It was difficult for Armand when the queen had her own children, as well as adopting others, since he was no longer the center of all her attention. As a teenager, he rebelled, joined the Revolution and was killed in the wars. Meanwhile, around 1787, Marie-Antoinette adopted the daughter of servants named Ernestine to be a companion for her daughter Madame Royale. She dressed her as a princess and gave her all the same toys as her own daughter.
Around 1790, she adopted three orphan girls. The two oldest were sent to a Visitation convent to be educated but the youngest, Zoé, who was the same age as the little dauphin, lived in the royal apartments at the Tuileries. Marie-Antoinette would have adopted many more children had she been able. Those whom she could not actually bring to live in the palace, she provided for generously.
At the time of the royal family's disastrous flight to Montmédy in June 1791, Marie Antoinette sent Ernestine and Zoé to safety. Ernestine was entrusted to her birth father. Zoé joined her blood sisters at the Visitation Monastery, where she eventually became a nun and died at the time of the restoration.
In the Temple prison, Marie Antoinette was anxious for news about her adopted children and tried to discover where they were. She managed to find out that Zoé and her two sisters had been taken to their relatives in the country. Of Ernestine, she could could discover nothing, except that her father had been guillotined. Ernestine had actually been whisked out of France by an emigré family and died in exile.