Chateau Maintenon, bedroom of Françoise d’Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon (1635–1719) the second wife of King Louis XIV of France. Said the King of her, “Madame de Maintenon knows how to love. There would be great pleasure in being loved by her.”
She served as the governess to the king and queen’s children. After the death of Queen Marie-Therese, the Sun King married Madame Maintenon in a morganatic marriage. Because of her social status she was never formally recognized as queen. She remained the wife of the king until his death in 1715. She spent the remainder of her life at Saint-Cyr, a school she founded for poor girls of noble birth, until her death at age 83.
One morning Madame de Maintenon awoke at Saint-Cyr to find a very tall man seated at a chair by the foot of her bed. Instead of showing surprise, she knew who the man was. It was a very distinguished royal visitor, who was the toast of Paris. When the man asked what her illness was she replied, “Old age”.
She then asked what brought him to her room, the man replied, “I came to see everything worthy of note that France contains.” A smile appeared on her face and some of her beauty returned to her cheeks. At that, the visitor, Tsar Peter 1 of Russia, left the room. He later remarked to his aides that she had rendered a great service to the King and nation.
Photo by Amber Maitrejean