The Lost King of France
A re-imagined, semi fictional account
Louis-Charles, the Lost King of France, born on March 2 7th, 1785, was the second son of King Louis Auguste XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette. He was born to a life of luxury and privilege until the French Revolution broke out in 1789. In 1792, the royal family was arrested and imprisoned. Louis-Charles was separated from his parents and siblings. He was just seven years old at the time. He was placed under the care of Antoine Simon, a cobbler who was appointed his guardian by the revolutionary authorities. Simon was cruel and abusive towards the young prince, subjecting him to physical and emotional torture. He was also tasked with indoctrinating Louis-Charles with revolutionary ideals and erasing any trace of his royal upbringing. Louis-Charles's situation grew even worse in 1793 when his father was executed and his mother was sent to the guillotine nine months later. Louis-Charles was transferred to a prison cell in the Temple Tower, where he was kept in solitary confinement for long periods. He was subjected to regular interrogations and forced to renounce his royal title. In time, hidden from view, Louis-Charles became a figure in the imaginations of most, known as The lost King of France.
In June 1795, a small remaining group of Royalist sympathizers hatched a plan to rescue Louis-Charles from the Temple Tower. They bribed one of his guards, a man named Laurent, to smuggle the young prince out of the prison and into the hands of the Royalist underground. On the night of June 19th, Laurent managed to get Louis-Charles out of the prison and into the streets of Paris. The two of them disguised themselves as peasants and made their way to a safe house on the outskirts of the city. The Royalists arranged for Louis-Charles to be transported to the Vendée region, a hotbed of Royalist rebellion against the revolutionary government. However, the journey was fraught with danger, and they were constantly pursued by revolutionary forces. Laurent attempted to betray Louis-Charles to the revolutionary forces in exchange for a large monetary reward. Young Louis-Charles managed to escape and to avoid further detection, joined a traveling carnival that was passing through the region. He adopted a new identity and took on looking after the carnival performers, cleaning and running errands for them. In time, as he grew into a young man, it was discovered he had a wonderful voice, and began to perform as a cabaret singer, using his talent to earn a living and blend in with the other performers. To hide his true identity, he wore a mask in the form of a horse head when he performed.
Louis-Charles, who was now known as Léo became a popular attraction among the carnival-goers, who were fascinated by his voice and theatrical stage presence. He soon became an integral part of the carnival, traveling with them from town to town and performing to audiences all over France. No one knew that the Lost King of France was hiding in plain sight as a member of a traveling carnival. But as he traveled from town to town, he could not help but feel a sense of loneliness. He missed the world he had known before the revolution, and especially his family. It was then that he met Lutetia, a beautiful young woman who performed as a trapeze artist in the carnival. They were drawn to each other from the moment they met, sharing a love of art, literature, and music. Their relationship was not without its challenges. Lutetia was not aware of Léo's true identity and the danger it posed, and he had to be careful not to arouse suspicion. But he was in love with Lutetia and determined to make it work, believing that their love would conquer all.
One day, a suspicious stranger came to the carnival, asking questions about Léo and where he had come from, causing Léo to remain hidden from site in between performances. It was Antoine Simon, looking for his lost charge from long ago. Leo's carnival family protected his identity, without asking questions.
In time, Léo took over the carnival and relocated it permanently to a location just outside Paris, where it successfully continued to draw big crowds until, in time, people found other amusements and no longer came to see the performers, many of whom eventually moved on. Lutetia left Léo for a wealthy American, and Léo grew old, amongst the faded costumes and props that gathered dust until all that remained was an old man and his memories of the two lives he had led.