The Dauphin’s gift to the Queen on New Year’s Day

December 23, 2010

At Marie Antoinette’s insistence, the four-year-old Dauphin promised: “By the end of the year, I will learn how to read. It will be my New Year’s gift to you.”

Soon after he asked his tutor, Father Avaux, “How long is it before the end of the year?”

“A little more than a month,” the priest replied.

“Well then I want to have two classes a day for I promised Mamma I would learn how to read by the year’s end.”

On New Year’s Day, bringing an open book with him, the young prince entered to greet the Queen, and said: “Here’s my gift. I fulfilled my promise and now I know how to read.”

Painting by Angelo Bronzino

Jean Chalon, Chère Marie-Antoinette (Paris: Perrin, 1988), p. 293. ( translation.)

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 36

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