The Fronde rebellion in la Vigne castle

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Claire-Clémence - ©Public domain Claire-Clémence - ©Public domain
La Vigne castle Castle Clémence de Maillé-Brézé

Surprise visit!

1650. Jean de Scoraille, lord of la Vigne, greeted Claire-Clémence de Maillé-Brézé, the famous Grand Condé’s wife. She came in the castle with all her court and her son, the young duke d’Enghien. She wanted to go in Limousin then in Bordeaux, trying to free his husband from cardinal Mazarin: yes, it was the Fronde rebellion!

The Fronde was this big mess which lasted 4 years, during the minority of young Louis XIV, when the war with Spain and heavy taxes provoked anger among the people of France… Kings and lords, for their parts, were angry with queen Anne of Austria (Louis XIV’s mum) and cardinal Mazarin, hated by everyone. Yeah, people didn’t know what they were plotting together… Jean de Scoraille was also a Frondeur. So, that day, when Claire came, they understood one another…

Claire de Maillé-Brézé

Claire-Clémence de Maillé-Brézé was born in the castle of Brézé (Maine-et-Loire) in 1628. Her uncle the cardinal of Richelieu married her with Louis de Bourbon (the future Grand Condé) when she was 13. For the moment, he was 20 years old.

Claire’s life, for her part, completely collapsed: she will only have misfortunes. Gossips said she was as nuts as her mother and completely dumbbell (her in-laws took her away from her family and gave her an inadequate education).

Her marriage with Louis was only made for political reasons, his father wanting to be in Richelieu’s good books. The poor one... everybody laughed at her, even during a dance where she wore big heels because of her little size: hey, it was bound to happen, she fell down! She became the laughing stock of the court: keep it up, Claire, this is not the end!

A tragic ending

Despised by her husband, humiliated by her in-laws, and yet, she completely dedicated herself to him… especially when they locked him during the Fronde, he, the Frondeurs’ leader, locked up by Mazarin the new cardinal, now that Richelieu just kicked the bucket. She done everything to set him free, but in vain: Condé served in the castle of Vincennes.

Well, he thanked her for her support by locking her up in 1671 in the Château-Raoul (Indre). Why? She was involved in a story with her domestic, a man called Duval: a scandal which arrived at the right moment, hey, he could get rid of that stupid little goose, at last!

In fact, in her town house in Paris, two lovers fought: one of them wounded Claire with his knife during the fight… The poor one died in her Château-Raoul 20 years later. No one came for her funeral, we even don’t know where they buried her…


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