Saturday, 17 March 2018

The Secret Marriage of the Comte de Toulouse

By the early 1720's Victoire Sophie de Noailles had been widowed following her marriage to the Marquis de Gondrin. During her first marriage she had been a close friend of the Grand Dauphin; at court she had held the position of dame du palais to the Duchesse de Bourgogne. However, it was not through her court career that she first met Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, Comte de Toulouse. Actually, both the Comte de Toulouse and the Marquis de Gondrin were the descendants of Madame de Montespan. The former had been fathered by Louis XIV and then legitimized; the latter was the grandson of Madame de Montespan through her son by her husband.

According to the Duc de Saint-Simon the couple became closer while taking the water at Bourbon. Apparently, the couple fell so much in love with each other that they decided to marry. The marriage was contracted in secret on 24 February 1723. 

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Victoire Sophie

The marriage was quite controversial. Although the bride was acknowledged to be a beauty and from a very good family, she was nonetheless 35 years old and had already had two children. Every single one of the Comte de Toulouse's siblings had been married into families who held the title of princes of the blood. In comparison, the match was not quite so grand.

However, there were several good points about the Comte's new wife. She had never indulged in any scandal nor had she given birth to illegitimate children. Louis-Alexandre, though, had two children whom he had fathered outside wedlock. 
These considerations made it necessary to hide the marriage for some time. It was finally revealed nine months later. 

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Louis-Alexandre

Had she still been alive, Madame de Maintenon would have approved of the marriage. She had always favoured Louis-Alexandre and the Duc du Maine but had also shown a keen interest in furthering the ambitions of the Noailles-family. 
Louis XV also approved of Louis-Alexandre's choice. He was a great admirer of Victoire Sophie and often invited her to his private suppers or to hunt at Rambouillet. Despite the king's attention Victoire Sophie remained faithful to her husband. Furthermore, she provided Louis-Alexandre with the one thing that he lacked: a legitimate son. Louis-Jean-Marie de Bourbon was born in November 1725 and would inherit his father's title and wealth.


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