Author Topic: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin  (Read 16333 times)

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palatine

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Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« on: January 23, 2006, 09:33:22 AM »
Hortense was one of the most interesting of the mistresses of Charles II.  

In 1659, Charles tried to marry Hortense, who was a niece of the powerful Cardinal Mazarin and a remarkably beautiful girl.  The Cardinal turned down the proposal, believing that Charles had no prospects.  Hortense married one of the richest men in France, but she was miserable.  Her husband was abusive, possessive, and suffered from religious mania.  She tried to get a legal separation, but the law was on her husband's side and she was ordered to return to him.  Hortense fled from France and embarked on a series of adventures and love affairs, becoming famous for her skill with swords and pistols.  She needed that skill, because her husband wanted her back and repeatedly sent agents after her.  She eventually fled to England.  

Mary of Modena, Hortense’s niece, welcomed her to court and helped her solicit a pension from Charles.  As Mary’s aunt, Hortense had an honored position at court and her social power only increased after she had an affair with Charles.  Catherine was infuriated, and seems to have taken out her feelings on poor Mary by behaving coldly to her.  

After James became king he continued Hortense’s pension and she remained welcome at his court.  Alas, William and Mary cut off Hortense’s pension once they came to power, and evicted her from the apartment she'd been given at St. James Palace.  They allowed her to stay in England since they understood that she was sincerely frightened of her husband, but she was persona non grata at court.  

Hortense rented a house in London.  She negotiated fruitlessly with her husband for a financial settlement and sold off her jewelry to make ends meet, sinking deeper and deeper into debt.  When she died, her creditors seized her corpse and forced her husband to ransom it before they would send it to France.  Once her husband finally had Hortense back under his control, so to speak, he refused to bury her for almost a year, carrying her coffin with him from place to place.

bell_the_cat

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2006, 11:38:40 AM »


She was a wild one!

She also had as lovers the Duke of Savoy and the Prince of Monaco. Her great granddaughters were four sisters who all were mistresses of Louis XV!
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bell_the_cat »

Lorelei_Lee

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2006, 01:15:27 PM »
She was quite lovely!  Much of the evidence for her husband's bad behavior comes from her memoirs, which she wrote partly to justify her decision to leave him.  She was a patron of the arts and literature; Aphra Behn dedicated a work to her and may have been one of her lovers.  She also was rumored to have had an affair with the Countess of Sussex, and she liked to dress in men's clothing sometimes.   Definitely an interesting lady!  

Her husband's behavior reminds me of Juana the Mad, who was similarly reluctant to part with the corpse of her deceased spouse.  

palatine

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2006, 08:24:26 PM »
Some of Hortense’s sisters were also famed for their scandalous lives, which did Mary of Modena no good in Catherine of Braganza's eyes:

Olympia, Countess of Soissons, was famous for her infidelities.  Fascinated by astrology, she was implicated in the Affair of the Poisons and fled from France.  Her son Eugene was a transvestite, and there were rumors that Louis XIV was his real father.  He later became the foremost Imperial commander of the day.

Marie Anne, Duchess of Bouillon, was also renowned for her infidelities, but she maintained a cordial relationship with her husband, who adored her.  She too was implicated in the Affair of the Poisons but refused to flee even though she was urged to do so.  She stood her trial, accompanied by her husband, current lover, and a number of socially prominent friends.  She brazened things out through her wit and the force of her personality, which was considerable.

Marie, Countess of Colonna, also had love affairs, as well as an unhappy and tempestuous marriage.  She (falsely) claimed that her husband had tried to poison her and used that to justify her flight from him and her subsequent life of adventure.  Her old flame, Louis XIV, forbade her to come to the French court when she tried to do so in the hope that she could recapture his heart.

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by palatine »

Yseult

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #4 on: May 07, 2006, 11:09:12 PM »
A fascinating thread, Palatine!

All the "Mazarinettes" were so complex and interesting women. If I´m not wrong, cardinal Jules Mazarin had two sisters: Girolama and Laura Margherita Mazzarini. Girolama was married to Michele Mancini, and Laura Margherita was married to Girolamo Martinozzi.

Michele Mancini and Girolama were the parents of: Marie, Marianne, Hortense and Olympe Mancini. They also had a son, Philippe, overshadowed by his flamboyants sisters.

Girolamo Martinozzi and Laura Margherita were the parents of: Anne Marie and Laura.

All the Mazarin´s nieces made princely marriages. Anne Marie Martinozzi, the elder daughter of count Girolamo and his Laura Margherita, was married to Armand de Bourbon-Conti, prince of Conti, in 1654. This prince Armand, a son of Henri II de Bourbon prince Conti and Anne Geneviève de Bourbon duchesse of Langueville, wished to marry Charlotte of Lorraine, daughter of the famous Duchesse of Chevreuse Marie of Rohan-Montbazon (a lady at the center of all the intrigues...), but, at the end, he married the "mazarinette" Anne Marie, a young girl with a fabulous dowry. Anne Marie was a sensitive, sweet and pious woman, who loved tenderly his husband and gave him two sons.

Laura Martinozzi, elder sister of Anne Marie, was married to Alfonso IV d´Este duke of Modena. They became the parents of Mary of Modena queen of England. Laura married at Compiègne in 1655 and her wedding was celebrated with a marvellous ballet composed by Lully, the "Ballet des Bienvenues".

The cousins of both Anne Marie and Laura were most famous nieces of Mazarin. Marie was beloved by the king Louis XIV, but the queen mother Anne of Austria and the cardinal Mazarin himself appointed that the sovereign must marry infanta Marie Therese of Spain; so, Marie Mancini was taken apart from the king and later married to prince Lorenzo Colonna. It is said that, before his idyll with Marie Mancini, king Louis had a liaison with Olympe Mancini, not a beauty as her sisters, but a woman "with fire in her eyes". At 1657, Olympe was married to Eugène de Savoie-Carignan, count of Soissons. Marianne Mancini was duchess of Bouillon by her marriage to Godefroy Maurice de La Tour d´Auvergne. Marianne was so ravishing, too: some verses of La Fontaine were addresed to this lady.

As Palatine pointed, both Olympe and Marianne were involved in the scandal named the "poison affair". A midwife named Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin was sentenced to death for witchcraft and poisoning, and burnet at a stake. She claimed that she had provided aphrodisiacs and performed black masses to and with the king´s mistress, Françoise Athenaïs marchess of Montespan. She also involved in the awful affair the sisters Mancini, Olympe and Marianne. It was said that Olympe tried to poisoning her husband Eugène and also Louise de la Vallière...another mistress of king Louis XIV.

I´m sure it was a time with interesting men but so fascinating women!

Yseult

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2006, 11:23:16 PM »
Bell_the_cat posted at this thread a portrait of Hortense Mancini, so I post the portraits of her sisters and cousins, the others mazarinettes...

Two images of Marie Mancini, the loved one of king Louis





A image of Olympe Mancini, mistress of king Louis



The two sisters Martinozzi, Anne Marie princess Conti and Laura duchess of Modena







Marianne Mancini, also involved in the poison affair




Offline Marc

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2006, 07:34:05 AM »
And again,wonderful thread and a great work from you Yseult!Please,keep on!

palatine

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2006, 11:29:07 AM »
Many thanks for your information, Marc and Yseult.  The Mazarinettes were indeed fascinating.  It’s amazing that they had such independent and larger-than-life personalities, for those were rare attributes in women of the seventeenth century.    

To keep this on topic for the Stuart board: Olympia, Countess of Soissons, was an enemy of Henriette-Anne (Minette) Stuart, Duchess of Orleans.  With the help of Charles II, Minette convinced Louis XIV to send the Marquis de Vardes, one of Olympia’s lovers, to the Bastille, and later, convinced him to exile him.  Minette had no quarrel with Olympia, but she resented Vardes's mischief-making and spiteful tongue. Olympia tried to get revenge by telling Louis XIV that Minette was exchanging letters with the Come de Guiche, which she’d been forbidden to do.  Her efforts to impugn Minette’s reputation failed, and she was exiled to the country for a time.

To further keep this on-topic: one of the reasons James was so enthusiastic about marrying Mary of Modena was because he’d met many of the Mazarinettes during the Interregnum, and hoped that Mary would be their equal in beauty, charisma, and intelligence, which she was.  Mary was faithful to her husband, unlike many of the Mazarinettes, but she was very clever and possessed great charm, which served her family well, particularly after the exile began.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by palatine »

Offline Prince_Lieven

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2006, 11:54:24 AM »
Fascinating thread! Marie Mancini especially seems to have been a beautiful woman! Some of them seem to have had unusual names - Olympia and Hortense especially!
"How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?"
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"Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget."

LysaMae

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2006, 08:49:13 AM »
Quote
Fascinating thread! Marie Mancini especially seems to have been a beautiful woman! Some of them seem to have had unusual names - Olympia and Hortense especially!

Marie was supposed to be the less beautiful of all the Mancini sisters (and their cousins the two Martinozzi girls) but, according to the pictures, it seems that people simply had strange tastes in the 17th century.  ;)

About the names, don't forget that they were Italian. I don't know about the French version at that time but, in Italy, Ortensia e Olimpia were not so unusual names.

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Quote
They also had a son, Philippe, overshadowed by his flamboyants sisters.

Overshadowed, yes... It's so hard to find something about him! :( (I need informations for a story I'm writing.)
Oh, by the way, Filippo (Philippe, but I'm used to the Italian names) was not the only boy. There were also Paolo (Paul), who died at 16 in a battle (end of the Fronde, 1652) and Alfonso (Alphonse), who died after an accident at school at the age of 14 (1658).

(Does it show that I love that family and want to know everything about them? ;))

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For those of you who can read French, I recommand
this book
about the Mancini sisters (mainly Marie, Hortense, Olympe and Marianne). I bought it some months ago and have already read it twice. :)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by LysaMae »

Offline Romanov_fan

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Re: Hortense Mancini, Duchess of Mazarin
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2007, 01:07:51 PM »
How was Mary of Modena Hortense's niece? I agree, she was an interesting person, and so was her family. She had a different sort of beauty about her. Is there any good books in English about her? It is interesting that Charles II wished to marry her early on- could he have, dynastically? Was she technically royalty? I thought I read that one reason Louis the sun king didn't get his wish to marry Marie Mancini was that she wasn't of good enough rank. I don't think she was one of his favorite mistresses, but if anyone has views on that I would like to read them. I guess you think of Barbara Villiers and Nell Gywn when you think of his mistresses, and not Hortense.