|Louis, Dauphin of France, Duke of Burgundy by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1704|
We welcome a short-lived royal visitor today, on the anniversary of his death. Louis, Duke of Burgundy was known as the Petit Dauphin and fell victim to an all-too-common disease, as did his wife and son.
In February 1712 Louis's adored wife, Princess Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy, contracted measles. As her condition deteriorated she took to her bed in the Château de Marly, her adoring husband at her side. As Marie-Adélaïde's conditioned grew quickly more serious, Louis resisted all efforts to convince him to leave and escape the possibility of contracting the dangerous illness himself. Instead he spent every day and night with his spouse as, unbeknownst to the couple, both of their sons also became infected during these weeks.
Marie-Adélaïde succumbed to her illness on 12th February 1712, leaving her heartbroken husband to linger in his own sickbed. In fact he lived for less than a week, following his wife to the grave on 18th February, six months before his thirtieth birthday.
Of the unhappy family, only the infant Louis, Duke of Anjou survived and he would one day become King Louis XV. For Louis, Duke of Brittany, there was to be no such respite and he too fell victim to the measles, passing away on 8th March.
Life in the Georgian Court, true tales of 18th century royalty, is available at the links below.