Saturday, 23 May 2020

A Page from History:King Louis XV’s Harem, Mistresses and Legend of Parc-aux-Cerfs

Louis XV of France
Louis XV was King of France from 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity in 1723, the kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of Orleans, as Regent of France.
Historians generally give his reign very low marks, especially as reports of his corruption embarrassed the monarchy and as wars drained the treasury and set the stage for the French Revolution of 1789.

Marriage OF King Louis XV
One of the first priorities of the Duke of Bourbon was to find a bride for the King, to assure the continuity of the monarchy, and especially to prevent the succession to the throne of the Orleans branch of the family, the rivals of his branch.
A list of 99 princesses was prepared. In the end, the 21-year-old Marie Leszczyńska, daughter of Stanislaus I, the deposed king of Poland, was finally chosen.

The King loves women, and yet there is absolutely no gallantry in his spirit.In 1738, after the Queen lost an unborn child, her doctors forbade her to have relations with the King for a time. The King was offended by her refusal and thereafter never shared her bed.She died in1768.

The competition for ultimate allure in the French court was paralyzing, and any woman who hoped to enrapture the king had to have a secret beauty regime.
Mistresses of Louis XV.
The Four Sisters Who All Became Mistresses Of Louis XV
Growing up in 18th century France, the five sisters were beautiful, noble-born and all set to become good wives…but they didn’t. Instead, four of the five sisters would all go on to become mistress to the same man: King, Louis XV of France.

In their positions as mistresses, Louise, Pauline, Diane and Marie de Mailly wielded unprecedented power. Their lives would be risked, and sisterly bonds would be built and broken.
(1)Louise Julie de Mailly,
King Louis XV first became attached to one of the ladies of the Queen's court, Louise Julie de Mailly, who was the same age as he.Without courtship or ceremony he made her his mistress and raised her to the rank of Duchess.

In 1740, the King turned his attentions to the sister of Louise-Joulie, Pauline-Félicité, the Marquise de Vintimille, who was married. Pauline-Félicité became pregnant by the King at the end of the year. Both the child and mother died in childbirth.
(2)Marie Anne de Mailly,
After death of Louise Julie de Mailly.The Countess of Mailly unwisely introduced the King to her youngest sister, Marie Anne de Mailly, the recent widow of the Marquis de Tournelle.

The King was immediately attracted to Marie-Anne; however, she insisted that he expel her older sister from the Court before she would become his mistress. The King gave in, and Marie-Anne was named a Lady of the Court of the Queen, and a month later the King ordered her older sister to leave the Court and to live in Paris.

(3)Duchess of Châteauroux.
The King made his new mistress the Duchess of Châteauroux. The King's relationships with the three sisters became a subject of gossip in the court and in Parism.

(4)Madame de Pompadour
Madame de Pompadour was the most famous and influential of the mistresses of Louis XV. She was married to a banker. She was noticed by the King following one of his hunts, and formally met her at a costume ball celebrating carnival in 1745.

She was the King's mistress and was formally given the title of the Marquise de Pompadour. For the next twenty years she was the King's confidante and advisor, helping him choose or demote ministers.

In private, she often claimed to be used “too well” by the king who had a voracious sexual appetite and wanted to roll in the satin sheets several times a day.

Hoping to stimulate her own libido so as to keep up with the energetic king, Madame de Pompadour began to eat a steady diet of celery, truffles, and vanilla that only succeeded in making her sick.

She decorated her lavish apartments with delightful fabrics, intoxicating flowers, and the best wine money could buy. She became a student of his moods and could read his every facial expression, including the cadence of his words.

And most importantly, she knew when he was hiding anger or frustration behind his mask of royal calmness and precisely how to cajole or soothe him accordingly. In short, she molded herself into his perfect mate, even at the expense of her own joy and comfort.

Many women of the court suffered from smallpox scars and would cover their ruined complexions and crusty filth with an abundance of velvet, lace, and a strong perfume. Their ornate outfits would often become wildly itchy and uncomfortable, forcing the women to insert head scratchers into their coiffures and bodices to ease the irritation of flea bites and greasy scalps.

She ceased to be the King's mistress in 1750 but remained his closest advisor.

Deaths of Madame de Pompadour
Madame de Pompadour contracted pneumonia and died on 15 April1764. The King was deeply affected, but, strictly observing court protocol, he did not attend her funeral, because she was too far below his rank, and, though mourning, carried on court business as usual.

(5)Marie Louise O’Murphy.
She was the daughter of an Irish shoemaker called Morphise by courtiers and she became known as the model for a famous painting created by François Boucher.

O’Murphy was also a lesser mistress to the King, got pregnant by him, and gave birth on 20 June 1754 to his illegitimate daughter, Agathe-Louise de Saint-Antoine de Saint-André.

In 1755, O’Murphy made the mistake of trying to officially replace Madame de Pompadour as Louis’s favorite. It resulted in O’Murphy’s downfall: She was repudiated by the King, expelled from Parc-aux-Cerfs in the dead of night, and sent far away from Versailles forever.

In order to prevent further rivals and similar situations, Madame de Pompadour decided to take action. She organized a constant stream of very young beauties to entertain the bored King in his bedroom.

In November 1755 Marie-Louise O'Murphy was expelled at night from her home at Parc-aux-Cerfs. Repudiated by the King, she was sent far away from Versailles.

She maintained a comparatively anonymous life with her second husband, who left her widowed once again in 1783. Upon his death she was granted a generous royal pension, which she held until the outbreak of revolution in 1789.

(6)Madame du Barry.Last Mistress of King Louise xv
After the death of the Madame de Pompadour, several women in the court sought to replace her, including the Duchess of Gramont, the sister of the Duke of Choiseul, the King's chief minister.

However, the King's favor turned to Jeanne Bécu, the comtesse du Barry. She was thirty-three years younger than the King. She was the illegitimate daughter of Anne Bécu, a seamstress

However, the King kept du Barry close to him until the final days before his death, when he sent her away before he made confession.

The competition for ultimate allure in the French court was paralyzing, and any woman who hoped to enrapture the king had to have a secret beauty regime.

Madame du Barry, who followed Madame de Pompadour after her death as Louis VX’s main squeeze, was noted for her particular attention to personal hygiene—something the majority of the king’s women had always overlooked.

She took a rose-scented bath once a day and would deck herself in outrageously expensive dresses made of a fine white material to accentuate her scrubbed neck and even line her décollage with real diamonds to highlight the beauty of her glowing white breast.

Having been hastily married off to the Count Guillaume du Barry, in 1768 the new Countess was presented to the Court and became the official mistress of the monarch, who was bedazzled by her beauty. All this in spite of the best-laid plans of the Duke of Choiseul, who was hoping to install his sister the Duchess of Grammont in this privileged position.

Like all royal mistresses, Madame du Barry lived comfortably. After moving in on the second floor of the King's chambers she began to enjoy the perks of her position, receiving jewellery and estates from the king, including the Louveciennes Estate where she stayed regularly.

Upon the king's death in May 1774, his successor Louis XVI banished her from Versailles and sent her to the Pont-aux-Dames convent in Meaux. In 1776 she retired to Louveciennes. Denounced to the authorities during the Terror, she died at the guillotine in October 1793.

Death of King Louis xv
On 26 April 1774, the King left for the Petit Trianon with Madame du Barry and several nobles from his entourage, and reported that he felt ill.

He participated in the hunt the next day, but rode in his carriage instead of on horseback. That evening he was still feeling ill, and sent for the Court physician, Le Mariniére.

At the surgeon's insistence, the King was brought back to the Palace of Versailles for treatment, along with Madame du Barry and the others.Louis died in the morning on 10 May 1774.
Legend of Parc-aux-Cerfs
Louis XV kept a place called Parc-aux-Cerfs (The Deer Park): a harem of young women he could have sex with. The name is most notoriously known in history for an area in the grounds of the Palace of Versailles and a house there owned by Louis XV, where his secret mistresses were accommodated, being taken from there to the palace to visit the king.

The Parc aux Cerfs may be said a brothel “of which Louis XV would be the only client “, nothing could be further from the truth. The house never shelters more than one girl at a time! If the young lady becomes pregnant, she withdraws and gives birth quietly, well surrounded, having all the necessary care. Then, either she resumes service, or she is fired.

Between 1752 and 1768, many women and girls lived in the house, often more than one at a time, many of which are unidentified.

The day-to-day lives of the women who lived there would have differed from other women's only in that they were not married and yet not living in their family homes: they were single, but had access to enough money to eat and dress well.

They came from poor enough backgrounds that this was considered a good alternative to prostitution on the street or in a real brothel; before the former prostitute Madame du Barry, who came in after Pompadour's death, it would have been unthinkable for girls of this level to become the officially accepted royal mistress.

Secret Door of Parc-aux-Cerfs
It would seem that the girls were sometimes brought from the Parc-aux-Cerfs to the king’s quarters in a sedan chair with closed windows.

The Comte de Saint-Priest noticed: ‘I have seen several arrive under the little vault where one opened a secret door which led by a hidden staircase to a room next to the king’s suite’

Some people claimed thousands of girls passed through the small house and that there were wild orgiesIn February 1765, after the death of Madame de Pompadour, it was closed.
And the rest is history.
The End
NOTE: This Blog has been written with help of Wikipedia and several material and photos available on net.With thanks to all original writers over this topic.

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