Madame de Maintenon - In the shadow of the Sun King


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The destiny of Françoise d’Aubigné, the widow of Scarron, then Marquise de Maintenon, evokes fairy tales in which shepherd girls get to marry kings. Her career was probably the most spectacular exception to the rigid social barriers set up during the monarchy in France. Her education, her first marriage, the loss of her husband, her meeting with Madame de Montespan, her first contacts with the court, her care of the royal bastards, and then the Poisons scandal were the key steps in the incredible rise in social standing that led her to the side of Louis XIV.Madame de Maintenon is still the victim of a dark legend that makes her an ambitious schemer obsessed by politics and whose spirit of domination led her to extract extreme devotion from the king.

In fact, it was because Louis XIV wanted to put some order into his emotional and love life that he married Madame de Maintenon. She took great care not to interfere in the way State Affairs were run, and the king never asked her for her opinion in these matters. Her essential concerns involved education: after supervising the education of the children of the king and Madame de Montespan, to whom she remained attached all her life, she took up the cause of poor girls from noble families for whom she founded the remarkable boarding school of Saint-Cyr.

A graduate of the Ecole du Louvre, an archivist-palaeographer, PhD and former scholarship student at the Académie de France in Rome, Alexandre Maral is a Senior Curator of the Palace of Versailles where he is in charge of the sculpture collections. He is the author of La Chapelle royale de Versailles sous Louis XIV. Cérémonial, liturgie et musique (The Royal Chapel of Versailles under Louis XIV.

188 pages
Edition : Editions Belin
Author : Alexandre Maral
Published in October 2011
Size : 13.5 x 21,5 cm
Language: french
ISBN : 978-2-7011-5769-6