In 1684, the French branch of the Stuart died out. King Charles VII said to Derneley that the land of Aubigny had to be transmitted by blood relations only. Unless… there was one solution: the English king Charles II, descendant of a Stuart. But this one, by owning Aubigny, would become a simple vassal of the king of France! And he didn’t want that. My gosh, no… no way!!
So the pretty Louise de Keroualle turned up, Charles II’s mistress and France’s spy in the English court. The solution? Louis XIV raised Aubigny to a duchy and gave the castle (including the one of La Verrerie) to Louise, becoming duchess of Portsmouth!
The duchess modernized the castle and created gardens based on plans by Le Nôtre’ disciple. Royal! She spent here her last years: she became ″the good old lady″ for people from Aubigny, because she founded here a hospital. Her descendants, dukes of Richmond, kept Aubigny until 1812.
Did you know the duke of Richmond Charles Lennox, Louise’s grandson? He founded the Freemason lodge of Aubigny, in 1735! Yes, he was the former great master of London’s Grand Lodge… The gatherings took place in the castle of Aubigny or in La Verrerie: even the French writer Montesquieu was initiated here! Today, the city hall occupies the castle.