The Duchess Who Loved Her Father… a Little Too Much – Part 2/2 (1695-1719)

By: The Scribe on Friday, May 25, 2007

Perhaps not surprisingly, Marie’s third pregnancy also ended early, and the child died only 12 hours after the birth. This was the final link to whatever small remaining amounts of self-control and sanity she had, and from that point on, Marie became devoted to one thing only: indulging herself in excess.

Only a year later, the Sun King of France died, leaving Luxembourg Palace in the hands of Philip II. Marie asked her father for the palace, which he granted her, and she promptly kicked her mother and grandmother off the property. She began joining her father as he indulged in his excesses, and soon she developed a repertoire of her own vices. She gambled away family money, became a raging alcoholic, and often took meals with her father’s mistresses. On other occasions, she would attend her father’s private parties, featuring nude dancers who staged orgies to ‘recreate historic moments’ from the Classical era.

By the time she was 20 years old, Marie had earned herself the nickname “Princess Chubby” – she woke up at noon and would eat until three, rest for an hour, and then eat creams and salads again at four. In fact, the only exercise she ever did was hunt, and tended to simply lie around during the day. There is speculation from some historians that Marie suffered from bulimia, which may have been brought on by the excessive year of dieting before her marriage. She became morbidly large due to her binge-eating habits, however it was only a matter of time before she once again fell in love.

In 1716, Marie married her lieutenant, the Count of Riom. They were married in secret, and it didn’t take long before the obnoxious princess’ behavior took a drastic turn – the Count began to control his new wife’s behavior, even down to the clothes she wore. She became increasingly neurotic, experienced extreme mood swings, and by all outward appearances had returned to the church as a devoted follower – the truth was, she often returned to her previous indulgences, then became guilty and fasted, prayed, and visited nuns, only to once again return to the excesses in a vicious cycle.

Although the Count wished to make their marriage public, Philip II forbade it. In 1718, Marie became pregnant for the fourth time, and because she did not change her behavior even while pregnant, she became extremely ill in early 1719. The child was stillborn that spring, and her health never recovered. By July of that year, she died just before her 24th birthday – pregnant for a fifth time, and with what her physicians called a “deranged brain”. Though Marie’s mother hadn’t bothered to visit her while she was ill, her father, overcome with grief, died only four years later.

Want to read more?

Unruly Daughters A Romance Of The House Of Orleans

Tomorrow: Maybe Choose Dry Cleaning for 2,700-Year-Old Fabric?


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