Mancini, Laura, duchesse de Mercœur

Mancini, Laura, duchesse de Mercœur

(lou`rä mänchē`nē düshĕs` də mĕrcûr`), 1636–57, eldest of five famous sisters, nieces of Cardinal MazarinMazarin, Jules
, 1602–61, French statesman, cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, b. Italy. His original name was Giulio Mazarini. After serving in the papal army and diplomatic service and as nuncio at the French court (1634–36), he entered the service of France
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, who were called from Italy to enjoy his patronage at the French court. She was married to Louis de Vendôme, duc de Mercœur, and grandson of Henry IVHenry IV,
1553–1610, king of France (1589–1610) and, as Henry III, of Navarre (1572–1610), son of Antoine de Bourbon and Jeanne d'Albret; first of the Bourbon kings of France.
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. Although not a beautiful as her sisters, she was greatly esteemed by Anne of AustriaAnne of Austria,
1601–66, queen of France, daughter of King Philip III of Spain. Married to the French king Louis XIII (1615), she was neglected by her husband and sought the society of the court intriguer, Mme de Chevreuse.
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 and Louis XIVLouis XIV,
1638–1715, king of France (1643–1715), son and successor of King Louis XIII. Early Reign

After his father's death his mother, Anne of Austria, was regent for Louis, but the real power was wielded by Anne's adviser, Cardinal Mazarin.
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. She was the mother of the famous General VendômeVendôme, Louis Joseph, duc de
, 1654–1712, marshal of France; grandson of César de Vendôme and son of Laura Mancini. He fought in the War of the Grand Alliance.
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. The second sister, Olympia Mancini, comtesse de Soissons (kôNtĕs`, swäsôN`), 1639?–1708, was after marriage, a member of the queen's household. Because of her court intrigues she was exiled. She was accused of poisoning both her husband and the queen of Spain, and to avoid imprisonment, escaped to the Low Countries, where she lived to see the military successes of her son, Prince Eugene of SavoyEugene of Savoy,
1663–1736, prince of the house of Savoy, general in the service of the Holy Roman Empire. Born in Paris, he was the son of Eugène, comte de Soissons of the line of Savoy-Carignano, and Olympe Mancini, niece of Cardinal Mazarin.
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. Maria Mancini, princess of Colonna (kōlôn`nä), 1640?–1715, third of the five sisters, received the attention of Louis XIV, who wished to marry her, but Mazarin prevented it. An unhappy marriage led her into many escapades. Most of her life was passed in Spain, where she had many misfortunes. Hortense Mancini, duchesse de Mazarin (ôrtäNs`, märärăN`), 1646–99, fourth and most beautiful of the nieces, was the favorite of Cardinal Mazarin. Her hand was sought by the future kings of England and Portugal, but her uncle married her to Armand Charles de la Porte, who took the title duc de Mazarin. Hortense left her husband, and passed the remaining period of her life in England, where she was a court favorite. Marie Anne Mancini, duchesse de Bouillon (märē` än, bo͞oyôN), 1649–1714, was famous for her vivacity and wit. She became the center of a literary circle in Paris and was the patroness of La FontaineLa Fontaine, Jean de
, 1621–95, French poet, whose celebrated fables place him among the masters of world literature. He was born at Château-Thierry to a bourgeois family. A restless dilettante as a youth, he settled at last in Paris.
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. Because of her acquaintance with La Voisin (see Poison AffairPoison Affair,
in French history, scandal implicating a number of prominent persons at the court of King Louis XIV. It began with the trial of Marie Madeleine d'Aubray, marquise de Brinvilliers (c.1630–76).
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) she was banished in 1680.
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