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Marie Anne de la Trémoille Ursins, princesse des

Ursins, Marie Anne de la Trémoille, princesse des (märēˈ än də lä trāmwäˈyə prăNsĕsˈ dāzürsănˈ) [key], 1642–1722, French noblewoman and unofficial diplomat. After the death of her first husband, she married (1675) Duke Flavio Orsini, whose name was gallicized into Ursins. She soon separated from her husband. In 1698 she solicited papal approval for the choice of a French prince, Philip of Anjou (later King Philip V), to succeed King Charles II on the throne of Spain. She arranged the marriage of Philip V with María Luisa of Savoy, whose lady-in-waiting she became in 1701. Until the queen's death (1714) Mme des Ursins exerted virtually dictatorial power at the court of Madrid. She defied Philip's grandfather, King Louis XIV of France, insisting on a Spanish policy of independence from France. It was largely because of her energy that Philip V kept the throne in the War of the Spanish Succession (see Spanish Succession, War of the) despite both his enemies and allies. When María Luisa died, Mme des Ursins advised Philip to marry Elizabeth Farnese, who, when queen, had her expelled (1714) from Spain. Ill-received in France, she went to the Netherlands and later to Rome. Her correspondence has been published.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: French History: Biographies


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