BERRY Marie-Caroline Duchesse de - Autograph Note Signed 1844 authorising a payment
Marie-Caroline, Duchesse de BERRY (1798-1870)
Autograph Note Signed (“Marie Caroline”), authorising the payment of 2000 francs to M. Hausler.
1 page oblong 8vo in French, Venice, 6 March 1844.
Marie-Caroline asks her banker to please “. . . give to M. Hausler upon his receipt the sum of two thousand francs (2,000f) . . .” from her account; below, M. Hausler has signed this as received a week later, on 13 May.
Marie-Caroline, great-niece of Marie Antoinette, married Charles, Duc de Berry, the younger son of Charles X, when she was eighteen.
Her happy, cheerful disposition earned her many friends at court, which she enlivened considerably, in contrast to her sister-in-law, Marie-Thérèse, whose character had been understandably affected by her imprisonment and tribulations during the Revolution. But barely four years after the wedding, her husband was assassinated while leaving the opera.
Marie-Caroline was in the early stages of pregnancy at the time, and the eventual birth of a son, the only legitimate male heir to the French throne in the Bourbon line, was greeted with relief and joy.
During the July Revolution of 1830, she apparently offered to face the mob herself, with her son, believing the people would be swayed at the sight of their future king. Charles X opposed this idea, and she followed him, and the rest of the royal family, into exile in Scotland, at Holyrood.
Two years later, she returned to France clandestinely, hoping to mount a challenge for the throne in favour of her son from Marseille. The rebellion never happened, and she took refuge in the traditionally royalist Vendée, where she was discovered and imprisoned. It soon became apparent that she was pregnant, and she confessed to having contracted a marriage with an Italian nobleman, thus forfeiting her French nationality and any hope of becoming Regent should her son be recognized as king.
In 1844, Marie-Caroline and her husband moved to Venice, purchasing a palazzo on the Grand Canal.
Although one may have doubts about the wisdom of her actions and even her political views, there is no doubt about Marie-Caroline’s courage, or her sense of adventure. Alexandre Dumas used her story for one of his novels, and one cannot help but think that he was the perfect chronicler of her life.
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