Dumas and his Lady of Montsoreau: the truth behind the fiction

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Montsoreau castle Castle Castle of the Loire Valley Adultery Homicide Alexandre Dumas

Poisoned peach

But a drama took place here in 1472… Nicole de Chambes, widow of the lord of Montsoreau, often hosted his lover, the duke of Guyenne. She encouraged him to wage war against his own brother, king Louis XI. The lady and her lover died in horrible pains, after they ate a poisoned peach...

Dumas and his lady of Montsoreau

One century later, another drama: Charles de Chambes (fanatical Jean IV’s brother) learned that his wife Françoise had a love affair with Louis de Clermont de Bussy d'Amboise, governor of Anjou. This one was murdered by the husband’s henchmen… The famous French author Dumas popularized this drama in his novel La dame de Monsoreau (″Montsoreau’s Lady″). But he get the fiction and the reality all muddled up!

Under his quill, Françoise de Chambes became Diane de Méridor, Charles de Chambes' wife, count of Montsoreau. Her lover was murdered by the jealous husband, yes, but the tragedy didn’t take place in Montsoreau! No, in the neighbour castle of La Coutancière. And in the real story, the couple made peace, even had 6 kids… and lived 40 years together!

Their last son, René de Chambes, became lord of Montsoreau in 1619: a period chronicle described him a violent chap, a counterfeiter. King Henri IV sentenced him to death, but he took French leave in England, where he died in 1649!

And also!