Marie Anne de Bourbon (1697–1741)

Marie Anne
Mademoiselle de Clermont

Marie Anne by Pierre Gobert
Born (1697-10-16)16 October 1697
Hôtel de Condé, Paris, France
Died 11 August 1741(1741-08-11) (aged 43)
Hôtel du Petit Luxembourg, Paris, France
Spouse Louis, Duke of Joyeuse
Full name
Marie Anne de Bourbon
Father Louis III, Prince of Condé
Mother Louise-Françoise de Bourbon
Religion Roman Catholicism

Marie Anne de Bourbon (Marie Anne; 16 October 1697 11 August 1741)[1] was a French noblewoman, the daughter of Louis III, Prince of Condé. Her father was the grandson of le Grand Condé and her mother, Louise Françoise de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Nantes, was the eldest surviving daughter of Louis XIV of France and his maîtresse-en-titre, Madame de Montespan. She was known as Mademoiselle de Clermont.


The fourth daughter and the fifth child of her parents, she shared her name with her eldest sister, Marie Anne Éléonore.

She was born at the Hôtel de Condé in Paris and was baptised there on 29 August 1700. Marie Anne also shared her name with an aunt, Marie Anne, who became the Duchess of Vendôme after her marriage to Louis Joseph, Duke of Vendôme in 1710.

Marie Anne was said to have been the fruit of her mother's affair with François Louis, Prince of Conti. Her mother, who had an amorous nature, had been having an affair with the prince in the time leading up to the birth of Marie-Anne. François Louis's wife, Marie Thérèse de Bourbon, was the sister of Marie-Anne's mother's husband. Together, the Conti couple had been the titular monarchs of Poland during the year of Marie-Anne's birth.

Her first cousin, Marie Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans (1695–1719), married Charles de France, duc de Berry in 1710. Upon her marriage, Marie Louise Élisabeth assumed the rank of Granddaughter of France and became entitled to her own household. Marie Anne was chosen to be one of her ladies-in-waiting. After the death of her husband, Marie Louise Élisabeth led a life of debauchery at the Palais du Luxembourg and the Château de La Muette. Her numerous lovers and repeated pregnancies soon gave her the reputation of a Messalina.[2] These libertine scandals made a frustrated Marie Anne to resign her post.[3]

Marie Anne secretly married her lover, the Duke of Joyeuse, in 1719. Her husband, Louis de Melun, was the son of the Prince of Epinoy and a princess from Lorraine. Louis was also a great great grandson of Gabrielle d'Estrées. He was married to Armande de La Tour d'Auvergne, a daughter of the Duke of Bouillon and grand daughter of Marie Anne Mancini (she died in 1717). In 1724, during a hunting party at Marie Anne's ancestral home, the Château de Chantilly, Louis disappeared and his body was never found. Naturally distraught, Marie Anne never married again. She was never to have any children.[4]

In 1725, she became Surintendante de la Maison de la Reine of the new Polish-born queen, Marie Leszczyńska. She was secured this post thanks to her brother Louis Henri, Duke of Bourbon who had helped secure the marriage of Marie Leszczyńska to Louis XV. At the death of her cousin Louise Diane d'Orléans in 1736 after a difficult childbirth (the child was a stillborn), Marie Anne was asked to go to the Château d'Issy to represent the Queen in honour of Louise Diane's early death.[5]

Marie Anne held her post until her death in 1741. She died of inflamed bowels at the hôtel du Petit Luxembourg.[6] Like her sisters, Louise Anne and Élisabeth Alexandrine, she was buried in the Carmelite Convent of the Faubourg Saint-Jacques in Paris.[7]

Her portrait en Sultane, by Jean-Marc Nattier (1733), "justifying her chic state of undress"[8] (Wallace Collection, London) is a famous example of turquerie.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles


  1. Dates
  2. E. de Barthélémy (ed.), Gazette de la Régence. Janvier 1715-1719, Paris, 1887, p.68
  3. Berry's infamous life soon met a premature end. The debauched lifeways of the young widow and her clandestine pregnancies finally killed her. She almost died in labour at the end of March 1719. Unable to recover from her harrowing confinement, the Duchess of Berry expired on 21 July 1719 and was found to be already two months pregnant. See :The Memoirs of the Duke of Saint-Simon on the reign of Louis XIV and the Regency, chapter XXIII, pp. 206-220.
  4. The episode, once it was securely distant in time, provided romantic details for Mme de Genlis' brief nouvelle historique, Mademoiselle de Clermont (1802).
  5. old home of her paternal grandmother Anne Henriette of Bavaria
  6. Jo Hedley, in The Wallace Collection, 2005:148.
  7. Style of HSH and further information on Princes of the Blood - Other princes of the blood were only entitled to Most Serene Highness (Altesse Sérénissime) from 1651 to 1824, when they received the style of Royal Highness.

See also

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