Original Research

Van Tempeltronk tot katedraal: die kruisweg van Lodewyk XVII

N. Morgan
Literator | Vol 28, No 1 | a150 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v28i1.150 | © 2007 N. Morgan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 July 2007 | Published: 30 July 2007

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N. Morgan, Departement Afrikaans, Nederlands, Duits & Frans, Universiteit van die Vrystaat, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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Abstract

From the Temple to the cathedral: the calvary of Louis XVII

In 2004, more than 200 years after his death in the Temple prison, the heart of Louis XVII, the successor to France’s last king of the Ancien Régime, Louis XVI, was buried in the royal necropolis of Saint-Denis. Despite numerous publications on the destiny of the Little Prince, the chronology of his short life was not determined by historians and biographers, but by scientists who, in 2000, performed DNA tests on the petrified organ, which was miraculously preserved. Before this date, the biographies of the many pretenders to Louis XVII’s throne (that of Naundorff in particular) were better-known than the lifehistory of Marie Antoinette’s youngest son. Since then, various publications have changed this state of affairs, including an historical novel by one of France’s most knowledgeable authors on the monarchy of the 17th and 18th centuries and a biographical novel by a member of the Bourbon family. Antonia Fraser’s (2001) biography on Marie Antoinette and Sofia Coppola’s (2006) film on her life have rekindled interest in the events of the French revolution. The story of Louis XVII, who was used as a pawn by the revolutionaries, is one the most tragic of that period in the country’s history. This article provides an overview of key events gleaned from various sources, translated into Afrikaans for the first time.

Keywords

Biography; French Revolution; Historical Novel; Louis XVII; Marie Antoinette

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