Monday, 18 March 2013

Marie Leszczynska

Marie Leszczynska was born on 23rd September 1703 in Poland. She married Louis XV and thus became Queen Consort of France - and held this post for the longest time in French history. Through her marriage she gave birth to three kings: Louis XVI, Louis XVII and Charles X.

The reason for why Marie Leszczynska became the Queen Consort of France is due to her father's (Stanislaus I of Poland) failing politics that meant that she would bring no political harm to France by her marrying the young King. The French court was not very happy to hear about the wedding - which they only did after the ceremony - because the bride's father had only reigned for a very short time. Soon, the rumours began and Marie Leszczynska was said to be ugly, sterile and epileptic but the people were happy about the new Queen Consort of France.

The first years of the marriage was happy and she gave birth to twin girls: Louise Élisabeth de France and Henriette Anne de France. In total the royal couple had 10 children of which 8 were girls - at the birth of the last child, Louis XV exclaimed that she would be "Madame Last". This last birth was very difficult and in 1738 Marie Leszczynska made it clear that her husband should no longer visit her bedchamber. Officially the couple was still married and she remained faithful despite her husbands many infidelities.

Though she never gained any political influence, she did represent the King at formal ceremonies when he was absent. She received a pension of 96.000 livres for her own amusement, charity and gambling but though the number seems very big it was considered rather small for a Queen Consort.
Through her entire life she remained popular with the French people who saw her as a good and charitable woman. She died on 24th June 1768 and was buried in the basilica of St. Denis.

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