So people didn't think that women should fawn over children; it wasn't really expected. But she really loved being around them and teaching them to read and teaching them their catechism and this is how her next opportunity comes up. Sara: Yeah, and before we even go into that, she really walked the line quite well between this motherly devout persona and something a little more sensual.
She maintained a friendship with the most famous courtesan at the time, and still managed to come out of that with a solid reputation, in part because of this very motherly face she put forward. Katie: And I loved the detail that she apparently loved fine petticoats and she went to her confessor one day, and he said, "I know you sat you always wear normal things, but I can tell by the rustle you're wearing something nice. Katie: And she was offered the position of taking care of the royal bastards, because they were the king's kids, but they were also supposed to be a bit out of the spotlight.
So he ended up buying a house for her to take care of all of them in. Do you take the post as governess? And he said yes, that it was her duty or possibly even her holy destiny, again according to the book I was reading.
Sara: And this is where her good reputation and discretion really come into play. Marie de Montespan was married. Obviously the king was married. So these kids were more secret than you might expect. Katie: And that made for a bit of friction between her and the royal mistress, because it's always hard, I think, child care when someone's with your children all day long and you are not.
So it must not have been very fun for her.
Madame de Maintenon | Apollo Magazine
Sara: He's visiting his kids, and oh, their lovely governess also happens to be there. So they're starting to get to know each other a bit. Katie: And she's so different from Marie de Montespan, because she is so very motherly, whereas his mistress is very, very sensual and very sexual. Katie: And demanding. Katie: Right, and she wasn't necessarily very funny maybe, or even extremely entertaining, but she was clearly a sweet woman and one who had her head on straight.
And this is when she gets her title, Madame de Maintenon, which the king gives her permission to use, because you can't just do that on your own.
And I like the detail, according to Frasers book, that she insisted her linens be stored with lavender as her fragrance instead of rose petals, which was usually used. Sara: And for people who are wondering if the king promoting her in this way kind of outs the whole secret household of his illegitimate children, he'd actually recognized his illegitimate children the year before, so they were getting titles and more out in the open than they had been.
Katie: Miss Montespan was very fertile, and it wasn't just two or three kids in a house. We're talking a lot of kids. And their family tree gets so confusing at this point if you try to go and look at one. But a change comes in the kings relationship with his mistress in the Easter of when a priest refuses to give absolution to the kings mistress, and he and the mistress end up breaking up, because they both think that they're going to be damned. Sara: But the king and his mistress were a pretty good couple, and he was still in love with her, and he spent a lot of money on her property, he tried to have other affairs to sort of stay away from her.
Sara: Rebound affairs. But the two end up back together, and they have even more kids, and after those last kids are born though, the sexual relationship stops. This had become a nation-wide thing. People in France were talking about the king and whether he was going to hell for having this mistress, because adultery was considered so much worse than fornication.
They were both married people.
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Katie: Exactly. Engaging in a sexual relationship and people truly thought their king was going to hell. Originally she tried to be his friend, but she was very concerned with the idea of salvation, and at some point must have realized that unless she was sleeping with the king, someone else was going to be. Sara: Yeah, even though it's ironic that at the time, she's also persuading the king to sort of rekindle his romance with his wife. She had very much missed her husband. She thought it was very important that he was involved with his wife and if she thought she could save him and having sexual relationship with him was necessary, then the means at some point justifies the end.
And she wrote to her confessor that maybe her small acts of charity made up for some of the bad things that she was doing.
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Sara: So obviously things are winding down with the kings former mistress, Marie de Montespan, and that really comes to a close when she's accused of participating in a Black Mass and buying poison. This was awhile back, and it's very sensationalized and just a lot of rumors flying. But it's further bad press basically to their already stormy relationship.
Katie: And it's so tabloid scandalous it's ridiculous. Like all the poison she bought and her designs upon the king, when it would have made no sense for her to poison the king at all because that's how she had what she had. So why would she even want to do that? What kind of relationship are they actually having?
Sara: Is she that devout? Are they just friends? Is she his spiritual advisor, or is something else going on? Katie: And she has this weird set of rooms at Versailles that are very tiny, and they aren't well heated.
And at this point she's starting to develop arthritis, so it's really not comfortable for her. And this is in contrast to like, his mistress' rooms or the Queen's rooms.
Some historians think that is when her relationship began with the king, because she started kind of freaking out about making her Easter in , because -. Katie: I'm still a little confused about this, I'm not going to lie, but it was very public, and you had to go do your penance and your confession before hand, and then make this public appearance. And say if you were living in sin, you wouldn't want to be doing that. Katie: But also a very public one. So she was really uncomfortable with that right then. And so we're thinking something had started at that point, and there's a big development in Sara: Yes, the poor neglected queen dies, and Louis is actually fairly sad about it.
He said dying is the most trouble she ever gave him. But she's out of the picture, and Louis is ready to move on. Katie: And her last words, just as a side word, I think are so sad. Supposedly she said, "Since I have been Queen, I have had only one happy day. Katie: It is. And I think his is even sadder, that's the only trouble she ever gave him.