Thursday, 11 April 2013

Marie Mancini

Anna Maria Mancini was born on August 28 1639 in Rome where she grew up. Her father was a part of the Italian aristocracy and when he died her mother, Geronima Mazzarini, moved her family to Paris. Geronima was the sister of the Cardinal Mazarin who held a great influence at the French court. She hoped that this connection could result in advantageous marriages for her young daughters.
When the family moved to Paris and was introduced to the French high society, Anna Maria had to be adapted to the more French version of Marie. Marie Mancini was described as a "dark and vivacious" beauty who quickly became noted as one of the most beautiful women at the French court. And this soon paid of when no other than the King himself noticed her.

Geronima was a spiritual woman and had been convinced by a horoscope that Marie Mancini would bring trouble and damage to the family and with her last breath asked her brother, the Cardinal Mazarin, to "shut her up in a convent and keep her there."

Marie Mancini would never actually sleep with the King who had an almost idealistic love for her - it is tempting to say that he loved her for love's sake. But his infatuation was great enough for him to want to marry her. This plan never came to anything due to Cardinal Mazarin and Anne of Austria (Louis XIV's mother). They decided to banish Marie Mancini from court in the hope that Louis XIV's love for her would die out.
Marie was sent back to Italy where she married Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna - an Italian prince. He later admitted that he was surprised to find Marie still a virgin on their wedding night since the mistresses of a King was not expected to be virgins. Together, the couple had three children. But the felicity of the marriage soon went downhill. After giving birth to her third and last child, the relationship was so bad that Marie feared that Lorenzo would kill her. Consequently, she left Rome on May 29 1672 with her sister Hortense and never returned. She later had to write her memoirs to sustain an income now that she no longer enjoyed the allowance from her husband. She returned to Italy in 1689 when her husband had died. Marie died in Pisa in 1715.

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