Maintenon, Françoise d'Aubigné, marquise de
After Scarron's death in 1660 the queen mother continued the poet's pension to his widow. Later Mme de Maintenon became a close friend of the king's favorite mistress, Mme de Montespan, who obtained a pension for her. Noted for her discretion, she became (1669) the governess for the children of Mme de Montespan and the king, and gradually she supplanted Mme de Montespan in the esteem and affections of Louis XIV, who made her a marquise. Mme de Maintenon became the king's confidante, exercising considerable influence over Louis and greatly lifting the moral tone of the notoriously dissolute court, although the ascription to her of Louis's mistakes (particularly the revocation of the Edict of Nantes) is an exaggeration. The queen, Marie Thérèse, was devoted to her and died in her arms. In 1684 she was morganatically married to the king. In her later years Mme de Maintenon gave much of her attention to the famous school of Saint-Cyr, which she had founded for the daughters of poor but noble families. She also wrote remarkable essays and letters dealing with education.
See biographies by C. C. Dyson (1910), C. Haldane (1970), and V. Buckley (2009).
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