10 Madame Elizabeth, aka Élisabeth of France
May 3, 1764-May 10, 1794
Élisabeth Philippine Marie Hélène de France was the youngest sibling of King Louis XVI. Devoted to her family and the monarchy, she was content that there were no successful marriage proposals as it allowed her to stay in France. She was also intensely religious and Louis XVI had to persuade her not to become a nun as her Aunt Louise had done. Her relationship with Marie Antoinette was complicated; while Marie Antoinette was fond of her, Élisabeth viewed Marie Antoinette’s reforms as a threat to the monarchy. Refusing to leave once the revolution began, she was ultimately arrested. While Maximilien Robespierre had intended to only exile her, Jacques René Hébert insisted on her execution. She is considered a martyr by the Catholic Church and a Servant of God, the designation it uses for an individual who is being investigated by the Church for possible canonization as a saint. Her first cause for beautification was introduced in 1924 and was re-opened in 2016.
Bibliography of Sources:
“Élisabeth of France.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed May 22, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Élisabeth_of_France.
“Élisabeth of France (1764-1794).” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed May 22, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Élisabeth_of_France_(1764–1794).
Fig. 1. Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, Portrait of a Lady as a Priestess, called Princess Elisabeth de Bourbon, Princess of France, ‘Madame Elizabeth’ (1764-1794). 1779, oil on canvas, 787 x 629 mm. National Trust, Cliveden Estate, Buckinghamshire. Available from: National Trust. Accessed May 12, 2019. http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/766124.
Fig. 2. Adélaïde Labille-Guiard Le Brun, Madame Élisabeth de France. circa 1787, pastel on blue paper, oval 78.7 x 65.4 cm. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Gift of Mrs. Frederick M. Stafford, 2007 Available from: Metropolitan Museum of Art. Accessed May 12, 2019. https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/2007.441/.