Marie Louise de La Tour d'Auvergne

Marie Louise de La Tour d'Auvergne (Marie Louise Henriette Jeanne; 15 August 1725 1793) was a French noblewoman and member of the House of La Tour d'Auvergne. She was the Princess of Guéméné by marriage.[1]

Marie Louise
Princess of Guéméné
Born(1725-08-15)15 August 1725
Hotel de Bouillon, Paris, France
Paris, France
SpouseJules Hercule Mériadec de Rohan
Henri Louis Marie, Prince of Guéméné
Full name
Marie Louise Henriette Jeanne de La Tour d'Auvergne
FatherCharles Godefroy de La Tour d'Auvergne
MotherMaria Karolina Sobieska


Marie Louise was the first child born to Charles Godefroy de La Tour d'Auvergne and his wife Maria Karolina Sobieska, granddaughter of John III Sobieski and an older sister of Clementina Sobieski,[1] wife of James Francis Edward Stuart. She had a younger brother Godefroy Charles Henri who succeeded their father as Duke of Bouillon.

A great-granddaughter of John III Sobieski, she was also an exceptionally wealthy heiress. Because of the latter, Louis XV of France took a great personal interest in her marriage prospects.

Mademoiselle d'Auvergne was a proposed bride for the Honoré III, Prince of Monaco.[2] He was the son of the late Louise Hippolyte, Princess of Monaco, and her consort Jacques Goyon de Matignon. Even though marriage plans were announced to the court on 26 January 1741,[2] at the end the marriage never materialised.[2]

Eventually, she married Jules Hercule Mériadec de Rohan, Duke of Montbazon, Prince of Guéméné.

The couple were married in Paris on 19 February 1743 when she was not yet seventeen. He was the son of Hercule Mériadec de Rohan, Duke of Montbazon, Prince of Guéméné (1688–1757) and Louise Gabrielle Julie de Rohan[1] (1704–1741). Two years later a son was born.

Through her mother, Marie Louise could count a Holy Roman Empress and Electress of Saxony as cousins. Her aunt, Anne Marie Louise de La Tour d'Auvergne had already married into the House of Rohan, who ranked as foreign princes at the court of Versailles. As such, this gave them the style of Highness and the right to outrank certain other members of the court.

In November 1746 Marie Louise contracted smallpox,[1] which, in those days, was often a fatal disease.

During her convalescence, her family received a sympathy note from her first cousin, Charles Edward Stuart, also known as 'the Young Pretender'. Having recovered, in August 1747, the couple met and Marie Louise passionately fell in love with this first cousin, who returned her feelings, and they began an affair.

In Louise's circles adultery was widely accepted so long as it was done discreetly. However, as neither Marie Louise nor her husband had been unfaithful before, her mother-in-law kept a very strict eye on her as her husband was with the French army in the Netherlands and her servants had been ordered, by her mother-in-law, to guard her virtue. Marie Louise and Charles then resorted to secret midnight coach-rides; however, her mother-in-law had alerted the Paris police, who reported what went on.

After a while, Marie Louise found herself pregnant and resorted to sleeping with her returned husband to make him believe he was the father, but this enraged the jealous Charles into creating a scene.

Yet Marie Louise's husband did nothing and gossip began to spread. In January 1748, confronted by her own father as well as her mother-in-law, Marie Louise was forced to write to Charles ending their affair. Nevertheless, Charles was still allowed to visit her and her family in order to refute the gossip about their affair.

In despair, Marie Louise wrote more letters to Charles, threatening suicide if he didn't come to see her. He did so some three months later, again in a midnight assignation, but only to tell her he had a new mistress, Clementina Walkinshaw. Clementina later gave birth to Charlotte Stuart, Duchess of Albany,[1] the only one of Charles' children to survive infancy.

On 28 July 1748, Marie Louise gave birth to a son, who was baptised Charles Godefroi Sophie Jules Marie de Rohan. It was her mother-in-law who wrote to Charles's father, 'the Old Pretender', in Rome to tell of the news, but not that this child was his grandchild. Despite having been accepted as a member of the Rohan family, several genealogical books note the fact that the Rohans fail to mention this child again. Allegedly, Charles Godefroi died aged around five months, in either December 1748[3] or 18 January 1749.[4]

Louise lived at least another thirty-three years and apparently was never unfaithful again. To all appearances she was a good wife and mother to her first-born but never had another child. She made occasional appearances at court, then later in life became religious and devoted much of her time to charity.

When she died she, too, was buried in the couvent des Feuillants together with her second child. However, there is uncertainty as to exactly when she died: either naturally in September 1781, or on the guillotine in 1793. The latter is widely accepted.

It is through Marie Louise that the present Princes of Guéméné are pretenders to the Duchy of Bouillon.



Titles and styles

  • 15 August 1725 19 February 1743 Her Highness Mademoiselle d'Auvergne
  • 19 February 1743 1793 Her Highness the Princess of Guéméné


Louise is a character in the 1992 Diana Gabaldon novel Dragonfly in Amber, and is portrayed by Claire Sermonne in season 2 of the television adaptation, Outlander.[5]

References and notes

  1. van de Pas, Leo. "Marie Louise Henriette Jeanne de La Tour d'Auvergne". Genealogics .org. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  2. d'Albert Luynes, Charles Philippe. Mémoires du duc de Luynes sur la cour de Louis XV (1735-1758) By Charles Philippe d'Albert de Luynes. Retrieved 2010-04-21.
  3. Charles III in: The Jacobite Heritage [retrieved 28 December 2014].
  4. Charles Godefroi Sophie Jules Marie de ROHAN in: [retrieved 9 July 2015]
  5. Bastién, Angelica Jade (16 April 2016). "Outlander Season 2, Episode 2: The Wounds We Carry". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
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