Princess Louisa Maria Teresa Stuart (28 June 1692 – 18 April 1712), known to Jacobites as The Princess Royal, was the last child of the deposed King James II and VII (1633–1701) and of his Queen, Mary of Modena. In English, she was called Louisa Maria, in French Louise Marie.
A Royal Stuart Society paper calls Louisa Maria the Princess over the Water, an allusion to the informal title King over the Water of the Jacobite pretenders, none of whom had any other legitimate daughters.
Louisa Maria's mother, Mary of Modena, was James's second wife, marrying him in 1673, two years after the death from cancer of his first wife, Lady Anne Hyde. James had converted to Roman Catholicism and was at the time Duke of York and heir presumptive to the thrones of his brother, King Charles II, who had no legitimate children. Almost wholly Italian by blood, Mary was a daughter of Alfonso IV d'Este, Duke of Modena, and was a great-niece of Cardinal Mazarin. Brought up as a strict Roman Catholic, she thought of becoming a nun, but Louis XIV of France proposed her as a bride for James after he was widowed. She married James by proxy on 30 September 1673, a few days before her fifteenth birthday, and in person on her arrival at Dover on 21 November. Their first child was stillborn the next year.
Following the loss of his kingdoms, James retained the strong support of Louis XIV and also had many supporters in parts of the British Isles, particularly among Roman Catholics in Ireland. With French support, he made one serious attempt to regain his crowns, but was defeated in 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne. Thereafter he spent the remaining eleven years of his life in exile in France, where Louis XIV had given him a château at Saint-Germain-en-Laye.
Louisa Maria had four half-brothers and four half-sisters who were the children of her father's first wife: Charles, Duke of Cambridge (1660–1661); James, Duke of Cambridge (1663–1667); Charles, Duke of Kendal (1666–1667); Edgar, Duke of Cambridge (1667–1671); Mary (1662–1694); Anne (1665–1714); Henrietta (born & died 1669); and Catherine (born & died 1671).
By Mary of Modena, apart from still-births, Louisa Maria's father had a further two sons and three daughters: Charles, Duke of Cambridge (b. & d. 1677), James Francis Edward Stuart, Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Wales (1688–1766), Catherine Laura (born & died 1675), Isabel (1676–1681), Charlotte Maria (born & died 1682) and herself, Louisa Maria Teresa.
Of her father's first family, only Mary and Anne survived infancy, and both later became Queen. Mary died while Louisa Maria was still a small child, but she was on friendly terms with her half-sister Anne. And of the second family, she knew only her brother James Francis Edward. However, she also had several illegitimate half-siblings, some of whom she knew as she was growing up: James FitzJames, 1st Duke of Berwick (1670-1734, who was killed at the siege of Philippsburg); Henry FitzJames (1673–1702); James Darnley (1685–1686); Henrietta FitzJames (1667–1730, James's daughter by Arabella Churchill), who married Henry Waldegrave, 1st Baron Waldegrave and later Piers Butler, 3rd Viscount Galmoye; Arabella FitzJames, a nun (1673–1704); and Catherine Darnley (1682–1743, James's daughter by Catherine Sedley), who married James Annesley, 3rd Earl of Anglesey and later John Sheffield, 1st Duke of Buckingham.
Louisa Maria was born in 1692, at Saint-Germain-en-Laye, during her parents' exile. Due to the huge controversy which had surrounded the birth of her brother, James Francis Edward, with accusations of the substitution of another baby in a warming pan following a still-birth, James II had sent letters inviting not only his daughter, Queen Mary II, to attend the birth in person, but also a large number of other Protestant ladies.
Had some of those witnesses been invited to Saint James's on the morning of the tenth of June 1688, the House of Stuart might, perhaps, now be reigning in our island. But it is easier to keep a crown than to regain one. It might be true that a calumnious fable had done much to bring about the Revolution. But it by no means followed that the most complete refutation of that fable would bring about a Restoration. Not a single lady crossed the sea in obedience to James's call. His Queen was safely delivered of a daughter; but this event produced no perceptible effect on the state of public feeling in England.
The new-born princess was given the names Louisa and Maria in baptism, while Teresa (sometimes spelt Theresa) was added later, at the time of her confirmation. She was given the name Louisa in honour of King Louis XIV, who acted as her godfather. Her godmother was King Louis's sister-in-law, Elizabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine, Duchess of Orléans.
After the birth, James II declared that Louisa Maria had been sent by God as a consolation for her parents at the time of their distress, and in later years she was often referred to as La Consolatrice.
Louisa was the only full sibling of Prince James Francis Edward, the 'Old Pretender', to survive infancy, and was four years younger than her brother. The two were brought up together in France.
Louisa's tutor was an English Roman Catholic priest, Father Constable, who taught her Latin, history, and religion. She also had a governess, the Countess of Middleton, wife of the Jacobite peer Charles, 2nd Earl of Middleton. James Drummond, 4th Earl of Perth, another Jacobite peer living in France, praised the child's natural affability.
An allegorical portrait by Alexis Simon Belle of James Francis Edward and his sister Louisa Maria, showing the prince as a guardian angel leading his sister under the gaze of cherubim, was painted in 1699 and is now in the Royal Collection.
By the summer of 1701, King James was seriously ill, and had been away from Saint Germain seeking medical treatment, accompanied by his wife. However, in June the two returned home for the birthdays of their two children, and two months later James suffered a stroke, dying just two weeks later on 16 September. He was still able to talk when his children visited him for the last time, and to Louisa Maria he said:
Adieu, my dear child. Serve your creator in the days of your youth. Consider virtue as the greatest ornament of your sex. Follow close the great pattern of it, your mother, who has been, no less than myself, over-clouded with calumny. But time, the mother of truth, will, I hope, at last make her virtues shine as bright as the sun.
Soon after James's death, Louis XIV proclaimed James Francis Edward as king of England, Scotland and Ireland, and he was also formally recognised as king by Spain, the Papal States and Modena. He and his sister Louisa Maria were transferred to Passy, into the care of Antoine Nompar de Caumont and his wife, with Lady Middleton continuing as Louisa Maria's governess there.
In 1705, at the age of thirteen, Louisa Maria was a guest of honour at a ball at the Château de Marly, ranking only after Louis XIV himself, her own mother Queen Mary, and her brother James Francis Edward, considered by Louis to be another King.
On 23 March 1708, after a delay caused by the measles, the young James attempted a landing on Scottish soil, at the Firth of Forth, supported by a fleet of French ships. However, the force was driven off by a Royal Navy fleet led by Admiral Byng.
Louisa Maria enjoyed dancing and the opera, and became popular at the French court. Two possible matches for her were considered, with Louis XIV's grandson Charles de Bourbon, Duc de Berry (1686-1714), and with Charles XII of Sweden (1682–1718). Neither took place, the first apparently due to Louisa Maria's equivocal position, and the second because the young King of Sweden was not a Roman Catholic.
Louisa felt keenly that Jacobites in exile had made huge sacrifices for her family, and she herself paid for the daughters of many of them to be educated. In this, she made no distinction between Roman Catholics and Protestants, supporting the daughters of both.
In April 1712, both James Francis Edward and his sister fell sick with smallpox. While the Old Pretender recovered, Louisa Maria died on 18 April (8 April, Old Style) and was buried with her father at the Church of the English Benedictines in Paris.
William Legge, 1st Earl of Dartmouth, wrote of the Princess's death:
The queen [Anne] shewed me a letter wrote in the king of France's own hand, upon the death of her sister; in which there was the highest character that ever was given to any princess of her age. Mr. Richard Hill came straight from the earl of Godolphin's... to me with the news, and said it was the worst that ever came to England. I asked him why he thought so. He said it had been happy if it had been her brother; for then the queen might have sent for her and married her to prince George, who could have no pretensions during her own life; which would have pleased every honest man in the kingdom, and made an end of all disputes for the future.
I had the honour of passing two hours with the queen of England, who is the very image of desolation. The princess had become her friend and only consolation.
In his The History of the Church of Scotland (1845), Thomas Stephen says of the death:
On the 12th of April this year, the princess Louisa Maria Teresa, youngest daughter of the late king James, died of the small-pox at St. Germains, to the regret of many in England, even of those who were unfriendly to her brother's claims. She received a very high character from those who had an opportunity of appreciating it, and was a princess justly esteemed for her wit, and all those qualities worthy of her high birth.
Like many other churches in Paris, the Church of the English Benedictines was desecrated and vandalised during the French Revolution. According to Jules Janin, writing in 1844, the remains of Princess Louisa Maria and her father King James II were then resting in the military hospital of the Val-de-Grâce.
Several portraits of Louisa Maria survive. Among those of Louisa Maria alone, one is by François de Troy, ca. 1705, while another, painted about 1704, is attributed to Alexis Simon Belle and is in the National Portrait Gallery, London. Also in the National Portrait Gallery is a portrait painted in 1695 by Nicolas de Largillière of Louisa Maria with her brother James Francis Edward. This was engraved as a mezzotint by John Smith and published in 1699. Another portrait of Louisa Maria with her brother, depicting him as an angel, is in the Royal Collection and is again attributed to Belle. A portrait with a cavalier King Charles spaniel was engraved as a mezzotint by Bernard Lens and published c. 1700.
...the ladies who attended her were all of them much of the same age; and to shew the respect the French had for this royal family, tho' in misfortunes, were also the daughters of persons whose birth and fortune might have done honour to the service of the greatest empress in the world... in beauty, the princess herself was esteemed a Prodigy.
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