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Maman Quiou watched over her little king of Rome

Medal for the birth of the king of Rome | Defranoux / CC-BY-SA
Castle Maman Quiou Napoleon II Courtanvaux castle

Louise and Napoleon’s kid

The castle fell in 1781 to the Montesquiou-Fezensac. Hey, in this family, we had Louise-Charlotte Le Tellier, countess de Montesquiou, king of Rome’s governess… King of Rome? Son of emperor Napoleon I and empress Marie-Louise! The kid nicknamed her maman Quiou (“mummy Quiou”)…

Louise was born in the castle in 1765, she was Louvois’ granddaughter! In 1780, she married Pierre de Montesquiou, future count of the Napoleonic Empire: she was just 15!

Napoleon I appointed her Gouvernante des Enfants de France (“France children’s governess”) in 1809, to replace Talleyrand.

The emperor liked her and admitted she was “perfect for his son”! She was there, for the delivery in March 1811.

Duchess d’Abrantès wrote in her Memories: “Mrs. de Montesquiou stood behind Marie-Louise; she held her head and encouraged her with those words: “Now, Mrs, be brave, your precious days aren’t in danger. I know it because I’ve been through this too…”

I’m the king, so there!

More than a nanny, Louise became a real mummy for the kid, she was always with him, all the time.

But one day, in Les Tuileries castle, Napoleon was in his study. The little boy escaped from Louise and rushed in front of his dad’s study.

Well, hard luck, a guard stood there: Napoleon wanted to be alone. “Let me in, I wanna see my dad, I’m the lil king!”, squawked the kid.

In vain, the guard refused: “I can’t let you in, you’re all alone.” Indeed, the kid had to be with his governess, all the time…

But Louise finally arrived and the boy gave her his hand, saying one more time: “I’m the lil king, open the door!” And the door opened… the kid was very proud, his tiny hand coiled up in Louise’s one.


But then, the emperor had to go into exile on Elba: Louise had to leave too for Vienna (Austria), with the boy.

Her own son, Anatole de Montesquiou, joined them. But soon, gossips said he came to kidnap the little king, in order to bring him back in France! They arrested Anatole.

People told everywhere a plot weaved by the Montesquiou was about to burst… Hey, they had to take Louise away from the kid! Just imagine the heart-breaking goodbye… She wrote: “I wanted to be the first person to the child’s bedside, for his waking up, for his birthday. So I asked the domestic to bring him to me after his awakening. So, I kissed him, with all my heart. I told him he was 4 years-old, today, and I asked him since when he loved me. He answered: since 4 years. And I’d love you all my life.”

Louise only took the boy’s baby clothes layette as a souvenir. Louise and her son were put in jail several months, then they get back in France.

Louise spent the rest of her life in Courtanvaux and died there at the age of 70, in 1835… 3 years after king of Rome death.

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I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!