Wedding of the Future Charles X on 16 November, 1773
It was on this day 245 years ago that Charles-Philippe de France (b. 1757) married Marie-Thérèse de Savoie (b. 1756) in the royal chapel at Versailles.
The groom, styled Comte d’Artois, was the youngest grandson of Louis XV. The bride was a daughter of Victor Amadeus III, King of Sardinia and head of the house of Savoy. Two of the teenaged newlyweds’ elder siblings had already been joined in matrimony; Louis-Stanislas de France, Comte de Provence, the next elder brother of the Comte d’Artois, had married Marie-Thérèse’s elder sister, Marie-Joséphine, on 14 May, 1771. The eldest brother, the Dauphin Louis-Auguste, having married Marie-Antoinette d’Autriche-Lorraine in 1770, the set was now complete, so to speak.
Unlike her sisters-in-law, Marie-Thérèse started producing heirs very soon. The first 3 children of the Artois family appeared within 5 years: Louis-Antoine, Duc d’Angoulême, in 1775; a girl never baptized but referred to as Sophie, in 1776; and Charles-Ferdinand, Duc de Berri, in 1778. A fourth child, a baby girl who died in the cradle, was born in 1783. Since the Artois were said to have stopped living as man and wife after the birth of the Duc de Berri, it was rumoured that the last child’s father was one of the many guardsmen whose company Marie-Thérèse was reputed to enjoy. On hearing that Louis XVI had sent one particular guardsman off to service in a distant colony after the news of the Comtesse d’Artois’s final pregnancy broke, Madame Adélaïde, Louis XV’s favourite daughter, remarked, “Whole companies would have to be sent away.”
Marie-Thérèse survived the Revolution, escaping France with her husband in 1791. Their flight, however, marked the beginning of their true separation. Marie-Thérèse did not live to become queen, dying alone in Graz in 1805. The Comte d’Artois eventually succeeded as Charles X in 1824, but was driven off the throne in 1830. The only grandson of Charles and Marie-Thérèse, who died in 1883 having never reigned, was the last Bourbon of the male line of Louis XV.