Princesses Consort of Monaco: Marie of Lorraine




Marie of Lorraine (left) and her sister Charlotte of Lorraine (public domain)

Marie of Lorraine was born on 12 August 1674 as the daughter of Louis de Lorraine, Count d’Armagnac and Catherine de Neufville.

Her marriage to the future Antonio I, Prince of Monaco was quite surprising, considering her meagre dowry. Marie was described as “high-spirited, with a love for balls and fêtes, an unusual flair, a scandalously low neckline, lively dark eyes and chestnut hair.” Antonio was dazzled by his bride. They married on 13 June 1688 with the blessing of the King of France.

Their first daughter, Caterina Charlotte was born on 7 October 1691, but the little girl died in infancy. Their marriage was soon in trouble as Marie took to flirting with several courtiers at the French Court and Antonio was off with his regiment. Eventually, her father-in-law recalled her to Monaco under the pretence that “the air of the Mediterranean would do  her good.” As she arrived in Monaco, news arrived that Antonio had been seriously injured in Namur. Their relationship was somewhat repaired when Antonio returned to Monaco to recuperate. When Antonio announced that he was returning to the army, Marie began to spread the malicious rumour that her father-in-law had attempted to rape her. Antonio was furious with Marie, and he took up residence in the outskirts of Paris. During the six years that followed, Marie had numerous affairs. It took the interference of the King of France to bring about a reconciliation between the two.

On 10 November 1697, a daughter named Louise-Hippolyte was born to them, and she survived. They would have four more daughters, but only one more would survive to adulthood, Margherita Camilla. Antonio succeeded as Prince of Monaco on 1 January 1701 and continued to have mistresses and acknowledged at least three of his illegitimate children. Although one of these was a son, he could not succeed his father. The House of Grimaldi was without a male heir.

Louise Hippolyte could only succeed her father if she married a Grimaldi or if her husband changed his name and arms to take on the Grimaldi’s. In any case, a very rich man was needed as a husband for her. In the end, Jacques Goyon de Matignon won the hand of the Mademoiselle of Monaco. Both Marie and Antonio attended their daughter’s wedding.

Marie died on 30 October 1724, and Antonio did not mourn his wife. 1

  1. Anne Edwards (1992) The Grimaldis of Monaco






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