Louis XV and Marie Leszcyńska, king and queen of France, had ten children within ten years as a couple. Of the ten children, there were eight daughters, the Dauphin, and a son that died young. These daughters of Louis XV have collectively become known as Mesdames. From eldest to youngest they were Louise-Elisabeth, Anne-Henriette, Marie-Louise, Marie-Adélaïde, Victoire, Sophie, Thérèse, and Louise.
The sisters were known to keep a close eye on their father’s mistresses. Madame de Pompadour knew to keep the girls at a distance. Madame Louise-Élisabeth, the eldest, was the only to get married, in 1739, to a son of the King of Spain. Later in their father’s reign they were described as bitter, old hags who passed the time knitting and gossiping. When their nephew, the future Louis XVI, married Marie Antoinette the aging sisters guided the future queen as they were senior ladies of the court, however a rift arose between Marie Antoinette and Adelaide and it’s believed that Madame Adélaïde was the first to call her “the Austrian.”
As the French Revolution approached in 1789, Madame Adélaïde and Madame Victoire, fled to a former residence of Madame de Pompadour. Their other sisters had all passed before the revolution began. In the 1790s, they fled to Italy, where Victoire died in 1799 and Adélaïde in 1800.