Anne Geneviève de Lévis

Anne Geneviève de Lévis (February 1673 20 March 1727) was a French noblewoman. She was Duchess of Rohan-Rohan and Princess of Soubise by marriage. Anne Geneviève was the only child of Madame de Ventadour, governess of the young Louis XV. She married twice and had children with her second husband. She died in Paris aged fifty-four.[1]

Anne Geneviève
Duchess of Rohan-Rohan
Princess of Soubise
Princess of Turenne
Anne Geneviève by Nicolas de Largillière
BornFebruary 1673
Died20 March 1727[1]
Rue de Paradis, Paris, France
Burial23 March 1727
Église de La Merci, Paris
SpouseHercule Mériadec de Rohan
Louis Charles de La Tour d'Auvergne
Louise Françoise, Duchess of La Meilleraye
Charlotte Armande, Abbess of Jouarre
Jules, Prince of Soubise
Marie Isabelle, Duchess of Tallard
Louise, Princess of Guéméné
Full name
Anne Geneviève de Lévis
HouseHouse of Lévis (by birth)
House of Rohan (by marriage)
House of La Tour d'Auvergne
(by marriage)
FatherLouis Charles de Lévis
MotherCharlotte de La Motte Houdancourt
ReligionRoman Catholic


Anne Geneviève was the only child of Louis Charles de Lévis and his wife Charlotte de La Motte Houdancourt. Her parents had married in 1671 in Paris. Her father was the Duke of Ventadour and governor of the Limousin (1647–1717). The Duke was generally considered "horrific" — very ugly, physically deformed, and sexually debauched[2] — yet the privileges of being a duchess compensated for the unfortunate match, e.g. le tabouret: In a letter to her daughter, Madame de Sévigné described an incident that took place at St. Germain during an audience with the Queen.

"… a lot of duchesses came in, including the beautiful and charming Duchess of Ventadour. There was a bit of a delay before they brought her the sacred stool. I turned to the Grand Master and I said, 'Oh, just give it to her. It certainly cost her enough,' and he agreed."[3]

While unmarried, she was styled as Mademoiselle de Ventadour.

As she had no siblings, her father made her his heiress. He died in 1717 and she succeeded to his lands which passed to the House of Rohan. The Dukedom of Ventadour however was extinct.

In 1689, according to the memoirs of the marquis de Dangeau, Anne Geneviève was a proposed bride for Jacques Henri de Durfort (1670-1697),[4] the son of Jacques Henri de Durfort (1625-1704) and Marguerite Félice de Lévis - the latter was Anne Geneviève's own paternal aunt making the proposed groom her first cousin. The marriage never materialised as Anne Geneviève's mother as well as grandmother Louise de Prie opposed the union.[4]

She married twice; firstly to Louis Charles de La Tour d'Auvergne, styled the prince de Turenne and son and heir of Godefroy Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne and one of the famous Mazarinettes, Marie Anne Mancini. The couple married in Paris on 16 February 1691. As the House of La Tour d'Auvergne ranked as Foreign princes at Versailles, this entitled them to the style of Highness. As such, Anne Geneviève took on this style.

As part of her dowry, she was given the Lordship of Roberval which went to the House of La Tour d'Auvergne.

The couple had no children as Louis was called to take part in the Battle of Steenkerque in 1692 and died having been injured. The young Princess of Turenne was a widow at the age of nineteen.

Secondly, she married into the House of Rohan. She married again on 15 February 1694 to Hercule Mériadec de Rohan, son of François de Rohan, Prince of Soubise and Anne Julie de Rohan, one time mistress of Louis XIV. As the Princes of the House of Rohan also held the rank of Foreign princes, Anne Geneviève was able to keep her style of Her Highness.

Her second marriage produced five children, three of which would have progeny. She lost her only son Jules to smallpox in 1724 as well as her daughter in law Anne Julie de Melun.

Her grandson, Charles, Prince of Soubise was born in 1710 and after the death of his parents, was raised by his grand father Hercule Mériadec. Charles was later a great friend of Louis XV and the great grand father of the murdered Duke of Enghien through his eldest daughter Charlotte.[5] Her second daughter Charlotte Armande was the Abbess of Jouarre. Charlotte Armande succeeded her aunt Anne Marguerite de Rohan as abbess in 1721.

She died in Paris on the Rue de Paradis.[6] over the night of Friday 20/21 March 1727[6] She was buried on the 23rd at the Église de La Merci in the capital.[6] Her husband married again in 1732 to Marie Sophie de Courcillon. Hercule Mériadec died in 1749.


  1. Louise Françoise de Rohan (4 January 1695 27 July 1755) married Guy Jules Paul de La Porte, grandson of Armand Charles de La Porte, Duke of La Meilleraye and Hortense Mancini; had issue and were grand parents of Louise d'Aumont, as such the present Prince of Monaco is a descendant of Anne Geneviève;
  2. Charlotte Armande de Rohan, Abbess of Jouarre (19 January 1696 2 March 1733) never married;
  3. Jules François Louis de Rohan, Prince of Soubise (16 January 1697 6 May 1724) married Anne Julie de Melun, daughter of Louis de Melun and Élisabeth Thérèse de Lorraine, and had issue; died of Smallpox;
  4. Marie Isabelle Gabrielle Angélique de Rohan (17 January 1699 15 January 1754) married Marie Joseph d'Hostun de La Baume, Duke of Hostun, Duke of Tallard (son of Camille d'Hostun), no issue; was the Governess of the Children of France;
  5. Louise Gabrielle Julie de Rohan (11 August 1704 Aft 12 March 1741) married Hercule Mériadec de Rohan, Prince of Guéméné, and had issue including the Prince of Guéméné.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • February 1673 16 February 1691: Mademoiselle de Ventadour.
  • 16 February 1691 4 August 1692: Her Highness The Princess of Turenne.
  • 4 August 1692 15 February 1694: Her Highness The Dowager Princess of Turenne.
  • 15 February 1694 18 December 1714: Her Highness The Princess of Maubuisson.
  • 18 December 1714 20 March 1727: Her Highness The Duchess of Rohan-Rohan, Princess of Soubise.

References and notes

  1. van de Pas, Leo. "Anne Geneviève de Lévis". Genealogics .org. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  2. Syms, L.C. "Selected Letters of Madame de Sévigné" (American Book Company, 1898). P. 25.
  3. Letter from Madame de Sévigné to Madame de Grignan, April 1, 1771
  4. de Courcillon, marquis de Dangeau, Philippe. Mémoires du marquis de Dangeau, avec des notes historiques et critíques, et ... By Philippe de Courcillon. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  5. Whose mother Anne Marie Louise de La Tour d'Auvergne was a niece of Anne Geneviève's first husband
  6. von Rosen, Laurent Tahon. "Ducs de France: les 32 quartiers des ducs français et de leurs épouses". Retrieved 2010-04-07.
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