Catherine Grand

Catherine Noël Grand (née Worlée; November 21, 1761 December 10, 1834) was the mistress and later the wife of French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, the first Prime Minister of France. From their marriage in 1802 until her death she was Catherine Noël Grand de Talleyrand-Périgord, Princesse de Bénévent. Madame Grand was known for her striking Nordic beauty,[1] as well as her ingenuous public comments.[2]

Catherine Grand
Catherine Noele Worlée

21 November 1761
DiedDecember 10, 1834(1834-12-10) (aged 73)
Resting placeMontparnasse Cemetery, Paris
Other namesMadame Grand
Catherine Noël Grand de Talleyrand-Périgord, Princesse de Bénévent


Catherine Noël Worlée was born in the Danish possession of Tranquebar, Tamil Nadu, India, to a French colonial official stationed at nearby Pondicherry. In 1777, her family moved to Chandannagar, where she met George François Grand, a British civil servant of French-Swiss Huguenot descent stationed at Calcutta (since renamed "Kolkata"). They were wed in Chandannagar in 1778, when Catherine was barely sixteen.

The couple separated soon after, because of her brief but scandalous affair with Sir Philip Francis, deputy of Warren Hastings, and Madame Grand removed to London. By 1783, when Vigee Le Brun painted her portrait there,[2] Catherine Grand had become a courtesan in Paris; she returned to Britain just before the French Revolution in 1789.

In 1794, Mme. Grand returned to France and there attracted the attention of French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, with whom she lived as mistress until 1802, when Napoleon Bonaparte pressed Talleyrand to marry her. After marriage the two gradually drifted apart. Madame Talleyrand began living alone, her husband eventually giving her enough money to live luxuriously in London and finally divorcing after Talleyrand entered into an arrangement with Dorothea von Biron, the wife of his nephew, the Duke of Dino.[3]

In the last few years of her life, the Princesse de Bénévent returned to Paris. She died there on December 10, 1834, and her body was buried in Montparnasse Cemetery.[4]


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