Marie Thérèse and her father shared an affectionate relationship that began during the first days of her life. Ambassador Mercy wrote, of the week after her birth, that the king “did not want to leave the chateau even to take a walk,” and that he spent most of his day in the Queen’s chambers, dividing “his time between the Queen and his august child, to whom he shows the most touching love.” Some of the first words spoken by the young Marie Thérèse were, to the delight of her parents, “Papa.”
In his recollections of the royal family’s imprisonment in the Temple, Jean-Baptiste Cléry recalled the pain that the king felt in being separated from his family during his trial proceedings, but especially from being separated from his child on her birthday:
On the 19th of December the king said to me while dining: ‘Fourteen years ago you got up earlier than you did to-day.’ I understood His Majesty at once. ‘That was the day my daughter was born,’ he continued tenderly, ‘and to-day, her birthday, I am deprived of seeing her!’ A few tears rolled from his eyes, and a respectful silence reigned for a moment.
Cléry also recollected the family’s final parting from their husband, brother and father:
“Adieu–” He uttered that “adieu” in so expressive a manner that the sobs redoubled. Madame Royale fell fainting at the king’s feet, which she clasped.