Charles and his brother before the Revolution were mostly pictured in long pants slkeleton suits, several of the drawing appearing dufring the Revolution show him wearing knee breaches. We are not sure why this was.


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Created: April 17, 2003
Last updated: April 17, 2003