|The daughter of Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia and Italy, in 1858 she married Prince Napoléon Joseph Charles Paul ('Plon-Plon'), the troublesome cousin of Napoléon III.
Utterly self-contained, enveloped in the armour of her piety and endowed with a sullen superiority, Princesse Clothilde proved unpopular at the French court. Although the Empress Eugénie initially tried to help her, Clothilde's deliberate rudeness soon alienated her would-be mentor. She appeared more and more rarely at the splendid entertainments at the Tuileries, and when she did, seemed with her vague, dull eyes to be walking in a dream. Her humourless and priggish nature cast a damper over any festivity. Cordially disliked by the Empress and all but abandoned by her husband, a sombre piety took possession of her whole life.
When the Imperial family fled France in 1871, Clothilde was the last to leave the Tuileries, and her exit was wholly admirable. Despising all commoners, especially mobs, Clothilde spurned the thought of any danger. When she was ready to leave, she did so in an open carriage bearing her own arms and escorted by outriders, heading without a second thought towards the most crowded boulevards leading to the Porte d'Italie. The mob was so taken aback by this display of sublime courage mixed with total indifference to surroundings and circumstance, that passage was made for her carriage, and frequent cries of 'There goes a brave woman!' could be heard.
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