Madame de Saint-Laurent
Madame Alphonsine-Thérèse-Bernardine-Julie de Montgenet de Saint-Laurent (30 Sept. 1760 in Besançon, France - 8 Aug. 1830 in Paris) was the wife of Baron de Fortisson, a colonel in the French service, and the mistress of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn.
On the formation of Lower Canada, in August, 1791, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn arrived in Quebec City and shortly afterwards leased Judge Mabane's house for £90 per annum. He lived at the Duke of Kent House, Quebec for three years with Madame de Saint Laurent, before he was posted to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1794.
While in Geneva, the Duke had been introduced to the de Fortissons and soon after Julie and Edward became lovers. The Dukes's father, King George III, enrolled Edward in the army and had him posted to Gibraltar, where Edward made arrangements for her to be smuggled so they could be together. George III later found out about the affair and so sent the Duke to Quebec City as colonel of the 7th Fusiliers. Humiliated, at first he refused to go, but in August 1791 he arrived accompanied by his chatelaine, introduced as Julie de Saint-Laurent and reputed to be a widow. It has been claimed by several writers that she was morganatically married to the Duke of Kent at a Roman Catholic church in Quebec.
For twenty-eight years Madame de Saint-Laurent presided over the Duke's household, as a local chronicler records, "with dignity and propriety." She is described as having been beautiful, clever, witty and accomplished. Many of her letters will be found in Anderson's " Life of the Duke of Kent " (Quebec: 1870). After the Duke's marriage in 1818 to the widow of the Prince of Leiningen, Madame de Saint-Laurent retreated to Paris where she lived out her days amongst her family and friends.
The portrait of the Duke by Beechey was hers.
There is no evidence of children but many families in Canada have claimed descent from the couple.
- namesake of Julie's Pond, Bedford, Nova Scotia
- Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online Vol VI
- Elizabeth Longford, ‘Edward, Prince, duke of Kent and Strathearn (1767–1820)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004