Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Yolande de Polignac

Yolande Martine Gabrielle de Polastron was born on September 8th in 1749. Despite her family's aristocratic status her family was struggling with many debts and life was not very extravagant. When she was just short of eighteen years old, she married Jules François Armand who was comte de Polignac and also had an aristocratic family with financial troubles. Within the first years of their marriage they had a daugther, Aglaé, and later on two sons were born as well (one became the prime minister of Charles X).

She was considered beautiful with long dark hair, pale skin and lilac coloured eyes. In 1775 she met Marie Antoinette, who was Queen at this time and they immediately became close friends. Yolande was determined to improve her positions and used her position as the Queen's favourite to do so. She managed to get appointed Governess to the Royal Children in 1782 and moved into the apartments belonging to her post. Her friends and family benefited hugely from the rise of Yolande and the Queen paid off her family's debts because Yolande could not afford to stay at Versailles.

But she was immensely unpopular with the people due to her extravagance and at the end of the 1780's malicious pamphlets appeared, saying that the Duchesse de Polignac was the lesbian lover of Marie Antoinette. When the revolution broke out the Duchesse supported the ultra-monarchist party. But when the Bastille was stormed on July 14th, she went into exile along with her family and wrote letters to the Queen during this exile in Switzerland. During her stay she developed a permanent illness and she died in December 1793 (only two months after Marie Antoinette). At the time people said that she had died of the sorrow from having left the Queen.

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