Lettres a sa mére [by] Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
[Paris, 1969.] Gallimard. 171  p. Edition revue et corrigée.
Publisher’s paper cover. Consuelo de Saint Exupéry (1901-1979) was a Salvadoran-French writer and artist, and the wife of the French aristocrat, writer and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944) signed.
In 1931, she met and married the French aristocrat, writer and pioneering aviator Count Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, making her a countess. At the time Consuelo was a once-divorced, once-widowed Salvadoran writer and artist who possessed a bohemian spirit and was known as a mischief-maker. Saint-Exupéry, thoroughly enchanted by the diminutive woman, would leave and then return to her many times; she was both his muse and over the long term the source of much of his angst. It was a stormy union, with Saint-Exupéry travelling frequently and indulging in numerous extramarital affairs, most notably with the Frenchwoman Hélène de Vogüé (1908–2003), known as ‘Nelly’ and referred to as “Madame de B.” in Saint-Exupéry biographies. Consuelo also had numerous extramarital affairs.
Following the disappearance of her husband in July 1944, with her loss of Saint-Exupéry still fresh, she purportedly wrote a memoir of their life together, The Tale of the Rose, which was sealed away in a trunk in her home. Two decades after her death in 1979, the manuscript came to light when José Martinez-Fructuoso, her heir and long-time employee, and his wife, Martine, discovered it in an attic trunk. Alan Vircondelet, author of a biography of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, edited it, improving her French and dividing it into chapters. Its publication in France in 2000, one century after Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s birth on 29 June 1900, became a national sensation. As of 2011 it had been translated into sixteen languages.
Despite their tumultuous relationship, Antoine kept Consuelo close to his heart. She is the likely inspiration of the major character in The Little Prince, the prince’s ‘flower’, identified as The Rose, whom he protects under glass and with a windscreen on his tiny planet which is named Asteroid B-612.
The Prince’s home asteroid also possesses three tiny volcanoes, likely inspired by Consuelo’s home country El Salvador, i.e. by the three volcanoes in the Cordillera de Apaneca volcanic range complex, which are directly visible from Consuelo’s home town of Armenia, El Salvador. The two active volcanoes were inspired by Santa Ana Volcano and the famous conical shaped Izalco (volcano), which was likely spewing ash and lava when Antoine visited El Salvador. The dormant volcano is Cerro Verde.
Saint-Exupéry’s infidelity and doubts about his marriage are symbolised by the field of roses the Prince encounters during his visit to Earth. In the novella, The Fox tells The Prince that his Rose is unique and special, because she is the one whom he loves.