Maria Teresa Luisa was born at the Palazzo Carignano in Turin on 8 September 1749 and was the daughter of Louis Victor, Prince of Carignano, and Christine of Hesse-Rheinfels-Rotenburg.
On 31 January 1767, Marie Louise married Louis Alexandre de Bourbon-Penthièvre, prince de Lamballe, grandson of Louis XIV’s legitimised son, Louis Alexandre de Bourbon and Maria Teresa d’Este. Louis Alexandre died of a venereal disease at the Château de Louveciennes on 6 May 1768 before the couple had any children. Marie Louise inherited her husband’s fortune and retained the title princesse de Lamballe, however she never remarried.
Marie Louise became a favourite at court, especially with the dauphin and his wife, Marie Antoinette. In 1774, Marie Antoinette appointed Marie Louise as head of her household, the highest rank of lady-in-waiting, but her position would be eclipsed the following year by the arrival of the queen’s other favourite, Yolande de Polastron, duchesse de Polignac.
Marie Louise would remain devoted to the royal family until the end of her life and she accompanied them when they were imprisoned in the Tuileries in 1789. Marie Louise used her own house in Paris as a meeting place for loyal royalists and the members of the National Constituent Assembly they were hoping to win over to the Bourbon cause. In 1791, when Marie Louise travelled to England seeking help for the royal family, she prepared a will, fearing her life would be in danger when she returned to Paris. Instead of staying in England where she would be safe, Marie Louise returned to France where she joined the queen in the Tuileries and eventually the Temple where they were moved for their own safety.
On 19 August 1792, Marie Louise and the governess, the Marquise de Tourzel, were separated from the royal family and transferred to the La Force prison. On 3 September, Marie Louise was brought before a tribunal where she was asked to renounce her loyalty to the monarchy but she refused. The tribunal threw her into the streets where she was immediately killed by a group of men who stuck her head on a pike and paraded it beneath Marie Antoinette’s window at the Temple. Fortunately, the queen was spared the sight as the shutters were closed but upon hearing the news, she fainted in distress.
Name: Marie Louise
House (birth): House of Savoy
House (marriage): House of Bourbon
Father: Louis Victor, Prince of Carignano
Mother: Christine of Hesse-Rheinfels-Rotenburg
Born: 08 Sep 1749
Died: 03 Sep 1792
Spouse: Louis Alexandre de Bourbon-Penthièvre, prince de Lamballe