The position of the maid of honor helped King Francoise, who preferred the name Athenais more, first with Henriette Stewart, the wife of the younger brother of Louis XIV, and then with Queen Maria Theresa herself, the monarch's wife. The maid of honor skillfully maneuvered between two fires: at first she was in a trusting relationship with Louise de Lavalier, who was considered at that time the official favorite of the king, and then began to mercilessly make fun of his passion in the presence of Maria Theresa. Even entering into a relationship with Louis, the Marquis de Montespan immodestly declared to the queen: “Just look at the misbehavior of this Lavalier. If I were the king's mistress, I would not dare to appear in front of your majesty! ”
Louise de Lavalier
Compared with Louise, Atenais won noticeably: as contemporaries noted, “if Lavalier doesn’t miss a chance to cry, Montespan doesn’t miss a chance to laugh”. And outwardly, Athenais was no less - and perhaps more - attractive than Louise.
So, the king did not pass by the beautiful, sociable and intelligent maid of honor of his wife. Increasingly, he began to spend time with the Marquis de Montespan, relegating both his wife and the official favorite to the background. True, Francoise-Atenais was a married lady, but this did not embarrass anyone, except her husband, French aristocrat Louis Henri de Pardayan. The quick-tempered marquis failed to silently endure the position of a deceived husband. Once he drove up to the royal palace in a carriage decorated with huge deer horns. However, the matter did not end with such a peculiar performance: the aristocrat showered Louis with curses and insults, for which he was thrown into a dungeon, and subsequently banished from the royal eyes down. It was also rumored that Louis Henri de Pardayan ordered the doorways to be expanded in his own estate, arguing that the horns do not crawl.
At that time, his unfaithful wife was bathing in the rays of love emanating from the “sun king”. Soon the Marquis de Montespan took the place of Louise de Lavalier and was proclaimed the official favorite.
Seven on the benches
Atenais gave birth from the legal spouse of two children, and from the august lover - seven. Louis legitimized his six offspring - however, without mentioning the name of the Marquise. Only four of them survived to mature age.
Marquise de Montespan with children
The first child was born in 1669 and died, according to historians, just three years later. They tried to keep information about the firstborn in the strictest secrecy, and the closest to the king did it: there is no information either about the field of the baby or about his name. The rest of the children received the name of Bourbon and high titles.
It seemed as if nothing foreshadowed trouble, but one circumstance made the king look at his beloved marquise with suspicion. This is the so-called "Case of poisons." The campaign against witches and poisoners began in the second half of the 1670s. De Montespan along with many women was accused of unhealthy addiction to black magic. She was suspected of trying to bewitch the king, and not harmless at all: it was said that she even sacrificed babies as part of her rituals. Other rumors said that the Marquis wanted to kill Louis.
There were no official accusations against the royal mistress, but after this scandal the monarch lost interest in her and became interested in the young beauty Angelica de Fontange, who soon died. Evil tongues did not fail to blame the Marquis for the death of a young rival.
Portrait of the Marquise de Montespan
In 1683, de Montespan ceased to be considered the official favorite of the king, but for several years still continued to live at court. Argued that when Louis learned of the Marquis's desire to go to the monastery, he exclaimed: “With joy!”.
In the monastery, the rejected mistress did not live in poverty, and even donated large sums to charity. She died in 1707 at the age of 66 years. Despite the fact that the children of the Marquises and the King were grieving when they learned about the death of their mother, Louis forbade them to put on mourning clothes.