Marie-Louise de Montmorency-Laval, Duchesse de Roquelaure

Born around 1657, Marie-Louise de Montmorency-Laval was a daughter of Guy Urbain de Laval, Marquis de Laval-Lezay, and his wife Françoise de Sesmaisons.

 

Marie-Louise de Montmorency-Laval, Duchesse de Roquelaure

She was granted a position as fille d’honneur to the Dauphine some-when before 1683 and had to give her position up the very year. A pregnant woman could not serve as fille d’honneur and Marie-Louise was in such a condition. During her time with the Dauphine, she woke the interest of the ageing Louis XIV and the latter landed in her bed.

For him, she was just a temporary fling and thus he did not intend to claim the child as his own or legitimise it. Instead, the Sun King made haste to get Marie-Louise married to one of his noblemen.

The chosen groom was Antoine Gaston, Duc de Roquelaure, and about as old as the bride. Their marriage was celebrated on May 19 in 1683. As Marie-Louise gave birth to the child, her hubby apparently said something along the line of Welcome, Mademoiselle. I did not expect you so soon.

The child was named Françoise and another daughter, Élisabeth, followed in 1688.

Marie-Louise’s pre-marriage adventure was followed by another after the vows were exchanged. But not with the King. She became the mistress of François de Neufville, Maréchal de Villeroy… who might be the father of the second daughter, at least there was a pamphlet playing with the idea.

Surely the husband was rather angry about the infidelity? Not so much according to Saint-Simon, who writes the Duc de Roquelaure once paid a visit to Madame the Villeroy at two o’clock in the morning. Telling the lady, since her husband was sleeping with his wife, he might sleep with her.

Marie-Louise apparently had the idea for the Armorial Général de France, a sort of catalogue of coat of arms, created in 1696. She died on March 12 in 1735 and was buried at the convent des Récollets in Paris.

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