Thursday, 11 April 2013

Marie Angélique de Scorailles, Duchesse de Fontagnes

Marie Angélique de Scorailles was born in 1661 into a noble family at the Château of Cropières. From early age Marie Angélique turned out to be a great beauty; her family quickly noticed this and had her sent to the French court in the hope that she could improve the family's social standing. She arrived in 1678 and was made a lady-in-waiting to the Duchesse d'Orlèans. Louis XIV w
as not exactly on the hunt for a new mistress since he was already torn between his affection for the Marquise de Montespan and Madame de Maintenon. But when Louis noticed the newly arrived great beauty he decided to give up on both in favour of Marie Angélique.
But though nature had been kind to Marie Angélique when it came to her beauty, it had been less so when it came to her intelligent - she was frankly reported to be extraordinarily stupid. Since both the Marquise de Montespan and Madame de Maintenon was very intelligent women it was assumed that the King would eventually tire of his latest fling. But until then the King did everything he could to show his favour of Marie Angélique; he made her his official maitrêsse-en-titre just a few weeks after her arrival.

The King openly spoiled Marie Angélique giving her a monthly allowance of 100.000 livres - not including his gifts! But Marie Angélique's ego could not handle the attention. She became extremely arrogant and even began to show off in front of the actual Queen, Marie-Thérèse. The King spent lavishly on her and attended countless balls and fêtes. Soon it was clear that the King young favourite was pregnant and she gave birth to a stillborn boy in December 1679.

It turned out that Marie Angélique's star was fading. The birth had been difficult and she was still suffering from blood loss even months after the birth. The King was grateful and granted her not only the title of Duchesse de Fontagnes and a pension of 80.000 livres. But just a year later in 1680 the King's interest was clearly fading fast. Marie Angélique went to a convent and never returned to court again.

That same year she became ill with high fever and was transferred to the convent of the Abbey of Port-Royal (it has been rumoured that she later gave birth to a stillborn girl). Realizing that she was dying, Marie Angélique asked to see the King. Apparently, the King did visit her but many at the courtiers of Versailles doubted this story because it seemed that the King was already over her. Marie Angélique de Scorailles died on June 28 1681 at the age of 20 years old.

It has been speculated that she was poisoned - to read more about this take a look at "Royal Gossip, Scandals and Rumours".

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