Marie Therese of Austria, The mystery the erased French Queen (Wife of Louis XIV)

Marie Therese of Austria (Marie-Thérèse d'Autriche), The mystery the erased French Queen (Wife of Louis XIV)

Marie Therese of Austria (Marie-Thérèse d’Autriche), Queen of France and Navarre 1638-1683

Daughter of Philip IV of Spain and Elisabeth of France, Marie-Thérèse was born on September 10, 1638 at the Escurial, a palace near Madrid, Spain. In 1660, following the Treaty of the Pyrenees, she married Louis XIV in Saint-Jean-de-Luz, a marriage which sealed reconciliation between France and Spain. Described as shy and withdrawn, the queen accompanies the king on all his official trips.

Marie Therese of Austria is shy, patient, naive, gentle and very pious, she stays away from the world of the Court (Pamace of Versailles), having difficulty speaking French. She surrounds herself mostly with Spanish attendants. In 1666, the death of her aunt and mother-in-law Anne of Austria deprived her of precious support. Very admiring of her husband, she suffers from his infidelities.

Marie-Thérèse queen, erased and silent in the face of the infidelities of her royal husband. Marie-Thérèse of Austria, far from the mundane life of the court, devoted herself to the needy.

Marie-Thérèse of Austria attaches importance to her role of mother and gives her support to Bossuet, in charge of the instruction of the Dauphin, as evidenced by their correspondence: “Do not suffer anything, Sir, in the conduct of my son , which may offend the holiness of the religion he professes, and the majesty of the throne for which he is destined”.

Where is Kingdom of Navarre?

The Kingdom of Navarre, originally the Kingdom of Pamplona (Basque: Iruñeko Erresuma), was a Basque kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France.

As a young child

On September 20, 1638, the Queen of Spain Elisabeth of France gave birth to her ninth child, a daughter named Marie_Therese. Daughter of King Philippe IV, the young Marie-Thérèse received a strict education at the court of Madrid. The princess was 6 years old when her mother died during her last childbirth in October 1644. Of the thirteen children that Elisabeth had given birth, Marie-Thérèse is the only girl who survives. His older brother Balthazar-Charles is also the only surviving son. In 1646, the little Infanta of Spain lost her brother to appendicitis at the age of 16. All these deaths mark Marie-Thérèse who has difficulty getting up. In 1649, his father Philippe IV remarried with the fiancée of Balthazar-Charles, the young Marie-Anne de Habsbourg who will be for Marie-Thérèse more a sister than a mother since there are only four years of gap between the new queen and the princess. Spain has been at war with France for years, and the Infanta always had a marriage in mind with her cousin Louis XIV. In 1659, the Treaty of the Pyrenees put an end to the conflict between the two countries. Marie-Thérèse became a pledge of peace and married, as she had always known, the King of France on June 9, 1660 in Saint-Jean de Luz. Before leaving her country, Maria Theresa must officially renounce the throne of Spain. This does not pose a problem for Philippe IV to whom the young Marie-Anne gave a son in 1657. The dowry of the young bride is important and Spain cannot pay it entirely because of the lack of money caused by the war.

Negotiations for the marriage to Louis XIV

In 1656 France tried to end the war with Spain, which had been going on since 1635, and sought a marriage between Maria Teresa and Louis XIV to seal the peace. This was the cousin of his chosen bride from both fatherly and motherly side, since his father Ludwig XIII. a brother of Maria Teresa’s mother Isabella, and his mother Anna was a sister of Maria Teresa’s father Philip IV. The marriage project, desired not only by Queen Mother Anna, but also by Cardinal Mazarin , was rejected by Philip IV during the peace negotiations in Madrid, because at that time (1656) he had no male offspring and therefore his daughter Maria Teresa would have become the heir to the throne because in Spain thatSalic law had no validity. Thus, after the death of Philip IV , the kingdom of the Spanish line of the Habsburgs would have fallen to Louis XIV, which the Spanish king did not like. Another obstacle to the marriage project arose from Emperor Leopold I’s interest in marrying Maria Teresa; this idea was supported by Queen Maria Anna, Philip IV’s second wife, as Leopold was her brother.

From the point of view of Cardinal Mazarin, to make matters worse, his own niece Maria Mancini endangered his marriage plan in 1658 because the young Louis XIV fell seriously in love with her and was considering marrying her. On the other hand, the war had developed unpleasant for Spain in the meantime and in addition Philip IV had received an heir to the throne, Felipe Próspero , from his second wife in 1657 . But because the Madrid court still hesitated, the cardinal resorted to a ruse and went to Lyons with the French king and his mother in late autumn 1658 , where he apparently negotiated a marriage between Louis XIV and Margarete Jolande of Savoyinitiated. This bogus candidate was the second daughter of Duchess Christina of Savoy, a sister of Louis XIII. The cardinal’s plan worked: Philip IV decided in December 1658 to a serious peace agreement including his consent to the marriage of his daughter to Louis XIV. He quickly sent his state secretary Antonio Pimentel to Lyon as a special envoy to forward his offer to Mazarin. As a result, the marriage talks with the House of Savoy were stopped immediately and Pimentel followed the French royal family to Paris in February 1659. There Mazarin conducted tough negotiations with the Spanish special envoy. At the beginning of June Philip IV was ready to sign a preliminary peace. From August 13th, the decisive talks between Mazarin and the Spanish minister Luis Méndez de Haro y Guzmán took place over a period of months . They were conducted on Pheasant Island in the middle of the Bidassoa River , the lower reaches of which separated France and Spain. In the meantime, Louis XIV was still in love with Maria Mancini, and it was only with great effort that his mother and the cardinal succeeded in getting him to submit to the raison d’état.

Finally, the negotiating partners were so far in agreement that Marshal de Gramont traveled with a French delegation to Madrid, where he arrived on October 17th and asked for the hand of the Infanta as Louis XIV’s courtier. On November 7, 1659, Mazarin and Luis de Haro signed the final peace treaty. This so-called Pyrenees Peace brought France territorial gains and included the marriage between the Spanish Infanta and Louis XIV. A clause of the marriage contract stated that the Infanta waived all claims to the Spanish crown when it came into force for herself and her descendants – provided, however, that her father Philip IV received a very high dowry of 500,000 goldÉcus paid. However, Spain’s treasury was empty and could not raise this amount. The fact that Spain accepted such a clause shows that France had already achieved supremacy in Europe at this point in time.


After the peace was concluded, it was seven months before the Spanish Infanta and the French king actually married. Philip IV accompanied his daughter to the wedding ceremony. Maria Teresa first married by procurationem on June 3, 1660 in the cathedral of Fuenterrabiaon Spanish territory, with Luis de Haro taking over the role of bridegroom. Three days later, the Spanish and French royal families met with their respective court in a pavilion on Pheasant Island, but Anna of Austria visited her brother Philip IV and his daughter on June 4th, where Louis XIV also sneaked a first look threw at his bride. At the official meeting on June 6th, the two kings solemnly swore peace. The fashionable and colorfully dressed French nobles represented a striking contrast to the Spanish courtiers, who were clad in black, antiquated robes. An imaginary dividing line, indicated by carpets, ran between the two delegations, which represented the border between the two realms. for the Spanish king was not allowed to step on a meter of French soil and vice versa. The next day, Maria Teresa was handed over to the French side. Before, she said goodbye to her father forever in tears, as it was not customary for foreign princesses or queens to visit her homeland from time to time in order not to let their emotional ties to their homeland become too big. After she was picked up, the Infanta was immediately dressed in French costume. so as not to let their emotional ties to their fatherland grow too big. After she was picked up, the Infanta was immediately dressed in French costume. so as not to let their emotional ties to their fatherland grow too big. After she was picked up, the Infanta was immediately dressed in French costume.

On June 9, 1660, the wedding of Louis XIV, who was 22 years old, and his bride, who was only five days younger, was celebrated with great splendor in the church of Saint-Jean-de-Luz . She wore a crown and a dress on her hair that demonstrated her new status as French queen: It was made of blue velvet and embroidered with golden lilies – like the fleur-de-lys on a blue background in the royal coat of arms of France; the train was carried by two younger princesses from the House of Orleans . From then on, Maria Teresa was: Marie-Thérèse , Queen of France.

When Louis XIV wanted to quickly leave for his night quarters with his wife after the wedding banquet, she initially expressed hesitation to her aunt and mother-in-law Anna of Austria about getting into bed with her husband now. But after the couple had arrived at the patrician house intended for them, the bride gave the news that the king was waiting for her, already undressed, instructed her ladies-in-waiting to hurry to the ceremony of her undressing. The next morning, both spouses appeared to be completely satisfied.

On August 26, 1660, the royal couple made their entry into Paris, modeled on a Roman triumph . It was i.a. Received by the nobility, church dignitaries and the professors of the Sorbonne, walked through triumphal arches and received the city key. Statues of Hercules and other gods lined his way.

Palace of Versailles | Trianon, Queen’s Hamlet and Visits (Chateau de Versailles)

Arival of Marie Therese of Austria in France

Arriving in France, Marie-Thérèse does not live up to expectations. First of all, she is not beautiful, only charming and shy. This shyness turns against her: Marie-Thérèse closes in on her and does not play her role of queen. Louis XIV’s wife does not speak a word of French and does not seem determined to learn the language of her adopted country.

At the end of her life, she will still understand only one word in four! Following a conversation or leading a small courtyard will always be impossible for him. On November 1, 1661, the new queen of France gave birth to a first child, a dolphin named Louis like the king. That same day, Philippe, the only son of King Philippe IV, died at the age of 4.

Like those of Elisabeth of France, the children of Queen Marie-Anne of Habsburg do not live. However, on November 6, the Queen of Spain gives a new son to Philip IV, the future Charles II. In France, Louis XIV begins to tire of his wife who is constantly playing with her dwarves, chatting with her chambermaids Marie Therese of Austria and drinking chocolate. In fact, Marie-Thérèse misses Madrid.

Life at the French Court – The Palace of Versailles

At court, the queen’s place is therefore held by the king’s sister-in-law, the Duchess of Orléans to whom Louis gives the gentle eyes, which saddens poor Marie-Thérèse who takes refuge with the queen-mother Anne. from Austria who is also his aunt as sister of Philip IV. On September 17, 1665, the King of Spain died. Marie-Thérèse’s dowry was not paid in full and, according to a close in the Infanta’s marriage contract, the Queen of France had only renounced the throne of Spain if her dowry was paid in full. But this is not the case: the War of Devolution begins to the great sorrow of Maria Theresa and Anne of Austria. She died on January 20, 1666, depriving Marie-Thérèse of her support at court. The war against Spain won France many territories with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. After the death of his mother, Louis XIV forces his wife to live with her mistresses: Louise de la Vallière, Françoise-Athénaïs de Montespan, Marie-Angélique de Fontanges… Marie-Thérèse takes refuge in prayer without complaining because she loves her husband and endures his submissive and resigned infidelities. Until her death, Marie-Thérèse will remain in love with Louis XIV. She is all the more unhappy because her children do not live: after the dolphin, the queen will have five more children who all died in infancy, victims of inbreeding:
– Anne-Elisabeth (1662-1662)
– Marie-Anne (1664-1664)
– Marie-Thérèse (1667-1672)
-Philippe (1668-1671) Duke of Anjou
-Louis-François (1672-1672) Duke of Anjou

After the Poisons Affair (1678-1682) which brought about the disgrace of the Marquise de Montespan, the king approached his wife Marie_Therese_d_Autriche on the good advice of Mme de Maintenon. Marie-Thérèse is delighted with this change of situation but will not benefit from it for long: returning from a trip to Burgundy, she falls ill and an abscess under one of her arms is poorly treated. Marie-Thérèse died on July 30, 1683 after having said “since I got married, I have had only one day of happiness”. We will never know what day it was. Louis XIV will declare “this is the first sorrow she causes me”. Thus disappeared a good queen but who went unnoticed and who played no political role.

A discreet end in her image

Marie-Thérèse died suddenly on July 30, 1683 of a “infected abscess under the left arm”, an abscess in fact badly treated and which carried it off in four days. Her last words, “since I became queen, I have only had one happy day” went unanswered, what day was that? nobody knows…

The king is hardly touched by this death: “I know more than you, he said to one of his confidants, Heaven had given it to me as he did. I needed her. She never said no to me”. Louis XIV cannot recognize that the wife of the Sun King (Louis XIV) was not perfect. The two queens by Renaud de Saint-André were not perfect, yet she was too docile, awkward, arousing mockery… The king was disappointed especially if he compared her to her mother Anne of Austria who animated the court with her prestigious circle, in short for the king a queen must be intelligent, wise and beautiful! It was a difficult bet to take for the possible candidates, the king chose, he will marry his mistress Madame de Maintenon but without making a queen…

Sources: PinterPandai, World Cat, Partylike1660, Britannica

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Learn More →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *