Queen Marie-Antoinette's celestial Saisseval

The castleThe castle | ©MOSSOT / CC-BY

Let me introduce Charlotte-Hélène de Lastic, born in 1765. She became countess of Saisseval and 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: the queen nicknamed her “the celestial Saisseval”. But when French Revolution came, Charlotte-Hélène de Lastic had to emigrate… in London first.

Aaah, her piety helped her a lot. She was pretty bigot! She woke up early and prayed, she also helped poor people in hospitals, a pretty inconvenient thing for noble ladies in the 18th century.

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

Charlotte lose 4 children and her husband, there… then she came back in France, more courageous than ever! She created plenty of charity foundations, including the current Visite des Malades dans les Etablissements Hospitaliers (“Visit to the Ill people in Hospitals”), in 1801.