Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A Final Apology

That Louis XIV had his share of mistresses is no secret but how they all felt about this elevated position is hardly ever talked of. Louise de La Vallière was the one who had the hardest time reconciling herself with being a royal maîtresse en titre due to her deep piety and consequently the fear for the King's and her own salvation. So, in the end when Louis XIV had already installed Madame de Montespan and Louise de La Vallière in a strange menage à trois Louise had had enough. She had long desired to become a nun and when her wish was finally granted in 1674 - the King had been unwilling to let her go - Louise made sure to make a proper departure.

Louise de La Vallière
Heading for the Queen's apartments Louise resisted the attempts to stop her entrance to the Queen's presence. Here she proceeded to kneel before the woman whose husband everyone knew she had been the mistress of and fervently begged the Queen for her forgiveness. Then another attempt was made to interrupt what was seen as quite a scandalous performance but Louise cut the Queen's attendants off with the words: "Since my crimes were public, so should my penance be."
The Queen had always known that Louise de La Vallière had not sought the King's attentions on her own behalf and promptly raised the still kneeling Louise up. The Queen kissed her on the forehead and assured her that she had forgiven her a long time ago.

The courtiers eternally at the Queen's side was shocked and soon the story of this very public apology ran through Versailles like a bushfire. Imagine that! Especially considering how Madame de Montespan behaved a scene such as this would never been again at Versailles.

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