Marie of Cleves’ second secret marriage

Marie of Cleves was born on 19 September 1426 to Adolph I, Duke of Cleves and Marie of Burgundy. Not much is known of her early youth, but she married Charles of Valois, Duke of Orléans at the age of 14 while he was 49. Despite this massive and awkward age difference they had three children, Marie of Orléans, Anne of Orléans and the future Louis XII of France.

Her husband died in 1465 and in 1480 she secretly married her Gentleman of the Chamber, Sieur de Rabodanges, who was probably a lot younger than her.

At first, her son was quite angry, but he soon found a way to forgive her and Rabodanges. It was arranged that he remain her Gentleman of the Chamber, so as not to deprive her of her dignity, during the day. During the night she was allowed to choose what to make him, a servant or a master. During the time of her marriage, she lived away from court at one of her provincial estates.

Marie was an active poet, and she had an extensive library. She died in 1487, not leaving any issue from her second marriage. It is not known if Sieur de Rabodanges outlived her or what is his treatment was like after her death.



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