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Dictionary of Art and Artists


The Early Modern Period

16th - 18th century


The smooth transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age is conventionally fixed on such events as the Reformation and the discovery of the "New World," which brought about the emergence of a new image of man and his world. Humanism, which spread out of Italy, also made an essential contribution to this with its promotion of a critical awareness of Christianity and the Church. The Reformation eventually broke the all-embracing power of the Church. After the Thirty Years' War, the concept of a universal empire was also nullified. The era of the nation-state began, bringing with it the desire to build up political and economic power far beyond Europe. The Americas, Africa, and Asia provided regions of expansion for the Europeans.

Proportions of the Human Figure by Leonardo da Vinci (drawing, ca. 1490)
is a prime example of the new approach of Renaissance
artists and scientists to the anatomy of the human body.



France: From the Wars of Religion to the Eve of the Revolution



Mistress of the king of France

French royal mistresses


A royal mistress is the historical position of a mistress to a monarch or senior Royal. Some mistresses have had considerable power. The prevalence of the institution can be attributed to the fact that Royal marriages were until recent times conducted solely on the basis of political and dynastic considerations, leaving little space for the monarch's personal preferences in the choice of a mate.

Favourite, a term sometimes used for mistresses, although also used for court favourites of the monarch with no sexual element in the relationship, often serving as ministers.

In European history the children of mistresses were not normally included in the line of succession, except perhaps when secret marriages were alleged. Hence Britain's Monmouth Rebellion when James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth claimed the throne on the grounds that his mother had been the wife rather than one of the mistresses of Charles II.

Arguably the most famous French royal mistress was Madame de Pompadour.




Henry IV of France's wives and mistresses

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry IV of France was notorious for his tumultuous and politically complicated love life.Henry IV of France's wives and mistresses played a significant role in the politics of his reign. Both Henry (1553–1610) and his first wife Marguerite of Valois, whom he married in 1572, were repeatedly unfaithful to each other, and the collapse of their marriage led to their estrangement and living apart. Although Henry fathered children with a series of mistresses, his lack of a legitimate heir became a cause of concern, and his marriage was not annulled until 1599. In 1600, at the age of forty-six, he married his second wife, Marie de' Medici, who bore him six children, including the future Louis XIII. Henry was unfaithful to Marie from the first and insisted that she raise his illegitimate children along with her own.
Henry's womanising became legendary, earning him the nickname of Le Vert Galant. His sexual appetite was said to have been insatiable, and he always kept mistresses, often several at a time, as well as engaging in random sexual encounters and visits to brothels. Even so, he tended to elevate one mistress above the others and shower her with money, honours, and promises. His two most famous mistresses of this type were Gabrielle d'Estrées, who died in 1599, and her successor, Henriette d'Entragues, who involved herself in plots against the crown. Henry promised marriage to each of them, exposing himself to a series of political problems.

Born in 1553, Henry was the son of Jeanne d'Albret, who became the Queen Regnant of Navarre two years after he was born. His father, Antoine of Bourbon, was constantly unfaithful to Jeanne. The couple also differed over religion: Jeanne became a staunch Huguenot, whereas Antoine wavered, for political reasons, between the Catholicism of his birth and the faith of his wife. His vacillating character earned him the epithet ondoyant (one whose mind changes, or undulates) from the essayist Montaigne, a description later sometimes applied to his son. The public squabbling between Jeanne and Antoine became scandalous during Henry's childhood, and in 1560, when he was seven, Jeanne took him to the French court. After Antoine ordered her back to her kingdom of Navarre in 1562, she left Henry behind, and she was reunited with him only in 1566 during the royal progress to the south. Among Henry's playmates at the French court were the future Henry III of France and Henry of Guise.

Marguerite of Valois
Her mother, Catherine de' Medici called her "my affliction" and "this creature".By 1570, Catherine de' Medici, the powerful mother of King Charles IX, was seeking a marriage between her youngest daughter Marguerite, also known as Margot, and Henry. Catherine, who believed in dynastic marriage as a potent political tool, aimed to unite the interests of the Valois and the Bourbons. Given the ill health of her sons, she also wished to join the two bloodlines, since Henry of Navarre stood to inherit the French throne should her sons fail to produce male heirs. The seventeen-year-old Marguerite, however, was secretly involved with Henry of Guise, the son of the late Duke of Guise. When Catherine found this out, she had Marguerite brought from her bed. Catherine and the king then beat her, ripping her nightclothes and pulling out handfuls of her hair. Henry of Guise fled the court and, threatened with death by King Charles IX, hurriedly announced his engagement to Catherine of Cleves. Some sources claim that he narrowly escaped being caught in Marguerite's bed, but biographer Leonie Frieda regards this as unlikely, given the risks.

By all accounts, however, Marguerite was deemed highly attractive, even sexually magnetic. In 1572, the court chronicler Pierre de Bourdeille, seigneur de Brantôme, after watching her in a festival procession, described her as follows:
One had never seen anything lovelier in the world. Beside the beauty of her face and her well-turned body, she was superbly dressed and fantastically valuable jewellery adorned her attire. Her lovely face shone with faultless white skin and her hair was dressed with big white pearls, precious stones and extremely rare diamonds shaped like stars—one could say that her natural beauty and the shimmering of her jewels competed with a brilliant night sky full of stars, so to speak.
The staunchly Protestant Queen Jeanne was at first strongly opposed to the marriage on religious grounds. Catherine, however, was persistent in her calls for Jeanne to attend the French court. Writing that she wanted to see Jeanne's children, she promised not to harm them. Jeanne replied: "Pardon me if, reading that, I want to laugh, because you want to relieve me of a fear that I've never had. I've never thought that, as they say, you eat little children". When Jeanne did attend court, Catherine piled mental pressure on her. Jeanne wrote to Henry: "I am not free to talk with either the King or Madame, only the Queen Mother, who goads me [me traite á la fourche] ... You have doubtless realized that their main object, my son, is to separate you from God, and from me". Catherine played manipulatively on Jeanne's hopes for her son and finally won her agreement to the marriage by promising that Henry could remain a Huguenot. When Jeanne arrived in Paris to buy clothes for the wedding, she was taken ill and died, aged forty-four; and Henry succeeded her as the King of Navarre. Huguenot writers later accused Catherine of murdering Jeanne with poisoned gloves. The wedding took place on 18 August 1572 at Notre-Dame, Paris.

A royal match between a Roman Catholic and a Huguenot was controversial and irregular. The pope refused to grant a dispensation for the marriage, and the different faiths of the bridal couple made for an unusual wedding service. For example, Henry did not attend the mass, where his place was taken by Marguerite's brother Henry, Duke of Anjou. The wedding took place in Paris on 17 August 1572. After a nuptial lunch, four days of balls, masques and banquets ensued, only to be interrupted by the outbreak of violence in Paris. After the attempted assassination of the Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny on 22 August 1572, Catherine de' Medici and King Charles, to forestall the expected Huguenot backlash, ordered the murder of the Huguenot leaders gathered in Paris for the wedding. The result was the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre, beginning on the night of 23–24 August, in which thousands of Huguenots were killed in Paris and throughout France. Marguerite of Valois later described in her Memoirs the chaos and bloodshed in the Tuileries Palace, where she and her new husband were lodged. Henry found himself escorted to a room with his cousin Henry, prince of Condé, and told to choose between death and conversion to Roman Catholicism. He chose the latter. For a while, Catherine de' Medici considered having him killed, but when she proposed to her daughter that the marriage be annulled, Marguerite replied that this was impossible because she had already had sexual relations with Henry and was "in every sense" his wife.

Charlotte de Sauve, Henry's mistress during the early years of his marriage to Marguerite of Valois, may have worked as an informant for Catherine de' Medici.Until 1576, Henry remained at court, siding with Marguerite and her brother François of Alençon against Henry III , who became king in 1574. During this time, Henry of Navarre often ignored Marguerite and instead slept with his mistress, Charlotte de Sauve. It appeared, in the words of Henry's biographer David Buisseret, as if "the pleasure-loving and libidinous elements of his ancestry had finally gained the upper hand". A rivalry developed between him and Alençon over the beautiful de Sauve, who was one of Catherine de' Medici's so-called "flying squadron", a group of "court lovelies" whom Catherine used to lure noblemen to court and, it was rumoured, as informants. According to Marguerite's Memoirs, de Sauve "treated both of them in such a way that they became extremely jealous of each other ... to such a point that they forgot their ambitions, their duties and their plans and thought of nothing but chasing after this woman". De Sauve may have been acting as a tool of Henry III and Catherine in their attempts to split the two men. Henry of Navarre's good judgement was already known to desert him when it came to women. He wrote to a friend:
This Court is the strangest place on earth. We are nearly always ready to cut each other's throats ... All the band you know wants my death on account of my love for Monsieur [Alençon] and they have forbidden my mistress to speak to me. They have such a hold on her that she does not dare look at me ... they say they will kill me, and I want to be one jump ahead of them.

Marguerite's behaviour was also the subject of scandal. On one occasion in 1575, Catherine de' Medici was heard yelling at her, accusing her of taking a lover. In a separate incident, the king sent a band of assassins to murder Marguerite's lover Bussy d’Amboise, a friend of Alençon's, who managed to escape. As Catherine's biographer Leonie Frieda puts it: "he then decided to leave the Court immediately citing health reasons, which happened to be nothing less than the truth". In 1576, Henry III accused Marguerite of improper relations with a lady-in-waiting. Marguerite claimed in her memoirs that he would have killed her if Catherine had not stopped him. Despite their sexual infidelities, Marguerite remained politically loyal to her husband during the early period of their marriage and helped him negotiate the complexities of the court. By 1575, however, their relations were no longer physical: "I could not endure the pain that I felt," she recalled in her Memoirs, "and I stopped sleeping with the King my husband".

In 1576, Henry managed to slip away while hunting and made for his kingdom, where he abjured the Catholic religion on 13 June. For a time, the abandoned Marguerite found herself imprisoned, suspected of complicity, and was afterwards distrusted by her own family. Henry eventually demanded that she be brought to him. In 1578, therefore, Catherine de' Medici travelled south to Nérac and duly delivered Marguerite to her husband. At first, in this new phase in their marriage, the couple managed a show of harmony, but strains were apparent. In 1580 a religious war later called the "Lovers' War" broke out between the Huguenots and King Henry III. Although inaccurate, this name for the war relates to a series of scandals at the Navarre court and to the notion that Henry of Navarre took up arms in response to jibes about his love life from the French court. At this point, he was conducting a passionate affair with a mistress known as "La Belle Fosseuse", while Marguerite was involved with one of his own commanders, the Vicomte de Turenne. Henry wrote to Marguerite apologising for the state of affairs between them. He expressed "extreme regret that instead of bringing you contentment ... I have brought the opposite".

In 1582, Marguerite returned to the French court without her husband, who was still openly besotted with La Fosseuse. Before long, she began taking lovers again, such as Harlay de Champvallon, one of her brother François's retinue, and acting more scandalously than ever. After a rumour that she had borne Champvallon a child, Henry III ordered her back to Navarre and then had her carriage searched and detained her in an abbey for questioning. According to her Memoirs, when Marguerite was interrogated, she screamed, "He complains of how I spend my time? Does he not remember that it was he who first put my foot in the stirrup!"
Henry of Navarre at first refused to take Marguerite back unless Henry III made a public statement asserting her innocence of all the charges against her. Catherine de' Medici sent Pomponne de Bellièvre south to smooth things over and arrange Marguerite's return. In a letter, she spelled out to Marguerite that a royal wife must bear her husband's affairs without complaint, recalling proudly that her own conduct as a wife had been impeccable, despite all provocation. Marguerite was reunited with Henry on 13 April 1584, but she failed to heed her mother's words, even though the death of her brother François in June 1584 made her husband heir presumptive to the French throne. Henry himself was under increased pressure to produce an heir. He was advised by his closest friend Philippe Duplessis-Mornay that it was now "time to make love to France".

In 1585, Henry embarked on a passionate love affair with a widow called Diane d'Andouins, nicknamed La Belle Corisande. Marguerite found it impossible to ignore this particular lover of Henry's, since d'Andouins was pressing Henry to repudiate Marguerite so that she could become queen of Navarre herself. Marguerite responded by attempting to poison Henry, and then she shot at him with a pistol but missed. To escape his revenge, she fled the Kingdom of Navarre again, this time to her property at Agen. From there she wrote to her mother begging for money. Catherine sent her enough "to put food on her table" but was contemptuous.

Marguerite attempted to strengthen the fortifications at Agen, raise troops, and ally with the Catholic League against her husband. Before long, however, the officials and people of Agen drove her out of the town.[29] Retreating to her lofty and impregnable fortress of Carlat, and refusing her mother's pleas that she move to a royal manor, she there took a lover called d’Aubiac. Catherine's patience ran out, and she insisted that Henry III arrest "this insufferable torment" and act "before she brings shame on us again".On 13 October 1586, therefore, the king had Marguerite forcibly removed from Carlat and locked up in the Château d’Usson. D'Aubiac was executed, though not, as Catherine demanded,[32] in front of Marguerite. Catherine cut Marguerite out of her will. Marguerite never saw her mother or brother again. Marguerite assumed she was going to die and even employed a food taster at the château. In a "farewell" letter to her mother, she asked that after her execution a post-mortem be held to prove that she was not, despite gossip, pregnant with d'Aubiac's child. At this point, her luck took a turn for the better. Her gaoler, the Marquis de Canillac, whom she was rumoured to have seduced, suddenly switched from the royal side in the civil war to that of the Catholic League and released her in early 1587. Her freedom suited the League perfectly: her continued existence guaranteed that Henry of Navarre would remain without an heir. This problem became acute for Henry after he succeeded to the throne of France in 1589.

Gabrielle d'Estrées
Gabrielle d'Estrées, Duchess of Beaufort, came closest of all Henry's mistresses to marrying him.Henry IV was an energetic soldier who spent long periods at war. After military campaigns, he rewarded himself with bouts of idle pleasure, hunting during the day, gambling in the evening, and womanising at night. His companion in these leisure pursuits was often the banker Sébastien Zamet, who lent him vast sums of money and made his house available to the king for dalliances. One drawback to Henry's philandering, however, was a proneness to venereal diseases. In October 1598, he nearly died from an infection of the bladder, and an attack of gonorrhoea a few weeks later briefly brought on a heart problem. On 6 November, he wrote to the Duke of Sully that the illness "has made me very depressed [tout chagrin], and I do everything that my doctors recommend, so keen am I to get better".

Henry's sexual appetite, said to have been insatiable, was often indiscriminate, but he always recognised a particular mistress as his first lady. One such was Gabrielle d'Estrées, whom he met at Cœuvres in 1590 and later made the duchess of Beaufort. This relationship was castigated by Henry's enemies in the church, particularly by the Capuchins. On one occasion, arriving at her apartments near the Louvre, Henry was stabbed in the face by a Jesuit would-be-assassin called Jean Chastel, who slashed his mouth and broke one of his teeth. In 1594, d'Estrées bore Henry a son, César, who was legitimised in 1596. Henry's duchess had gradually risen in prominence, and she acted as her royal lover's hostess for diplomatic occasions, such as the surrender talks with the rebel Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Mayenne, in 1596. In October of that year, an Italian observer reported that "among the French nobility people begin to expect that the king intends to name as his successor the natural son born of Gabrielle". Henry's advisers were deeply opposed to any such plan, however, which would guarantee a war of succession—but, for a while, Henry seemed determined.[ When the last of the Catholic League rebels, Philippe Emmanuel, Duke of Mercoeur, surrendered in 1598, Henry and Gabrielle's son, César, was ceremonially promised in marriage to Mercoeur's daughter, though both were small children. The chronicler Pierre de L'Estoile records a vignette of Gabrielle d'Estrées' status at this time: "The duchess of Beaufort [was] seated in a chair, and Madame de Guise brought her the various dishes with great ceremony. Gabrielle took what she most liked with one hand, and gave her other to be kissed by the king, who was near her".

By early 1599, Henry's marriage to Marguerite of Valois looked likely to be annulled at last. And so, at the age of forty-six and still without a legitimate heir, Henry felt free to propose to Gabrielle d'Estrées. On Mardi Gras, Henry placed on her finger the ring with which he had "married" France at his coronation in 1593. During Holy Week, however, Gabrielle, who was pregnant at the time, fell ill; by Holy Saturday, to the relief of many in France, she was dead. Rumours flew that she had been poisoned, but in fact she died from an aborted pregnancy. Though grief-stricken, Henry grasped that his fiancée's death had saved him from disaster: his plan to declare his two sons by d'Estrées heirs to the throne would have precipitated a major political crisis. The English agent Edmondes reported:
And the King himselfe doth freelie confesse it, that albeit her death is a great grief unto him, in regard that he did so dearlie love her, and intending as he acknowledgeth to have married her, but that God having directlie manifested that he would not suffer him to fall into the danger of so great an error and inconvenience to himselfe and to his state, that he will not fail to make a lesson thereof.

Henry provided Gabrielle d'Estrées with a grandiose funeral and drowned his sorrows with a sustained spree of womanising. Sir Henry Neville, the English ambassador, reported that Henry was spending time "in secret manner at Zamet's house", where "la belle garce Claude" was known to entertain, and that he was fervently courting Henriette d'Entragues, the daughter of Charles IX's former mistress, Marie Touchet. Royal accounts record that Henry was soon making large payments to "Mademoiselle d'Entragues", as well as to "Mademoiselle des Fossez". D'Entragues quickly replaced d’Estrées as Henry's principal mistress. She extracted from him, in Neville's words, "100,000 crowns in ready money and an yearly pension" as proof of his commitment. At about the same time, Henry began affairs with Marie Babou de la Bourdaisière and with two wives of Paris parlement members, madames Quélin and Potier.

Marie de' Medici
In October 1599, the parlement of Paris officially petitioned that Henry marry a princess worthy of his dignity. Henry took note and began considering candidates from several foreign states. According to Sully, however, he ruled out a German wife, on the grounds that it would feel like going to bed with a wine-barrel. Henry was keenest on Maria de' Medici, the niece of Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and the daughter of the previous duke, Francesco I de' Medici. What he found particularly attractive about Maria was her enormous wealth.

Henry's second wife, Marie de' Medici. Ralph Winwood, described her as "of a comely stature", whose beauty was without artifice.]On 17 December 1599, the Archbishop of Arles pronounced the annulment of Henry's marriage to Marguerite of Valois. The Medici marriage contract was signed in April 1600, pledging a huge dowry of 600,000 écus, part of which was subtracted to pay Henry's debts to Ferdinando. Henry played his part by proclaiming undying devotion to Maria in a series of letters, though he was sending similar love letters to Henriette d'Entragues, telling her in one that he wanted to kiss her a million times. A proxy marriage took place in Florence in October 1600, and then Maria—to be known in France as Marie—sailed in great pomp for Marseille, where she disembarked on 3 November. Henry, on campaign in Savoy, rode to meet her at Lyon, where he found her at supper. He visited her afterwards in her chamber; according to Ralph Winwood, secretary to English ambassador Sir Henry Neville:
She met him at the door, and offered to kneel down, but he took her in his arms, where he held her embraced a long time ... He doth profess to the World the great Contentment he finds in her, how that for her Beauty, her sweet and pleasing carrriage, her gracious behaviour, she doth surpass the relation which hath been made of her, and the Expectation which he thereby conceived.

The couple underwent a second marriage ceremony in Lyon; and Marie finally reached Paris on 7 February, already pregnant. She found her new home, the Louvre, so shabby that at first she thought Henry was playing a joke. She gave birth to a son, Louis, at the Palace of Fontainebleau on 7 September 1601, to the delight of Henry, who had rushed from military duties to her bedside to serve, he joked, as one of her midwives. The moment Henry was told that the child was a boy, he ushered two hundred courtiers into the chamber to share the euphoria. The baby was fed a spoonful of wine and handed over to a governess, Baroness Monglat, and to the physician Jean Héroard, an expert on the bone structure of horses. According to Winwood, the baby was a "strong and a goodly prince, and doth promise long life". The birth of a dauphin, as the first son of a French king was known, inspired rejoicing and bonfires throughout France.

Marie believed that after bearing a son, she "would begin to be a queen". However, a few weeks later, Henrietta d'Entragues also produced a son, and Henry not only made just as much fuss over this son but declared that he was better-looking, not fat and dark like Louis and the Medici. In the words of biographer David Buisseret, "the royal couple was well embarked upon nine years of mutual recrimination and misunderstandings, in which the fault plainly lay with the king".
Henry had made Marie's position clear to her from the first. When she began by pressing him to accept the decrees of the Council of Trent, he told her to keep her nose out of state business and look after herself. Shortly after Marie's arrival in Paris, Henry had introduced Henriette d'Entragues to her, reportedly pushing Henriette further towards the ground when her curtsey was not low enough. He housed his senior mistress close to the Louvre and was seen dining with the queen and d'Entragues together. Marie also had to cope with a second public mistress, La Bourdaisière, as well as with Henry's continued visits to Zamet's house for services provided by "la belle garce Claude". In the next nine years, Marie bore Henry six children; but he also sired five more by d'Entragues, Jacqueline du Beuil, and Charlotte des Essarts. Nonetheless, Henry often wrote affectionate letters to Marie and in other ways treated her with respect.

Henriette d'Entragues, Marquise de Verneuil, believed that Henry had legally promised to marry her and that his children by the queen were therefore bastards.Henriette d'Entragues never reconciled herself to Henry's marriage, and she drove Marie to tears by calling her his "fat banker", claiming her own children were Henry's legitimate heirs and branding the dauphin a bastard. Henry's devotion to d'Entragues was tested during the revolt of Marshal Biron in 1602, in which her half-brother, Charles, Count of Auvergne, was implicated and she was compromised. Though Biron was executed, Henry released Auvergne to please Henriette. In 1604, she was at the heart of a Spanish-backed plot to install her son by the king as heir to the throne. Her father, the sieur d'Entragues, was involved in this plot, along with, again, her half-brother. Henriette d'Entragues was sentenced to confinement in a convent, but Henry was moved to spare her even that and allowed her to retire to her estate at Verneuil. Despite the king's clemency, Henriette d'Entragues may have continued to plot further against him. According to a government report of 1616, a former companion of d'Entragues, Mlle d'Escoman, had claimed in 1611 that d'Entragues had met François Ravaillac, Henry's assassin of 1610. However, this evidence is compromised by the fact that, at the time she made this accusation, Mlle d'Escoman was in prison on another charge .

The dauphin, Louis, turned out to be a difficult and temperamental child, and some historians have blamed this on his parents and the circumstances of his upbringing. He was raised just outside Paris at the château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, not only alongside Marie's other children by Henry but, as Henry insisted, with several children of Henry's mistresses. Henry always seemed to get his mistresses pregnant at the same time as Marie. Just as Marie was in constant competition with Henry's mistresses, so her children were forced to compete with their children for his affection. The fact that Henry's three children by Gabrielle d'Estrées were older than the heir to the throne caused particular problems of rivalry. César and Alexandre were later to rebel against Louis when he was king. He did not hesitate to throw them into prison.

Louis shared his father's stubbornness, but he may have inherited his temper tantrums from his mother, who often gave Henry tongue-lashings in public. Although Marie has been accused of lacking affection for her children, a study of her letters reveals the contrary, though she was a stern disciplinarian. She wrote to the dauphin's governess, for example, asking her to avoid whippings when the weather was hot and to beat Louis only "with such caution that the anger he might feel would not cause any illness". On another occasion, she reprimanded her middle daughter, Chrétienne, for being ill, accusing her of not following the advice of her doctors. Marie personally educated the children in practical matters, such as etiquette. After Henry's assassination in 1610, she became regent of France and retained influence over Louis XIII until he finally rejected her in 1617.

Henry's last passion was for Charlotte of Montmorency, the fifteen-year-old wife of Henry, prince of Condé, First Prince of the Blood. The king had arranged Charlotte's marriage to Condé for his own convenience, in order to sleep with her himself when he pleased. To escape from this predicament, the couple fled to Brussels. The king was enraged and threatened to march into Flanders with an army unless the Habsburg governors returned Condé and his wife at once. At the time, he was also threatening war with the Habsburgs over the succession to the United Duchies of Jülich-Cleves-Berg, so historians are unsure how crucial in itself Charlotte's return was as a reason for war. Condé continued to provoke Henry from Flanders. When asked to drink to the queen of France, he replied that there seemed to be more than one queen of France, maybe as many as four or five.




Henry IV of France

Charlotte de Sauve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charlotte de Beaune Semblançay, Baroness de Sauve, Marquise de Noirmoutier (c.1551- 1617), was a mistress of King Henry of Navarre, who later ruled as King Henry IV of France. She was a member of Catherine de' Medici's notorious Flying Squadron (Escadron Volant in French), a group of beautiful female spies and informants recruited to seduce important men at Court, and thereby extract information to pass on to the Queen Mother.[1]

Charlotte was born in France, the daughter of Jacques de Semblançay and Gabrielle de Sade. Her grandfather was a superindendent of finance to King Francis I. She was married to Simon de Fizes, Baron de Sauve, secretary of state first to King Charles IX and afterwards King Henry III, on an unknown date. In the words of historian Jean Heritier, her background meant that "at twenty-one, she knew all there was to be known about politics".

She was appointed maid-of-honour to Marguerite de Valois. She is recorded as taking part in some of the pageants and ballets which Catherine de' Medici produced. She helped Catherine mount a lavish show depicting the Apotheosis of Woman on June 9 1577 at the château of Chenonceau. In 1579 her husband died. Charlotte married secondly in 1584, Francois de La Tremoille, Marquis de Noirmoutier, by whom she had a son, Louis de La Tremoille, in 1586.

Flying squadron
Shortly after Henry of Navarre's marriage to Catherine's daughter Marguerite de Valois, in 1572, Catherine recruited Charlotte to her squadron, her purpose being that Charlotte was to seduce Navarre, become his confidante as well as mistress, and thus extract information which she would duly pass on to Catherine. The squadron had a male counterpart in "Les Mignons". Charlotte quickly became Navarre's mistress and exerted a strong influence over him. His wife Marguerite recorded in her memoirs: "Mme de Sauve so completely ensnared my husband that we no longer slept together, not even conversed". She accused de Sauve ("that Circe") of persuading Henry that she was jealous of de Sauve, with the result that Henry, whose affairs Marguerite had allowed, stopped confiding in her.

Charlotte de Sauve has been credited as a source of the information that led to the execution of Marguerite de Valois's lover Joseph Boniface de La Môle and Annibal de Coconat for conspiracy in 1574. In 1575, Catherine de' Medici, abetted by her son Henry III, instructed Charlotte to seduce the king's brother, her youngest son, François, Duke of Alençon, with the aim of provoking hostility between the two young men, so that they would not conspire together in the future. Charlotte subsequently became the duke's mistress, creating a rift between the former close friends, as Navarre and Alençon became rivals over Charlotte. According to Marguerite's memoirs: "Charlotte de Sauve treated both of them [Navarre and Alençon] in such a way that they became extremely jealous of each other, to such a point that they forgot their ambitions, their duties and their plans and thought of nothing but chasing after this woman". Henry of Navarre wrote to a friend: "The court is the strangest I have ever known. We are nearly always ready to cut each other's throat ... All the band you know wants my death on account of my love for Monsieur [Alençon] and they have forbidden for the third time my mistress [Charlotte de Sauve] to speak to me. They have such a hold on her that she does not dare look at me. I am waiting for a minor battle, for they say they will kill me, and I want to be one jump ahead of them". On one occasion, Henry III had Alençon's papers searched for evidence of political plotting but turned up only a declaration of love from Madame de Sauve.

Charlotte de Sauve later became the mistress of Henry I, Duke of Guise, with whom she spent the evening at Blois on 22/23 December 1588, before his assassination by King Henry III of France the following morning. She had other lovers, including the Duc d'Epernon and the Seigneur d'Avrilly. Charlotte de Sauve died on an unknown date in 1617 at about sixty-six years of age.


Charlotte de Beaune-Semblançay




Henry IV of France


Diane d'Andoins (1554 - 1621)

aus Wikipedia, der freien Enzyklopädie

Diane d’Andoins (* 1554 auf Schloss Hagetmau in der Gascogne; † 1620 auf Schloss Hagetmau), oft auch La belle Corisande (deutsch: Die schöne Corisande) genannt, war Gräfin von Guiche und von 1583 bis etwa 1590 Mätresse des französischen Königs Heinrich IV.

Die intelligente und gebildete Frau aus altem Gascogner Adel wusste Heinrich IV. durch ihren Esprit und Intellekt acht Jahre lang an sich zu binden. Während dieser Zeit war sie nicht nur seine einflussreiche Geliebte, sondern auch Ratgeberin und politische Verbündete. Ihren Beinamen Corisande gab sich Diane selbst und entlieh ihn von der Heldin aus dem chevaleresken Roman Amadis de Gaule.

Selbst nachdem Heinrich IV. das Verhältnis zu Diane offiziell zugunsten seiner neuen Mätresse Gabrielle d’Estrées beendet hatte, blieben die beiden weiterhin freundschaftlich verbunden.


Kindheit und Jugend
Diane d’Andouins wurde 1554 als älteste Tochter Paul d’Andouins’, Graf von Louvigny und Seneschall des Béarns, und dessen erster Frau Anne-Marguerite de Cauna auf dem elterlichen Schloss in Hagetmau 26 Kilometer südlich von Mont-de-Marsan geboren. Über ihre Eltern war sie sowohl mit den Grafen von Foix als auch mit der Familie von Poitiers verwandt und gehörte damit dem hohen Adel des Königreichs Navarra an.

Bereits mit acht Jahren war sie Vollwaise und wuchs unter der Obhut Jeanne d’Albrets am navarresischen Königshof in Pau auf. Als Alleinerbin einer der ältesten Adelsfamilien des Béarns und der Gascogne hatte sie eine große Mitgift zu erwarten und war dementsprechend eine begehrte Heiratskandidatin. Schon im Alter von zwölf Jahren wurde die hugenottisch erzogene Diane für volljährig erklärt, um am 16. August 1576 in einer feierlichen Zeremonie auf Schloss Pau mit Philibert de Gramont aus dem katholischen Haus der Grafen von Guiche verlobt zu werden. Für die Hochzeit, die 13 Monate später, am 21. November 1568, auf Schloss Bidache stattfand, konvertierte sie zum Katholizismus. Kurz nach der Heirat verzichtete Philiberts Vater Antoine I. de Gramont zugunsten seines Sohnes auf den Grafentitel und machte Diane damit zur Gräfin von Guiche.


Gräfin von Guiche
Aus der Ehe mit Philibert gingen zwei Kinder hervor:

Antoine II. de Gramont, (* etwa 1572–1644) 1. Herzog von Gramont, ∞ 1.) 1. September 1601 Louise de Roquelaure, 2.) 17. März 1618 Claude de Montmorency-Routeville
Catherine Charlotte (1573–1627), ∞ 1591 François Nompar de Caumont, Graf von Lauzun
Geschichtsschreiber des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts vertraten oft die Meinung, Dianes Sohn Antoine sei ein uneheliches Kind Heinrichs IV. gewesen. Sie kolportierten damit eine Behauptung aus dem 1620 erstmals erschienen Roman Roman royal ou Aventures de la Cour, den Louise-Marguerite de Lorraine unter einem Pseudonym veröffentlicht hatte, der jedoch keineswegs historische Korrektheit beanspruchte. In dieser später auch unter dem Titel Les amours du grand Alcandre bekannten Publikation über die Liebesaffären Heinrichs IV. bietet der König Diane an, den gemeinsamen Sohn Antoine zu legitimieren. Heutige Historiker beurteilen dies jedoch als vollkommen unglaubwürdig und als eine schriftstellerische Freiheit, die sich die Autorin nahm.

Philibert de Gramont starb an einer Wunde, die er sich am 2. August 1580 während der Belagerung von La Fère zuzog und machte Diane im Alter von 26 Jahren zur Witwe. In seinem Testament vom 7. August hatte ihr Mann sie zum Vormund ihrer beiden noch unmündigen Kinder bestimmt, so dass Diane in den Folgejahren die ausgedehnten Ländereien ihrer Familie allein verwaltete und somit die Grafschaft Guiche regierte.


Mätresse Heinrichs IV.
Diane unterhielt Zeit ihres Lebens ein sehr enges Verhältnis zum Königshof in Pau, an dem sie ihre Kindheit verbracht hatte. Es verband sie eine sehr enge Freundschaft zu Katharina von Bourbon, der Schwester Heinrichs IV., und Diane hielt sich oft auf Schloss Pau auf, um ihre Freundin zu besuchen. Dort traf sie Heinrich IV. im Frühjahr 1582 zum ersten Mal, nachdem er König von Navarra geworden war. Durch ihre umfassende Ausbildung am Königshof war Diane sehr gebildet und belesen. Sie interessierte sich für die Poesie und war mit Michel de Montaigne befreundet, der ihr zu Ehren 29 Sonette von Étienne de La Boétie in seine Essais aufnahm. Zeitgenossen bescheinigten ihr zudem einen wachen Verstand und einen außergewöhnlichen Esprit. Aufgrund dieser Charaktereigenschaften verliebte sich Heinrich von Navarra in die junge Witwe. Das Liebesverhältnis der beiden ist ab Januar 1583 nachgewiesen. Zu jenem Zeitpunkt hielt sich Heinrich das erste Mal länger auf Schloss Hagetmau auf. Für das Jahr 1583 sind zahlreiche weitere Aufenthalte des navarresischen Königs in Hagetmau verbürgt. Später wählte er Schloss Pau als Domizil für sich und seine Mätresse, während seine Frau Margarete von Valois im Schloss von Nérac blieb.

Diane reihte sich damit offiziell in die Liste der Mätressen der Könige von Frankreich ein, jedoch unterschied sich ihr Verhältnis entscheidend von den zahlreichen anderen Affären, die Heinrich im Laufe seines Lebens hatte. Zum ersten dauerte es mit mehr als acht Jahren weit länger, als es die meisten anderen Liebschaften Heinrichs taten, zum anderen reichte die Stellung der fast gleichaltrigen Diane weit über die einer einfachen Geliebten hinaus. Sie war zugleich Vertraute und Beraterin, gebildete Freundin und Unterstützerin des Königs. Sie hatte derart großen Einfluss auf Heinrich, das Théodore Agrippa d’Aubigné in seinem Pamphlet Confession catholique du sieur de Sancy schrieb, sie könne „diesen Prinzen drehen und wenden, wie sie wolle“ (französisch: „[…] tourne et remuë ce Prince comme elle veut […]“).

Das Paar unterhielt während seiner Liaison einen regen Briefkontakt. Die Schreiben Heinrichs an seine Mätresse zeigen deutlich, wie groß sein Vertrauen in Diane war und dass er sie und ihren Rat bei Entscheidungen stark einbezog. Diane wiederum – obwohl selbst katholisch – unterstütze während der Hugenottenkriege seinen Kampf gegen die Katholische Liga nicht nur mit guten Worten und Ratschlägen, sondern auch mit großen Geldsummen und Truppen, die sie in ihren Besitzungen rekrutierte. Zahlreiche Briefe der beiden sind heute noch erhalten. 37 von ihnen wurden 1765 und 1766 im Mercure de France veröffentlicht. Gemeinsam mit weiteren bis 1843 bekannt gewordenen Schreiben Heinrichs erfuhren sie unter dem Namen Recueil des Lettres missives de Henri IV von Jules Berger de Xivrey eine Neuauflage. Durch sie ist das Verhältnis der beiden über die Jahre sehr gut dokumentiert; vom ersten erhaltenen Brief aus dem Jahr 1585 bis zu Schreiben aus den 1590er Jahren.

Nachdem die Ehe des französischen Königs Heinrich III. kinderlos geblieben und mit François-Hercule de Valois-Angoulême 1584 der letzte potentielle Thronerbe aus dem Haus Valois verstorben war, anvancierte Heinrich von Navarra offiziell zum französischen Thronfolger und trug sich etwa um das Jahr 1586 mit Heiratsgedanken. Er wollte Diane – wie viele seiner anderen Mätressen – ehelichen. Das in der älteren Geschichtsschreibung oft erwähnte schriftliche Heiratsversprechen, das er mit seinem eigenen Blut geschrieben haben soll, ist jedoch einmal mehr eine Erfindung aus dem bereits erwähnten Roman Louise-Marguerites de Lorraine. Der König bat seinen engen Vertrauten Théodore Agrippa d’Aubigné um dessen Meinung zu den Eheplänen. Der riet davon ab, und Heinrich versprach daraufhin, sein Vorhaben vorläufig ruhen zu lassen. Aufgrund d’Aubignés Intervention wurde Diane für den Rest ihres Lebens seine erbitterte Feindin.

Ab 1587 änderte sich das Verhältnis zwischen Heinrich und Diane allmählich. Obwohl der König ihr in seinen Briefen nach wie vor noch seine große Liebe schwor und seine Treue beteuerte, hinderte ihn dies nicht daran, die 16-jährige Esther Imbert zu verführen. Diane wusste von der Beziehung, versuchte aber nicht, ihre Nebenbuhlerin aus der Gunst Heinrichs zu verdrängen. Sie sah das junge Mädchen wohl nicht als Bedrohung für ihre eigene Stellung an, obwohl Esther dem König sogar einen Sohn gebar. Als dieser im Jahr 1588 starb, teilte Heinrich dies Diane in einem Brief mit, was einige Historiker derart missverstanden, dass es sich bei dem Sohn um ein gemeinsames Kind Dianes und Heinrichs gehandelt habe. Die Liebesbeziehung der beiden und ihre damit einhergehende Korrespondenz dauerte weiter an, auch nachdem Heinrich von Navarra durch den Tod Heinrichs III. am 2. August 1589 nominell König von Frankreich geworden war und seit jenem Jahr erfolgreich um die Gunst Antoinette de Pons’, Comtesse von La Roche-Guyon und Marquise von Guercheville warb.

Die letzten Jahre
Diane d’Andouins verlor ihren Einfluss auf Heinrich IV. erst ab 1590, als sich dieser Hals über Kopf in die 20-jährige Gabrielle d’Estrées verliebte. Neben Diane war sie die einzige Frau in Heinrichs Leben, die es verstand, ihn längerfristig an sich zu binden.

Die verlassene Geliebte fügte sich in ihr Schicksal. Als sie die langjährige Zuneigung ihrer Freundin Katharina von Bourbon zu deren Cousin Charles de Bourbon-Condé, comte de Soissons dahingehend unterstützte, dass sie die beiden Liebenden ermunterte, ohne Zustimmung Heinrichs IV. zu heiraten, wurde ihr dies von vielen Geschichtsschreibern als später Rache ausgelegt, denn der König hatte gänzlich andere Pläne für seine Schwester. Das Heiratsprojekt scheiterte, und Katharina wurde im Januar 1599 schließlich mit Heinrich II. von Lothringen vermählt. Zu diesem Anlass erhielt Diane einen der letzten an sie gerichteten Briefe Heinrichs, indem er seine Enttäuschung zum Ausdruck brachte. Ein weiterer Brief vom 21. September 1597 zeugt jedoch davon, dass sich das Verhältnis des einstigen Liebespaars wieder gebessert hatte, denn Heinrich IV. bedankte sich darin bei Diane für erwiesene Dienste.

Die zuvor von vielen Zeitgenossen gerühmte Schönheit der Comtess de Guiche, verblühte im Alter zunehmend. Sie wurde rotgesichtig und korpulent, wenn nicht sogar fett. Diane zog sich auf ihr Schloss in Hagemaut zurück und starb dort im Alter von etwa 65 Jahren.


 Porträt einer Dame mit Tochter, möglicherweise Diane d’Andouins,
Mätresse des französischen Königs Heinrich IV.,
mit ihrer Tochter Catherine


Diane d’Andouins


Diane d’Andouins




Henry IV of France


Esther Imbert

aus Wikipedia, der freien Enzyklopädie

Esther Imbert (* 11. Dezember 1570 in Fontenay-le-Comte; † nach 1593), in einigen Veröffentlichungen La rochelaise genannt, war von 1586 bis 1588 eine Mätresse des französischen Königs Heinrich IV. Das aus bürgerlichen Verhältnissen stammende Mädchen gebar Heinrich IV. im Jahr 1587 sein erstes Kind, das jedoch schon im Jahr darauf verstarb.

Esther kam als erstes Kind und damit älteste Tochter Jacques Imberts, Herr von Boislambert, und dessen Frau Catherine Rousseau zur Welt. Ihr Vater war Vogt von Aunis und wurde von Heinrich IV. zu einem maître de requêtes seines Königshofs ernannt.

Der König machte Esther zu seiner Geliebten, als diese erst 16 Jahre alt war und Heinrich zudem schon seit einigen Jahren ein Liebesverhältnis mit Diane d’Andouins, La belle Corisande genannt, unterhielt. Corisande billigte diese Affäre, denn sie versuchte nicht, ihre junge Nebenbuhlerin aus der Gunst des Königs zu verdrängen. In Folge des Verhältnisses brachte Esther am 7. August 1587 in La Rochelle einen Sohn zur Welt, der auf den Namen Gédéon getauft wurde. Er starb jedoch schon im Jahr darauf, so dass Heinrich ihn aufgrund des frühen Todes nicht als ein legitimes Kind anerkennen konnte.

Lange Zeit hielten Historiker des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts die Ausführungen in Théodore Agrippa d’Aubignés Pamphlet Confession catholique du sieur de Sancy für bare Münze, die Esther Imbert ein trauriges Ende bescheinigten. Danach soll sie später in bitterer Armut gelebt und von ihrem einstigen Liebhaber trotz Bitten um Unterstützung ignoriert worden sein, so dass sie in Saint-Denis gemeinsam mit ihrem Sohn verhungerte. Unterlagen aus der Rechnungskammer des Königs beweisen jedoch, dass dieser durch eine jährliche Pension in Höhe von 600 Écus und weiteren regelmäßige Zahlungen gut für seine ehemalige Mätresse sorgte.

Wo und wann genau Esther Imbert verstarb, ist bisher nicht bekannt.




Henry IV of France

Antoinette de Pons (1570 - 1632)

Fille d'Antoine de Pons-Ribérac, elle épouse en premières noces Henri de Silly, comte de la Rocheguyon. D'un second mariage en 1594 avec Charles du Plessis-Liancourt, comte de Beaumont et Gouverneur de Paris, elle a Roger du Plessis-Liancourt, duc de la Rocheguyon, pair de France. Elle rencontre Henri IV après la bataille d'Ivry.

Antoinette est restée dans les mémoires comme pieuse et vertueuse, et d'une grande beauté. Elle portait une grande attention aux jésuites des colonies françaises d'Amérique et contribua notamment au financement et à la fondation de la colonie de l'Île des Monts-Déserts, dans le Maine actuel. Cette colonie fut néanmoins détruite par les anglais, prétextant un non-respect des limites territoriales françaises. En outre, sa dévotion pour l'état et pour le roi contribuèrent à lui donner le titre de souveraine du Canada. Elle protéga aussi Bernard Palissy. Elle usera de son influence auprès de la Reine, comme l'avait fait auparavant le père Coton auprès d'Henri IV, pour que Poutrincourt pour que la compagnie de Jésus puisse continuer à fonder des missions en Amérique. Poutrincourt, qui fut pendant 15 ans le premier gouverneur de l'Acadie, était déjà parti dans son 3ème voyage en 1610, « à la grande colère de ses associés huguenots », avec deux pères jésuites sur ordre du Roi. Il voulait effectivement évangéliser la colonie, mais il semblerait qu'il ait eu de la répugnance vis-à-vis de la compagnie de Jésus, trop matérialiste à son goût. Antoinette recueillit les fonds nécessaires aux expéditions de Poutrincourt, afin de compenser les désistements d'autres bailleurs de fonds, et continua à aider Poutrincourt dans ses recherches de fonds, lui-même étant incapable de trouver des associés. Les jésuites, représentant notamment Mme de Guercheville, et intervenant continuellement dans les affaires temporelles de la colonie, créeront un climat problèmatique en Acadie et contribueront au discrédit de Poutrincourt.


Antoinette de Pons, marquise de Guercheville.




Henry IV of France


Gabrielle d'Estrées (ca 1571 - 1599)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gabrielle d'Estrées, duchesse de Beaufort et Verneuil, marquise de Monceaux (Gabrielle d'Estrées, Duchess of Beaufort and Verneuil, Marchioness of Monceaux) (1571–1599) was a French mistress of King Henry IV of France, born at Château de la Bourdaisière in Montlouis-sur-Loire, in the Indre-et-Loire département of France.

Mistress to a King
Gabrielle d'Estrées became Henri's companion and lover at the age of twenty in 1591, in the middle of his bitter struggle with the Catholic League. Although he was married to Marguerite de Valois, Henri and Gabrielle were openly affectionate with each other in public. Fiercely loyal, Gabrielle accompanied Henri during his campaigns. Even when heavily pregnant, she insisted on living inside his tent near the battlefield, making sure his clothing was clean and that he ate well after a battle, handling the day to day correspondence while he fought. As she was an intelligent and practical woman, Henri confided his secrets to her and followed her advice. When the two were apart, they wrote each other frequent letters.

Born a Catholic, Gabrielle realized the best way to conclude the religious wars was for Henri himself to become a Catholic. Recognizing the wisdom in her argument, on 25 July 1593 Henri declared that "Paris is well worth a Mass" and permanently renounced Protestantism. This enabled him to be crowned King of France on 27 February 1594. As a reward, Henri arranged for her marriage to M. de Liancourt to be annulled, and gave her the titles of Marquise de Monceaux and Titular Mistress of the King of France.

News of the relationship between Henri and Gabrielle did not sit well with some members of the Parisian elite, and malicious pamphlets circulated that blamed the new duchess for many national misfortunes. One of the most vicious nicknames ascribed to Gabrielle was la duchesse d'Ordure ("the Duchess of Filth").

In the succeeding years, Gabrielle became Henri's most important diplomat, using her female friends amongst the various Catholic League families to bring about peace. In March 1596, Henri gave both Gabrielle and his saintly sister Catherine a set of gold keys which bestowed upon them seats on his council. This gift pleased Gabrielle so much that she took to wearing the little keys on a chain around her neck.

Avid horseback riders, she and Henri enjoyed hunting and riding in the countryside around Paris. For seven years, she had the role of a wife and gave the King three children he willingly acknowledged, and Henri gave her the Duchy of Beaufort in 1597.

Shortly afterward, in 1598, Henri issued the Edict of Nantes, which gave the Huguenots certain rights while deferring to Catholics. Joining forces, the Huguenot Catherine and Catholic Gabrielle went to work overriding the objections of powerful Catholics and Huguenots and forcing compliance with the edict. Henri was so impressed with her efforts that he wrote "My mistress has become an orator of unequaled brilliance, so fiercely does she argue the cause of the new Edict."

After applying to Pope Clement VIII for an annulment of his marriage and authority to remarry, in March of 1599 Henri gave his mistress his coronation ring. Gabrielle, so sure that the wedding would take place, stated, "Only God or the king's death could put an end to my good luck".

Perhaps she tempted fate too much. A few days later, in early April, she suffered an attack of eclampsia and gave birth to a stillborn son. King Henri was at the Royal Château de Fontainebleau when news arrived of her illness. The next day, 10 April 1599, while Henri was on his way to her, she died in Paris after the miscarriage.

The king was grief-stricken, especially given the widely-held rumor that Gabrielle had been poisoned. He wore black in mourning, something no previous French monarch had done before. He gave her the funeral of a Queen; her coffin was transported amidst a procession of princes, princesses, and nobles to the Saint Denis Basilica for a requiem Mass. Known in French history and song as La Belle Gabrielle, she was interred at Abbaye Notre-Dame-la-Royale de Maubuisson, Saint-Ouen-l'Aumône (Val-d'Oise, Île-de-France).

A publication after her death called the "Mémoires secrets de Gabrielle d'Estrée" (The Secret Memoirs of Gabrielle d’Estrée) is believed to have been written by one of her friends.


Gabrielle d’Estrées, Porträt eines anonymen Malers
des 16. Jh. im Musée Condé, Schloss Chantilly


The painting presumed to depict Gabrielle d'Estrées


detail of Porträt der Gabrielle d'Estrées und der Duchesse de Villars


Portrait of Gabrielle d’Estrées


Gabrielle d'Estrées, mistress of King Charles IX of France, Paris, 1574-1646




Henry IV of France


Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues (1579 - 1633)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues, Marquise de Verneuil (1579 – 1633) was the favourite mistress of Henry IV of France after Gabrielle d'Estrées died. She was the daughter of Charles Balzac d'Entragues and his wife Marie Touchet, who was formerly the sole mistress of Charles IX of France.

King's mistress
Catherine Henriette de Balzac was raised at a time when women often sought to become a mistress to royalty, and her mother Marie had previously been a mistress to Charles IX before her birth. Ambitious, pretty and intriguing, by her late teens she had succeeded in becoming a mistress to Henry IV, and induced him into a promise to marry her following the death of the king's favoured official mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrées. This alleged promise led to bitter scenes of jealousy and arguing at the court when shortly afterwards Henry married Marie de' Medici instead.

Terribly infuriated and feeling betrayed, she carried her spite so far as to be deeply compromised in a conspiracy against the king in 1606, but escaped with only a slight punishment after the plot was foiled, and in 1608 Henry actually took her back into favour again as one of his mistresses. She was later involved in the Spanish intrigues which preceded the death of the King in 1610. Upon the King's death, his wife, Queen Marie de Medici, was named Regent by Parliament, and immediately banished Catherine from the royal court. Little is known of Catherine's life after that.



Portrait of Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues


Portrait of Catherine Henriette de Balzac d'Entragues




Henry IV of France


Jacqueline de Bueil (ca 1580 - 1651)

Jacqueline de Bueil, comtesse de Moret (* 1588; † 1651 in Moret-sur-Loing) war eine Mätresse des französischen König Heinrich IV.

Jacqueline stammte aus einer verarmten Adelsfamilie. Sie war die Tochter von Claude de Bueil und seiner Frau Catherine de Monteclerc. Am 5. Oktober 1604 heiratete Jacqueline de Bueil in Paris Philippe de Harlay Champvallon, comte de Césy. Drei Jahre später wurde die kinderlos gebliebene Ehe annulliert, Philippe heiratete erneut und wurde französischer Botschafter in der Türkei.

Durch Charlotte de La Trémoille, die Fürstin von Condé und Ehefrau Henris I. de Bourbon, dessen Mündel Jacqueline war, zog sie die Gunst des König auf sich, und verdrängte vorübergehend seine langjährige Geliebte Catherine Henriette de Balzac d’Entragues. Aus der Affäre mit Heinrich ging ein Sohn hervor, Antoine de Bourbon-Bueil, comte de Moret, den der König 1608 legitimierte und zusammen mit allen seinen anderen Kindern aufziehen ließ. Antoine war später ein Liebhaber von Anna von Österreichs, der Ehefrau von Heinrichs Nachfolger Ludwig XIII.

Jacqueline de Bueil hatte mehrere Liebhaber, darunter den Herzog von Chevreuse, Claude de Lorraine, Fürst von Joinville.

Sieben Jahre nach der Ermordung des Königs heiratete Jacqueline ihren entfernten Cousin René du Bec, marquis de Vardes, mit dem sie weitere Kinder hatte.


Jacqueline de Bueil




Henry IV of France


Charlotte des Essarts (ca 1580 - 1651)

Charlotte des Essarts (* um 1580; † 8. Juli 1651) war für kurze Zeit die Mätresse des französischen Königs Heinrich IV. Sowohl vor ihm als auch danach hatte sie weitere hochgestellte und einflussreiche Liebhaber.

Charlotte des Essarts kam als Tochter François des Essarts’, Seigneur von Sautour, und seiner zweiten Frau Charlotte de Harlay, dame de Champvallon zur Welt. Ihr Vater war königlicher Generalleutnant in der Champagne.

Sie begleite zu Beginn des 17. Jahrhunderts ihren Verwandten Christophe de Harlay, Graf von Beaumont, und dessen Frau nach England, denn Christophe bekleidete dort das Amt des französischen Botschafters. 1602 wurde sie seine Geliebte und kehrte nach seine Abberufung 1605 mit ihm nach Frankreich zurück.

Charlotte ging an den Königshof und wurde dort Ehrendame der französischen Königin Maria de’ Medici. Deren Ehemann Heinrich IV. wurde 1606 erstmals auf die von Zeitgenossen als außergewöhnlich schön beschriebene junge Frau aufmerksam und machte sie während einer seiner Streits mit Catherine Henriette de Balzac d’Entragues im März 1607 zu seiner Mätresse. Nachdem er jedoch von ihrer Affäre mit dem Grafen von Beaumont erfahren hatte, wollte er sich wieder von ihr trennen. Zu dieser Zeit war Charlotte aber von ihm schwanger. Der König schickte sie deshalb zur Niederkunft nach Le Tressoir, einen Landsitz in der Nähe von Fontainebleau. Dort brachte sie ihre erste Tochter Jeanne Baptiste zur Welt, die am 3. März 1608 vom König legitimiert wurde. Es folgte eine Aussöhnung Heinrichs mit seiner Mätresse, und Charlotte brachte 1609 eine zweite Tochter zur Welt: Marie Henriette. Nach der Geburt der zweiten Tochter ernannte der König sie zur Gräfin von Romorantin (französisch: Comtesse de Romorantin), doch schon bald überwarf sich das Paar erneut. Charlotte begegnete der unausweichlichen königlichen Ungnade durch die Bitte, sich in das Kloster von Beaumont-lès-Tours zurückziehen zu dürfen. Ihrer Bitte wurde stattgegeben, doch die Comtesse blieb nicht sehr lange dort. Nach dem Tod Heinrichs IV. im Mai 1610 kehrte sie im Sommer des gleichen Jahres an den Hof zurück und begann eine Beziehung mit dem späteren Kardinal und Erzbischof von Reims, Louis III. de Lorraine-Guise. Es ist sogar möglich, dass die beiden 1611 heimlich heirateten. Indiz dafür sind ein Heiratsvertrag und ein von Papst Paul V. ausgestellter Dispens, die nach dem Tod des Kardinals in seinem Schreibtisch gefunden worden sein sollen, doch trotzdem konnte eine Ehe bisher nicht zweifelsfrei nachgewiesen werden. Dennoch versuchte ihre Enkelin, eine Tochter ihres Sohnes Achilles, aufgrund dieser Dokumente im Jahr 1688 erfolglos, vor Gericht einen Anspruch auf das Erbe der verstorbenen Herzogin Marie de Lorraine, einer Cousine Achilles’, zu erstreiten.

Dem von Louise-Marguerite de Lorraine-Guise verfassten Roman Histoire des Amours du Grand Alcandre, zufolge, der die zahlreichen Liebschaften Heinrichs IV. zum Inhalt hat, ging Charlotte nach dem Kardinal von Guise (französisch: Cardinal de Guise) auch noch eine Liebesbeziehung mit Dominique de Vic, Erzbischof von Auch, ein.

Im Jahr 1630 heiratete sie den späteren Marschall von Frankreich, François de L’Hôpital, Graf von Rosnay sowie Seigneur von Hallier. Der Vertrag dazu wurde am am 4. November des Jahres in Rumilly-L'Albanois unterzeichnet. Danach zeigte sie sich politisch sehr engagiert. Die ambitionierte Frau beteiligte sich gemeinsam mit Karl IV., Herzog von Lothringen, 1633 an einer erfolglosen Intrige gegen Kardinal Richelieu und wurde deshalb auf ein Landgut ihres Mannes verbannt. Dort starb sie am 8. Juli 1651.


 Portrait de Charlotte des Essarts,
anonyme, Château de Bussy-Rabutin.




Henry IV of France

Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency (1594 - 1650), princess of Condé

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency (May 11, 1594 – December 2, 1650) was an heiress of one of France's leading ducal families, and Princess of Condé by her marriage to Henry II of Bourbon. She was also a mistress of Henry IV of France.

She was the daughter of Henry of Montmorency and his second wife, Louise de Budos. In 1609, fifteen-year-old Charlotte-Marguerite wed the Prince of Condé.

Along with many other French nobles, her husband bitterly opposed the rule of Marshal d'Ancre, who abandoned the policy of the late King Henry IV. In September 1616, Henry II, Prince of Condé and Charlotte-Marguerite were arrested and imprisoned at Vincennes, where their daughter Anne Genevieve was conceived and born three years later, in 1619.

In 1632, Charlotte-Marguerite's only brother, Henry II, Duc de Montmorency was executed for intriguing against Cardinal Richelieu. The title passed to her.


Charlotte Marguerite de Montmorency




Henry IV of France

Françoise de Montmorency-Fosseux

Françoise de Montmorency-Fosseux, dite « la belle Fosseuse », (1566 - 6 décembre 1641) fut la maîtresse d'Henri IV, de 1579 à 1581.

Elle est la plus jeune des cinq filles de Pierre de Montmorency.A l'âge de 13 ans, elle devient dame d'honneur de la reine Margot. Jeune fille timide et rougissante, et encore toute bonne. Le roi soupira devant cette jeune enfant. Et pour la séduire, il la cajola, il lui offrait des friandises, des massepains, confitures de rose.Il l'appelait "ma fille". Elle finit par céda aux avance du roi pendant un voyage à Montauban. Des ambitions lui vinrent alors. Elle devint arrogante face à la reine Margot. Elle ne cessait de monter Henri contre elle, dans l'espoir de peut être se faire épouser. Elle finit par tomber enceinte, et s'enorgueillit de pouvoir donner un enfant à Henri, et se voyait déjà reine. Mais Françoise avait peur des commérages, et elle entraina le roi aux Eaux-Chaudes du 7 au 25 juin 1581, pour fuir la cour de Nérac. Henri voulait que la reine Margot leur serve de Chaperon, mais elle les attendit à Bagnères de Bigorre. La reine Margot proposa de l'éloigner de la cour mais Fosseuse hurla qu'elle refusait de partir. Finalement, elle eut une fille morte-née en 1581. Le roi fut prévenu par le médecin et Margot fit en sorte que l'accouchement se passe le plus discrètement possible. La reine servit de sage femme. Margot fut invitée par sa mère Catherine de Médicis à venir à Paris, avec ses dames d'honneur y compris Françoise. Et la reine mère donna le conseil à sa fille de renvoyer Françoise à ses parents. Margot suivit le conseil, et chassa Fosseuse de la cour en 1582. Henri le prit comme une injure personnelle, mais ne fit rien pour la récupérer, puis il tomba sous le charme de la belle Corisande.

Françoise épousa le 11 mars 1596 François de Broc, baron de Cinq-Mars. À sa mort elle fut ensevelie à l'église de Broc.


Henry of Navarre and La Belle Fosseuse


La Belle Fosseuse by Francois Quesnel




Henry IV of France

Catherine-Henriette Bellier,

comtesse de Beauvais (* 1614; † 7. Juni 1689 im Hôtel de Beauvais in Paris), auch Cateau la Borgnese oder Madame de Beauvais genannt, war Kammerfrau am Königshof und Mätresse des französischen Königs Ludwig XIV.

Catherine-Henriette war die Tochter Martin Belliers. Sie heiratete den Textilkaufmann Pierre, comte de Beauvais († 1674). Sie war die erste Kammerfrau und Vertrauensperson der französischen Königin Anna von Österreich.

Madame de Beauvais war keine Schönheit, aber sie führte im Auftrag der Königinmutter deren Sohn, Ludwig XIV., in die Liebe ein (1657). Sie scheint es mit Erfolg getan zu haben, denn auch noch viel später wurde sie immer wieder vom Sonnenkönig empfangen und bekam von ihm eine Pension von 2000 Livres ausgezahlt. Ihr Wohnsitz war das Hôtel de Beauvais im heutigen 4. Arrondissement

Siehe auch Liste der Mätressen der Könige von Frankreich





Louis XIII of France

Marie de Hautefort (1616 - 1691)

Un article de Wikipédia, l'encyclopédie libre.

Aller à : Navigation, rechercherMarie d'Hautefort (1616-1691) surnommée par la Cour « l'Aurore », est une dame de la cour de Louis XIII de France. Fille d'honneur de Marie de Médicis et présentée à Anne d'Autriche par sa grand-mère Catherine (la « Dame de la Flotte »), elle devient dame d'honneur de la reine et l’objet des amours platoniques du roi Louis XIII.

Elle était jeune, très belle, blonde, vertueuse, mais assez intéressée, altière et prompte à la raillerie la plus amère. Quand elle était de mauvaise humeur le roi l'appelait « la créature ».

Elle est chassée de la Cour par Richelieu après avoir parlé en mal du nouveau favori du roi, Henri Coiffier de Ruzé d'Effiat, marquis de Cinq-Mars. Elle se lance dans des intrigues qui lui valurent la défaveur du roi d'abord de 1635 à 1637 au profit de la douce Mademoiselle de la Fayette, puis à partir de 1639 où elle est exilée jusqu'en 1643 au château de La Flotte.

Revenue à la Cour après la mort du Cardinal et du roi, en 1644, ses intrigues contre Mazarin la feront de nouveau éloigner. Elle épouse à 28 ans Charles de Schomberg (†1656), veuf d'Anne d'Halluin qui décède sans postérité.

D'après les documents publiés en annexe par Victor Cousin et Jules Barthélémy Saint-Hilaire dans la troisième édition parue en 1868 de "Madame de Hautefort", c'est le comte de Chavigny, Claude Bouthillier qui quand il écrivait au cardinal de Richelieu utilisait ce nom de code de "La Créature" pour désigner Marie. Cf "Madame de Hautefort"




Marie de Hautefort, mariée au maréchal de Schomberg




Louis XIII of France

Louise de La Fayette (ca 1616 - 1665)

Louise de La Fayette (c. 1616-1665), was one of the fourteen children of John, comte de La Fayette, and Marguerite de Bourbon-Busset. Louise became maid of honour to Anne of Austria, and Richelieu sought to attract the attention of Louis XIII. to her in the hope that she might counterbalance the influence exercised over him by Marie de Hautefort. The affair did not turn out as the minister wished. The king did indeed make her the confidante of his affairs and of his resentment against the cardinal, but she, far from repeating his confidences to the minister, set herself to encourage the king in his resistance to Richelieu's dominion. She refused, nevertheless, to become Louis's mistress, and after taking leave of the king in Anne of Austria's presence retired to the convent of the Filles de SainteMarie in 1637. Here she was repeatedly visited by Louis, with whom she maintained a correspondence. Richelieu intercepted the letters, and by omissions and falsifications succeeded in destroying their mutual confidence. The cessation of their intercourse was regretted by the queen, who had been reconciled with her husband through the influence of Louise. At the time of her death in January 1665 Mlle de La Fayette was superior of a convent of her order which she had founded at Chaillot.


Louise de La Fayette (1618-1665),
French courtier and close friend of King Louis XIII.




Louis XVIII of France

Zoé Talon (1785 - 1852), countess of Cayla

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Zoé Victoire Talon (born August 5 1785 at Le Boullay-Thierry, died March 19, 1852 at her château of Saint-Ouen), styled comtesse du Cayla, was an intimate friend and confidante of Louis XVIII of France.

She was the daughter of a royal avocat, Antoine Omer Talon (1760-1811), and was privately educated and groomed by Madame Campan, whose school Lamartine called an academy of feminine diplomacy. In 1802 she married the comte Baschi du Cayla (died 1851), with whom she had two children, Ugolin and Ugoline before being separated after prolonged litigation, which brought her to the attention of Louis XVIII, to whom she personally appealed for protection from his husband. She managed to retain the confidence, however, of her mother-in-law, a lady-in-waiting in the household of the comtesse de Provence, who now became queen of France. At the court of the restored Bourbons, Mme de Cayla was also the protegée of the vicomte Sosthène de la Rochefoucauld and from about 1817, at first very discreetly, became the major avenue through which the Ultras were able to influence the aged and emotionally needy Louis XVIII, who lavished favours upon Mme de Cayla, though she was unlikely ever to have been his mistress. In 1821 he had the Château de Saint-Ouen, north of Paris, razed and rebuilt by the architect Jacques-Marie Huvé; the first stones were laid 2 May 1821, in the presence of the king and the comtesse. The old château had been the site of the signing of papers that restored the brother of Louis XVI to the throne of France. It was decorated and furnished out of Louis XVIII's pocket, without a trace in the official budget of the Maison du Roi, and completed by the end of 1822, when Mme de Cayla officially "purchased" it from the architect, 29 October 1822. The King's house-warming gift was a dessert service of Sèvres porcelain painted with views of the new château.

She was also the avenue through which office-seekers could find places. After the death of her royal patron in 1824 she turned her attention to agriculture, raising a new breed of sheep named in her honour, from a long-haired Nubian ram that had been presented to her by Muhammad Ali, viceroy of Egypt. She supported the pile carpet manufactory of Savonnerie in its last independent days before it was absorbed by the Gobelins in 1826.


The comtesse du Cayla with her children, Ugoline and Ugolin



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