Antoinette Van Leer Polk was recorded by authors and historians as being a beautiful socialite in New York. Unlike her cousins and grandfather, she supported the confederates during the civil war. After the war she moved with her parents and family to Rome, Italy where they became close friends with King Humbert I and took up fox-hunting.
She married a royal descendant General Baron Athanase-Charles-Marie Charette de la Contrie, he was the great-grandson of King Charles X, grandson of Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry and descendant of Louis XIV all of House of Bourbon. Polk later became a Baroness and a socialite in Paris and Brittany. After Louis XVI and Marie Antoninette were beheaded during the French Revolution (1793), the king’s brother and nephew–the Duc de Berry–went into exile in England. During this period, the Duc de Berry (who is reported by historians to have been temperamental, moody, selfish and extraordinarily ugly) lived a number of years with an English woman named Amy Brown, and they had two daughters. (There are some historians who claim that there was an official marriage that was annulled by the Pope when the Bourbons returned to power. However, no official documentation has been produced to yet support this claim.)
According to historians, the Duc de Berry would have liked to marry, but no one suitable would accept until the Bourbons were restored in France in 1815. Upon restoration, a royal-blooded wife was secured, and three royal children were born.
The Duc de Berry was assassinated in 1820; a deathbed act was to legitimize his two daughters by Amy Brown. Both daughters later received titles from the Duc the Berry’s father–King Louis X. It is the son of one of these daughters that married Antoinette Van Leer Polk.
Athanase’s great-uncle, General de Charette, was a Breton Royalist soldier and politician. He served in the French Royal Navy during the American Revolutionary War.
Family Branch Today
The noble Van Leer Charette line is alive and well under the Van Stockum branch. Susanne de Charette married American General Ronald R. Van Stockum who lived to be 100 and his descendant Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr. is a lawyer, teacher, biologist, writer, guitarist, and recently an actor living on his family’s old farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky.