Dames de la cour

Better and lesser known ladies of Louis XIV's court.

  • Marie-Louise d’Orléans, Reine d’Espagne

    Marie-Louise was the first-born daughter of Philippe de France and Henriette d’Angleterre. Born on 27 March in 1662 at the Palais-Royal, her mother, disappointed it was not a male heir, apparently welcomed her daughter into the world with the words jeter à la rivière -throw her into the river-.   As daughter of the King’s brother and grandchild of a King,…

  • Marie de Bourbon, Duchesse de Montpensier et d’Orléans

    Marie was the only child of Henri de Bourbon, Duc de Montpensier, and his wife Henriette-Catherine de Joyeuse. Born at the château de Gaillon, in the former province of Normandy, on 15 October in 1605 into the royal house of Bourbon, Marie was a Princesse du Sang.   Her mother, one of the richest women in France, was the last member of the…

  • Henriette d’Angleterre

    Henrietta of England was born on 16 June in 1644 at Bedford House in Exeter at the height of the English Civil War. Her mother Henriette-Marie de France, daughter of le bon roi Henri, who had married Charles I of England on 13 June in 1625, lived at Oxfort with her husband during the autumn of 1643. But as, by…

  • Marquise-Thérèse de Gorla, called Mademoiselle du Parc

    Born in 1633 in Paris, Mademoiselle du Parc was a famous actress, ballet dancer and one of the stars of Molière’s troupe.   Marquise-Thérèse was the daughter of Giacomo Gorla, who was a mountebank and barker at fairs, and of Italian-Swiss origin. Giacomo Gorla settled in Lyon in 1635 with a little troupe of actors. Marquise-Thérèse seems to have started out…

  • 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…

  • Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, Duchesse de Bourbon et Princesse de Condé

    Louise-Françoise was the fourth child born to Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan. Her birth, on 1 June in 1673, took place in slightly unusual surroundings. Madame de Montespan accompanied the King, along with the rest of the court, on a military tour through Flanders.   Reaching Tournai, 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, Madame de Montespan was forced to halt…

  • Claire-Clémence de Maillé, Princesse de Condé

    Claire was born on 25 February in 1628 to Urbain de Maillé, Marquis de Brézé, and Nicole du Plessis, sister of Cardinal Richelieu. The Brézés were an old noble family from Anjou and among their members was Diane de Poitiers, mistress of Henri II, who was married to Louis de Brézé.   The Marquis de Brézé was a Marshal of…

  • Anne de Gonzague de Clèves, Princesse Palatine

    An Italian-French noblewoman married to a penniless Palatine Prince, whose ancestors could have sat on the English throne if they had not converted to Catholicism.   Born in Paris in 1616, Anne-Marie de Gonzague was the daughter of Charles de Mantoue, brother of the famous Henri de Guise, and Catherine de Lorraine. Anne was the youngest of their six children.…

  • Lydie de Rochefort-Théobon, Comtesse de Beuvron

    Born in the same year as Louis XIV, Lydie, although in favour of the Sun King for quite a while, is one of his lesser known mistresses.   She was the daughter of Jean de Rochefort-Theobon and his wife Anne de Chaussade de La Mothe. The couple also had a son, Charles Bordeaux de Rochefort, as well as two more…

  • The daughter of a gardener & Madame de Saint-Martin

    According to the Duc de Saint-Simon, the young Louis XIV amused himself briefly with the daughter of a gardener in around 1658.   The name of the girl is not known, but according to Saint-Simon she became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter in 1659. Said daughter was, of course, not recognised as child of Louis XIV and the…

  • Anne-Marie-Louise d’Orléans, Duchesse de Montpensier

    She was a grand-daughter of Henri IV, niece to Louis XIII, first cousin to Louis XIV, a woman determined to control her own life and fortune. An amazon in a world of delicate women, commonly known as La Grande Mademoiselle.   Anne-Marie was born at the Palais du Louvre in Paris on 29 May in 1627 as first child of…

  • Jeanne de Rouvroy de Chevrièvres, Comtesse de Saint-Vallier

    Born in 1650, Jeanne was the daughter of Pierre de Rouvroy, Seigneur du Puy (Also called Marquis de Rouvroy, although he didn’t actually held that title.) and Marie Ursule de Gonteri.   The name Rouvroy hints a connection to the Duc de Saint-Simon, but this Rouvroy was not part of the Rouvroy de Saint-Simon family. Jeanne, said to be very…

  • Marie-Charlotte de Castelnau, Duchesse de Gramont

    Marie-Charlotte was the last born child of Jacques de Castelnau-Mauvissiere, who became a Maréchal de France, and his wife Marie de Girard.   In 1667, during a ball at court, Mare-Charlotte spotted the very dashing Antoine-Charles de Gramont and was at once taken with him. He was a very gallant young gentleman and rather handsome to behold, someone whose vices…

  • Elizabeth Hamilton, Comtesse de Gramont

    Elizabeth Hamilton, one of Peter Lely’s Windsor Beauties, was born in 1640 in the Irish town Strabane. Her father Sir George Hamilton upheld the Royalist cause in Ireland as ally of the Stuarts and married Mary Butler, with whom he had nine children. Elizabeth being the third child and first daughter of the couple.   To escape the political tension…

  • Marie-Rosalie de Brouilly de Piennes, Marquise de Châtillon

    Born around 1665 to Antoine de Brouilly, Marquis de Piennes, and Françoise Godet, Marie-Rosalie was known as Mademoiselle de Brouilly before her marriage.   Not too much is known about the time before her marriage, but it appears that Mademoiselle de Brouilly became a short-time mistress of Louis XIV in 1682. He was in his early forties, she probably around…

  • Julie de Guenani, Marquise de Lassay

    Julie, born between 1665 and 1668, was the natural daughter of Henri-Jules de Bourbon, at that time Duc d’Enghien, and Françoise-Charlotte de Montalais, Comtesse de Marans. She is known under various names: Julie de Bourbon, Julie de Gheneni, an anagram of Enghien, or in a slightly different spelling as Julie de Guenani. At court, as Mademoiselle de Châteaubriant.   Her…

  • Anne-Lucie de la Mothe-Houdancourt, Marquise de La Vieuville

    Born in 1647 to Antoine de La Mothe, Marquis d’Houdancourt, and Catherine de Beaujeu, Anne-Lucie lost her mother shortly after her birth.   In care of her father, she grew up well-educated. Aged fifteen, Madame de Créquy called her a blonde beauty, sharp, bold, a bit cheeky and an expert in coquetry. At the beginning on 1662, as Louis XIV was…

  • 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.   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…

  • Anne-Élisabeth de France & Marie-Anne de France

    After the Dauphin was born in 1661, Louis XIV and his wife Marie-Thérèse became the parents of two daughters. Both of them died in infancy.   Anne-Élisabeth de France, named after her grandmothers Anne d’Autriche and Élisabeth de France, was born at the Louvre on November 18 in 1662. A bit over a month later, on December 30, the little…

  • François-Timoléon de Choisy

    One of my favourite people of Louis le Grand’s court is the Abbé de Choisy. A 17th century transvestite who lived a rather adventurous life.   Born in 1644 in Paris, he came from a not too wealthy family, which managed to enter the ranks of noblesse. Francois was the last born son of Jean III de Choisy, seigneur de…

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