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About Claire-Clémence de Maillé
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- Claire-Clémence de Maillé-Brézé
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Claire-Clémence de Maillé-Brézé, Princess of Condé (25 February, 1628 – 16 April, 1694), Princess of Condé and Duchess of Fronsac, was a French noblewoman from the Brézé family and a niece of Cardinal Richelieu. She married Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, Le Grand Condé ("The Great Condé"), and became the mother of Henri Jules, Prince of Condé.
Spouse le Grand Condé
Henri Jules, Prince of Condé
Claire-Clémence de Maillé-Brézé
Father Urbain de Maillé-Brézé, Marquis de Brézé,
Mother Nicole du Plessis de Richelieu,
Born 25 February 1628
Died 16 April 1694 (aged 66)
Château de Châteauroux, France
Burial Église Saint-Martin, Château de Châteauroux, France
Claire-Clémence was born at Brézé in the Maine-et-Loire department of France, the daughter of Urbain de Maillé-Brézé, marquis de Brézé, Marshal of France, Urbain de Maillé-Brézé, marquis de Brézé, seigneur de Milly, seigneur de Thévalles, Marshal of France, and Nicole du Plessis de Richelieu, sister of Cardinal Richelieu. She had a younger brother, Jean Armand de Maillé-Brézé, who became an Admiral of the French Royal Navy (La Royale).
When she was five years old, her uncle the Cardinal arranged her betrothal to the French prince Louis de Bourbon, who would become the renowned general le Grand Condé, "the Great Condé." Under the pretext of educating her, she was taken from her family and entrusted to Mme Boutillier, wife of the surintendant, who gave her a mediocre education.
Upon her coming of age at thirteen, the marriage was concluded at Milly-le-Meugon. Louis, then the duc d'Enghien, was barely twenty years old and had already had several mistresses. In love at the time with Marthe Poussard (called Mlle du Vigean), he protested in vain against the marriage, but his father, the Prince of Condé, forced him to wed Claire-Clémence.
The marriage took place on 11 February 1641 at the Palais-Royal in Paris.
As she married a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, she became a Princess of the Blood and had the style Serene Highness. After his father's death in 1646, her husband became the First Prince of the Blood, which was the most important rank behind that of the members of the royal family.
Although she bore her husband three children, he later claimed she committed adultery with a number of different men in order to justify her locking away at Châteauroux, but the charge was widely disbelieved: Saint-Simon, while admitting that she was homely and dull, praised her virtue, piety and gentleness in the face of relentless abuse.
Upon her estranged husband's disgrace, arrest and imprisonment, in January 1650, at the fortress of Vincennes, after the Fronde, Claire-Clémence distinguished herself by her energetic and devoted conduct, pursuing the struggle, raising his friends, leading them in danger and braving the king's anger, Mazarin's orders, and popular threats.
To get to the fortress of Montrond , the cardinal set out on a long journey from Bordeaux, via Poitou, Anjou and Touraine. She stopped him at Milly-le-Meugon, using his short stay to recruit her husband's friends from all parts. While Condé's faithful intendant, Lenet, came through France and Spain, and readied Montrond for a siege that would take the French army more than a year to raise, Claire-Clémence gathered her faithful friends around her and gave splendid celebrations at Milly-le-Meugon in favour of all the organisers of the resistance during the Fronde. Despite her efforts, however, her husband remained imprisoned until 7 February 1651.
In 1651, Claire-Clémence was forced to submit to the regent, Queen Anne of Austria, and to her minister, Mazarin.
She thus joined her husband in Spanish Flanders with their son. They only returned to favour in 1660, reinstalling themselves at the Château de Chantilly. However, when a scandal arose because of her liaison with a page, the prince exiled his wife at the Château Raoul in Châteauroux, where she remained until her death in 1694. She saw the birth of her first grandchild, Marie Thérèse de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Bourbon in 1666; her first great-grandchild, Marie Anne de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Conti, was born in 1689, she later became Princess of Condé, the title that Claire-Clémence held for some time.
Claire-Clémence was buried at the Chapel of St Martin at the Château de Châteauroux, France.
-1. Henri Jules de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien, Prince of Condé (29 July, 1643, Paris - 1 April, 1709, Paris); married Anne Henriette of Bavaria and had issue;
-2. Louis de Bourbon, Duke of Bourbon (20 September, 1652, Bordeaux - 11 April, 1653, Bordeaux); died in infancy;
-3. X de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Bourbon (1657, Breda - 28 September, 1660, Paris); died in infancy;
Her descendants include the present-day pretenders to the throne of France and Italy and the kings of Spain and Belgium.
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Claire-Clémence de Maillé's Timeline
February 25, 1628
July 29, 1643
Paris, Île-de-France, France
September 20, 1652
Bordeaux, Gironde, Aquitaine, France
April 16, 1694
Château de Châteauroux, France
Église Saint-Martin, Château de Châteauroux, France