Reign of Louis XI - Mademoiselle de Bretagne
Marie Philippine was born at Château de Manehouran in the early hours of the morning on the 24th January 1714. Her birth was met with a relatively small crowd, consisting of Sophie Antoinette's lady-in-waiting, the family bishop, and a few servants. She would be the second of the two non-identical twins her mother would deliver on this occasion. The infant was born very scrawny and weak, many of the household not believing she would live long. This frightened the already tense Sophie, Louis XI in response attempted to assist her, by offering naming suggested. He heavily hinted at the name Philippine.
Sophie complied and had the tiny infant baptised on February 2nd. She was named "Marie Philippine" after the Virgin Mary and the Sun Emperor himself. Philippine was given the title "Mademoiselle de Bretagne" respectively. Louis wrote to Sophie asking her to join Court once again with the tiny Philippine, seeing as though this was the Emperor's first Niece. Sophie refused, too worried of illness for her already sickly child. This went on for almost two years, though Sophie joined Court after a few months, leaving the infant Philippine in the care of Governesses at Manehouran.
Marie Philippine was arranged by her parents and uncle, Louis XI, to marry the Dauphin in 1718. The Dauphin was 12 by this time.
At age four, Philippine was moved into the Dauphin's suite at the Palais des Duc de Bourgogne in Dijon. Louis XI would appoint a small entourage of Courtiers including her Chief Governess, three ladies-in-waiting, a Tutor, and minor Governesses to attend to the Petite Dauphiné. Philippine began to study Latin and French from her Tutor, while she would learn how to dance, sing, and read from her ladies-in-waiting. The petite Madame would enjoy playing with her dolls, attending mass, and reading with her Governess.
The Madame would continue to grow and mature at the Palais de Duc de Bourgogne in Dijon. She would be able to see her parents once a year when they came to visit. Philippine in that time would go through two sets of ladies-in-waiting. She would become extremely familiar with the female sex while growing up in the Palais, by being surrounded by her own gender throughout her entire life. At the age of fourteen, the Madame would be taken from the comfort of her rooms to marry her first cousin, Louis Emmanuel, Monsieur le Dauphin.
Marie Philippine would arrive at Court on the 28th of October, 1728. This would be her first experience meeting the Sovereign and his Court. At her arrival, she was greeted by her Mother and Father, and then taken to the Emperor and Empress. Philippine was welcomed by the Empress who remarked that it was, "Lovely to see a new face." The Emperor was also said to have smiled a little when the Mesdames greeted Philippine with great excitement. Though, the excitement was short lived, as Philippine's wedding was the next day. The entire Court was invited to the event, which the Emperor wished to make one of the largest events of the year. The heirs would follow the Emperor's carriage in procession to the Cathedral of Dijon. This was the first time Philippine had seen her fiance in her lifetime. The wedding itself lasted a few hours, many of the higher Nobility members bragging of how close their seats were to the heirs. The ceremony would conclude with the signing of the marriage document. The Dauphin and Dauphine would then ride through Dijon to the Palais-des-Ducs-de-Bourgogne, with general celebration from the public. His Majesty would put on a ball and have a spectacular firework show for his new heirs, though the celebrations were in honour of his himself, being treated as an extension of his glory and fertility. The events went on for a considerable time and had several days of celebrating following the wedding.
After the festivities, the Dauphiné was soon announced pregnant with her first child. To the Emperor's enjoyment, it was a male. His Majesty would choose the name of Louis Raphael, after the arch-angel. Philippine quickly fell pregnant once again, but would miscarry. She was distraught about the unborn child, thinking she would never conceive again. The Empress and Princesse de Bretagne would lend emotional support to the Madame, and to Philippine's delight, she fell pregnant with her second child, Louis Joseph.
Madame la Dauphiné would give birth to her fourth child in 1732. The Dauphiné was quite excited for her birth, wishing for boy after her previous miscarriage. In the early morning of February 2nd, Madame Philippine would deliver an infant girl, the Emperor naming her Hélène Béatrice. His Majesty would disapprove of the gender of the child, but the Madame couldn't have been happier, spending all the time she could with the infant Béatrice. However, the infant would die at eleven months old of tuberculosis, leaving Madame la Dauphiné grief stricken. Monsieur le Duc, Madame's brother, would attempt to console her with the fact that Hélène was still an infant at her death and the Dauphiné could not have grown an attachment to her in such a short time. Madame replied only,
"Don't forget that she would have been my friend."After the death of her fourth child, the Dauphiné would go on to have thirteen more children. Due to tradition, she would send her female children away to the Fontevraud Abbey, while her males were kept in Court to be raised by Tutors and Governesses.
In the summer of 1738, the smallpox outbreak began, leaving many of the Court dead or suffering from the illness. Many of her Imperial cousins died, leaving only around five or so living. At the time, the Dauphiné was pregnant with twins. This would cause much stress for her, seeing as she still had her Imperial responsibilities while much of the Court was dying. Though, Philippine stayed with the Emperor, praying with and for him
. After the Emperor became ill, Philippine fled to her Husband's hunting lodge, where she would give birth to her children. Madame la Dauphiné would stay in the lodge with her twins throughout her Mother's Regency. Often, the Dauphiné wrote in her journal on how dark and damp the lodge was. She would write to her children at the Fontevraud Abbey weekly. This was the only time she kept in constant contact with her children. The Dauphin also wrote to her, but only every couple of weeks.
In Autumn of 1744, Philippine had received a letter of her sister-in-law's disastrous death. She rushed back to Manehouran to be with her grieving Brother, Louis Xavier. She was greeted by the Court at her arrival, to which she ignored to find her Brother. The two stayed together for three days until Xavier's own murder by his lover, the Cardinal Lorraine, who had also killed Xavier's wife. Philippine was also present at the Cardinal's burning.
At the arrival of her Uncle, Emperor Louis Philippe XI at Manehouran, the Emperor was seen unable to recognise his first Niece and heir, as he had not seen her in years. In the later years to come, Philippine would become more involved in Politics, and was often gossiped about for it. Though, she became closer to the Emperor this way, gaining more favour while at Government Meetings and Court itself. Her Husband was resistant to her tactics, and refused to send off his favourite Mistress when Philippine tried to. The two constantly fought, but it was never shown to the Court or the public eye.
In 1745, the Madame became pregnant by the Dauphin accidentally. She gave birth to an infant girl, but, the father of the child was much speculated by the Court, as it was rumoured that the Dauphiné had had an affair with a Duc. Though this proved to be untrue, as Philippine was always faithful to her husband, the Dauphin would use this against her in trying to gain more favour with his Father. The Dauphiné eventually gave up trying to gain favour, as she was already in the Emperor's private circle, and began to help her Husband's popularity within Court and the population.
In November of 1752, Dauphiné Philippine's father, Prince Auguste Philippe of Brittany, fell ill and passed. Philippine remained unaffected by the death, but her brother and mother were. She spent most of her time with the Dauphin and Court, and rarely left Château de Saint-Etienne. Due to this, the Dauphiné lost significant popularity with the people of the Empire. The Dowager Princesse of Brittany suggested that the Dauphiné take frequent trips to cities, but she refused, and stayed with her husband up until his own death. A month after her own Father's death, the Dauphin would fall ill to smallpox. He would die in under a week's time, leaving Dauphiné Philippine without ranking. After the Dauphin's death, the Dauphiné kneeled next to his body, kissing him for the last time. Hours later, Philippine's own mother, would die of the same disease. Already heartbroken, the Dauphiné would sink into a depression for the time being. After roughly a day, Dauphiné Philippine attended dinner with the Emperor. After His Majesty finished eating, Philippine tried to rise as well, but collapsed. Many of the Courtiers rushed to her side, and took her to her chambers. There, Philippine struggled to catch her breath, as doctors claimed her to be having a heart attack. She was given last rites, as the Court watched at her bedside. Philippine had her closest family around her, the Emperor even tightly holding her fragile hand. It was obvious that the Dauphiné was terrified to face her own fate, and the Emperor took to trying to soothe her. His last words to the Dauphiné were as followed;
"Do not worry, you go to God now."The Dauphiné looked to the Emperor, calmed by his words, and said back to him;
"Oui... I go to God. Au revoir, Your Majesty..."Then after, Dauphiné Philippine slowly closed her eyes, never to wake again.
To her marriage with Louis Emmanuel, she had seventeen children, fifteen of which were brought to full term, with their styles at the time of their birth;
- Louis Raphael, Duc de Provence, later Louis XII (24th July, 1729 - 20th January, 1768)
- Louis Joseph, Duc de Forez, Louis XIV (1st September, 1730 - Present)
- Marie Sophie, Mademoiselle de Dauphiné (13th June, 1730 - 9th October, 1751)
- Charles Xavier, Marquis de Nice (15th April, 1731 - 11th September, 1767)
- Hélène Béatrice, Mademoiselle de Dauphiné (2nd February, 1732 - 18th January, 1733)
- Anne Thérèse, Mademoiselle de Dauphiné (29th August, 1733 - 16th August, 1771)
- Louise Élisabeth, Mademoiselle de Dauphiné (24th June, 1734 - c. 1742)
- Stillborn male (8th March 1735)
- Marie Etiennette, Mademoiselle de Dauphiné (3rd April, 1736 - 24th, July, 1741)
- Marie Geneveive, Mademoiselle de Dauphiné (3rd April, 1736 - 2nd August, 1741)
- Stillborn male (3rd April, 1736)
- Henri Alexandre, Count of Charolais (12th July, 1737 - 10th February, 1740)
- Louis Jacques, Count of Mâcon (13th July, 1738 - Present)
- Charles François, Count of Auxerre (13th July, 1738 - 5th April, 1756)
- Marie Louise, Mademoiselle de Dauphiné (8th September, 1739 - 1768)
- Auguste Philippe, Count of Beaujeu (9th July, 1740 - 17th August, 1746)
- Sophie Louise, Mademoiselle de Dauphiné (4th March, 1745 - 21st December, 1752)
Styles, Titles, and Honours
Styles and titles:
- 24th January 1714 - 16th October 1728 Her Highness, Mademoiselle de Bretagne
- 16th October 1728 - Present Her Imperial Highness, Madame la Dauphiné
- Order of Saint Marie from the 10th of November 1728