Queen Marie-Antoinette's celestial Saisseval

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The castle - ©MOSSOT / CC-BY The castle - ©MOSSOT / CC-BY
Parentignat castle Castle Tragic destiny Charlotte-Hélène de Saisseval French Revolution

Another famous woman, now: François IV and Anne Charon’s daughter, Charlotte-Hélène de Lastic, born in 1765. She became countess of Saisseval and after her mother, was appointed lady-in-waiting for madame Victoire, Louis XV’s daughter.

Modest, pure and pretty, everybody loved her in the court (especially Marie-Antoinette), she was nicknamed “the celestial Saisseval”. But when the French Revolution came, they had to emigrate… in London first, where she wrote about her arrival:

" Arrivée sur la plage par un temps affreux, ma famille délaissée errait de porte en porte sans pouvoir trouver d’abri ; ces neuf heures de rebuts et de souffrances me parurent bien longues, car la neige tombait, et quand je voyais ma mère, mon mari et mes pauvres petits enfants mourant de faim et de froid, je versais des torrents de larmes et de larmes bien amères. Mais ensuite, me rappelant la conformité de cette position avec celle de la sainte Vierge à Bethléem, j’essuyais mes larmes je me remettais à espérer à me résigner du moins."

Aaah, her piety helped her a lot. She was pretty bigot! At that time, it was pretty normal for ladies to wake up at 11AM: but her husband allowed her to be an early riser, at 5AM! Hey, what for? To pray, of course. She also helped poor people in hospitals, a thing pretty inconvenient for noble ladies at that time.

After London, she moved in Holland, where she opened a small shop (she painted portraits) and a fashion shop where she sold her own creations. Business worked well! Other emigrés often paid her a visit, in her modest house converted as a workshop and as a chapel on morning.

Charlotte lose 4 children and her husband, there… but she came back in France, more courageous than ever: hey, she looked like the brave Miss Dillon, in the castle of Bouilh (Gironde)! In France, she created lots of charity foundations, including the current association Visite des Malades dans les Etablissements Hospitaliers (“Visit to the Ill people in Hospitals”), in 1801.


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