Dark Facts About History's Most Notorious Royal Mistresses

Kings and queens live lives of unchecked privilege and luxury, with an entire court ready to follow their every whim. That's boring. What about the ones who had to fight tooth and nail to make it to the top, using their looks, charm, and sheer force of will to burst open the palace gates—and knock down the royal bedroom doors? They're at least 1,000 times more fascinating. These royal mistresses lived lives filled with struggle, scandal, and dark, twisted secrets. Whether they did it for money, power, or—gasp—even love, one thing is for sure: their stories are absolutely unforgettable.

1. Madame De Montespan, The False Queen Of France

With her good looks and charm, Madame de Montespan could’ve easily hopped into bed with the notoriously lustful King Louis XIV. But she wasn’t just in it for the bedroom play. No, she wanted a lot more than that—and she knew that patience would be the name of the game. So, she remained at a distance and watched as her friend Louise de la Vallière enjoyed the fruits of being the king's lover.

Throughout the next two years, Madame de Montespan appeared modest and unassuming—but really, she was waiting to make her next, cunning move.

Madame De Montespan Facts

Wikimedia Commons

2. She Had Great Timing

Louise de la Vallière suspected that her old friend Madame de Montespan had set her sights on the king, but she was comfortable in her position and didn’t worry about anyone supplanting his affections. It was a fatal mistake. In late 1666, both the queen and Louise de la Vallière were pregnant at the same time. The king found himself a little lonely…and who was there to entertain him but Madame de Montespan.

When starting a romance with the king, many of Louis XIV's mistresses found themselves in over their heads—but not Madame de Montespan.

Louis XIV Facts

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3. She Knew How To Satisfy

As mentioned before, Louis XIV was notoriously libidinous with his mistresses. Well, he’d more than met his match with Madame de Montespan. Courtiers said that they did the deed at least three times each day and that sometimes the king wouldn’t even wait until her entourage left the room to get things started. But that's not the worst part. Even when Louis XIV had two mistresses at a time, it still wasn’t enough.

According to courtiers, he would often finish his “encounter” with Madame de Montespan, only to then take one of her ladies-in-waiting while she got dressed again. Somehow, that's not even the most scandalous part of their relationship.

Louis XIV Facts

Wikimedia Commons, Jean-Marie Hullot

4. They Turned On Her

Madame de Montespan's exuberant personality and hold over the king rubbed a lot of people the wrong way—and it came back to bite her.

Poison was the subject of the day at the French court, as one of their own had recently been executed for giving poison to her family. Just like the Salem witch trials, people began accusing anyone and everyone of poison plots.

When Parisian investigators began detaining those they suspected of selling poisons and performing black magic, they began to spill names—and one kept coming up: Madame de Montespan.

Madame De Montespan Facts

Versailles (2015-2018), Canal+