Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes

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Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert

Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert, Countess of Verrua (born January 18, 1670 in Paris , † November 18, 1736 ibid) was a French aristocrat and lover of King Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia .



The daughter of the Duke Louis Charles d'Albert, Duke of Luynes (1646-1712) and his second wife Anne de Rohan (1640-1684), the Jean-Baptiste Colbert had for godparents - hence its name - was in Port-Royal educated . On August 25, 1683, at the age of thirteen and a half, she was married to Count August Scaglia von Verrua (French: "Verrue"), a Piedmontese dragoon Christ and diplomat, whom she followed to the Piedmontese court in Turin and with whom she had four children.

Affair and escape

Around 1688, Duke Viktor Amadeus II of Savoy , who later became the first king of Sardinia-Piedmont, fell in love immortally with the young countess, who, however, long refused his wooing. Eventually she became the official mistress of the king - also with the advice of King Louis XIV , who through her tried to exert influence on Savoy - and had two children with him, whom he legitimized in 1701. Through the marriage of her daughter Victoire Françoise with her third uncle, Duke Viktor Amadeus I of Savoy-Carignan (1690–1741), whose great-grandson Karl Albert inherited the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont in 1831, Jeanne became the ancestor of the later royal family Family from Italy .

In Savoy, she soon played an influential and envied political role. Together with the French ambassador René de Froulay de Tessé , she arranged the marriage of the Duke of Burgundy , grandson of Louis XIV, to Princess Marie Adelaide, Viktor's daughter, under the Treaty of Turin on August 20, 1696. Nevertheless, she felt with her not comfortable with her lover. Therefore, on October 4, 1700, with the help of her two brothers and under adventurous circumstances, she fled Piedmont. For the time being, she found refuge in her aunt's convent on Rue du Cherche-Midi in Paris. With the death of her husband, Count Verrua, in the battle of Höchstädt on August 13, 1704, she became a widow.

Back in France

After surviving a poison attack perpetrated on her by Italian agents, she is said to have passed the antidote on to Charlotte de La Mothe-Houdancourt, who in 1712 used it to protect the future King Louis XV. saved from smallpox . In any case, Ludwig was grateful to her all his life and drew her to his court, where she made friends with Louis (IV) Henri de Bourbon, Prince of Condé and his mother Louise Françoise de Bourbon .

After living in seclusion for three years at the request of her husband, after his death she met the rich entrepreneur Jean-Baptiste Glucq , a newly ennobled baron; the Duke of Saint-Simon claims that they married secretly, but this has not been proven. During the annual stay of the royal court at Fontainebleau Castle , she lived at Glucq's Sainte-Assise Castle near Seine-Port . She also often visited the Marquis Jean-François Leriget de La Faye at Condé Castle in Condé-en-Brie .

Social life

The art-loving Jeanne soon drew many artists, writers and politicians into her circle in France, including the young Voltaire , by whom she was very impressed, as well as Abbé Terrasson , Charles d'Orléans de Rothelin , the keeper of the seals Germain Louis Chauvelin, and Jean-François Melon , Jean-Baptiste de Montullé, the Marquis de Lassay and his son. In addition, she, who had amassed an enormous fortune in the course of her life, pursued ambitious building projects in Paris, which, however, were only partially realized. Only the palace at No. 1 Rue du regard is still standing today.

She herself wrote the burial motto, which was taken literally from Madame Boufflers :

«Ci-git, dans une paix profonde,
Cette Dame de Volupté,
Qui, pour plus de sureté,
Fit son paradis dans ce monde. »

Art collection

Countess Verrua owned a large art collection, which she expanded again and again at no expense. She bought engravings, jewels, precious stones (around 8,000 in total), coins, tapestries, golden tobacco boxes and robes - so many that in July 1713 she bought a house in Meudon to store her art treasures. A fortnight later, she hired Pierre-Nicolas Delespine, who built an adjoining villa for her based on the plans of Jean-Baptiste-Alexandre Leblond. She commissioned artists such as Nicolas Lancret and Alexis Grimou and owned works by David Teniers , Antoine Watteau and Anton van Dyck , whose famous portrait of King Charles I of England belonged to her.

She also collected books and eventually owned 18,000 volumes that she kept in her private libraries in Paris and Meudon. In 1737, after her death, her library was closed. Only a few books from her possession can still be found today.



Jeanne's life story, especially her relationship with Viktor Amadeus, has been processed literarily several times:


Based on the novel by Tournier, the film The Whore of the King by Axel Corti with Valeria Golino and Timothy Dalton in the leading roles was made in 1990 .


Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert had two children with King Viktor:

  1. Victor François of Savoy (1694–1762), Marquis de Suze
  2. Victoire Françoise Marie Anne of Savoy (1690–1766), Mademoiselle de Suze, ∞ (1714) Viktor Amadeus (I) of Savoy, Prince of Carignan (1690–1741)

See also


  • G. de Léris: La comtesse de Verrue et la cour de Victor-Amédée II de Savoie , Paris 1881.
  • Béatrice Mairé, Les livres de la comtesse de Verrue à Meudon ou les péripéties d'une bibliothèque de campagne . In: Special issue of the Revue de la Bibliothèque nationale de France , January 12, 2003, pp. 47–52.
  • André Gilbertas: La Contessa. Autobiography imaginaire de la Comtesse de Verrue , Paris: Atelier Comp'Act 2004.

Individual evidence

  1. Quoted after GAE Bogeng , outline of a specialist knowledge for book collectors (1909–1911) , Hildesheim: Olms 1978, p. 61; German: "Here lies, in deep peace, / that lady of lust / who, to be sure, / has already created her paradise in this world."
  2. See. The king's whore in the Internet Movie Database (English) .