Madame de Montespan's relegation to the position of superintendent of the Queen's household as a result brought matters to a head. Louis XV of France, House of Bourbon, Henry IV of France, Louis XIII of France, Louis XVI of France, Palace of Versailles, House of Bourbon, Louis XIV of France, Louis Auguste, Prince of Dombes, House of Bourbon-Maine, House of Orléans, Princes of Condé, House of Valois, Princes of Conti, Louis III, Prince of Condé, Paris, Musical theatre, Pope, Louis XIV, Emmanuel Moire, Portugal, Niort, France, Louis XIV of France, Saint-Cyr-l'École, Contemporary portrait of Françoise by an unknown artist, Françoise Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Marquise de Montespan from the George S. Stuart Gallery of Historical Figures. It was believed that the Marquise de Montespan so desperately craved queendom that she would stop at nothing, even ritual child sacrifice, and cannibalism, to get it. Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002. Madame de Montespan, is said to be the blonde woman at the center of the coach which would have also held the king's sister-in-law Madame, his first cousin La Grande Mademoiselle, the Queen and Madame de Montespan's older sister, the marquise de Thianges. However, suspicion was thrown onto Madame de Montespan because the name of her maid, Mlle Desœillets, was frequently mentioned in connection with La Voisin in the evidence brought before the Chambre Ardente. As for the king himself, he either believed the marquise innocent or wanted to spare their children the humiliation of her case, and so she was not prosecuted for these allegations. A scandal arose when the Duchess of Montausier, governess of the royal children and lady-in-waiting to the Queen, was accused of acting as a go-between in order to secure the governorship of the Dauphin for her husband, the Duke of Montausier. Indeed, it was said that she’d inherited her family’s famously charming Mortemart wit. Excessive Violence Her so-called "reign" lasted from around 1667, when she first danced with Louis XIV at a ball hosted by the king's younger brother, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, at the Louvre Palace, until her alleged involvement in the notorious Affaire des Poisons in the late 1670s to 1680s. Reproduction Date: Françoise Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, marquise of Montespan (5 October 1640 – 27 May 1707), better known as Madame de Montespan, was the most celebrated maîtresse en titre of King Louis XIV of France, by whom she had seven children. There were private entrances installed for easy rendez-vous. Because of the fragility of the earthenware tiles used in its construction, the Trianon de porcelaine was demolished in 1687 and replaced by the Grand Trianon of pink marble (marbre rose des Pyrénées). As the maîtresse-en-titre, Madame de Montespan represented all that was hedonistic and amoral about Versailles. Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart, the Marquise de Montespan, had just about everything one could want in 17th-century France. it was also damning in an overwhelmingly Catholic 17th-century France. Louis XIV stands behind the coach with his red hat while his younger brother, Monsieur, stands further to the right in blue. On trial, La Voisin reportedly denied that the Marquise de Montespan played any role in her sundry poisonings or alleged sacrifices. The Affaire des Poisons, which erupted in September 1677, was to be the beginning of the end of the reign of La Montespan. Indeed, the religious elements of the court didn’t always take kindly to the king and his favorite mistress’s earthly affections. Versailles was the Marquise de Montespan’s domain and she was consequently referred to as “the Queen of Versailles.”. Like Marie-Antoinette after her, the Marquise de Montespan’s proximity to power was just kindling for her critics. The King wanted her to stay longer times at court but Gabrielle always declined and stayed only for very short times. Françoise Marie's great-great-grandson was Louis-Philippe I, King of the French. She was mythically beautiful, had a razor-sharp wit, and possessed the love of the king. Madame de Montespan astounded the court by openly resenting the position of Queen Maria Theresa of Spain. The marquis went a little wild when he found out about his wife’s infidelities with the king, and had his children hold a symbolic mass of the dead for her. [4][5] Her siblings were: At the age of twenty, Françoise-Athénaïs became a maid-of-honour to the king's sister-in-law, Princess Henrietta Anne of England, who was known at court by the traditional honorific of Madame. But the potion maker’s partner, Adam Coueret, also known as Lesage, pointed his finger at the marquise. Fraser, Antonia (2006). Despite all this, it was said that Madame de Montespan wanted more: a seat on the throne. [7], By 1666, Madame de Montespan was trying to take the place of Louis XIV's current mistress, Louise de La Vallière. She wrote in her memoir: “I was not slow to perceive that there was in my person something slightly superior to the average intelligence — certain qualities of distinction which drew upon me the attention and the sympathy of men of taste. She was given the nickname Quanto ("How much", in Italian). Some would call her a witch or more specifically, “the Witch of Paris.”, For a fee, she’d covertly concoct love potions and poisons as a means of garnering clout in court. Who really was Madame de Montespan, the unofficial Queen of Versailles? She is related to the present Portuguese and Brazilian Royal House of Braganza, the House of Este, the House of Austria-Este and the House of Savoy, mainly through her granddaughter by Françoise Marie de Bourbon, Charlotte Aglaé d'Orléans. Wikimedia CommonsThe Marquise de Montespan with her legitimate children by her husband, the Marquis de Montespan. Her eldest (and most disloyal) child with the king, the duc du Maine, though, was hardly able to conceal his joy on the death of his mother. Françoise Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, marquise of Montespan (5 October 1640 – 27 May 1707), better known as Madame de Montespan, was the most celebrated maîtresse en titre of King Louis XIV of France, by whom she had seven children. The affair proved more deadly than Salem. Françoise-Athénaïs had after all helped her get into court and put her in charge of her children, the position that originally allowed Madame de Maintenon to gain the king's attention. Maîtresse en titre of Louis XIV. René de Rochechouart, Lord of Mortemart, 4. In gratitude for her departure, the king made her father the governor of Paris, her brother, the duc de Vivonne, a marshal of France, and one of her sisters, Gabrielle, whose vows were only four years old, the abbess of the wealthy Fontevraud Abbey. Montespan became friends with Louise and Queen Maria Teresa, and when both she and Louise were pregnant, they requested that Madame de Montespan help them entertain the King during private dinners. Versailles was in an uproar and the king was forced to launch an investigation. [5], The last years of Madame de Montespan's life were given up to a very severe penance. Using her wit and charm, she sought to ingratiate herself with the king. She profited from unrequited or spurned love and once even remarked: “What a boon it is to our profession when lovers resort to desperate measures.”. She reportedly called upon the devil to possess the heart of the king by slaughtering a child. After hearing of the death of Françoise-Athénaïs, Madame de Maintenon is said to have run to her privy and wept bitterly. To conceal his new relationship, he placed the ladies in connected rooms they had to share, so he could have access to both. [5] Madame de La Fayette says in her "Histoire de madame Henriette d'Angleterre" that Françoise-Athénaïs was in love with another young man, Louis de La Tremouille, who was the elder son and heir to the Duc de Noirmoutier (one of the leaders of the Fronde). This article will be permanently flagged as inappropriate and made unaccessible to everyone. Wikimedia CommonsThe Affair of the Poisons blackened the “real Queen of France’s” name, but she fared better on trial than other women who were burned at the stake for witchcraft. Meanwhile, King Louis XIV established apartments for Madame de Montespan that were joined with his own. [5] According to this testimony, they repeatedly carried out rituals that would create a special potion for the King. While this reputation undoubtedly made her desirable to men, it was also damning in an overwhelmingly Catholic 17th-century France. [5] Real sorrow over her death was felt by her three youngest children. WHEBN0000287211 [19] The royal gardener André Le Nôtre created the gardens, which looked west toward the much larger palace of Versailles, of which Clagny was a smaller version. From the end of 1680 onwards, Louvois, Jean-Baptiste Colbert and Madame de Maintenon all helped to hush up the affair in order to prevent further scandal about the mother of the king's legitimised children. She was born as the result of a convergence between two of the oldest noble families in France, the Mortemarts and the Marsillacs. Article Id: Madame de Sévigné wrote that its construction employed 1,200 workers and the cost was no less than two millions "livres". Gaspard de Rochechouart, Marquess of Mortemart, 12. She quickly established herself as the "reigning beauty of the court". It was there that she sought to escape from court life. [16] Whatever the truth in these allegations, in July 1667, Madame de Montespan became the king's new mistress even though Louise was carrying his child, Louis de Bourbon, comte de Vermandois. The Marquise de Montespan was destined for greatness. This first Louise-Francoise died in 1672; her name was later recycled for her younger sister, the future Mlle. [8]. She was also a generous patron of the arts and letters, and befriended Corneille, Racine and La Fontaine. [4] She had large, blue eyes, long, thick, corn-coloured hair that fell in curls about her shoulders, and a curvaceous, voluptuous body. In 1673, the couple's three living illegitimate children were legitimated by Louis XIV and given the royal surname of de Bourbon. The former Marquise de Montespan lost her position as the king’s favorite mistress to her former governess who later married the king in a politically unofficial marriage. When the third child, Louis-César, was born in 1672, a house was purchased for Scarron and the children on the Rue Vaugirard.[10]. She played a major role as the rival to the main character in "Angelique and the King" by Sergeanne Golon (1960). She reportedly called upon the devil to possess the heart of the king by slaughtering a child.          Sexual Content The château de Clagny was also famed for its gallery. In France, she was known as Marie-Thérèse d'Autriche. For more tales from 17th and 18th-century Europe, check out some masterpieces from the decadent rococo art movement. She also became close to the Dauphin, whose affection for her never wavered. The Marquise de Montespan continued to reign over the card tables and dance halls of Versailles. Long assumed to have been involved in the infamous Affaire des Poisons, Madame de Montespan has never been conclusively implicated. Madame Catherine Monvoisin, also called Lavoisin, was a Paris potion maker. François de La Béraudière, Lord of Villechèze, She was the first child to be placed in the care of the future, Legitimised in December 1673, and given the title of. The seven children the king and the marquise had together were spirited away and raised by Françoise Scarron, Marquise de Maintenon, and the widow of a famous poet, who would become the future rival to the Marquise de Montespan. Of course, this kind of power is seldom without a price, particularly for women in history. Her love for food and her numerous pregnancies caused her to gain weight in her late thirties until her pleasingly plump figure became undesirably fat.[18]. [14] Even though no evidence that the garden search ever actually happened are found. This practice had existed for some time and was all but an official court position. Gabriel Nicolas de La Reynie, Paris' first Lieutenant General of Police and the chief judge of the court, before whom the famous poisoning cases were brought, heard testimony that placed Madame de Montespan's first visits to the so-called witch Catherine Monvoisin, known as La Voisin, in 1665. Shortly after, Louise's position was diminished to second place. Two weeks after her daughter's birth she danced in a Court Ballet, and less than a year later her second child was born. According again to the Duc de Saint Simon, the marquise: “became the epicenter of the court, its pleasures and its fortunes, a source of both hope and terror for ministers and generals.”. She had “the gift of saying things both amusing and singular, always original, and which no one expected, not even she herself expected them,” said the Duc de Saint Simon according to The Life of Louis XIV’s Mistress Athénaïs: The True Queen of France by Lisa Hilton. As a mark of respect for the death of their beloved mother, the duchesse de Bourbon, duchesse d'Orléans and the comte de Toulouse, who were very close to her, refused to go to any court gatherings. As Madame de Montespan spent the majority of her time immersed in the social whirl of the court, the three had little contact with their busy mother and spent most of their childhood with their governess, Madame Scarron. Had any liberty been granted to it, my heart would have made a choice worthy alike of my family and of myself.”. That throne, however, was occupied by the king’s wife Marie-Thérèse of Austria. The king forbade her children to wear mourning for her.[5]. Perhaps, but historians find it unlikely. The newborn child, a girl, is thought to have been named Louise-Francoise. Wikimedia CommonsVersailles was the Marquise de Montespan’s domain and she was consequently referred to as “the Queen of Versailles.”. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. As a member of the Queen’s household, Françoise Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart (1640-1707), Marquise de Montespan, first met the King in the early 1660s, but it seems that it was not until around 1666-1667 that Louis XIV fell under her spell. Concerning the king's need to avoid shocking scandal, Police Chief La Reynie said: Even after the scandal had forced Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan apart, the king continued to visit her daily in her rooms at the palace Apparently her brilliance, charm, and spirited conversation mitigated to some extent her reduced status as a discarded mistress. Indeed, if anyone was attempting to kill the king, it was more likely Claude de Vin des Œillets, who had an illegitimate child fathered but not publicly acknowledged by Louis. See Lisa Hilton, Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon, French Roman Catholic Religious Sisters and Nuns, Princess Louisa Frances, Duchess of Bourbon, Princess Frances Mary, Duchess of Orléans, Louis Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Marquis of Montespan, Louis Antoine de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Marquis of Antin, Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris and Duke of France, Gabriel de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Duke of Mortemart, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2012, Articles with unsourced statements from June 2012, All articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases, Articles with specifically marked weasel-worded phrases from July 2012, Articles with unsourced statements from March 2012, Articles needing additional references from July 2012, All articles needing additional references, WorldHeritage articles needing page number citations from June 2012, Articles lacking reliable references from July 2012, WorldHeritage articles needing page number citations from July 2012, WorldHeritage articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica without Wikisource reference, WorldHeritage articles incorporating text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Commons category without a link on Wikidata, French Roman Catholic religious sisters and nuns, 8. Jean de Grandseigne, Marquess of Marsillac, 14. She had “the gift of saying things both amusing and singular, always original, and which no one expected, not even … At the age of twelve, she began her formal education at the Convent of St Mary at Saintes, where her sister Gabrielle had started hers almost a decade earlier. A plan of the Château de Clagny and its gardens, A plan of the Trianon de Porcelaine; built for Madame de Montespan by Louis XIV. Louis XIV may have been the “Sun King,” but the Marquise de Montespan had an orbit all her own. DeAgostini/Getty ImagesAn illustration of the alleged black mass that Madame de Montespan held. Upon her marriage, she assumed the title of, Through her son, Françoise Marie became a direct ancestor of, The modern house of Orléans is also related to him through his granddaughter. A scandal arose when the Duchess of Montausier, governess of the royal children and lady-in-waiting to the Queen, was accused of acting as a go-between in order to secure the governorship of the Dauphinfor he… A portrait of Madame de Montespan in the Louvre. Her immediate contemporary was Barbara Villiers, mistress of King Charles II of England. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization. Many at the time suspected that she had been poisoned by her rival, although none could prove it. In addition to seeking Louis' love, some charged Madame de Montespan with also conspiring to kill him, but inconsistencies in this testimony suggest that the royal mistress was innocent of these charges. (2000; 1982), See contemporary memoirs of Madame de Sévigné, of Saint-Simon, of, Works by Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan at, Works by or about Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan at. Go abandon your shocking life and then come throw yourself at the feet of the ministers of Jesus Christ,” the Father Lécuyer allegedly decried. Wikimedia CommonsA portrait of Madame de Montespan in the Louvre. The name Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart, the Marquise de Montespan, was blackened by her association with witchcraft, but she once reigned in the heaven on earth of the French court as the Queen of Versailles. In France, she was known as Marie-Thérèse d'Autriche. A son, Louis-Auguste, was born in 1670. King Louis XIV would legitimize three of their seven children together. [4], She also had an extravagant and demanding nature and possessed enough charm to get what she wanted. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Madame de Montespan was also fictionally referenced as a Satanist in Chelsea Quinn Yarbo's vampire novel Hotel Transylvania (1978). They had two children together and the marquis became loudly jealous of his wife’s growing relationship with the king. She also became friends at court with another lady-in-waiting to the queen, Louise Boyer, the wife of Anne, Duke of Noailles. The witch and the Madame de Montespan would call on the devil, and pray to him for the King's love. The eldest, a son, Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, became the duc du Maine; the second child, a son, Louis-César de Bourbon, became the comte de Vexin; and the third, a daughter, Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, became Mademoiselle de Nantes and in 1685 married the son of the head of the House of Condé, a cadet branch of the reigning House of Bourbon. Even though Louis XIV and Louise de La Vallière knew previously that Montespan was trying to conquer the King's heart, and he would laugh at her miserable efforts, the young mistress definitely underestimated her. In addition, she kept abreast of political events. The Marquise de Montespan retired from Versailles and, ironically enough, joined a convent. The first of Madame de Montespan's seven children with the king was born in 1669. Then, explore the scandalous life of Queen Anne and her love affair that inspired ‘The Favourite.’, Meet Madame De Montespan, The Unofficial ‘Queen Of Versailles’ Dethroned By Rumors Of Infanticide, A foodie, wanderlust victim, professional Francophile, and history nerd, Andrew Milne is a freelance writer who has worked at outlets like Bon Appétit and Food Network, and currently runs content at, Australian Thief Steals Versace Necklace From Jewelry Boutique Using A Fishing Rod, The Tragic Death Of Selena, The 'Mexican Madonna' Who Was Gunned Down By Her Own Fan, What Stephen Hawking Thinks Threatens Humankind The Most, 27 Raw Images Of When Punk Ruled New York, Join The All That's Interesting Weekly Dispatch. The daughter of King Philip IV of Spain and Elisabeth de France, the Queen's Spanish title, before her marriage, was Infanta María Teresa de Austria. She was courted by a number of suitors including le comte de Frontenac and Marquis de La Fare. But far more damning to the Madame de Montespan’s reputation than the casual remarks of priests was her implication in the Affaire des Poisons scandal. Eventually, she was pushed to assist Madame de Montespan in her preparations for the King. [12][13] Suspicion that Madame de Montespan might be capable of murder or worse began when the King's eye strayed to another beauty, the Duchess of Fontanges. When the king’s authorities searched her home, they allegedly found infant bones in her garden, which an associate of Madame Monvoisin’s said were actually from abortions. She was a cultured and amusing conversationalist, who won the admiration of such literary figures as letter-writer Madame de Sévigné and diarist Saint-Simon. Later, even after her departure from court, Madame de Montespan's favourite fashions were still being copied. The marquise married another, albeit absentee, nobleman in the French court named Louis Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin, the Marquis of Montespan. Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King. Presumably, the maid resented the loss of Louis' attention. The marquis went a little wild when he found out about his wife’s infidelities with the king, and had his children hold a symbolic mass of the dead for her. After a short separation, the King and Madame de Montespan resumed their relationship,[5] resulting in the birth of two more children, Françoise Marie de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Blois, in 1677, and Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse, in 1678. Wikimedia CommonsThe Marquise de Montespan in her glory. This had the effect of making her even more appealing to men of intellect and power. Later, humiliated Louise joined a convent and the spotlight belonged now to the twenty-five-year-old Athenais de Montespan. After La Voisin was publicly burned at the stake for witchcraft, her daughter Marguerite Monvoisin, provided even more damning testimony against the marquise: “Every time something new happened to this lady and she feared the good graces of the king were diminishing, she advised my mother of it so she could bring a remedy.”. In 1679, the Witch of Paris was brought before the investigative tribunal. She is an ancestress of several royal houses in Europe, including those of Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and Portugal. The Affair of the Poisons blackened the “real Queen of France’s” name, but she fared better on trial than other women who were burned at the stake for witchcraft. Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan, Charles de Sainte-Maure, marquis de Montausier, was made. It is now believed that Mlle de Fontanges died from natural causes. However, La Tremouille had to flee to Spain after a disastrous duel, and Françoise-Athénaïs was betrothed to Montespan. Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan had seven children, only four of whom survived childhood: Madame de Montespan and four of her children: Mademoiselle de Nantes; Count of Vexin; Mademoiselle de Tours; Duke of Maine, Madame de Montespan's two surviving daughters: the blonde Mademoiselle de Blois, with her older brunette sister, the Mademoiselle de Nantes, Louise Françoise some time after her marriage to Louis III, Prince of Condé, The Count of Toulouse, Madame de Montespan's youngest child. Both were to be legitimised in 1681. Before any further developments in her romance with the King could occur, Mlle de Fontanges died in 1681. She was expensive and glorious, like the Palace of Versailles itself.

athenais madame de montespan

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