Louise de La Fayette
Life in the royal court
When Louise became maid-of-honor to Anne of Austria, Cardinal Richelieu sought to attract the attention of Louis XIII to her in the hope that she might counterbalance the influence exercised over him by Marie de Hautefort.
The affair did not turn out as the minister wished. The King was attracted to Louise because of her innocence and purity, and he did indeed make her the confidante of his affairs. But when he divulged to her his resentment for the Cardinal, she, far from repeating Louis's confidences to the minister, set herself to encourage the King in his resistance to Richelieu's dominion.
She refused, nevertheless, to become Louis's mistress, and after taking leave of the King in Anne of Austria's presence, retired to the convent of the Filles de Sainte-Marie in 1637.
Here she was repeatedly visited by Louis, with whom she maintained a correspondence. Richelieu intercepted the letters, and by omissions and falsifications succeeded in destroying their mutual confidence. The cessation of their intercourse was regretted by the queen, who had been reconciled with her husband through the influence of Louise. At the time of her death in January 1665, Mlle de La Fayette was superior of a convent of her order which she had founded at Chaillot.
See Mémoires de Madame de Motteville; Victor Cousin, Madame de Hautefort (Paris, 1868); L'Abbé Sorin, Louise-Angle de La Fayette (Paris, 1893).
- Miller 1987, p. 126
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.