Rohan-Montbazon, Marie de (1600–1679)

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Rohan-Montbazon, Marie de (1600–1679)

Duchesse de Chevreuse and French intriguer at the royal court. Name variations: Marie de Rohan; Marie de Rohan-Montbazon, duchesse de Luynes. Born Marie de Rohan-Montbazon in December 1600; died at Gagny, near Paris, on August 12, 1679; daughter of Hercule de Rohan, duke of Montbazon; married Charles d'Albert, duke of Luynes, in 1617 (died 1621); married Claude de Lorraine, duke of Chevreuse (son of Catherine of Cleves and Henry I of Lorraine, 3rd duke of Guise), in 1622.

Considered one of the most engaging women of her day, Marie de Rohan-Montbazon was born in 1600, the daughter of Hercule de Rohan, duke of Montbazon. In 1617, she married Charles d'Albert, duke of Luynes, who died four years later. She then married Claude de Lorraine, duke of Chevreuse. Despite numerous affairs, she kept the friendship of both of her husbands in their lifetimes.

The duchess was one of the most formidable women at court and a good friend of Anne of Austria , queen and wife of Louis XIII, king of France. Wrote Louis Auchincloss in Richelieu: She "has assumed the role of charmer in the nineteenth-century fiction where Richelieu plays the villain. Both in fiction and fact she was the very essence of what he was trying to tame in the French nobility. She was everything that Richelieu was not: beautiful, healthy, imaginative, sympathetic, romantic, witty. She cared nothing for crowns or laws but much for individuals and power. She was a brigand with a brigand's code of honor. Yet Richelieu was fascinated by her." Even though Richelieu was aware of her enmity, he tried to win her over. But in what is known as the Conspiration des Dames, the duchess was caught, in cahoots with Queen Anne and the Princesse de Condé , conspiring to thwart Cardinal Richelieu's royal matchmaking in respect to the king's brother. Richelieu then forced Marie to leave France.

While she was in England, King Charles I became so enamored of her that he stipulated "the rescission of her banishment" as a condition in a treaty with France. On the death of Louis XIII, the duchess returned to France but was coldly received by the queen regent, her former friend Anne of Austria. Having acted in concert with Cardinal de Retz against French cardinal and diplomat Jules Mazarin (a close advisor to Anne), Rohan-Montbazon was sent into exile for a second time.


Auchincloss, Louis. Richelieu. Viking, 1972.

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Rohan-Montbazon, Marie de (1600–1679)

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