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Françoise Charlotte d'Aubigné

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Françoise Charlotte d'Aubigné

Françoise Charlotte
Dame de Maintenon
Duchess of Noailles
Françoise Charlotte with her aunt, by Louis Elle Ferdinand. c. 1688
Full name
Françoise Charlotte Amable d'Aubigné
Noble family House of Noailles
Father Charles d'Aubigné
Mother Geneviève Piètre
Born (1684-05-05)5 May 1684
Died 6 October 1739(1739-10-06) (aged 55)

Françoise Charlotte Amable d'Aubigné, Duchess of Noailles (5 May 1684 – 6 October 1739) was the wife of Adrien Maurice de Noailles, 3rd Duke of Noailles. She was the niece of Françoise d'Aubigné, Madame de Maintenon, and her heiress.


Françoise Charlotte was the only child of Charles d'Aubigné and Geneviève Piètre, who were married on 23 February 1678. Because they were poor, her parents appealed to the future wife of Louis XIV, the marquise de Maintenon to help with her education. Maintenon agreed to help on the condition that Françoise Charlotte would be raised how Maintenon wished and would marry who Maintenon chose for her. As a result, Madame de Maintenon was later to make her brother's only child the heir to the Maintenon estate which she had owned since 1674.

Madame de Maintenon arranged the marriage of Françoise Charlotte with a member of the powerful House of Noailles. Madame de Maintenon arranged with Anne Jules de Noailles, the father of Madame de Gondrin, future wife of the Count of Toulouse, for the marriage of Françoise Charlotte to his son, Adrien Maurice, comte d'Ayen. The wedding occurred on 31 March 1698 when she was aged 13 and he was approaching 20. During the following 21 years their marriage produced six children.

Anne-Jules, the 2nd duc de Noailles, died in 1708 and then Adrien-Maurice became the 3rd duc de Noailles with Françoise Charlotte as his duchess. Later in 1718, after the death of Madame de Maintenon, she inherited the Château de Maintenon and her aunt's wealth, as promised. Thus, from very humble beginnings, Françoise Charlotte rose to the upper levels of French society.

The Duchess of Noailles died in 1739 aged 55 but her husband lived for another 27 years, dying at Versailles at 88. Their two sons Louis, and Philippe, also went on to become marshals of France. The younger son, Philippe, was executed in the French Revolution in 1794, whereas Louis avoided this fate by dying in 1793 before the Reign of Terror was fully underway.

Her nephew by marriage was Louis Jean de Bourbon, duc de Penthièvre, wealthiest man in France. Others included the duc d'Éstrées, great-nephew of Gabrielle d'Estrées, a mistress of King Henri IV.

Her descendants include Hélie, duc de Noailles. Others include Adrienne de Noailles, wife of the famous marquis de Lafayette; Philippe, King of the Belgians also descended maternally from Françoise Charlotte.


  • Françoise Adélaide de Noailles (1 September 1704 – January 1776), married Charles de Lorraine in 1717, son of Louis de Lorraine, Count d'Armagnac and had no issue; divorced in 1721;
  • Amable Gabrielle de Noailles (18 February 1706 – September 1742), married Honoré Armand de Villars and had one daughter, Amable Angélique de Villars; Amable Angélique may have been the daughter of le chevalier d'Orléans, whose mistress was Amable Gabrielle;
  • Marie Louise de Noailles (8 September 1710 – 22 May 1782), married in 1737 to Jacques Nompar de Caumont, Duke of La Force and divorced in 1742; had no issue;
  • Louis de Noailles, duc d'Ayen, duc de Noailles (21 April 1713 – 22 August 1793), married Catherine Françoise Charlotte de Cossé-Brissac and had issue;
  • Philippe de Noailles, comte de Noailles, duc de Mouchy (27 December 1715 – 27 June 1794), married the famous Madame Étiquette and had issue; wife was a Lady-in-waiting to Marie Antoinette; Louis and his wife were executed in the Revolution;
  • Marie Anne Françoise de Noailles (12 January 1719 – 29 June 1793), married in 1744 Ludwig Engelbert de La Marck (1701–1773), Count of Schleiden.


Titles and styles

  • 5 May 1684 - 31 March 1698 Françoise Charlotte d'Aubigné
  • 31 March 1698 - 2 October 1708 the Countess of Ayen (Madame la comtesse d'Ayen)
  • 2 October 1708 - 6 October 1739 the Duchess of Noailles (Madame la duchesse de Noailles)

See also

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