French Royalty: Louis XVII--Separation from the Queen

Figure 1.--This is one view of Louis-Charles's separation from his mother. Here his sister is shown as hanging on to him, but she too was also separated from her mother. Usually Louis Charles is depicted as wearing a long pants skeleton suit, nbut here he wears knee breeches. Norice the jailers wear long pants. We do not know when this image was painted or who the artist was.

Louis-Charles on July 3, 1793, was taken from his mother Marie Antoinette. His sister Marie Therese was also separated from the Queen, but I am not sure when. Their father had been executed early in the year and their mother was to follow him to the guillotine a few months latter. There are numerous depictions of the scene, almost all fanciful. After this there is considerable debate as to what happened to the Louis-Charles with tales that another boy was substituted for him. While the various images of the separation vary widely, usually Louis-Charles is usually depicted as wearing long pants skeleton suits with an open lace collar and sash. Sometimes he is shown as wearing knee breeches. This is of some importance. The Paris street mobs and the population in general are often referred to as wearing long trousers instead of the knee breeches worn by the airistocracy and wealthy that were considered more fashionable. The actual portraits done of Louis Charles before the Revolution all show him wearing long pants skeleton suits once out of infancy. He is almost always shown with long hair. He would have been about 8 years old at the time.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: May 9, 2002
Last updated: May 9, 2002