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France: Women in the Revolution

Agathe de Rambaud

Bedroom of Marie Antoinette, Palace of Versailles, France. 1901. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Agathe de Rambaud (Agathe-Rosalie Mottet) was born in Versailles on December 10, 1764 and died on October 18, 1853 near Avignon in the south of France. She was the official nurse in charge of the royal children of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Chosen by Antoinette herself, Rambaud is said to have rarely left the young Louis-Charles, Duke of Normandy (later the Dauphin). In keeping with the times she very likely spent more time with the young boy than did his own mother, the Queen. Rambaud desperately wanted to stay with the royal family when they were in captivity but she was not permitted. She was forced at certain intervals to go into hiding. Following the course of her life, Rambaud would be forever haunted, or blessed (depending on the governing powers) by her former service to the royal family. As France underwent political transitions from the First French Republic, to the Consulate, to the First French Empire, she had to be an extremely delicate and diplomatic advocate for herself and for her own family. She survived through the Bourbon Restoration and the July Monarchy almost solely on the meager pension she received as "former lady of the chamber of the Dauphin, son of Louis XVI". It seems clear that Agathe de Rambaud was a woman who was capable of adapting to the swift changes in the social climate of the day and doing her best, like any good nanny, to take care of the close family surrounding her.

For an overview of French women in history and the evolution of the French feminist movement, please see the research guide Feminism & French Women in History.

Selected Resources

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.

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