Françoise d’Aubigné was the final official mistress of King Louis XIV of France and ended up marrying him secretly near the end of his life (so she was never queen). She married the much older poet Paul Scarron which allowed her to enter high society, was deeply religious, and became governess to the king’s legitimized children.
She became the king’s mistress in the 1670s, marrying him sometime around 1684 — meaning Louis, who is renowned for being a libertine, was actually with the same woman for several decades (he died in 1715). She was politically influential and founded a school for girls from impoverished noble families at Saint-Cyr, which focused on an actual education rather than the religious teaching that was the focus of conventional convent schools.
Let’s look at Madame de Maintenon on film!
Mary Marquet in Royal Affairs in Versailles (1954)
Anne Béranger in Blagapar: Versailles (1964)
All I can find out is this was a comedic French TV show.
Dominique Blanc in L’Allée du Roi (1995)
A two-part TV miniseries that focuses on Maintenon.
Isabelle Huppert in The King’s Daughters (2000)
A French film about Maintenon and her girls school.
Marisa Berenson in Julie, chevalier de Maupin (2004)
A TV movie about an orphaned girl with a confusing-to-read plot summary, but it does involve her wearing men’s clothing and swashbuckling.
Catherine Walker in Versailles (2015-18)
The TV series focused on Louis XIV, his building/expansion of Versailles, and the court he created there. I never made it long enough to see Maintenon, was she any good?
Irène Silvagni in The Death of Louis XIV (2016)
A film about, you guessed it, the death of Louis XIV.
Have you seen any of these productions? Fill us in on your thoughts!