In their letters, they addressed one another as “my deart heart” and signed “with a heart entirely yours.”
Indeed, Marie Antoinette adored the Princesse de Lamballe so much that she re-instituted the post of Superintendent over her household. The post was an ancient one, but had been abolished for many years, as it was thought to give the Queen’s closest friend too much power. Duties entailed serving the Queen breakfast in bed each morning. The Superintendent was also given a stipend that was supposed to be used for suppers for other court favorites.
The Princesse de Lamballe hosted no suppers, as she thought the other women were beneath her. Instead, she used the stipend to finance her own amusements.
Look, this bothered everyone because she was the richest woman in France. They were also outraged by the fact that she’d simply married the Prince de Lamballe and was not, herself, a princess of the blood.
She also had a melancholy strain in her nature. While she was referred to around court as a “good angel” she was also said to be given to fits of sulking and it’s possible she was clinically depressed. She was also prone to fits of fainting – she once fainted at the sight of a bundle of violets saying that they were so beautiful.
Do you think she was faking it? People at the time thought she was faking it.
Marie Antoinette defended her by saying that the Princesse de Lamballe was simply “pure.” The Abbe de Vermond wondered how long that purity would survive in light of the Princesse de Lamballe’s stupidity.
He was right. The Princesse de Lamballe was not a bright woman. Though Marie Antoinette was, supposedly, fairly threatened by very bright women. That might have been because her mother wrote her saying “your beauty is frankly not very great, nor your talents, nor your brilliance (you know perfectly well you have neither).” Seriously, Marie Antoinette’s mother was a horrible bully. No wonder as a teenager she didn’t really like to surround herself with people brighter than herself.
Still. As she grew out her teens, Marie Antoinette quickly grew somewhat tired of the Princesse de Lamballe. If this sounds insensitive, remember that Marie Antoinette was only 16 when she met the Princesse and really, how many of your friends from sophomore year of high school are you still friends with?
This disenchantment was said to be partly because the Princesse had alienated the rest of Marie Antoinette’s ladies. (She should have had them to supper!). However, it was also said that Marie Antoinette had simply found another friend. In 1775 the Princesse de Lamballe was eclipsed by a new, more dynamic presence at court in the form of Yolande Polignac.