Madame de Maintenon, the woman that would start as a secret babysitter and become the unofficial queen of France. Born in 1635, her father was in prison for gambling and counterfeiting and her mother was the daughter of the prison director, straight out of a Lifetime movie. Later she was looked after by her godmother that showed her the fancier side of Paris, taking her to Salons and meeting the intellectuals of the day.
At a Salon, she met poet and writer Paul Scarron and began to share letters until he asked her to marry him. He was 25 years old and suffering from polio, but they had a very close relationship for the short time they were married. After his death on the verge of leaving for Portugal, Madame de Montespan who she had met at a Salon stepped in and asked her to watch over the illegitimate children of the king.
The role got her closer to the king, although he was not too enamored with her at first that would change. While Montespan was swept away in the Affair of the Poisons, Maintenon became closer and closer to the king. Once the queen died, in a very quiet ceremony in front of the archbishop and the king's confessor Pere de la Chaise they were married in the king's bedroom.
More info and photos: https://www.claudinehemingway.com/paris-history-avec-a-hemingway-podcast-1
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