Marie Louise de Rohan

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Marie Louise
Countess of Marsan
Born (1720-01-07)7 January 1720
Paris, France
Died 4 March 1803(1803-03-04) (aged 83)
Regensburg, Germany
Spouse Gaston Jean Baptiste de Lorraine
Full name
Marie Louise Geneviève de Rohan
Father Jules, Prince of Soubise
Mother Anne Julie de Melun

Marie Louise de Rohan (Marie Louise Geneviève; 7 January 1720 – 4 March 1803), also known as Madame de Marsan, was the governess of Louis XVI of France and his siblings.


She was the sister of Charles, Prince of Soubise; Marie Louise's niece was Charlotte, princesse de Condé.

Marie Louise was the only daughter of Jules de Rohan, Prince of Soubise and Anne Julie de Melun. After her parents died of smallpox in 1724 in Paris, she and her brothers lived at Versailles with their uncle, Hercule Mériadec de Rohan, Prince of Guéméné.

Her eldest brother Charles was the same age as Louis XV and became Louis' great companion.

On 4 June 1736,[1] Marie Louise married the widow of Gaston Jean Baptiste de Lorraine, Count of Marsan and Walhaim, (1721–1743). The wedding nuptials were carried out in the chapel of the hôtel de Mayenne by her great uncle the Cardinal de Soubise.[2] At the age of 23, Marie Louise became a widow as her husband died of smallpox like her parents. Afterwards, she led a pious and reserved life. The couple had no surviving children.

As a widow, she took Louis-Guillaume Le Monnier as a lover; he was the physician to Louis XV.[3]

Her husband was the brother of Louise de Lorraine, Duchess of Bouillon.

Royal governess[edit]

Since 1727, the position of royal governess had been held by some female member of Madame de Marsan's family. Her great-grandmother, Madame de Ventadour, was the governess of the children of Louis de France, Duke of Burgundy, including Louis XV, and then the children of Louis XV himself. In 1735, Ventadour resigned and the post went to Madame de Marsan's aunt, Marie Isabelle de Rohan, Duchess of Tallard (1699–1754).

When Madame de Tallard died in 1754, Marie Louise was appointed to her aunt's position as royal governess and took over the care of Louis XV's ten children.[4] The widowed and childless Madame de Marsan remained as governess for twenty-two years and taught the future Louis XVI[4] and his siblings. Her favorite charge was the Count of Provence; he in turn called her ma chère petite chère amie.[4]

She remained in her position until 1776, when there was a mass exodus of older nobles from the court because of Queen Marie Antoinette's disdain for formal court etiquette. Marie Louise resigned her post in favour of her niece, the Princess of Guéméné, the wife of Henri Louis, Prince of Guéméné.

In 1777, Marie Louise used her influence with King Louis XVI to have her cousin Louis René de Rohan appointed the Grand Almoner of France.[4]

In 1789, at the beginning of the French Revolution, Marie Louise fled France. She left behind her superb hôtel on the rue Neuve Saint Augustine in Paris. She died in Regensburg in exile at the age of 83.


Her brothers were:


Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 7 January 1720 – 4 June 1736 Her Highness Mademoiselle de Soubise
  • 4 June 1736 – 2 May 1743 Her Highness the Countess of Marsan
  • 2 May 1743 – 4 March 1803 Her Highness the Dowager Countess of Marsan

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Some sources say 14 June
  2. ^ de La Chesnaye-Desbois, Badier, Francois Alexandre Aubert. Dictionnaire de la noblesse. Retrieved 2010-07-21. 
  3. ^ Gillispie. Charles Coulston: Science and polity in France: the end of the old regime, Princeton, New Jersey (1980), p.155
  4. ^ a b c d Mansel, Philip. "The Court of France 1789-1830". Retrieved 2010-04-07. 
Court offices
Preceded by
The Duchess of Tallard
Governess of the
Children of France

Succeeded by
The Princess of Guéméné