Maria Mancini - mistress of the French king Louis XIV: biography, personal life, children

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Maria Mancini - mistress of the French king Louis XIV: biography, personal life, children
Maria Mancini - mistress of the French king Louis XIV: biography, personal life, children

Maria Mancini was a beautiful young Roman woman who captured the heart of the Sun King. Her father, Baron Lorenzo Mancini, a necromancer and astrologer, had five daughters whom he planned to marry. But before he could arrange profitable marriages for his children, he died. His wife, Baroness Geronima Mazzarini, a Sicilian noblewoman, brought her daughters to Paris, to the house of her brother, Cardinal Mazarin. There she hoped to use her influence to arrange marriages for her daughters.

What is so interesting about the personality of Maria Mancini? What mark did this strong woman leave in history? This article presents the biography of Maria Mancini.

Anna Maria Mancini


Mary's childhood passed in Rome. She was born to an Italian aristocrat on August 28, 1639. Her mother was the sister of Cardinal Giulio Mazarin, who had enormous influence in the French court.

BAs a child, Maria's father Lorenzo, a lover of astrology, predicted that a sad fate awaited the girl: not only was she an ugly girl (little Maria, according to stories, looked like a goat), but the stars predicted that many misfortunes would happen to her.

After the death of her father, together with her three sisters and mother, Maria was brought (at the invitation of her uncle - Giulio Mazarin) to France. The mother and uncle of the girls hoped that at court they would be able to profitably attach the girl's brood by organizing successful marriages for them. Life has shown that these matrimonial plans were fully justified.

At the time of arrival in France, Anna Maria Mancini was thirteen years old. A thin, swarthy, lively girl did not fit into the standards of beauty accepted in the world, and she was ranked among the plain ones. Nothing indicated that in the future this girl would become one of the most beautiful women at the French court and the favorite of King Louis XIV himself.

Giulio Mazarin

From Anna Maria to Marie

Maria Mancini began learning about French culture under the guidance of her older sister Laura, the Duchess of Merker, in the provincial Aix-en-Provence. After arriving in Paris, her uncle placed Mary in a convent at Faubourg-Saint-Antoine in the hope of improving her behavior and honing her manners. There, surrounded by books and strict rituals, Mary spent eighteen months. Confinement in a convent really did her good.

By 1655, she entered the entourage of Queen Anne of Austria and was a regular in the fashionable salons of Madame de Rambouillet and Madame de Sable. At that time, Anna Maria began to be called in Frenchmanners - Marie. This educated girl had a special mind and quoted many poetic works. At that time, not only the subtle and inquisitive mind of Maria Mancini flourished, but also her body. A tall, slender girl with huge eyes was known as a beauty.

Princess Column

Mistress of the Sun King

King Louis XIV, a connoisseur of women, at first did not pay much attention to Mary. When she appeared at court, the king actively courted her sister, the exquisite beauty Olympia. Louis 14 paid so much attention to Olympia that they began to joke at court, chatting that they already knew who was coming to become the future queen of France. All this so aroused the anger of the young man's mother, Anna of Austria, that she considered it good to remove Olympia from the court, hastily marrying her off. And the king was dying for a long time after a military campaign.

Maria, who has long been in love with Louis, but restraining her feelings, at the sight of the suffering of her beloved, could no longer hold back her tears or feelings. Her tear-stained face was the first thing Louis saw when he regained consciousness. This picture so touched him and so engraved in his memory that, having barely recovered, he hurried to meet with Mary. This is how the purest feeling of the Sun King was born.

When Louis 14 recovered, the lovers spent several happy weeks together. And when the court returned to Paris, it was impossible to separate Louis and Mary. Well-read and intelligent, Maria had a great influence on the king and, in a sense, made him a well-known King-Sun.

Maria, not alien to vanity and ambition, often talked with the king about how happy he was to have the opportunity to command - and awakened in him the pride of a powerful monarch. It was under the influence of Mary, and in order to impress her, that Louis began to pay attention to the study of languages, literature, discovered art - and was passionately carried away by it.

At that time, Louis and Maria were together all the time. But at the same time, the chaste Mary did not become the king's mistress - she considered such a relationship impossible, not blessed by marriage bonds. In addition, the smart girl understood that, having succumbed to the passion of the king, she would remain only one of his nameless favorites, forgotten in a week.

Louis 14

No king should marry for love

The romantic relationship with the young King Louis was initially favored by both Cardinal Mazarin and the King's mother, Anna of Austria. However, politics prevailed over feelings. Anna of Austria betrothed the young Princess of Savoy to King Louis. Louis refused this marriage with Margarita, there were no objections from the queen - she was already thinking about a more successful party. Louis tried to win Cardinal Mazarin over to the side of the lovers, promising him all conceivable benefits if he manages to arrange their marriage with Maria Mancini. And initially the cardinal succumbed to persuasion. He even negotiated with the Queen Mother, but they failed. Anna of Austria delivered an ultimatum to the cardinal and stated that in the event of such a "low" marriage against King Louisall France will take up arms, and she herself will stand at the head of the indignant. Cardinal Mazarin surrendered and removed Mary from court in La Rochelle. Louis on his knees begged his mother to let him marry his beloved, but the queen did not flinch.

Maria Mancini biography


Being distant from each other, the lovers wrote letters to each other. Louis categorically did not want to marry the Spanish infanta. The cardinal's persuasion was no longer useful. Because Mazarin agreed to talk with a young relative. Having spoken with Mary frankly and on an equal footing, he was able to explain to her what significance this marriage has for France. And the girl accepted it. She sent the last farewell letter to the king - and has not answered him since. Thus ended this brilliant and hopeless romance.

Princess Colonna

In 1660, the sound of bells heralded the conclusion of an alliance. France celebrated the royal marriage with Infanta Maria Teresa. And Cardinal Mazarin, before he died, managed to take care of a relative. He arranged for Maria Mancini to marry Lorenzo Onofrio, Grand Constable of Naples and head of the most powerful noble family in Rome.

Rich and handsome, Lorenzo promised to give Mary his best. After the death of Mazarin, Louis made many efforts to break off the engagement of the girl with the Column. He tried to leave his beloved beside him as a mistress, since fate did not allow them to get married. But the proud Mary refused. And in 1661, Mary went to Italy to her future husband.

Maria Mancinipersonal life

Patron and soothsayer

In Rome, Maria Mancini's personal life seemed to settle down. Maria and her husband were known as influential patrons and inveterate theatergoers. Maria hosted meetings of a French-style fashion salon at the Palazzo Colonna. The main theater in Rome during this period was in the Colonna Palace. In 1669 and 1670, Mary published two astrological almanacs with numerous predictions for worldly and political events.

Did Maria Mancini have children? Yes, she gave birth to a wife of three children: Filippo - in 1663, Marc Antonio - in 1664 and Carlo - in 1665.

Marriage collapses

After the birth of her third son, Maria broke off marital relations with her husband, and the marriage began to deteriorate. The column began to cheat on his wife. Maria eventually began to fear that Lorenzo Onofrio was plotting to kill her.

Maria Mancini

Escape and wandering

On May 29, 1672, she fled Rome (accompanied by her sister Hortense) and traveled to the south of France, where she received a letter from Louis XIV guaranteeing her protection. However, then, under the influence of Colonne, the king canceled his earlier promise of protection and asked Mary to leave France. Mary took refuge for several months at the court of the Duke of Savoy in Chambery, then in 1674 she went to Flanders, where she was imprisoned by her husband's agents, who continued to demand her return to Rome. But she managed to free herself and go to Spain, where she retired to a convent in Madrid.

Life Story

In 1676 wasa work allegedly representing the life story of Maria Mancini under the title "Memoirs of M. Mancini Colonna" was printed. Mary was outraged by this and wrote her own story in response, published in 1677 under the title The True Memoirs of M. Mancini, Duchess of Colonna.

Mary remained in Madrid until her husband's death in 1689. She was then able to return to Italy. Maria remained in Italy for most of her life, devoting time to her son's interests, as well as becoming involved in espionage and political intrigue.

The favorite of King Louis XIV, Maria Mancini, died in May 1715. At the time of her death (May 11), she was in the city of Pisa. Her beloved king lived a little longer. He met his death a few months after Mary's death.

Mary's legacy

Maria Mancini has long been of interest to historians and novelists solely as the mistress of Louis XIV. Only recently has she begun to be studied as a memoir writer and one of the first women in France to publish her life story.

Her astrological almanacs show her familiarity with medieval Arabic works, as well as Kepler and Cardano. In addition to printed works, Anna Maria Mancini left an extensive correspondence, which has been preserved in the archives of the Colonna family in the Santa Scholastica Library in Subiaco, Italy. Her letters, written by Lorenzo Onofrio and her friends and relatives after she left Rome, provide rich and unique material for studying the practice of marriage and divorce in the last decades of the seventeenth century.

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