Mother Marie Louise De Meester

Marie-Louise, princesse de Lamballe

Princess Marie Thérèse Louise of Savoy-Carignan, princesse de Lamballe (September 8, 1749September 3, 1792) was an Italian-French courtier, aristocrat of the House of Savoy, and royal confidante to French queen Marie Antoinette. Her killing sparked a movement of anti-revolutionary propaganda, which ultimately led to the development and implementation of the Reign of Terror.



The Princesse de Lamballe accompanied the royal family to the Tuileries Palace after the March on Versailles. In Paris, her salon served as a meeting-place for the queen and the members of the National Constituent Assembly, many of whom the queen wished to win over to the cause of the Bourbon Monarchy.

After a visit to the Great Britain in 1791 to appeal for help for the royal family, the princess wrote her will and returned to the Tuileries, where she continued her services to the queen until August 10, when she was imprisoned with the queen in the Temple.


On August 19, she was transferred to La Force with the royal family after the failed attempt to flee France. She was separated from the royals and that's when the mob brutally killed her. Jo Manning, author of My Lady Scandalous, describes her death thus: "The forty-two-year-old woman was taken forcibly from her cell, hit on the head with several blows of a hammer, decapitated, stripped naked, her heart torn out, and then disemboweled. There were also reports she'd been violated sexually and that her breasts had been hacked off. Her head was put on the end of a long stake--her innards and her naked body set on two other pikes--and she was paraded through the streets by a jovial mob high on bloodlust. The head of the princess was thrust through the bars of the windows at the Temple, the prison where the King and Queen were being held; The Queen swooned at the awful sight, fainting dead away. (Manning, My Lady Scandalous, Simon and Schuster, New York, New York, 2005, page 240)

The princess' head was cut off, crudely stuck on a pike and then carried away to a nearby café where the head was laid down in front of the customers, who were asked to drink in celebration of her death. It seems likely that the head was taken to a barber, in order to dress the hair to make it instantly recognisable. Following this, the head was replaced upon the pike and was paraded beneath Marie Antoinette’s prison window at the Temple. Those who were carrying it wished the Queen to kiss the lips of her favourite, as it was a frequent rumour that the two had been lovers, however, the head was not allowed to be brought into the building. Nevertheless, the Queen was very distraught at the sight.

Five citizens of the local section in Paris delivered her body (minus, of course, her head which was then being displayed on a pike) to the authorities shortly after her death. Royalist propaganda claimed her body was displayed on the street for a full day. Her heartbroken father-in-law finally succeeded in retrieving her corpse and had it interred in the Penthrièvre family crypt in the cathedral at Dreux. Her body was however not found at the crypt of the Prince de Lamballe.

The Princesse de Lamballe was the sister-in-law of the Duc d'Orléans, better known as Philippe Égalite. Philippe had married the sister of her dead husband, Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre, in 1769. As a result, she was an aunt to the future King of the French, Louis Philippe.


  • A story is told that as the princess was being killed, a letter written to her by Marie Antoinette fell from its hiding place in her hair and landed in a pool of her own blood.
  • She was sketched by the artist F Gabriel in the courtyard of La Force only hours before her death.
  • She is portrayed by Mary Nighy in the recent film Marie Antoinette.
  • Marie Grosholz, more famously known as Madame Tussaud, was ordered to make the deathmask.


See also


  • In turn, it gives the following references:
    • George Bertin, Madame de Lamballe (Paris, 1888).
    • Austin Dobson, Four Frenchwomen (1890).
    • B. C. Hardy, Princesse de Lamballe (1908).
    • Comte de Lescure, La Princesse de Lamballe d'après des documents inédits (1864).
    • Letters of the princess published by Ch. Schmidt in La Revolution française (vol. xxxix., 1900); L. Lambeau, Essais sur la mort de madame la princesse de Lamballe (1902).
    • Sir Francis Montefiore, The Princesse de Lamballe (1896).
    • The Secret Memoirs of the Royal Family of France ... now first published from the Journal, Letters and Conversations of the Princesse de Lamballe (London, 2 vols., 1826) have since appeared in various editions in English and in French. They are apocryphal, attributed to Catherine Flyde, Marchioness Govion-Broglio-Solari. A sample version from 1902.

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