Henriette of England at the French Court


It was Madame de la Fayette who told us the following anecdote from the life of Henriette of England; this English princess was the first wife of Monsieur, Duke of Orleans (1); his second wife, Princess Palatine later claimed in one of her letters that Henriette was poisoned; but the autopsy, ordered by the king, produced no evidence. According to La Fayette Henriette d’Angleterre was seriously involved with a certain Count de Guiche: to La Fayette, of course, all true love existed only on the outside of marriage; and yet, the dangers of passion required a red flag of moral lesson: The Count would sneak into Henriette’s chamber dressed as a woman, and the appearances were preserved; but, the pregnancy assured, the affair had to be broken off — courtly love was always intertwined with politics; and I imagine it was pretty tough for the princess to bring the news to de Guiche; as for de Guiche, he completely fell apart and fainted in public, all spiffed up in his compromising attire, while the princess was carried away down a hallway of Louvre.

(1) Duke of Orleans was nick-named Monsieur; so, if a courtier said Monsieur, he meant the brother of Louis XIV.

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This entry was posted in Court, Courtiers, Duke of Orleans, Libertines, Louis XIV, Louvre, Madame de La Fayette, Princess Palatine. Bookmark the permalink.

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