Madame de Maintenon
Wife of Louis XIV
Francoise d'Aubigne Maintenon was born at Niort,
November 27, 1635, and died at St. Cyr, April 15 1719.
Her birthplace was a prison, Chateau Trompette, where her father,
Constant d'Aubigne, Baron of Surimeau, was confined for having
killed his wife and her lover, whom he caught in the very act
The mother of Francoise was the daughter of the governor of
the prison, whom d'Aubigne had persuaded to marry him secretly.
In 1639 he was discharged from prison, and with his wife and children
emigrated to Martinique, where he died in the utmost poverty.
His widow returned to France, and was soon followed by her daughter,
who, after many diverse changes and much suffering from poverty
ill treatment on the part of her relatives, found herself, at
the age of fifteen, in Paris, an inmate, in a dependent and almost
menial position, of the house of her godmother, the Countess de
The comic poet Scarron, who was a paralytic and a cripple,
lived in the same street with the Countess de Neuillant, became
interested in the young, beautiful, and intelligent girl, whose
adventures had been related to him and furnished money to enable
her to enter a convent, which poverty had before prevented her
from doing. Francoise called to thank her benefactor, and
at their first interview he proposed to her to become his wife.
After a week's deliberation she consented, and they were married
in 1651. She was at this time exceedingly beautiful, graceful,
and witty, and the house of Scarron soon became the resort of
the most brilliant intellects of Paris. Scarron died October
14, 1660, leaving his young widow nearly penniless, his pension
ceasing at his death.
In 1669 she became governess to the children of Louis XIV by
Madame de Montespan, much to the dissatisfaction of the king.
His first impression of the young woman was not a good one.
At first did not like the extreme gravity and reserve of the
young widow. And was not at all pleased to have her as the governess
of his children.
The opinion of the king was soon to change. Francoise's
talents and wisdom, soon attracted Louis' attention, and she
became his confidant and adviser, was made marchioness.
She then took the name of Maintenon from an estate. The king
wanted her for his mistress, but she resolutely refused him.
Since she would not submit to his request to be his mistress,
she became his wife by a secret marriage in 1683. From
this time until his death, Louis was greatly under her influence.
After the death of Louis, she retired to the convent of St.