Laura Mancini

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About Laura Mancini

Laura Mancini, duchess of Mercoeur and Vendôme (6 May 1636 – 8 February 1657) was a niece of Cardinal Mazarin. She was the eldest of the five famous Mancini sisters, who along with two of their female Martinozzi cousins, were known at the court of King Louis XIV of France as the Mazarinettes. She married Louis de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme, grandson of King Henry IV, by whom she became the mother of the great general Louis Joseph de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme.

Early life and family

She was born Laura Vittoria Mancini and known as Laure Victoire, or simply Victoire, in France. She was named for her paternal grandmother, Vittoria Capoccii. After the death of their father, Baron Lorenzo Mancini, who was a necromancer and astrologer, the sisters were brought from Italy to the France by their mother Geronima Mazzarini. Her brother was Cardinal Mazarin, who was the chief minister for the young French king Louis XIV. Geronima hoped that he could arrange good marriages for her daughters. The girls' beauty and success with Louis soon made them a center of attention.

Laura's four sisters were:

Olympe (1638–1708), who married Eugène-Maurice of Savoy-Carignano and became the mother of the famous Austrian general Prince Eugene of Savoy.

Marie (1639–1715), who became the first love of King Louis XIV and later married Prince Lorenzo Onofrio Colonna.

Hortense (1646–1699), the beauty of the family, who escaped her abusive husband, Armand-Charles de la Porte, duc de La Meilleraye, and went to London, where she became the mistress of King Charles II.

Marie Anne (1649–1714) married Maurice Godefroy de la Tour d'Auvergne, duc de Bouillon, a nephew of the famous field marshal Turenne.

The Mancinis were not the only female family members that Cardinal Mazarin brought to the French court. The others were Olympia's first cousins, daughters of Mazarin's eldest sister. The elder, Laura Martinozzi, married Alfonso IV d'Este, duke of Modena and was the mother of Mary of Modena, second wife of James II of England. The younger, Anne Marie Martinozzi, married Armand, Prince de Conti.

The Mancini also had three brothers: Paul, Philippe, and Alphonse.

Marriage and death

Laura married Louis de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme, grandson of King Henry IV and his mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrées. They had three children:

Louis Joseph (1654–1712), duc de Vendôme,

Philippe (1655–1727), called le prieur de Vendôme,

Jules César (1657–1660).

She died of complications following the birth of her third child, Jules César, at the age of twenty-one. Her children were given to her youngest sister, Marie Anne, to raise even though Marie Anne was only a few years older than her nephews. Jules César died three years later. Laura's husband never remarried. Rather, he chose to enter the church and become a cardinal.

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Laura Mancini's Timeline

Italy - niece of Mazarin
July 1, 1654
Age 18
Paris, Île-de-France, France
Age 19
France - son of Louis & Laure
Age 21
Paris, 75000, Paris, Ile de France, FRANCE