Madame la Princesse – Charlotte de Montmorency, Princesse de Condé

Charlotte de Montmorency

Charlotte de Montmorency

Extracts from Love Tales of Tallement:
Madame la Princesse was the daughter of the last Constable de Montmorency, a man who was almost illiterate, but a good horseman…
Mademoiselle de Montmorency was only four years old when she began to show signs of that extraordinary beauty for which she was afterwards celebrated. Several offers of marriage were made for her, one of them coming from Bassompierre, who was willing to take her without a dowry; but her aunt, Madame d’Angouleme, would not allow an engagement.
When she was fourteen years old, the Queen {Marie de Medici} arranged a ballet in which she wished to have all the Court beauties, & you may be sure that Mademoiselle was not forgotten.
The King {Henri IV} and Queen had a great many squabbles about this ballet. The King wanted Madame de Moiret to appear in it, and the Queen objected; she wanted to have Madame de Verderonne, and he would not hear of it…
During these quarrels the Queen continued to rehearse her ballet, and the King, who was still very angry with her, used to have the doors of his apartments shut whenever she passed by. One day, however, he caught sight of Mademoiselle de Montmorency through the half open door, & he followed her to the rehearsal.
The ladies were dressed as nymphs and part of the ballet consisted in their raising their darts and aiming them at the spectators. The King happened to be just opposite this lovely girl when she raised her dart, and he said afterwards that the action was so graceful that he really felt the wound in his heart and became quite faint.
After that day the King’s doors were no longer shut, and the Queen could do whatever she pleased about the ballet. Madame de Rambouillet was one of the dancers, & it was there that she made friends with Madame la Princesse, as she afterwards became.
Before all this took place, there had been some talk about a marriage between her and M. le Prince, and the King now hastened it on, thinking it would advance his own affair. The Constable gave his daughter  a hundred thousand crowns; M. le Prince was poor, but the honour of having the first prince of the blood for a son-in-law was great…
When the prince found out that the King’s infatuation did not cool, he took his wife to Muret, near Soissons. The King could not bear to be without her, and he arranged to go to a shooting party that the prince was to give, disguised with a false beard; the prince heard of this plan and gave up the party…
The worst thing that the princesse did was to allow herself to be persuaded to sign a request to have her marriage annulled. The King obliged his relations to sign this document, and the Constable was so dishonourable that he only thought of the riches & honours that the King would bestow on the family of his mistress. The princesse herself was made to believe that the King would marry her. Imagine what this would have meant! To begin with, Marie de Medici, who had children, would have had to be poisoned.
The prince, who never forgave his wife the part she took in this scandal, took her to Brussels, where he had cause to be jealous of M. de Coeuvres, afterwards Marshal d’Estrées then ambassador to France…
After the death of Henri IV, the prince brought his wife back to Paris; when he was arrested she had for decency’s sake to offer to go to prison with him.
Had this not happened, they would probably never have had any children, as they were not on good terms; both Madame de Longueville & the prince (the Great Condé) were born there…

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