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Marie Anne de Bourbon (1689–1720)

Marie Anne de Bourbon
Duchess of Bourbon

Marie Anne by Pierre Gobert
Spouse Louis Henri, Duke of Bourbon
Full name
Marie Anne de Bourbon
Father François Louis, Prince of Conti
Mother Marie Thérèse de Bourbon
Born (1689-04-18)18 April 1689
Palace of Versailles, France
Died 21 March 1720(1720-03-21) (aged 30)
Hôtel de Condé, Paris, France
Burial Carmel du faubourg Saint-Jacques, Paris, France

Marie Anne de Bourbon (18 April 1689 – 21 March 1720) was a princess of the blood at the French court of Versailles. She was the first wife of Louis Henri de Bourbon and as such was the Duchess of Bourbon and Princess of Condé by marriage. She died childless during the Regency of Philippe d'Orléans. She was known as the younger duchess[1] as opposed to her mother-in-law, the older duchess. Despite her husband being the Prince of Condé, he continued to use the title of Duke of Bourbon, the title by which his wife was known.


Marie Anne was the eldest daughter of Marie Thérèse de Bourbon and her promiscuous spouse, François Louis, Prince of Conti. Her father did not return his wife's affections; instead, he lived as a libertine, engaging in numerous love affairs with members of both sexes. His sex-life caused tension and distance within the family and earned him the nickname of le Grand Conti. Marie Anne was born a Princess of the Blood at the Palace of Versailles. From her birth until her marriage aged 24, she was known as Mademoiselle de Conti, derived from her fathers title. Marie Anne was the eldest of seven children, although only she and two others would survive into adulthood: her younger brother, Louis Armand, who would succeed his father as Prince of Conti in 1709 and her younger sister Mademoiselle de La Roche-sur-Yon would die childless having outlived them all. Marie Anne was considered the more attractive of the two sisters. She reconciled with her mother after the death of her father in 1709.

She was close to her maternal grandmother, Anne Henriette of Bavaria.[1] According to the Duchess of Orléans, born Elisabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, Madame, Marie Anne was responsible for her own marriage to the Duke of Bourbon as it was she who wanted to prevent her Orléans cousin Marie Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans[2] from marrying the First Prince of the Blood, the most senior male at court after the immediate royal family. In 1713 at the age of 24, she was married to her maternal cousin Louis Henri, Duke of Bourbon and Prince of Condé since his father's death in 1710. He was commonly known as Monsieur le Duc. She and her brother married two Condé siblings in a joint wedding ceremony at Versailles on 9 August. Her brother married Louise Élisabeth de Bourbon. After her marriage, Marie Anne took on the style of Her Serene Highness (Son Altesse sérénissime) Madame la duchesse de Bourbon.

Her husband was the eldest son of Louise Françoise de Bourbon - eldest illegitimate daughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan and an old lover of Marie Anne's father. In fact, Louis Henri's younger sister, also named Marie Anne de Bourbon, was rumored to be an illegitimate daughter of Marie Anne's father, le Grand Conti.[1]

The new couple, despite being married for seven years, were never to have any children. During her marriage, she had an affair with one Chevalier du Challar. Marie Anne died in Paris in 1720 at the age of 30.

Madame said of her;

The Duke's wife is not an ill-looking person: she has good eyes, and would be very well if she had not a, habit of stretching and poking out her neck. Her shape is horrible; she is quite crooked; her back is curved into the form of an S. I observed her one day, through curiosity, when the Dauphine was helping her to dress.[1]

She is a wicked devil; treacherous in every way, and of a very dangerous temper. Upon the whole, she is not good for much. Her falsehood was the means of preventing the Duke from marrying one of my granddaughters. Being the intimate friend of Madame de Berri, who was very desirous that one of her sisters should marry the Duke and the other the Prince of Conti, she promised to bring about the marriage, provided Madame de Berry would say nothing of it to the King or to me. After having imposed this condition, she told the King that Madame de Berry and my son were planning a marriage without his sanction; in order to punish them she begged the King to marry the Duke to herself, which was actually done.[1]

Thanks to her good sense, she lives upon tolerable terms with her husband, although he has not much affection for her. They follow each their own inclinations; they are not at all jealous of each other, and it is said they have separate beds.[1]

She causes a great many troubles and embarrassments to her relation, the young Princess of Conti, and perfectly understands tormenting folks.

After her death her husband married again in 1728 to a young German princess, Princess Caroline of Hesse-Rotenburg, sister of the Queen of Sardinia. Later, when she died, the Duchess of Orléans wrote:

The young Duchess died yesterday evening (21st March, 1720). The Duke's joy at the death of his wife will be greatly diminished when he learns that she has bequeathed to her sister, Mademoiselle de La Roche-sur-Yon, all her property; and as the husband and wife lived according to the custom of Paris, 'en communaute', the Duke will be obliged to refund the half of all he gained by Law's bank.[1]

She was buried at the Convent of the Carmel du faubourg Saint-Jacques, Paris.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 18 April 1689 – 9 August 1713 Her Serene Highness Mademoiselle de Conti
  • 9 August 1713 – 21 March 1720 Her Serene Highness the Princess of Condé (Madame la Princesse de Condé)


See also

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