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The Death of Princesse de Lamballe 


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

One of the gruesome horrors of the French Revolution was the death of the Princesse de Lamballe on September 3, 1792. Even the Marquis de Sade, having "wept tears of blood" over his lost paedophiliac-coprophiliac masterpiece The 120 Days of Sodom, shuddered when he heard that the princesse, upon decapitation, had her mons pubis sliced off and worn as a moustache.

Death of Lamballe

The Princesse's fate is explained thus:

...the head of the Princesse de Lamballe could be seen at the end of a pike, her face twisted into a grimace and her long blond hair flowing in the wind, caked with blood. Her naked, mutilated body had been dragged through the streets by her assassins; it lay on the ground among a group of madmen; they had torn out her heart and brandished it at the end of a sword like a trophy.


(Evelyne Lever: Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France, translated by Catherine Temerson, page 284)

Antonia Fraser goes into even more detail in her Marie Antoinette: The Journey. In point form, the full script of her death and subsequent indignities go as follows:
  • Hit by hammers on the head. Goes unconscious.
  • Violated either before or after.
  • Breasts and privates cut off.
  • Or, her heart cut out, cooked and eaten.
  • Possible disembowellment.
  • Head mounted on a pike.
  • Innards mounted on a pike.
  • Comte de Beaujolais sees his aunt's head and body pass by the Palais-Royal.
  • Apprentice wax modeller Marie Grosholz forced to make a cast of the head and trembles too much to work - she had known the princesse in life.
  • Stop at a barber shop so the princesse's hair can be restyled.
  • The head taken to the Temple, where the royal family was imprisoned, so that Marie Antoinette could kiss her friend's lips.
  • Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were playing backgammon when the head arrives at the Tower.
  • Officials close the shutters and keep the family away from the windows.
  • Marie Antoinette fainted.
  • Another pike reported to have a blood- and mud-stained chemise.
  • Commissioner Daujon allows the mob to parade the head around the Tower but not to come inside.
  • Daujon prevents entry "by the use of the tricolour ribbon on the door."
  • Rioting continues until 5 pm.
  • A Jacques Pointel rescues the head.
  • The princesse's father-in-law, the Duc de Penthièvre, retrieves body and head.
  • The princesse interred in the Penthièvre crypt.


Prettiest Lamballe

This princesse, born in Torino on September 8, 1749, married Louis Alexandre Stanislaus de Bourbon, prince of Lamballe, in 1767. The prince died the following year and the princesse never remarried. In 1785 Marie Anoinette withdrew from her friendship with the comtesse de Polignac and returned to the princesse. The princesse's loyalty was such that, during her interrogation she refused to denounce her friend; this in turn led to her immediate death.

Yet, perhaps Marie Thérèse Louise de Savoie-Carignan did not die as rumour has it. Floating about on the internet is the idea that she was delivered to the Duc de Penthièvre fully clothed - surely her murderers wouldn't have bothered to re-dress her? What about the eyewitnesses? Were the stories concocted by the royalists to win over Europe to their cause?

Comments:
We are into the macarbe these days. Shouldn't you be concentrating on a wedding or something? Interesting though this entry was. :-)
 
Ah, I have been working on another macabre entry, though it is taking weeks. I simply don't have too much time on my hands to unleash the whole of my macabre interest on you.

Didn't you know I am a card-carrying ghoul? I subscribe to Morbid Fact du Jour, after all.
 
The notion that the Princesse was merely killed and decapitated, is not a vague "internet rumor." It is a serious opinion of serious historians. See the recent books of David Andress, for example.
 
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