Historical Reprints Secret Memoirs of the Mother of the Regent

Secret Memoirs of the Mother of the Regent

Secret Memoirs of the Mother of the Regent
Catalog # SKU1162
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Elizabeth-Charlotte of Bavaria


Secret Memoirs
of the
Mother of the Regent

Madame Elizabeth-Charlotte of Bavaria,
Duchesse D'Orleans.

The Court of Louis XIV.
And the Regency

A rare look into the personal lives of the French and other monarchies, how they lived, how they thought.

The Duchesse d'Orleans, commonly though incorrectly styled the Princess of Bavaria, was known to have maintained a very extensive correspondence with her relations and friends in different parts of Europe. Nearly eight hundred of her letters, written to the Princess Wilhelmina Charlotte of Wales and the Duke Antoine-Ulric of Brunswick, were found amongst the papers left by the Duchess Elizabeth of Brunswick at her death, in 1767. These appeared to be so curious that the Court of Brunswick ordered De Praun, a Privy Councillor, to make extracts of such parts as were most interesting.


The Queen of Spain stayed longer with her mother than our Dauphine, and therefore was better educated. Maintenon, who understood nothing about education, permitted her to do whatever she pleased, that she might gain her affections and keep her to herself.

This young lady had been well brought up by her virtuous mother; she was genteel and humorous, and could joke very pleasantly: when she had a colour she did not look ugly. No one can imagine what mad-headed people were about this Princess, and among the number was the Marechale d'Estrees. Maintenon was very properly recompensed for having given her these companions; for the consequence was that the Dauphine no longer liked her society.

Maintenon was very desirous to know the reason of this, and teased the Princess to tell her. At length she did; and said that the Marechale d'Estrees was continually asking her, "What are you always doing with that old woman? Why do you not associate with folks who would amuse you more than that old skeleton?" and that she said many other uncivil things of her. Maintenon told me this herself, since the death of the Dauphine, to prove that it was only the Marechale's fault that the Dauphine had been on such bad terms with me.

This may be partly true; but it is no less certain that Maintenon had strongly prepossessed her against me. Almost all the foolish people who were about her were relations or friends of the old woman; and it was by her order that they endeavoured to amuse her and employ her, so that she might want no other society.

The young Dauphine was full of pantomime tricks. * * * * She was fond, too, of collecting a quantity of young persons about her for the King's amusement, who liked to see their sports; they, however, took care never to display any but innocent diversions before him: he did not learn the rest until after her death.

The Dauphine used to call old Maintenon her aunt, but only in jest; the fines d'honneur called her their gouvernante, and the Marechale de La Mothe, mamma; if the Dauphine had also called the old woman her mamma, it would have been regarded as a declaration of the King's marriage; for this reason she only called her aunt.

It is not surprising that the Dauphine, even when she was Duchess of Burgundy, should have been a coquette. One of Maintenon's maxims was that there was no harm in coquetry, but that a grande passion only was a sin. In the second place, she never took care that the Duchess of Burgundy behaved conformably to her rank; she was often left quite alone in her chateau with the exception of her people; she was permitted to run about arm-in-arm with one of her young ladies, without esquires, or dames d'honneur or d'atour. At Marly and Versailles she was obliged to go to chapel on foot and without her stays, and seat herself near the femmes de chambre. At Madame de Maintenon's there was no observance of ranks; every one sat down there promiscuously; she did this for the purpose of avoiding all discussion respecting her own rank.

At Marly the Dauphine used to run about the garden at night with the young people until two or three o'clock in the morning. The King knew nothing of these nocturnal sports. Maintenon had forbidden the Duchesse de Lude to tease the Duchess of Burgundy, or to put her out of temper, because then she would not be able to divert the King. Maintenon had threatened, too, with her eternal vengeance whoever should be bold enough to complain of the Dauphine to the King. It was for this reason that no one dared tell the King what the whole Court and even strangers were perfectly well acquainted with. The Dauphine liked to be dragged along the ground by valets, who held her feet. These servants were in the habit of saying to each other, "Come, shall we go and play with the Duchess of Burgundy?" for so she was at this time.

She was dreadfully nasty, She made the Dauphin believe whatever she chose, and he was so fond of her that one of her glances would throw him into an ecstacy and make him forget everything. When the King intended to scold her she would put on an air of such deep dejection that he was obliged to console her instead; the aunt, too, used to affect similar sorrow, so that the King had enough to do with consoling them both. Then, for quietness' sake, he used to lean upon the old aunt, and think nothing more about the matter.

The Dauphine never cared for the Duc de Richelieu, although he boasted of the contrary, and was sent to the Bastille for it. She was a coquette, and chatted with all the young men; but if she loved any of them it was Nangis, who commanded the King's regiment. She had commanded him to pretend to be in love with little La Vrilliere, who, though not so pretty nor with so good a presence as the Dauphine, had a better figure and was a great coquette. This badinage, it is said, afterwards became reality. The good Dauphin was like the husbands of all frail wives, the last to perceive it. The Duke of Burgundy never imagined that his wife thought of Nangis, although it was visible to all the world besides that she did. As he was very much attached to Nangis, he believed firmly that his wife only behaved civilly to him on his account; and he was besides convinced that his favourite had at the same time an affair of gallantry with Madame la Vrilliere.

Softbound, 5.5x8, 300+ pages


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