Élisabeth of France (1764–1794)
|Granddaughter of France|
Portrait of Princess Elisabeth of France painted by Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, circa 1782.
|Born||3 May 1764|
Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
|Died||10 May 1794 (aged 30)|
Place de la Révolution, Paris, France
|House||House of Bourbon|
|Father||Louis of France|
|Mother||Marie Josèphe of Saxony|
Coat of arms of a Princess of France
Élisabeth of France
Portrait of Princess Elizabeth of France
|Virgin and Martyr|
|Resting place||Catacombs of Paris, Paris, France|
|Venerated in||Catholic Church|
|Major shrine||Basilica of Saint-Denis, Saint-Denis, France|
Fleur de lis
Princess Élisabeth of France, "Granddaughter of France" (Élisabeth Philippine Marie Hélène de France (3 May 1764 – 10 May 1794), known as Madame Élisabeth, was a French princess. She was the youngest sibling of King Louis XVI. During the French Revolution, she stayed with the king and his family. She was executed at Place de la Révolution in Paris during the "Reign of Terror" in the French Revolution. She is regarded by the Roman Catholic Church as a martyr and is venerated as a Servant of God. 
Life[change | change source]
Élisabeth was the youngest child of the dauphin and dauphine of France. She was born during the reign of her grandfather, Louis XV. She grew up in the Palace of Versailles. She was always close to her older sister Clotilde. The two sisters were raised together by Madame de Marsan.
Élisabeth was a skillful rider. She was also interested in art. Several of her drawings are in the museum of the Château de Versailles. In 1774, her grandfather, Louis XV, died. Her elder brother became king as Louis XVI.
Élisabeth was deeply religious. She was devoted to her brother the king. She refused to marry so that she could stay in France. In 1777, a marriage was suggested to Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor. He was the son of Empress Maria Theresa of Austria and brother of her sister-in-law, Queen Marie Antoinette. Élisabeth declined with her brother's consent.
Élisabeth was executed during the French Revolution. She was buried at the Cimetière des Errancis, Paris. Her body was later moved to the Catacombs of Paris.
Cause of beatification and canonization[change | change source]
Madame Elisabeth died in the odor of holiness. According to Madame de Genlis, a scent of roses spread across the Place de la Concorde after her execution. In 1953, Pope Pius XII recognized by decree the heroic character of her virtues simply because of her martyrdom. The princess was declared a Servant of God and the cause of beatification was officially presented on December 23, 1953 by Cardinal Maurice Feltin, Archbishop of Paris. In 2016, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, reactivated the cause of his beatification. Father Xavier Snoëk, pastor of the parish of Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Hungary, was appointed postulator of the cause (church located in the old Temple district where the princess was imprisoned), and in May 2017 he recognized the association of the faithful promoters of their cause. On November 15, 2017, Cardinal Vingt-Trois, after consulting with the French Bishops' Conference and the nihil obstat of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome, hopes that the process will lead to the canonization of Madame Elisabeth , sister of Louis XVI. 
- Achaintre, Nicolas Louis, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de Bourbon, Vol. 2, (Rue de l'École de Médecine, 1824), 168.
- Diderot & d'Alembert Encyclopédie méthodique: Jurisprudence, Paris, 1786, p. 159 
- "1794". faithweb.com. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- "Bienvenue sur le site de la paroisse Sainte-Élisabeth-de-Hongrie". sainteelisabethdehongrie.com. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Barrett, David V. (10 November 2017). "French bishops approve opening of Cause for King Louis XVI's sister". Catholic Herald. Retrieved 18 April 2019.