Belle’s Mother – Colette

Below is someone’s work-up of Belle’s mother that resembles my posts. My home looks like the home of the Beast. My blog is a wealth of knowledge that surpasses all. I am completely isolated because people are afraid to get near me and be overwhelmed. No one wants to look………..STUPID! Belle Burch was terrified I would depict her as stupid. She is, my model, my muse, my apprentice.

Jon ‘The Beast’

However, Belle’s mother is clearly associated with a major symbol of the film: the rose.

Disney

Another new character is Belle’s mother, as the live-action movie explains that she died when Belle was very young from the plague. “The mom had to have died somehow,” said Hoberman. “We went through many incarnations of ideas, but we also wanted to be truthful to the period. The plague seemed like a natural fit.”

The reveal occurs when the Beast shows Belle a magical book that lets them travel to anywhere in the world, and she wishes to see her childhood home in Paris with fresh eyes. The two then discover a beak-shaped plague mask, and Belle later reassures Maurice about the truth he was never able to discuss. Menken wrote the new song “How Does a Moment Last Forever” for the moment, complete with “very French” themes

http://www.eonline.com/news/836485/james-corden-luke-evans-josh-gad-and-dan-stevens-perform-beauty-and-the-beast-as-a-crosswalk-musical

Belle’s Mother

Let’s start with Belle’s mother. As I explored in my other Beauty and the Beast fan theory, Belle’s mother still remains quite the mystery.

Belle’s mother, who is named ‘Colette’ in the OUAT adaptation, never once makes an appearance in the Beauty and the Beast film. In the Beauty and the Beast musical by Disney, the townspeople also say to Belle, “You are your mother’s daughter; therefore you are class…creme de la creme“. This implies that that Belle, through her mother, comes from the upperclass, and possibly even French royalty.

In an official Disney image of Belle’s mother, we also see the symbol of the rose, the same crucial symbol in Beauty and the Beast. This seems to suggest that Belle’s mother may, in fact, be related to Prince Adam (The Beast), who lives in the castle in the forest outside of Belle’s town.

According to the Disney Wiki:

Also, a portrait of her reading to a younger Belle can be seen on the wall inside the replica of Belle’s cottage that is a part of the Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction at Magic Kingdom. In addition, she was also seen with the same book that Belle got from the bookseller, indicating that she was the reason why the book was her favorite. And the existance of a portrait would also allude that Belle’s family were wealthy at least prior to moving to the village, which falls in with the original “Beauty and the Beast” fairytale. (Source)

However, as we know, Belle being related to her husband, Prince Adam (The Beast) would be against Disney etiquette. Disney doesn’t do incest, so the possibility of Prince Adam being closely related to Belle in any way would be impossible.

However, Belle’s mother is clearly associated with a major symbol of the film: the rose.

Her dress features a rose on her breast, and her dress is also rose-colored. The “enchantress” in the beginning of the film – along with the final stained glass scene of before the film’s title credits – both feature heavy, prominent rose symbolism and imagery. The “enchanted rose” is also a crucial plot point and element of the Beauty and the Beast film, indicating the window of time in which Prince Adam (the Beast) must find someone to love him – and him slowly losing his humanity, and ability to love.

However, Belle’s “rose dress” could also possibly indicate that Belle’s mother was a member of the French noble House of Grenoble.

The coat of arms of the city of Grenoble dates back to the 14th century. The three roses are symbolic representation of the three authorities who governed the city in the Middle Ages. Grenoble was placed under the authority of two rival powers, that of the bishop and of the Dauphin. In the 14th century appears a third authority, consuls, elected by the people and defenders of freedoms and exemptions granted by the two co-lords.

Grenoble is a city in southeastern France, at the foot of the French Alps where the river Drac joins the Isère. Located in the Rhône-Alpes region, Grenoble is the capital of the department of Isère. The proximity of the mountains, as well as its size, has led to the city being known as the “Capital of the Alps”.

Grenoble’s history goes back more than 2,000 years, at a time when it was a small Gallic village. While it gained in stature by becoming the capital of the Dauphiné in the 11th century, Grenoble remained for most of its history a modest parliamentary and garrison city on the borders of the kingdom of France.

Additionally, roses were also often used for other purposes in heraldry. Roses are also seen in part of the background of the right side of the portrait; the French symbolic flower of the fleur-de-lis is on the left. Here is a picture of a “French lily” to confirm. The fleur-de-lis is not only a national symbol of France itself, but also symbolizes chastity and virtue – and were the symbol of the Virgin Mary’s purity and her role of “Queen of the Angels”.

The rose also has a special symbolism in heraldry as well, as you can read here, in an excerpt from Americana, American Historical Magazine, Volume 15. The rose was sacred to a number of goddesses, including Isis, whose rose appears in the late classical allegorical novel The Golden Ass as “the sweet Rose of reason and virtue” that saves the hero from his bewitched life in the form of a donkey. The ancient Greeks and Romans identified the rose with the goddess of love, Aphrodite (or Venus).

That being said, the rose is also a symbol of another character in Beauty and the Beast: the “beautiful enchantress” that curses Prince Adam (The Beast) in the first place.

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, a young prince lived in a shining castle. Although he had everything his heart desired, the prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. But then, one winter’s night, an old beggar woman came to the castle and offered him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold. Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the prince sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away, but she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within. And when he dismissed her again, the old woman’s ugliness melted away to reveal a beautiful enchantress. The prince tried to apologize, but it was too late, for she had seen that there was no love in his heart, and as punishment, she transformed him into a hideous beast, and placed a powerful spell on the castle, and all who lived there. Ashamed of his monstrous form, the beast concealed himself inside his castle, with a magic mirror as his only window to the outside world. The rose she had offered was truly an enchanted rose, which would bloom until his twenty-first year. If he could learn to love another, and earn her love in return by the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. As the years passed, he fell into despair, and lost all hope, for who could ever learn to love a beast?

Here you can see the “enchantress” in question. Notice that, in her hand, is a rose; and she is emerging from her cloaked disguise similar to a flower from its bud. The cloak fans around her gown, shaped like petals, and her dress is also green. Much like a fleur-de-lis, the enchantress has pale, white skin and long, yellow hair – yellow and white are the colors of the “French lily”.

Yet what about Belle’s mother? Doesn’t she have brown hair in the portrait? Yes, she does. However, the “enchantress” was also a shape-shifter: if she could change her appearance to appear like an old woman, changes are that she could also change her hair color [with magic] from blonde to brown.

Additionally, the inclusion of both fleur-de-lis flowers and roses in the portrait of Belle and her mother could be symbolic of something quite crucial. The “enchantress” is a woman who deals with a double life, or masks; she pretends to be one thing in order to test Prince Adam (the old hag), only to reveal her “true form” as a beautiful sorceress and youthful woman when the prince turns her away.

Likewise, the “enchantress” herself, much like Belle’s mother, is a very mysterious figure. While everyone assumes her to be dead, Belle’s mother is never mentioned in the actual Beauty and the Beast movie. For all we know, Belle’s mother could still be alive – or, as the story is supposed to take place in the 1730’s (pre-movie), Belle’s mother could have been killed [by anti-monarchists] or…simply disappeared.


The Enchantress and the Beast

What’s also interesting to note that – in addition to the likely noble status of Belle’s mother – the “enchantress” appears to be wearing a golden, three-pronged crown. Upon examination of French heraldry, the enchantress’s crown most resembles that of a vidame.

Vidame, a French term descended from mediaeval Latin vicedominus (‘vice-lord’, which may mean ‘vice-count’, depending on the feudal status of the territory), was a feudal title in France. The vidame was originally, like the avoué (advocatus), the royal or crown judge, a secular official chosen by the bishop of the diocese, with the consent of the count, to perform functions on-behalf of the prince-count in the church’s earthly interest, canonically incompatible with the clerical state, or at least deemed inappropriate, especially involving violence, even in the service of justice, and to act as protector…Their chief functions were to protect the temporalities of the see, to represent the bishop at the count’s court of justice, to exercise the bishop’s temporal jurisdiction in his name (placitum or curia vice-domini) and to lead the episcopal levies to war.

As the Beast is a prince, the “enchantress” is likely a vidame. While she is not a male by any means, she still fills the role of vidame for Prince Adam: she has the authority and power to “perform functions on-behalf of the prince-count in the church’s (or state’s) earthly interest, canonically incompatible with the clerical state”, or “at least deemed inappropriate, especially involving violence, even in the service of justice, and to act as protector”.

However, the title of vidame was also, for some time, a heritable title. If the “enchantress” was a vidame, both she and Belle’s mother would have something important in common: royal or noble blood.

As Prince Adam failed was spoiled, selfish, vain, and more, the “enchantress” was a symbolic figure – a judge – to determine whether or not Prince Adam was “worthy” to rule. Her role also seems to have been to “protect” the local area, and France at large, from abuses from royals or other future monarchs. Hence, why she “tests” Prince Adam on his ability to be kind, compassionate, and gentle: by taking on the guise of an old beggar woman, the “enchantress” tests how Prince Adam would treat a French commoner, even one as low as a beggar woman. Prince Adam fails this test.

As one TV Troper puts it aptly:

If we go by the speculated timeline where the prince was cursed as an eleven-year-old and had only ten years to get someone to fall in love with him by his twenty first birthday, then the Enchantress’ curse seems pretty harsh for a child. Consider this: If the prince acted so selfishly at that age, think of what he could have been like if he was never cursed. He would have inherited his kingdom and could very well have become a tyrant due to his selfish, apathetic and temperamental nature. Now the Enchantress’ actions make way more sense since she saved many people from being ruled by a potential despot.

As a “protector” of “justice”, the “enchantress” curses Prince Adam into a beastly form, so that the prince’s monstrous exterior matches the ugliness within him. This also fits the theme of divine retribution, or an angel – or a messenger of God (in this case, the Church) – or another being with magical powers and an ethereal appearance punishing a mortal for his/her transgressions. This also ties into the “God-given right to rule” that many, including the French monarchs, believed in at the time, that only God could bestow the kings and queens with his authority both mortal and divine.

However, “with great power, also comes great responsibility”. With God-given power comes the responsibility of the royals to take care of the French people, even the lowliest of the low. However, by Prince Adam’s time (1730’s), the French monarchs and royals had started to drift away from the French people. The monarchs increasingly became more entitled, arrogant, and out-of-touch, which ultimately led to the French Revolution in 1789.

Let’s take a look at the image of “the enchantress” again. As you’ll notice, Prince Adam is in the picture, too, and like the “enchantress”, he’s also wearing a crown. Only Prince Adam’s crown matches that of the King of France (roi). As only the King of France normally wears the type of crown depicted in the image shown, my guess is that Prince Adam was, indeed, the Crown Prince of France.

Other evidence for Prince Adam being the Crown Prince includes:

  • This transition scene. As you can see, Prince Adam has a “royal crest ring” on his hand, and notice the sun behind his hands. King Louis XIV of France, who died in 1715, was known as “the Sun King”. If Prince Adam was the son (or grandson) of Louis XIV, chances are he could have been the Crown Prince.
  • His portrait in the West Wing As seen with the portrait of a young Belle and her mother, portraits could only be afforded by the wealthy, rich nobility and royalty. They would pose for hours on end so that the painter could capture their likeness(es). Also notice that his clothes are blue and yellow, and “princely” in look.
  • He lives in a castle by himself. If the village that Belle lives in is based off Grenoble, then Prince Adam’s castle would be based on the Château de Vizille. The Château de Vizille is a castle in the French town of Vizille, near Grenoble. It is one of the most prestigious and important castles of the Dauphiné Region. The Dauphiné was traditionally the homeland of the inheritor of the French throne since the 14th century.
  • Grenoble became the capital of the Dauphiné in the 11th century. Le Dauphin was the royal title for – you guessed it – the Crown Prince of France. Grenoble is also located in what is called the “Dauphiné Region” of France.
  • Prince Adam’s clothing (both in his prince portrait and as the Beast) matches the royal-blue-and-yellow emblem of the Dauphin (Crown Prince of France).
  • Additionally, Grenoble gained some notoriety on 7 June 1788, when the townspeople assaulted troops of Louis XVI in the “Day of the Tiles”. The people attacked the royal troops to prevent an expulsion of the notables of the city, which would have seriously endangered the economic prosperity of Grenoble. Following these events, the Assembly of Vizille took place. Its members organized the meeting of the old Estates General, thus beginning the French Revolution.

If you look closely, there is also a golden cross on the top of Prince Adam’s crown, indicating his “divine right to rule”. In another image from the beginning of the film, Prince Adam is not only wearing the same crown, but he is also holding a scepter – also a sign of being a King (or a Crown Prince). On top of the scepter is also France’s national symbol, yet again: the fleur-de-lis.

However, let’s compare that image of Prince Adam with the one from the end of the film. As you can see, in this image, Prince Adam’s crown looks very different from the one at the beginning of the film. Instead of a king’s crown, he is wearing the crown of a French duke.

Why the change in crowns? My theory is that Prince Adam, at the end of the film, gives up his claim to the throne in order to marry Belle. This may also tie into the theory that the events of Beauty of the Beast foreshadow, or are symbolic of, the French Revolution itself – including the deposition and execution of the King of France.


The “Lost Prince” of France

Prince Adam himself may represent the [previously] “Lost Dauphin” – Louis XVII of France. He was also known as “Louis-Charles, Duke of Normandy”; and then “Louis-Charles, Dauphin of France” (the seventeenth Dauphin of France, the hereditary title under the Capet monarchy of a French crown prince).

The fate of the “lost dauphin,” Louis XVII, has been a subject of mystery for over 200 years. Did he die in prison? Did he escape and become a famous American naturalist, or a German clockmaker, or an Episcopal minister raised by Native Americans? All of these solutions, and more, still have loyal supporters. The issue was laid to rest by DNA testing in 2000. But this is a mystery that just won’t die.

There is no question that Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette died under the guillotine during the French Revolution. It is the fate of their 10 year old son, Louis Charles, who disappeared in 1795, that is the mystery.

Let’s pause here for a moment. According to Beauty and the Beast lore, Prince Adam was “cursed” by the “enchantress” at the age of 11. Prince Adam’s age is also confirmed in Beauty and the Beast: Enchanted Christmas, which depicts the Prince before the curse. The “lost Dauphin” also disappeared at the age of 10, but much like with the Czarina Anastasia Romanov, not everyone believed the Dauphin was dead.

The official record states that Louis died in the Temple prison at the age of 10 on June 8, 1795 from tuberculosis. But few accepted the official verdict. Some said that he died of neglect, some that he was murdered, and others that he did not die at all, but was spirited away to safety and another child put in his place. A doctor who had been summoned to treat the dauphin died mysteriously the week before the boy’s death. His widow hinted that he had refused to take part in some irregular practice on the patient.

…As the years passed, the speculation continued. Thousands of articles and 600 books have been written about this mystery. The most authoritative are by a French historian and an American journalist. Philippe Delorme, the recognized expert on this story, tells a fascinating tale of mystery and conspiracy and pretenders. Recently Delorme has updated his book (originally L’affaire Louis XVII), Louis XVII: the Truth, now available in English. A new American book by journalist Deborah Cadbury also tells the story (the Lost King of France: How DNA Solved the Mystery of the Murder of the Son of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette).

In early 2000, scientists did DNA tests on the putative heart of the boy who died of tuberculosis in his prison, and who was presumed to be the prince. A sample from the heart was compared with a lock of hair taken from Marie Antoinette as a child. There was no doubt. The owner of the heart and the queen shared DNA.

Is the mystery really solved? The DNA tests did not end the speculation about “the lost dauphin.” Cassiman himself said that this test only established that the boy in the crypt was a relative of Marie Antoinette’s. It is true that the test did not specifically show that the heart they tested was that of the boy, or that the owner of the heart and Marie Antoinette were mother and son. Cassiman said he would leave it to historians to determine whether the boy was in fact the son of Marie Antoinette. (Source)

Beauty and the Beast was released in 1991, a full 9 years before the heart of the “lost Dauphin” was tested. It is also interesting to note that – like the rose – the heart represents love and passion. Both are red, and both have a similar shape in some depictions. For years, the only thing said to remain of the “lost Dauphin” was his heart, “mummified and as hard as stone” in a pickled jar. This could also mirror the “stony heart” of the Beast himself – Prince Adam.

The “lost Dauphin”, additionally, is often portrayed in media – much like Prince Adam was in Beauty and the Beast and Enchanted Christmas – as “spoiled, arrogant, selfish” and more. There are definite, uncanny similarities between portrayals of the “lost Dauphin”, and Prince Adam.

Last but not least, since medieval times, roses have symbolized love and beauty. Who else is named as a “beauty”? Belle, whose name, in French, literally means “beauty”. Belle’s famous yellow-and-white dress also matches the colors of the fleur-de-lis, symbolizing her purity [of body and heart], chastity, and innocence. This is especially crucial, as Belle represents Prince Adam’s “salvation” from his “beastly side” (sins and transgressions) through Belle’s love.

The rose and fleur-de-lis color scheme and relation of Belle to her mother, and also to the “enchantress” also is a heavy clue that Belle’s mother is “the enchantress”.

If Belle’s mother is “the enchantress”, did she know that her daughter would fall in love with the cursed prince? Most likely not. However, it certainly fits into the tale as an interesting, potential twist of fate and irony.


Addendum:

  • In addition to the above evidence for Grenoble being the inspiration for Belle’s town in Beauty and the Beast, there is also the industry of Grenoble to consider. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV caused the departure of 2,000 Protestants from Grenoble, weakening the city’s economy. However, it also weakened the glove industry of Grasse, leaving the glove factories of Grenoble without any competition. This allowed a stronger economic development for the city during the 18th century. For example, at the beginning of that century, only 12 glovers made 15,000 dozen gloves each year; however, by 1787, 64 glovers made 160,000 dozen gloves each year.
  • What does Gaston wear? Yellow gloves. Additionally, Gaston also appears to be quite wealthy, as he gave the asylum manager a bag full of gold coins. My guess is that Gaston (or his family) was involved in Grenoble’s glove-making business, which would not only explain Gaston’s wealth, but also why he has so much power and influence in the town; why he is able to hunt in woods that would normally be reserved for the Crown Prince; why he owns a tavern; etc.

tl;dnr: Belle’s mother is the enchantress; she cursed Prince Adam (The Beast) because he failed in a test in his ability to rule the people of France with kindness, compassion, and maturity; and Prince Adam (The Beast) may represent the “lost crown prince (Dauphin)” of France, Louis XVII.

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About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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