The Count of Chambord and
the Duchess of Berry
The Château de Maupas contains many presents and souvenirs from the Duchess of Berry and her son, the Count of Chambord. To fully appreciate the significance of these objects it is important to be familiar with the historical context of France in the nineteenth century:
In 1816, Marie-Caroline of Naples and Sicily married the Duke of Berry, second son of King Charles X of France. The Duke represented the last hope for the French monarchists, but on February 14th, 1820, Charles Ferdinand d’Artois, Duke of Berry, was murdered by Louis Pierre Louvel, a Bonapartist saddlemaker who opposed monarchy, ending any possibility of extending the Bourbon bloodline. However, seven months later Marie Caroline gave birth to a boy, the young Duke of Bordeaux and Count of Chambord, who became the new embodiment of hope for all Bourbon followers.
Henri d’Artois spent part of his childhood in exile because of the 1830 Revolution, which forced, by this Coup d’Etat, both his grandfather and his uncle to leave the country and the crown. This prompted his d’Orleans cousins to seized power in his absence and declare Louis Philippe of Orléans to be King Louis Philippe I, « King of the french people », starting the July monarchy. The Duchess of Berry never gave up hope for the Bourbons’ return to France, but after trying to instigate a rebellion against Louis Philippe in the regions of Brittany and Vendée, she was arrested and incarcerated in the citadel of Blaye, in Gironde.
After the death of Napoleon III the political climate seemed propitious for the Restoration, especially after the German forces left the country and President Adolphe Thiers resigned from his position. The Orleans family recognized the Count of Chambord as legitimate heir to the French crown, and preparations began for the return of the « King of France ».
In 1873, future Henry V conditioned his return on the replacement of the tricolor flag in for a white one with a fleur-de-lis, established as symbol of the monarchy by St. Louis. French politicians deemed this unacceptable because the white flag was against the spirit of the French Revolution. Henri d’Artois never ruled his country, but his unshakeable convictions gained him, even to these days, the respect and loyalty of numerous aristocratic families.
Henri d’Artois was the person who the Marquis Marie Auguste de Maupas took under his tutelage to provide an academic and military education since an early age, and with whom he shared a strong friendship as an adult. The many presents given by the boy and his mother to the de Maupas family as a sign of gratitude are a beautiful testimony of their unconditional monarchic faith.