MADAME DE MONTESPAN, THE SUN KING'S GREAT LOVE
An episode from the series SECRETS OF HISTORY - PORTRAITS
The Marquise de Montespan ruled the heart of King Louis XIV for more than 10 years. Who was she?
Françoise de Rochechouart de Mortemart came from one of the oldest aristocratic family. In Paris, she married Louis-Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Marquis de Montespan. In the spring of 1663, she became bridesmaid to Queen Marie-Thérèse, who was already complaining about her august husband's philandering. Louis XIV was immediately smitten. But Montespan's husband demanded reparation. He was arrested before being forced into exile.
The favourite breathed a fresh air of freedom in Versailles: she encouraged Racine, Molière dedicated her a play and she protected La Fontaine.