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Marie Thérèse de Bourbon

Marie Thérèse de Bourbon
Titular Queen of Poland
Princess of Conti

Painting by Pierre Mignard
Spouse François Louis, Prince of Conti
Marie Anne, Princess of Condé
Louis Armand, Prince of Conti
Louise Adélaïde,
Mademoiselle de La Roche-sur-Yon
Full name
Marie Thérèse de Bourbon
Father Henri Jules de Bourbon
Mother Anne Henriette of Bavaria
Born (1666-02-01)1 February 1666
Hôtel de Condé, Paris, France
Died 22 January 1732(1732-01-22) (aged 65)
Hôtel de Conti, Paris, France
Burial Église Saint-André des Arcs, L'Isle d'Adam, France
Religion Roman Catholicism

Marie Thérèse de Bourbon (1 February 1666 – 22 February 1732[1]) was the titular Queen Consort of Poland in 1697. She was the daughter of the Prince de Condé and of a Bavarian princess. As a member of France's reigning House of Bourbon, she was a princesse du sang.


Marie Thérèse de Bourbon, was born at the Hôtel de Condé in Paris on 1 February 1666 to Henri-Jules de Bourbon, prince de Condé, the then Duke of Bourbon and his wife Anne Henriette of the Palatinate. Known from birth as mademoiselle de Bourbon, she was named after the wife of Louis XIV, Maria Theresa of Spain.

On her father's side she belonged to a cadet branch of the French royal House of Bourbon, and on her mother's side, from English royalty and the House of Nassau.

It was planned for her to marry the Italian Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, Prince de Carignan, but on 22 January 1688, Marie-Thérèse married François Louis de Bourbon, le Grand Conti, head of the Conti cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, in the chapel of Versailles.

The bride was passionately in love with her husband, but his attentions were elsewhere. It was well known at court that he had an affair with his wife's sister-in-law, the Duchess of Bourbon; it was also said that he had homosexual tendencies[2] and did not pay his wife much attention.

Marie Thérèse had a difficult relationship with her children and, as a result, lived quietly at the various Conti residences, mainly at the Château de L'Isle-Adam. The family later reconciled after the death of the Prince de Conti. Marie Thérèse was known for her quiet personality and her piety, much praised by many at court. Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, Dowager Duchess of Orléans and mother of the Regent Philippe d'Orléans), wrote of the widowed Marie Thérèse:

This Princess is the only one of the House of Condé who is good for anything. I think she must have some German blood in her veins. She is little, and somewhat on one side, but she is not hunchbacked. She has fine eyes, like her father; with this exception, she has no pretensions to beauty, but she is virtuous and pious. What she has suffered on account of her husband has excited general compassion;[3]

Queen of Poland

In 1697, Marie Thérèse's husband was offered the Crown of Poland by Louis XIV. The Prince de Conti went to Poland to inspect his potential new kingdom, while Marie Thérèse stayed in France. During this time, she was considered the titular Queen of Poland and her husband the king.[4] Based on votes that cast by the Polish nobility, her husband was the more popular candidate, but when he arrived in Gdańsk, he found that Augustus II the Strong had taken his place on the throne, and so he returned to France.

Dowager princess

In 1709, her husband died in Paris. In order to tell the widows apart after the death of their respective husbands, the dowager Princesses of Conti were each accorded the title of Douairière preceded by the number corresponding to the order in which they had been consort to the head of the Bourbon-Contis, e.g., Madame la Princesse de Conti première douairière. Between 1727 and 1732, there were three dowager Princesses de Conti:

After her husband's death, she turned her attention to the renovation of the Conti residences, beginning with the Hôtel de Conti, now Ministère de l'artisanat, 80 rue de Lille, Paris 7e. She commissioned Robert de Cotte, Premier Architecte du Roi, to do the work.

In 1713, her daughter Marie Anne married Louis Henri, Duke of Bourbon, known as Monsieur le Duc, the son of her husband's former mistress Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, Princess de Condé On the same day, in a double wedding ceremony at Versailles, her son, the new Prince de Conti, married another child of the Princess de Condé, Louise Élisabeth de Bourbon, who then took the title that Marie Thérèse had had for almost thirty years.

Marie Thérèse died on 22 February 1732 at the Hôtel de Conti, probably due to the syphilis she had contracted from her husband. She was buried at the Église Saint-André des Arcs, in L'Isle d'Adam.

Through her granddaughter Louise Henriette de Bourbon-Conti, Duchess d'Orléans, grandmother of Louis Philippe, King of the French, Marie Thérèse is an ancestor of several of Europe's 19th and 20th century monarchs.



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