Thursday, November 24, 2011

Catherine Charlotte de Gramont


A woman of decadence who took to bed some of France's wealthiest men!

Catherine Charlotte de Gramont
 

I am Catherine Charlotte de Gramont and I was fortunate to be born in the year 1631 into a wealthy family of the French nobility.

 Marshal Antoine de Gramont
Catherine's Father


Françoise Marguerite du Plessis
Catherine's Mother  


My scandalous brother, Armand de Gramont, the celebrated Count of Guiche, was not only known for his haughty egotism and enchanting handsomeness, but also for his love affair with Philippe of France, Duke of Orléans and his wife, Henrietta of England. I shall leave you to make your own conclusions as I have made mine. He was brash, highly sexual, and charming, equally attracting both men and women to him. 



Armand de Gramont
Count of Guiche
 

In 1660, I was married to Louis de Grimaldi, the 2nd Duke of Valentinois and heir to the throne of Monaco. Prior to meeting him, he was described to me as a glorious and avaricious Italian. Throughout the years of our marriage, I would bear him six children.



 Louis de Grimaldi
2nd Duke of Valentinois
Catherine's Husband 
 

Two years after our marriage, in 1662, I became Princess of Monaco and travelled there where I remained for 3 years, however, I preferred Paris to Monaco and thus returned to the French court of Louis XIV where I was given the post of lady-in-waiting to Henrietta of England, sister-in-law and former lover of Louis XIV. It pleased me to be with my aunt, Suzanne Charlotte de Gramont, marquise de Saint Chaumont, who also served Henrietta as governess to her daughters, Marie Louise and Anne Marie.


Henrietta

Mistress of King Louix XIV
 

Life in the French court was not always easy, but I soon learned how to use my beauty and wits to gain attention. I took many lovers to my bed including King Louis, the marquis de Villeroi, and my favourit lover of all, my cousin, Antonin Nompar, Marquis de Puyguilheim.
When I resumed my affair with my cousin, Nompar, King Louis XIV was outraged, and ordered Nompar to stay away from me. But my cousin refused and the king sent him to the Bastille for six months. 


 King Louis XIV
Catherine's Lover

Duc de Villeroi
Catherine's Lover

Antonin Nompar
Marquis de Puyguilheim
Catherine's cousin and lover


Behind my back, they called me Catherine the Torrent and Madame de Sévigné dared to describe me as a woman greedy for pleasure.


Madame de Sevigne
Noblewoman of the French Court
 
Ever vigilant, soon, Henrietta and I noticed that King Louis was losing interest in his mistress, Louise de la Vallière and we saw an opportunity.
 
Louise de la Vallière
Mistress of King Louis XIV


With Henrietta's approval, I began an affair with the king, and during this time, my husband, Louis I, Prince of Monaco, left court and conveniently went off to fight a war for the king. 

You may think that this was all my doing, but it was not. Henrietta designed the plot in order to distract the king from Louise in the hopes that he would return to her bed.


Unfortunately, our affair did not last long. King Louis XIV left me after a few months, not to go return to Henrietta, but in favor of Madame de Montespan.

 
Madame de Montspan
King Louis XIV's Mistress
 
Gossips also whispered that I had an intimate affair with Henrietta, but this is a secret that I shall keep to myself and reveal to no one.
 

It was then that I began an affair with the Chevalier de Lorraine, a friend of the Duke of Orleans.
  

Chevalier de Lorraine

Our affair angered Henrietta and it ended our friendship. My affairs caused me to be banished from the court and so I fled to Monaco in 1668 with my husband.

In 1672, when France and Holland went to war, my husband was recalled to duty and I was able to return to my beloved France. Madame de Montespan gave me a position as her lady-in-waiting. The king gave me my own home in St Germain and I lived happily there until the day of my death on June 4, 1678.
 
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