As lovely and charming as she was shrewd and calculating, Athenais de Montespan became the most powerful noblewoman of her day by brilliantly manipulating her forbidden role as mistress of King Louis XIV. With a lively narrative style that reads like fiction, Hilton reveals the woman behind the most dazzling days of the Sun King’s reign.
Athenais de Montespan life story follows a pattern that we see often in stories of royal mistresses: she came from a well-born family and used her social position to gain a place at court, where she quickly captured the king’s attention. For several years, she was the unofficial “Queen of Versailles,” and enjoyed great social and political influence. Several royal bastards came along, and pretty soon the king’s eye wandered, and despite her increasingly desperate efforts, Athenais couldn’t maintain her position at court and died in disgrace, far from court. But during her brief time as top dog at the French court, she burned more brightly and brilliantly than many of her contemporaries, and her influences on life at Versailles would far outlive her.
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