Marie Anne de Wurtemberg, Princesse de Wurtemberg

Anna Maria Ignacia von Württemberg, sometimes also Maria Anna, or in French Marie Anne Ignace de Wurtemberg, was the daughter of Ulrich von Württemberg-Neuenbürg, younger brother of the reigning Herzog von Württemberg, and his second wife. His first wife Gräfin Sophia Dorothea von Solms, which he married in 1647, had died in child-bed and the child two days later. Ulrich married again in 1651, this time Princesse Isabelle Madeleine d’Arenberg, a daughter of the Prince de Barbançon.

 

 

The marriage was not too happy. Isabella gave birth to Anna Maria Ignacia on December 27 in 1652. A second daughter born in 1653 died early. Since the marriage was not a too happy one, Ulrich parted with his wife, without officially divorcing her, and Isabella moved to Paris with her daughter.

Mademoiselle de Wurtemberg was brought up in a Parisian convent under the protection of Anne d’Autriche. She lived a quiet life there until Charles II took it into mind to consider her as bride for his brother James. Anne Hyde, the wife of James, died in 1671 and by the end of the year James’ heir passed away as well. James had two daughters by Anne Hyde, yet was in need of a male heir to secure the Stuart line. The competition was strong. Mary of Modena, Élisabeth Marguerite d’Orléans, the widow of the Duc de Guise and daughter of Louis XIII’s brother Gaston, and Mademoiselle de Retz were considered as possible brides. Mademoiselle de Wurtemberg made a good impression on the English ambassador. He found her very pleasant, very fresh, healthy and she appeared to him very modest. Charles II decided otherwise and Mary of Modena became James’ bride.

Mademoiselle de Wurtemberg left her Parisian convent in the late 1670’s and was introduced to the French court. She made quite the impression at court, both by birth and beauty, and was soon an object of interest for Louis XIV. She became his mistress for a brief period in 1681, which enraged the current official mistress Madame de Montespan.

The Marquise de Montespan was not as beautiful anymore as she once was and already annoyed her royal lover a fair bit as he ogled the Duchesse de Fontanges. Said Duchesse died shortly after and posed no danger anymore, but then the beautiful Mademoiselle de Wurtemberg showed up. It was the height of the l’affaire des poisons and to get rid of her rival, la Montespan whispered to Louis XIV that Mademoiselle de Wurtemberg was once the mistress of a Jacobin monk who claimed to have found the philosopher’s stone.

It worked out and Mademoiselle de Wurtemberg had to withdraw from court. She never married and spent the rest of her life in a Ursulines convent in Lyon, where she died on December 10 in 1693.

 

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