Ferdinand of Orleans, the eldest son and heir of Louis-Philippe, died in his prime in an accident. When the horses of his carriage ran out of control, he threw himself to the ground to avoid disaster, but his head struck a stone and he died from a fractured skull.
He was buried in Dreux, in the Royal Chapel his father, King Louis-Philippe, had just built for himself and his descendants.
His widow, Helen of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, had loved her husband dearly, and she mourned her beloved husband for the rest of her life.
She died 16 years later in exile in England, and was initially buried in Weybridge before being transfered to Dreux to be interred alongside her husband.
Unfortunately, this was impossible, as she had remained a protestant, and her husband was buried in a catholic church.
And so a ruse was devised… A small building was constructed next to the Royal Chapel and Helene’s tomb was placed here, with a recumbent effigy on it. A window was then opened up between the two buildings. On the other side of the window lay the gisant of her husband, and so Helene’s marble hand could pass through the window and approach that of her beloved spouse, symbolising their eternal love.