Sunday, August 25, 2013

"To abandon her in adversity, Sire, would stain my character…"

The Princess' friends and relatives tried to persuade her to leave France, but she refused.  Her
father-in-law, the Duc de Penthièvre, himself revered as a man of honor and philanthropy, loved his widowed daughter-in-law as his own and persuaded the Court of France to entreat that the King of Sardinia, as head of her family, urge her to leave the Royal Family and return to the safety of her native country.

This is the letter the Lamballe wrote him, in response to his request.:

"Sire and Most August Cousin,
     I do not recollect that any of our illustrious ancestors of the house of Savoy, before or since the great hero Charles Emanuel, of immortal memory, ever dishonored or tarnished their illustrious names with cowardice.  In leaving the Court of France at this awful crisis, I should be the first.  Can Your Majesty pardon my presumption in differing from your royal council?  The King, Queen, and every member of the Royal Family of France, both from ties of blood and policy of states, demand our united efforts in their defense.  I cannot swerve from my determination of never quitting them, especially at a moment when they are abandoned by every one of their former attendants, except myself.  In happier days, Your Majesty may command my obedience;  but, in the present instance, and given up as is the Court of France to their most atrocious persecutors, I must humbly insist on being guided by my own decision.  During the most brilliant period of the reign of Marie Antoinette, I was distinguished by the royal favor and bounty.  To abandon her in adversity, Sire, would stain my character, and that of my illustrious family, for ages to come with infamy and cowardice, much more to be dreaded than the most cruel death."

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