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Castiglione, Virginie, Countess de (1837–1899)

Castiglione, Virginie, Countess de (1837–1899)

Florentine noblewoman. Name variations: Virginia Oldoini or Oldoïni; Contessa Virginie di Castiglione. Born in Florence, Mar 22, 1837; died 1899; dau. of Marchese Filippo Oldoini (diplomat and tutor to Prince Louis Napoleon) and an invalided mother; granddau. of jurist Lamporecchi; cousin of Count Camillo di Cavour; m. the Count Francesco di Castiglione, 1851 (some sources cite 1855); children: (with Castiglione) 1 son; (with Napoleon III) 1 son, known in later life as Dr. Hugenschmidt, a dentist.

To influence Napoleon III, was sent to France as a present from Count Camillo Cavour, an Italian aristocrat and master manipulator of Europe's diplomatic scene, and the chief counsel to the king of Sardinia (1855); was instructed to obtain a Franco-Italian alliance, stipulating that if Austria made war, France would join with Italy in combat; as a beauty and member of the Florentine nobility, easily accessed the French upper strata; by night, plotted French-Italian strategy with Napoleon; by day, carried documents from one embassy to another or drove to the border to deliver information to Cavour; was highly successful.

See also Women in World History.

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