Francoise d`Aubigne Marquise de Maintenon


1635 - 1719
Francoise d`Aubigne, Marquise de Maintenon - was the morganatic second wife of king Louis XIV of France. She was known after her first marriage as Madame Scarron, and subsequently as Madame de Maintenon. Her marriage to the king was never officially announced or admitted. Her grandfather was celebrated Protestant writer Agrippa d`Aubigne, the Huguenot hero. The family spent some years in Martinique, but upon her father`s death she and her mother returned to France. Although baptized a Roman Catholic, the child was educated by a Protestant aunt. Later cared for by Catholic relatives, she became a very devout Catholic. At 16 she married the poet Paul Scarron and became a figure in the literary and intellectual world of Paris. After his death in 1660 the queen mother continued the poet`s pension to his widow, and later Mme de Montespan obtained a pension for her. She became (1669) the governess for the children of Mme de Montespan and the king and gradually supplanted Mme de Montespan in the esteem and affections of Louis XIV, who made her a marquise. Mme de Maintenon exercised considerable influence over Louis and greatly lifted the moral tone of the court, although the ascription to her of Louis`s mistakes (particularly the revocation of the Edict of Nantes) is an exaggeration. The queen, Marie Therese, was devoted to her and died in her arms. In 1684 she became the morganatic wife of the king. In her later years Mme de Maintenon gave much of her attention to the famous school of Saint-Cyr, which she had founded for the daughters of poor but noble families. She also wrote remarkable essays and letters dealing with education.

Aphorisms of the author