In a series of letters that I found for sale or sold on Le Manuscrit Francais, we are able to get more insight into the lives of Jane Thorne, and her daughter Jeanne Marie. I have reproduced the details from the website. But if you visit it directly you can also find this information. Laurent has been very helpful, and I hope his business goes well.
- The first letter is from from the Empress Eugenie to Jeanne, who she clearly thought of as a daughter;
“My dear Jeanne, your letter gives us real pleasure, because I see that your future is purified and that [ue] all the chances of happiness are met. I do not need to tell you, my dear child, how much I glad to see you go into a family I know so many members and you even closer links with the parent of Mary Haogwroth q [ue] you love dearly since childhood.
The hope q [ue] you give us to come to England were welcome and we hope q [ue] you will come both in Camden, I have rights almost mother and this is what makes me offer you a hospitality which is far from being a discussion. My son particularly entrusts me to tell you that he takes part in your happiness as he took part in your sorrows My most tender wishes and believe, dear Jeanne, in all my affectionate feelings.
Mille things to the d’Haogwroth because I see by your letter that you are at home »
The annotation reads: Jeanne de Pierre is the daughter of Jane Thorne, Baronne de Pierres (1821-1873), former lady of the Palace of Empress Eugenie de Montijo. Following the death of Jane Thorne in 1873, the Empress, very close to her, had developed a great affection for her daughter Jeanne, concerned about her well-being and her future.
2. Autograph letter signed ” Eugenie ” to Jeanne de Pierres
Farnborough Hill, July 16  96, 2 p. in-8 on mourning leaflet, enclosed envelope
Letter of condolence from Empress Eugenie to Jeanne de Pierres for the loss of one of her relatives.
“My dear Jeanne, I learn with difficulty the new misfortune which is still coming to sadden you, I share in your sorrow and I want to assure you of the expression of my affectionate sympathy. Eugenie
I found your letter here on my return which explains the delay in my response ”
3. Autograph letter signed ” Eugenie ” (embossed with her number) to Jane Thorne, Baronne de Pierres,
Biarritz, August 24 , 4 p. 1⁄2 in8, autograph envelope attached
The Empress gives news to Jane Thorne from her Palace in Biarritz
“My dear madam, I wanted to write you a little note before leaving for Biarritz to thank you for your charming little letter, but that was impossible for me because of the thousand little things that we are obliged to do at the time of a departure, I hope you take good care of yourself, and that you do not ride a horse because nothing is so bad when you have the misfortune of being in pain, but I hope that with rest I will also find you again as healthy as my heart desires you.
I have only taken three baths yet, which saddens me because the good weather is passing, but I have a cold that prevents me, if tomorrow I am better, I think about doing it again. Besides, to Varaigne’s great despair, we lead a too sedentary life here. The sea air makes him unrecognizable, he would like parties every day. Also we fear the baths for him because his agitation increasing he will turn on him like a squirrel. We dance every Sunday, the pretty women are not in number and especially the young girls, I who love pretty white and pink heads so much, you must think if I miss your prettiest niece as my ornament for my balls.
Farewell my dear Madame de Pierres, I embrace you tenderly. Eugenie “
Annotation reads: Jane Thorne, Baronne de Pierres (1821-1873) is an aristocrat, lady of the Palace of Empress Eugenie de Montijo. In 1853, the new court of the Empress consisted of a Grand Mistress , a lady of honor, as well as six (later twelve) ladies of the palace who each alternated a week of service, and whose Most were chosen by the Empress before her marriage. Jane Thorne is one of the ladies-in-waiting represented with Eugenie in the famous painting by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
4. Autograph letter signed “ Eugenie ” on mourning paper to Jane Thorne
Chislehurst, [February 9, 1873], 4 p. in-8 on mourning leaflet, autograph envelope attached
Some traces of paperclip without affecting the text
Exceptional letter from the Empress Eugenie, widowed for a month, filled with nostalgia and despair, delivering a poignant message on the loss of the Emperor Napoleon III
The Empress does not know that at the very moment when she is writing these lines his dear Jane, recipient of this letter, died two days earlier.
“My very dear Jane, just a month ago the Emperor left us forever here below, God delivered this soul so cruelly tested but by leaving he delivered my heart . This already sad house is desolate because it was to distract him that we tried to make noise around him, now all is silence and mourning . He did not know that his faithful Varaigne had preceded him by a few days, we hid his death from him because I knew how much he cared for him. Every day leaves a friend unhappy, and even the memory of happy days is lost in mourning and unhappiness. I can no longer look back, I dare not look forward, my horizon is lost in this so painful present . My dear son[The Imperial Prince] is also very unhappy, both of you shake hands with you and yours, Eugenie ”
January 9, 1873 at 10 h 45 , Napoleon III died at the age of 64 , at his home in Camden Square. Nearly 60,000 people, including a tenth of French people including a delegation of workers led by Jules Amigues, come to meditate in front of the body and take part in the burial on January 15, 1873 at Chislehurst. Subsequently, his widow Eugénie de Montijo built a mausoleum for him at the Saint-Michel abbey which she had founded in 1881 and where he has since rested alongside his wife and their only son, the Imperial Prince Louis-Napoleon, killed at the age of 23 while on patrol during the Anglo-Zulu War.
Jane Thorne, Baronne de Pierres (1821-1873) is an aristocrat, lady of the Palace of Empress Eugenie de Montijo. Jane Thorne is one of the ladies-in-waiting represented with Eugenie in the famous painting by Franz Xaver Winterhalter.
I’ll post the rest soon!