Ah, despite the fact that I don’t really write historical romances, it’s always a bit of a special event when my hero makes his first entrance – in this case at a Louvre ball where he discomforts my poor Princess Henrietta. To mark this happy day, I thought I’d introduce him to you as well.
Well, what do you think? Hot or not? I’m definitely leaning towards the HOT, but those big bouffanty periwigs have a tendency to hide all manner of sins. It’s incredible. It makes the most average looking men really quite tasty. Or maybe that’s just me. It’s probably just me, isn’t it.
Anyway, my hero is Guy Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche who was born on the 25th of November 1637 to the Duc Antoine III de Gramont-Toulongeon, Marshal of France and his wife Françoise-Marguerite du Plessis de Chivré, who was a niece of Cardinal Richelieu.
Known by all as Armand, the Comte de Guiche was renowned by pretty much all who beheld him as one of the handsomest men at Louis XIV’s court. Besides his fabulous good looks, wit and rather arrogant charm he is also remembered for his supreme bravery in action and amorous adventures which included being lover of both Henrietta and also her husband, Philippe as well as attempting a brief flirtation with Henrietta’s lady in waiting, Louise de la Vallière before Louis XIV warned him off. What a guy.
His younger sister, Catherine-Charlotte de Gramont (1639-1678) was also no stranger to courtly drama. She married Louis I, Prince de Monaco on the 30th of March 1660 but preferred to live at the French court, where she served as Henrietta’s closest lady in waiting and involved herself in all sorts of intrigues, that mainly seemed to focus on getting rid of Louise de la Vallière. Catherine-Charlotte was to have her own fling with Louis XIV after La Vallière made her final flounce off to a convent but it was short lived and she was swiftly replaced by Athénaïs de Montespan, yet another of Henrietta’s ladies in waiting (you’d be forgiven for thinking that her ladies were the most beautiful, charming, cultivated and flimsily moralled at court as they also included Louise de Kerouaille amongst their numbers) and confidantes.
Armand married Marguerite-Louise-Suzanne de Bethune Sully (1642-1726) on the 23rd of January 1658 but they don’t seem to have got on all that well. Unsurprisingly! After his death in Germany on the 28th of November 1673, she went on to marry the Duc de Lude and became chief lady in waiting to Henrietta’s grand daughter Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie, Duchesse de Bourgogne.
Phew! I can see that I am going to have a lot of fun writing about him! I mean, I’m not saying that I have an IMMENSE CRUSH on him or anything but oh, what the hell…