Laroche Chapter 3
Four years go by and the pattern of life in the de La Roche household in Spanish Place had not, in that time, changed.
Marie-Celestine was now 34 years of age. She spent long hours in the nursery with Louis as he grew older and stronger.
She also made her name with the London society and never failed to do honour to the family by her regal comportment and endearing ways.
Her escorts were earls, viscounts or marquises, among whom there was in her mind a suspicion that she was expected by her relations to choose a suitable partner for life to enhance the family’s prestige in England.
The Count also began to show a very attentiveness so that on the eve of the New Year 1800 they all attended a ball, held in one of the Royal residences, at which it was, hoped that the pleasure loving Prince if Wales might put in an appearance. It was an intoxicating mood.
The talk was of Bonaparte, who had made himself master of France, was already showing signs that he would not rest until he was master of England too.
It was soon after this evening that the count showed more than a cousinly affection for Marie Celestine and an affair begun when later she became pregnant and on September 15 1801 a daughter was born to her in Spanish Place, The Counts 1st child.
Two weeks after the birth on Sept 29 at 2.30pm in the afternoon Celestine carried her child, clad in Louis’s Christening Robes, she was met in the Entrance hall at the mansion by the Count where they climbed into the carriage and rode to St Mary’s chapel on White Street.
Mary Celéstine was baptised by Monsignor Danneville on the 29 September 1801. As in the case of Louis, the record of the baptism is extant in the Guildhall Library, London: the daughter, Mary Celéstine de La Roche, of Simon La Roche and Mary Celéstine La Roche.
Being a devout Catholic the Count could never be free to marry Celestine.
So she realised that she would have to marry someone who would take on a child of someone else so he would have to be of a kind a compassionate nature and she found that when she met Mr Richard Kenning.
In mid-July of 1803 Richard Kenning asked the count for the hand in marriage Of Marie Celestine De La Roche which the Count gave as he knew he could never marry her and he had to let her go.
The Count had met him several times at the Archbishops Palace and visited his house and enquired into his chartered and family, social and financial background.
Richard Kenning was an elderly widower about twenty years her senior.
He was the son of an army officer, who had serviced in India under George 11, who had married a Parisian French lady she died giving birth to their first child and only child Richard.
The father had returned to England placing the child in the hands of his sister and her clergy husband.
Richards’s father had died shortly after of the effects of old wounds.
Richard grew up and became a tutor in a wealthy family and had made a good marriage but was left widowed and childless,
He lived in a row of flats in the Mile End Road Stepney in the East End
This is where St Mary’s Church stood in a picturesque village.
Marie-Celestine was given a handsome dowry by the Count but Richard Kenning was very able to take care of her and her child Marie and Louis was invited to live with them as Marie Celestine could not bare to be parted from him and the Countess had not shown any interest in his upbringing the Count knew he would be in the best place as he knew he would have to return to France one day.
The children were inseparable anyway as Louis loved his little sister as they grew up in London.
Richard Kenning knew of Marie’s past court life and her marriage describing her as a widow with 2 children one fostered and the other her own but not of the parentage.
A pension (a royal pension in the case of Louis) was to be paid to Richard Kenning for the maintenance of each child. It is documented that from the 3 July 1821, a guaranteed pension was to be paid to Lewis and his heirs in perpetuity from of the French royal treasury.
Marie-Celestine, then aged 37, married Richard Kenning, her second husband, on the 6 September 1803.
The Ceremony was held at St Dunstan’s Anglican Church since catholic marriages were not recognized as legal until 1828 and afterwards a blessing in St Mary’s chapel Spanish place, Manchester square, where the Archbishop was happy to carry this out.A banquet at Spanish Place followed.
Then the bride and groom travelled by coach to Stepney accompanied by the two children.
St Dunstans St Marys
St Mary Moorfields is a Roman Catholic church in the City of London. The present building, located at 4-5 Eldon Street, was opened in 1903. However, the foundation had a long history prior to this. A chapel was opened in 1686, but was suspended in 1689, in the aftermath of the Revolution of 1688.
From 1736 there was a chapel in Ropemaker's Alley, but in 1780 it too fell prey to anti-Catholic sentiment when its fabric and furniture were destroyed in the Gordon Riots. It was succeeded first by a chapel in White Street, then in 1820 by a large Classical church in Finsbury Square, which became Cardinal Wiseman's pro-cathedral from 1850 to 1869. This building was sold and demolished in 1900.
The church serves as a hub for vigorous Catholic evangelism, especially directed at young people who work in the Financial District environs (City of London).
The couple settled down to a happy married life and a baby was soon on the way.
Richard Keening Junior was born in late August the next year and christened Sept 7th at St Mary’s by the Archbishop.
Things were not all happy though as Napoleon had made himself Emperor of France that year and the royalist cause appeared hopeless, the Count knew he must return to Brussels soon but it was an impossibility at such troubled times at he remained in London for over a decade.
Richard was a sickly child and in April 1807 fell asleep for ever.
He died in Marie-Celestine’s arms Simon (who was Richards Godfather) grieved with Celestine and Richard Keening and hugged Louis (who he called his little prince) and his daughter Marie close.
Three days later they followed the little coffin to St Mary’s cemetery where the child was buried.
From that day onward Celestine clung on to Louis for comfort.
Louis became well educated, with his stepfather being a Tutor and a year later July 3 1808 they celebrated Louis 12th birthday.
Louis was at a great disadvantage in society as it was not known who he was and the Count would not divulge the answer, so at 14 in 1810 Louis left school and found himself work at Billingsgate fish market.
One day Simon got very upset that Louis XV111 of France was in England at his English house of Gosfield and also at Hartwell
This is where the Count found his wife; the Countess Josephine had visited Louis XV111 .
(what you the reader makes of such a visit I do not know but I wonder if she had been the mistress of the king and Louis De La Roche was the fruit of the relationship but then there are so many theories out there and none can be proved at this point.)
Louis XVIII (17 November 1755 – 16 September 1824), was a King of France and Navarre. The brother of Louis XVI, and uncle of Louis XVII, he ruled the kingdom from 1814 (although he dated his reign from 1795) until his death in 1824, with a brief break in 1815 due to Napoleon's return in the Hundred Days. He was a member of the House of Bourbon.
Charles was still living in Edinburgh in 1814 when the French monarchy was restored under his other brother, who assumed the name Louis XVIII. The two royal brothers were not especially close, since Charles viewed Louis XVIII as treacherous and irreligious.
Charles never met any of the claimants pretending to be his long-lost nephew, Louis XVII, since he was convinced the child had died in Paris in 1795.
Louis died on 16 September 1824, and his brother, aged 67, succeeded him – the only normal succession of French heads of state during the 19th century.
The new king took the regnal name Charles X, thus definitively taking the position that Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon, who was recognized under that name by some elements of French society in the late 16th century, was not legitimate.