Louis XIV: Mistresses and Illegitimate Children

Figure 1.--This is Louis XIV with his familly in an allegorical representation. I'm not sure who painted this or when. We can make out Louis. My gues is that it was painted some time after the death of his first wife Marie-Thérèse (1660). It seems to mix in the legitimate and illegitimate children without destinction.

Louis married twice, but he had liasons with quite a few ladies of the court outside of his marriages. Louis apparenly had remarkable energy. Reports suggest that he performed his marital nightly, he apparently did not long remain faithful after his marriage with Marie-Thérèse (1660). Among his mistresses were: Louise de la Valliere, duchesse de Vaujours; Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, marquise de Montespan; and Marie-Angelique de Scoraille, duchesse de Fontanges. These affairs were the subject of endless court gossip and had some serious political repercussions, although becausee Louis XIV was internsely involved in government, less important than his grandson Louis XIV. The result was a substantial number of illegitimate children. Historians differ somewhat on the actual count, but 16-17 is the usual tally. Eight of these children were legitimated and recived titles. Louis did not abandon them, but took an interest in their lives as he grew older. He saw to it that they were married into prestigious nobel families. This included branches of the Royal family. As a result, their desendents, in effect cadet branches of the royal family, would play important roles in the 18th century. By all accounts, an older Louis was more faithful to his second wife--Françoise d'Aubigné, marquise de Maintenon. He married her in secret (about 1685). It was also morganatic and lasted until his death.


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Created: 12:21 AM 12/7/2007
Last updated: 12:21 AM 12/7/2007