Monday, June 22, 2009

Louis XIV's Mistresses - Madame de Montespan

Around 1668, Louise de Valliere -- as referred to in the previous blog post-- was no longer the king's favorite. Francoise Athenais, who had been one of Henriette od England's maids-of-honor had secretly fallen in love with the king yet she swiftly and soon publicly replaced her in the king's affections. Francoise was connected to a very noble family, The House of Rochechouart, and was known for her outgoing charm that the family was known for possessing. She was definitely very beautiful having golden blonde hair and blue eyes. Her hair was very thick and in order to please the king, always kept it up in the latest styles that were admired and copied by ladies of the court. She did marry in 1663 to a nobleman, the Marquess of Montespan whom she didn't pay much attention to and had two children with one of which, a son, survived to adulthood. As the Marquise de Montespan, she still continued her passionate affair with Louis XIV and bore him seven children who once born were whisked away to the country to escape the prying eyes of courtiers. The children were later presented to the court while their mother even carried on other affairs behind Louis XIV's back. She was known to have been with the famous French chef Francois Vatel and even Louis XIV right hand man Marquise de Lauzan who was banished from court once the affair was brought to the surface. Banishement, even though you cam back was political suicide and the person was permanately out of favor with Louis XIV. All the while Madame de Montespan got away with her secret affairs while she still carried on a strong relationship with Louis XIV. Madame de Montspan was a fashion icon, politically aware in a time where women were barred from politics and a great conversationalist.

However, her time under the rays of the Sun King did not last forever even though Louis XIV was very faithful to her he became interested in other young ladies of the court since Madame de Montespan was getting much older and larger. Yet, it wasn't just her beauty that had lost its value in later years but her connection to witchcraft that soon left her in disgrace. She knew that the king's love was waning and is said to have secretly put "magic" powders and liquids in his food that were supposed to create a love potion in order for Louis XIV to keep his eyes on her only. Louis XIV late complained of headaches after consuming a certain drink every morning that was given to him and soon recognized he had been consuming a love potion. Louis XIV was disgusted and Madame de Monstespan was shamed and soon put into exile. The king forgave her and visited her daily after that yet he had already found a new love and now valued her for conversation rather than for a relationship. Montespan soon retired in a convent away from the court where she once was known as the "true" Queen of France, the Sun Queen basking in the court of the Sun King.

Madame de Montespan
and her children

Young Francois-Athenais

1 comment:

  1. She was so much in love with Louis XIV. He was crazy to let her go.