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Madame de Maintenon
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    (November 27, 1635-April 15, 1719)
    Born in Niort, France
    Birth name was Francoise d'Aubigne
    Married playwright Paul Scarron (1651-60) and King Louis XIV (1685-1714)
    Given the title Marquise de Maintenon (1678)
    She married Scarron, a cripple 25 years older than her, solely for financial reasons.
    She first entered the King's inner circle when his mistress hired her to secretly raise their illegitimate kids.
    She and Louis married secretly and she was not allowed to use the title of Queen.
    She convinced Louis to repeal the Edict of Nantes that had granted political rights to French Protestants.
    During her marriage to Scarron, she gained a reputation as a sophisticated salon host.
    She advised a young girl entering society, 'Don't reveal your ignorance by asking for explanations. You can learn a thousand things without anyone realizing you didn't know them already.'
    Before their marriage, Louis said, 'Madame de Maintenon knows how to love. There would be great pleasure in being loved by her.'
    She was known for her dignity and piety.
    After Louis' death, she donated most of her money and possessions to a girls' convent school that she had founded.

Credit: C. Fishel

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