Marie Anne Mancini

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Marie Anne
Duchess of Bouillon
Marie-Anne Martinozzi (née Mancini), Duchess of Bouillon by Benedetto Gennari.jpg
Portrait of Marie Anne Mancini by Benedetto Gennari, circa 1672–1673
Spouse Godefroy Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne
Issue
Detail
Louis Charles, Prince of Turenne
Emmanuel Theodose, Duke of Bouillon
Frédéric Jules, Prince of Auvergne
Louis Henri, Count of Évreux
Louise Julie, Princess of Montbazon
Full name
Marie Anne Mancini
Father Lorenzo Mancini
Mother Geronima Mazzarini
Born 1649
Died 20 June 1714
Clichy, France

Marie Anne Mancini, duchesse de Bouillon (1649 – 20 June 1714), was the youngest of the five famous Mancini sisters, who along with two of their female Martinozzi cousins, were known at the court of King Louis XIV of France as the Mazarinettes because their uncle was the king's chief minister, Cardinal Mazarin.

Family[edit]

The parents of Marie Anne Mancini were Lorenzo Mancini, a Roman baron, necromancer and astrologer, and Geronima Mazzarini, sister of Cardinal Mazarin.

Her four famous sisters were:

The Mancinis were not the only female family members that Cardinal Mazarin brought to the French court. The others were Marie Anne's first cousins, daughters of Mazarin's eldest sister. The elder, Laura Martinozzi, married Alfonso IV d'Este, duke of Modena and was the mother of Mary of Modena, second wife of James II of England. The younger, Anne Marie Martinozzi, married Armand, Prince de Conti.

The Mancini also had three brothers: Paul, Philippe, and Alphonse. Philippe Jules Mancini was a lover of Philippe de France, brother of Louis XIV.

Early life[edit]

Marie Anne reached Paris much later than her sisters, in 1655, when she was a mere child of six. The last Mazarinette became the "spoiled darling" of the French court and of her uncle, who was greatly amused by the literary six-year-old's verses and bon mots. She was considered a wit and a beauty. Even more than her older sister Hortense, Cardinal Mazarin's favorite niece, Marie Anne is often referred to as "the wittiest and most vivacious of the sisters." According to a contemporary, she was, "said to be quite divine, having infinite appeal." Self-possessed, she excelled at such courtly diversions as dancing and plays.

In 1657, her eldest sister, Laure, died in childbirth. Marie Anne, despite her young age, was given her sister's three sons to raise. Marie Anne was only a few years older than her nephews. The youngest child, Jules César, died three years later in 1660. The two older boys, Louis Joseph and Philippe, however, survived. Both young men became soldiers, with Louis Joseph eventually gaining fame as a general.

Husband and children[edit]

Marie Anne by Nicolas de Largillière, c.1700

She married Godefroy Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne.

Her uncle died when she was thirteen. The night before the cardinal's death, the famous field marshal Turenne came to his bedside to ask for the hand of Marie Anne in the name of his nephew, the duc de Bouillon. About a year later, on 22 April 1662, Marie Anne wed the duke at the Hôtel de Soissons, in the presence of King Louis XIV, his mother and wife.

Her husband was a good soldier, but a bad courtier and even worse literary man. As a result, the intelligent and ambitious fifteen-year-old duchess was left on her own to pursue her political and literary interests. She established a small salon at her new residence, the Hôtel de Bouillon.

Marie Anne and her husband had seven children, including:

Later life[edit]

Marie Anne is best remembered for her literary pursuits and for her patronage of the young La Fontaine.

She was socially and politically compromised in the notorious Affaire des Poisons, allegedly for planning to poison her husband in order to marry her nephew Louis Joseph. Unlike her older sister, Olympe, comtesse de Soissons, however, who was forced to flee to Spain in order to escape arrest, Marie Anne was never punished by Louis XIV.

References[edit]

  • Pierre Combescot, Les Petites Mazarines, 1999, Grasset/Livre de Poche. ISBN 2-253-14982-9