Pauline de Bassano

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Pauline de Bassano

Pauline Marie Ghislaine de Bassano, née van der Linden d'Hooghvorst (23 September 1814 in Meise – 9 December 1867), was a French courtier. She served as dame d'honneur to Empress Eugénie de Montijo in 1853–1867.


She was born to the Belgian politician Emmanuel van der Linden d'Hoogvorst. In 1843, she married the French diplomat Napoléon Hugues Charles Marie Ghislain Maret de Bassano, 3rd Duc de Bassano. Her mother-in-law, Marie Madeleine Lejéas-Carpentier, had been dame du palais to the Empresses Josephine and Marie-Louise.

In 1853, her spouse was appointed chamberlain to Emperor Napoleon III of France, while she received to position of dame d'honneur to the Empress. The court of the newly wed empress had then just been formatted, and the ladies-in-waiting consisted of a Grand-Maitresse (Mistress of the Robes), a dame d'honneur and six (later twelve) dame du palais, most of whom were chosen from among the acquaintances to the empress prior to her marriage. While the formally highest rank was that of the Grand-Maitresse, a position given to Anne Debelle, Princesse d'Essling, the second highest female courtier, the Duchesse de Bassano, was reportedly the one doing most of the work.

It belonged to her task to receive the applications from the women wishing to be presented at court, instruct them in etiquette, approve them and finally present them, which was an important part of the Imperial protocol of representation. She also supervised the other female courtiers. Alongside the princesse d'Essling, de Bassano had a very visible public position as it belonged to her duty to accompany the empress at all grander representational public events. Being a public figure who dealt with those wishing admission to the court, she is also frequently depicted in contemporary memoirs. Pauline de Bassano have been described as attractive, stable, imposing and somewhat arrogant. She served until her death in 1867, and was replaced by Marie-Anne Walewska.

Pauline de Bassano belonged to the ladies-in-waiting depicted with Eugenie in the famous painting of Empress Eugenie and her ladies-in-waiting by Franz Xaver Winterhalter from 1855.


  • Seward, Desmond: Eugénie. An empress and her empire. ISBN 0-7509-2979-0 (2004)
  • Allison Unruh: Aspiring to la Vie Galante: Reincarnations of Rococo in Second Empire France
  • Philip Walsingham Sergeant: The last empress of the French (1907)
  • Carette Madame: Recollections of the court of the Tuileries (1890)
Court offices
Preceded by
Première dame d'honneur
Succeeded by
Marie-Anne Walewska