Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 106 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PRINCESSE DE MARIE THERESE LOUISE OF SAVOYCARIGNANO LAMBALLE (1749-1792), fourth daughter of Louis Victor of Carignano (d. 1774) (great-grandfather of King Charles Albert of Sardinia), and of Christine Henriette of Hesse-Rheinfels-Rothenburg, was born at Turin on the 8th of September 1749. In 1767 she was married to Louis Alexandre Stanislaus de Bourbon, prince of Lamballe, son of the duke of Penthievre, a grandson of Louis XIV.'s natural son the count of Toulouse. Her husband dying the following year, she retired with her father-in-law to Rambouillet, where she lived until the marriage of the dauphin, when she returned to court. Marie Antoinette, charmed by her gentle and naive manners, singled her out for a companion and confidante. The impetuous character of the dauphiness found in Madame de Lamballe that submissive temperament which yields to force of environment, and the two became fast friends. After her accession Marie Antoinette, in spite of the king's opposition, had her appointed superintendent of the royal household. Between 1776 and 1785 the comtesse de Polignac succeeded in supplanting her; but when the queen tired of the avarice of the Polignacs, she turned again to Madame de Lamballe. From 1785 to the Revolution she was Marie Antoinette's closest friend and the pliant instrument of her caprices. She came with the queen to the Tuileries and as her salon served as a meeting-place for the queen and the members of the Assembly whom she wished to gain over, the people believed her to be the soul of all the intrigues. After a visit to England in 1791 to appeal for help for the royal family she made her will and returned to the Tuileries, where she continued her services to the queen until the loth of August, when she shared her imprisonment in the Temple. On the 19th of August she was transferred to La Force, and having refused to take the oath. against the monarchy, she was on the 3rd of September delivered over to the fury of the populace, after which her head was placed on a pike and carried before the windows of the queen. See George Bertin, Madame de Lamballe (Paris, 1888) ; Austin Dobson, Four Frenchwomen (189o); B. C. Hardy, Princesse de Lamballe (19o8); Comte de Lescure, La Princesse de Lamballe... . d'apres des documents inedits (1864); some letters of the princess published by Ch. Schmidt in La Revolution fiangaise (vol. xxxix., 1900) ; L. Lambeau, Essais sur la mort de madame la princesse de Lamballe (1902); Sir F. Montefiore, The Princesse de Lamballe (1896). The Secret Memoirs of the Royal Family of France . now first published from the Journal, Letters and Conversations of the Princesse de Lamballe (London, 2 vols., 1826) have since appeared in various editions in English and in French. They are attributed to Catherine Hyde, Marchioness Govion-Broglio-Solari, and are apocryphal.

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