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Henri IV - An unfinished reign


Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency


Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency was the daughter of the connétable Henri de Montmorency and the princesse de Condé, Louise de Budos.

She was betrothed to François de Bassompierre , but became Henry IV's mistress in January 1609, when she was not yet fifteen. The king annulled the engagement and married her instead to Henri de Condé , hoping he would not prove to be a jealous husband. Against all expectations, however, Condé fled with his bride to Brussels. This defiant gesture took on diplomatic and military consequences, coming as it did on the eve of a war of succession for the duchies of Clèves and Juliers. The rivalry ended with Henry IV's assassination the following year. One of Charlotte's three children was Louis II de Bourbon-Condé, the so-called "Grand Condé" (1621–1686), who had a brilliant military career under the reign of Louis XIV.

Portrait of Charlotte de Montmorency
© RMN / Thierry Le Mage
Portrait of Madame de Montmorency, by Daniel Dumonstier. Engraving, pastel, pierre noire, sanguine, 16th–17th c. Musée du Louvre, RF1427

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