Somewhere I read that her last pregnancy almost killed her and that the Doctor told her to get pregnant again would be her death. Does anyone else know this in other sources?
I have this down as a source:
Zieliński, Ryszard (1978). Polka na francuskim tronie. Czytelnik.
In 'La reine et la favorite' Simone Bertiere also suggests that as a reason why Marie Leszczynska basically shut the door in Louis XV's face in 1737 - i.e. the doctors had told her that her next pregnancy would be the death of her, but gives no references for it. She also wrote that it was unlikely that Marie actually said "Toujours coucher, toujours accoucher!" ("always going to bed, always being brought to bed") as she felt it was not the sort of thing a woman of her personality would say.
However, if the doctors had genuinely given her advice to have no further children, it would not have been something Louis XV and his whole court would not have known about - the Queen's pregnancies were a matter of state, and Versailles was not the sort of place you could keep information like that to yourself - the King would have been told, Marie's servants and Ladies in Waiting would have known, they would have told their husbands, and so it would have gone on - but diarists like the Duc de luynes makes no mention of such a thing happening. And I cannot see any doctor in his right mind explaining to the King of France (who only had one son and heir after the death of the duc d'Anjou) that the Queen shouldn't do her duty and produce another son because it might kill her (especially since she'd not died herself had a healthy girl in her last pregnancy - was medical knowledge really that good in the eighteenth century?). They might advise that it would be better to wait a while - but again, there is no evidence that they did this, and it would be a state matter of such importance it wouldn't have been secret. Everyone knew when the King went to sleep with the Queen (or was turned away) - how could they not
know if a doctor had advised her to shun the royal marital bed?
I have always thought that after 11 pregnancies in 10 years, Marie Leszczynska was utterly fed up with the whole business, and sex was not so alluring that she wanted to put up with the inevitable consequences again (even if she didn't actually say "Toujours coucher, toujours accoucher!"). She might also have been frightened - she was getting older, and her pregnancies weren't getting easier. She might well have feared the outcome of further pregnancies. But in the eighteenth century, and with the dynasty so close to extinction - if the Dauphin had died, Louis XV's next heirs were the princes of the house of Orleans - a direct refusal to have more children would have been seen as a dereliction of duty. Hence the excuse she had used all along - that she would not sleep with the King on major saints' days - became extended to minor saints' days, until he got the message. But I think by then, when he finally took off and didn't return, the marriage was in a rocky way (the Comtesse de Mailly had been his mistress for years albeit unofficially, as it were). Louis XV was 27, very vigorous, loved hunting and intimate supper parties with his friends, and was keen on sex. Marie Leszczynska was 34, exhausted with childbearing, not particularly keen on sex (or at least, afraid of the consequences), was interested in improving books and didn't seem to have any friends in common with her husband. Not really a surprise that it all fell apart when the last tie, of sexual intimacy, was severed. In this last I believe that Marie Leszczynska for once took the initiative - though I can see some writers prefer to believe that a woman so dutiful must have had some greater reason for refusing to sleep with her husband other than exhaustion and fear of constant childbirth.