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MARIE LESZCZYNSKA (1703-1768)

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 714 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MARIE LESZCZYNSKA (1703-1768), queen consort of France, was born at Breslau on the 23rd of June 1703, being the daughter of Stanislas Leszczynski (who in 1704 became king of Poland) and of Catherine Opalinska. During a temporary flight from Warsaw the child was lost, and eventually discovered in a stable; on another occasion she was for safety's sake hidden in an oven. In his exile Stanislas found his chief consolation in superintending the education of his daughter. Madame de Prie first suggested the Polish princess as a bride for Louis duke of Bourbon, but she was soon betrothed not to him but to Louis XV., a step which was the outcome of the jealousies of the houses of Conde and Orleans, and was everywhere regarded as a mesalliance for the French king. The marriage took place at Fontainebleau on the 5th of September 1725. Marie's one attempt to interfere in politics, an effort to prevent the disgrace of the duke of Bourbon, was the beginning of her husband's alienation from her; and after the birth of her seventh child Louise, Marie was practically deserted by Louis, who openly avowed his liaison with Louise de Neale, comtesse de Mailly, who was replaced in turn by her sisters Pauline marquise de Vintimille, and Marie Anne, duchess de Chateauroux, and these by Madame de Pompadour. In the meantime the queen saw her father Stanislas established in Lorraine, and the affectionate intimacy which she maintained with him was the chief consolation of her harassed life. After a momentary reconciliation with Louis during his illness at Metz in 1744, Marie shut herself up more closely with her own circle of friends until her death at Versailles on the 24th of June 1768. See V. des Diguieres, Lettres inedites de la reine Marie Leczinska et de la duchesse de Luynes au President Henault (1886); Marquise des Reaux, Le Roi Stanislas et Marie Leczinska (1895); P. de Raynal, Le Mariage d'un roi (Paris, 1887); H. Gauthier Villars, Le Mariage de Louis X V. d'apres des documents nouveaux (1900) ; P. de Nolhac, La Reine Marie Leczinska (1900) and Louis X V.. et Marie Leczynska (1900); P. Boye, Lettres du roi Stanislas a Marie Leszczynska 1754–1766 (Paris and Nancy, 1901); and C. Stryienski's book on Marie Josephs de Saxe (La Mere des trois derniers Bourbons, Paris, 1902). See also the memoirs of President Henault and of the due de Luynes (ed. Dussieux and Soulie, 186o, &c.).
End of Article: MARIE LESZCZYNSKA (1703-1768)
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