Saturday, June 5, 2010
Fact or Fiction? The French Revolution
Donating jewelry for the cause.
While researching the French Revolution for my historical romance, Hostage to Fortune, I discovered something interesting that you may have come across. It might be more myth than fact, but nevertheless fascinating. In 1793, the Dauphin Louis-Charles became king in the eyes of the Royalists. After he was locked up in the Tower, did he survive? Lady Atkyns, a Drury Lane actress and a close friend of Marie Antoinette tried first to rescue the queen, but when that lady refused to leave her children, she made a promise to save the dauphin, which she tried desperately to keep. Her attempt to abduct Louis-Charles from the Tower seems to have failed. But there is speculation that a mute boy was substitued for the young king, after he was removed and either murdered or allowed to live in obsurity with a peasant family. The mute boy was then held for the ten years he lived, hidden from the world. In 1821 a man appeared in London declaring he was the dauphin. This claim was summarily dismissed. In fact, there were forty candidates who came forward to declare themselves Louis-Charles, under the Restoration. The most important of these pretenders were Karl Wilhelm Naundorff and the comte de Richemont. Naundorff's story rested on a series of complicated intrigues. According to him Barras determined to save the dauphin in order to please Josephine Beauharnais, the future empress, having conceived the idea of using the dauphin's existence as a means of dominating the comte de Provence in the event of a restoration. In this version, the dauphin was concealed in the fourth storey of the Tower, a wooden figure being substituted for him. Great fodder for a novel, and of course, I've used it.
For those interested, here's a link: http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Louis_XVII
I write sensual historical romance where heroes meet their match in feisty heroines. Add a dash of adventure, a murder or two, a mystery or intrigue. What better time to set them than the Georgian, Regency and the late Victorian period on the brink of the 20th Century. The Regency was a time of both opulence and abject poverty. Of economic and social change: the Napoleonic wars, the power struggle for the Americas, and the Industrial revolution when people began to desert the country for the cities. Celebrity Lord Byron wrote dark romantic poetry, and Beau Brummell defined and shaped fashion into a period of simplistic elegance. Men abandoned brocades and lace for linen trousers, overcoats with breeches and boots, and women abandoned corsets for high wasted, thin gauzy dresses. A spend-thrift aesthete known for his scandalous affairs, George IV, the Prince of Wales was made Regent in 1811 after his father was declared too mad to rein. Prinny presided over the elegant society of the ton, the so called Upper Ten Thousand, who defined themselves by an incredibly formal etiquette code which set them apart from the rising middle class.