Monday, 11 April 2016

Élisabeth Thérèse de Lorraine, Princesse d'Epinoy

Élisabeth Thérèse de Lorraine was born on 5 April 1664 into a cadet branch of the House of Guise. Through her father she was related to King Henri IV of France as the late King's great-granddaughter.

At court she was known as Mademoiselle de Commercy which was a region within Lorraine.
Despite being from a large group of children Élisabeth Thérèse was the only one who married. That event took place in 1681 when she was wed to Louis de Melun, Duc de Joyeuse and Prince d'Epinoy, Later, Élisabeth Thérèse would add the title of Duchesse de Luxembourg-Saint-Pol to her already extensive collection when she bought the title from Marie d'Orléans. She and her husband went on to have two children.

For Élisabeth Thérèse it had always been her destiny to make her career at court. There she had spent her youth and there she would spent the majority of her life. Her position at court was one of some prestige; she was placed in the service of Marie Anne de Bourbon (a legitimised daughter of Louis XIV) where she would quickly assert herself as a part of the Grand Dauphin's inner circle.

It was through that very circle that she met Louise Françoise de Bourbon (another natural daughter of the King) whom she would become very close friends with. However, not everyone was convinced that Élisabeth Thérèse was there solely for her own amusement. The ever critical Duc de Saint-Simon was convinced that both Élisabeth Thérèse and her sister reported back to Madame de Maintenon on everything that happened in the Grand Dauphin's apartments.

In 1721 Élisabeth Thérèse's fortune was enlarged when her aunt, the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, died and left Élisabeth Thérèse her inheritance. Sadly, Élisabeth Thérèse would have no children to leave her own titles and fortune to; both her children died before she did but her daughter had given her five grandchildren.

When she was not at court Élisabeth Thérèse lived in Paris at the Hôtel de Mayenne. Here both she and her husband would die in 1748.

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