Anne de Bavière, Princesse de Condé

Born in Paris on 13 March in 1648, Anne-Henriette Julie de Bavière was the daughter of Edward, Count Palatine of Simmern, and his Italian/French wife Anne de Gonzague de Clèves, sister of the Queen of Poland Louise-Marie.

 

Although the family came from two sovereign families, they had not much of a fortune. On her father’s side, Anne was related to the Stuarts: her father being the son of Frederick V, nicknamed the Winter King, and Elizabeth Stuart, eldest daughter of James VI and I. On her mother’s side, Anne was related to the House of Lorraine and the House of Mantua. (Liselotte von der Pfalz was first-cousin to Anne-Henriette, their fathers being brothers.)

Anne was their second of three daughters. Her older sister Louise-Marie, born in 1647, married Charles Theodore, Prince of Salm, who acted Obersthofmeister at the Austrian Court. Her younger sister Bénédicte-Henriette, born in 1652, married John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg. (Their youngest daughter Wilhelmine-Amalia became the spouse of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I and one of their daughters, Maria-Josepha, married Augustus III of Poland. Their daughter Maria-Josepha became Dauphine de France as wife of Louis XV’s heir and thus the mother of Louis XVI, Louis XVIII and Charles X.)

The marriage of her parents was not a too happy one. Her mother was a rather gallant woman, fond of adventures, but not that fond of her hubby. Anne de Gonzague was well-known at the court of Louis XIV and had involved herself in the Fronde, which did not go down well with the Sun King. Some years later, he forced her to resign from the position of surintendante de la maison de la Reine, which had been promised to her and was taken again a year later. Thus Anne de Gonzague removed herself from the French court and used her new spare-time to look for a husband for her daughter Anne-Henriette.

Anne-Henriette, called Princesse Palatine at court, was fifteen years old as she was engaged to Henri-Jules de Bourbon, Duc d’Enghien, heir of le Grand Condé and thus a proper Prince du Sang. The marriage took place in the Louvre on 11 December in 1663, in presence of the King and royal family. Anne-Henriette was a beautiful young girl and praised for her gentle heart, her kindness, her piousness, as well as for her generous and charitable soul…. her groom was a small man, with dark eyes and protruding lips. Henri-Jules inherited not much of his father’s military genius, but he was well-educated and incredibly smart…. (a bit) insane too. He was prone to outbursts of temper, to violent degrees, and a proper tyrant to his young wife.

Anne de Bavière, as she was Duchesse d’Enghien.

He did not allow her to own anything, controlled her every movement, played jests on her and shooed her from one place to the other. Sometimes, he ordered her to get ready, for he wished to travel somewhere, and as soon as Anne had placed herself in the carriage, he would order her out again and postpone the travel, to start the whole thing anew, as a display of his authority. Anne always had to be ready to rush to him at a moments notice, even when she was at church, and if she failed to appear in time, she became the victim of his outbursts.

Anne tried her best to hide the consequences of these outbursts under the gowns and hair, but everyone knew that Henri-Jules was beating his wife… and sometimes, he even did it when in company.

As le Grand Condé died in 1686, Henri-Jules succeeded to the title of Prince de Condé and thus became the Premier Prince du Sang, the first of the Princes of the Blood. At that time, Anne had given him ten children already. She endured all of his outbursts, for which she was greatly admires, and although her husband mistreated her so, she always supported him as best as she could.

Anne became Princesse d’Arches in her own right after the death of her cousin Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga, the last Duke of Mantua of the House of Gonzaga, in 1708. The following year, on 1 April in 1709, her husband died, by then even more insane than he was before.

Always having had a quiet nature, Anne spent her last years as Madame la princesse de Condé douairière just as quiet and died aged 74 on 23 February in 1723. She outlived all but two of her children. Principality of Arches became extinct upon her death.

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