Unruly Facts About Marguerite d’Orléans, The Minx Of France

August 17, 2023 | Dancy Mason

Unruly Facts About Marguerite d’Orléans, The Minx Of France

Marguerite d’Orléans was a pot stirrer like no other. Her risqué rebellions shocked her friends and family—which is saying something, considering she was married to a bona fide Medici. But when you tally up all Marguerite’s uber petty vengeances, brash escape plans, and constant need for attention, this little-known femme fatale makes other historical bad girls look like innocent saints.

1. She Was A Spoiled Child

From the moment she was born in July 1645, there wasn’t much Marguerite Louise d’Orléans didn’t have. Her father, Gaston, the Duke of Orléans, was the brother of the King of France, and her whole childhood was full of luxury unlike anything we could ever imagine. But there was a twist. For all that Marguerite’s young life should have been a dream, scandal already stained her every move.

Marguerite d’Orléans

2. She Was A Disgrace

Marguerite’s father Gaston was one of the most scandalous figures in the realm. Indeed, he had insisted on marrying her mother, Marguerite of Lorraine, despite two big reasons not to: Namely, France and Lorraine were sworn enemies at the time, and his brother King Louis XIII banned him from doing it. Surprise! Gaston tied the knot anyway, and got himself exiled from court.

So when our little Marguerite came along, she wasn’t so much a bundle of joy as hard evidence of her father’s sins. And that wasn’t all.

Marguerite d’Orléans facts Wikipedia

3. Her Father Was A Villain

For all the infamy of her birth, Marguerite d’Orléans had much worse problems. Her father didn’t just rebel in the romance department—he had also tried to depose his brother twice before she was even born. After all this, Marguerite’s family name was utter mud in the French court while she was growing up, and no amount of her ancestral lands or money were going to help matters. Luckily, Marguerite had a secret weapon.

Marguerite d’Orléans facts Wikipedia

4. She Had A Scandalous BFF

Marguerite’s elder half-sister was none other than the formidable “La Grande Mademoiselle” Anne Marie, whose massive wealth and exploits at court were legendary. Marguerite and Anne Marie got along famously, with the older girl carting the young ingenue around with her to all manner of court functions and giving her advice on how to get in with the “in” crowd—which she very much needed.

Unfortunately for poor Marguerite, this advice didn’t help her avoid a complete court disaster.

Marguerite d’Orléans facts Wikipedia

5. Her Fiancé Dumped Her In Public

Barely entering her teenage years, Marguerite d’Orléans got an offer of marriage from Charles Emmanuel II, the Duke of Savoy. Full disclosure: Charles was totally her cousin. Still, in the French court, this hardly mattered, and everyone around Marguerite heard wedding bells. Until, that is, the day it all came crashing down. Charles suddenly pulled out of negotiations—and Marguerite thought she knew why.

Marguerite d’Orléans facts Wikipedia

6. She Was Judgmental

Even from a young age, Marguerite was shrewd and, more than that, critical—and when her nuptials fell through, she blamed her mother’s chief advisor, Madame de Choisy, for the mess-up. To Marguerite, the woman had botched the talks and hadn’t done her duty to the family properly. Because of this, Marguerite now swore she would only rely on her half-sister Anne Marie for her marriage negotiations.

Uh, this really didn’t work out well for her either.

Marguerite d’Orléans facts Wikimedia Commons

7. She Got A Second Chance

In 1658, Marguerite got an offer she couldn’t refuse. None other than Cosimo de’ Medici, the scion of that House of Medici—one of the most infamous families in Renaissance Italy—asked for her hand. Besides the fact that Cosimo was due to be the Grand Duke of Tuscany, he also had a reputation among the fashionable set as a strapping, sporting gentleman.

Beside herself with anticipation, Marguerite begged her sister Anne Marie to take the reins in negotiating the marriage. She’d live to regret it almost immediately.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

8. Her Suitor Looked Perfect On The Outside

Like a good older sister, Anne Marie took her duties as marriage broker very seriously—but this ended up backfiring on the girls spectacularly. See, Anne Marie started out liking Cosimo and his buckets of money very much, but as she got to know the future Grand Duke, she realized that all the rumors about him were most definitely not true.

Far from being a dreamboat jock, his real self was quite different.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

9. Her Fiancé Was A Dud

When the d’Orléans family finally met the prospective bridegroom, his worst secrets came out. Although people had described him as an outgoing, athletic boy in his childhood years, as a young man he had become “melancholy” and something of a bore. By now, it had progressed so much that he even made the conscious (and bizarre) decision to stop smiling in public.

Is it any wonder Anne Marie was worried for her sister? Not that this did any good.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

10. She Felt Trapped

Marguerite d’Orléans trusted her sister’s judgment implicitly, so when she heard that the Grande Mademoiselle despised her would-be beau, she was extremely alarmed. But here was the kicker: The marriage planning was so far along at that point, it was going to go ahead whether Marguerite liked it or not (and she very much did not). After this, Marguerite’s reaction was drastic.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

11. She Became A Bad Girl

Horrified at the knowledge she’d have to marry someone with so many red flags, Marguerite went off the deep end. And when I say, that, I mean it: In the blink of an eye, she stopped caring about anything approaching propriety, and started going out unchaperoned at all hours of the night. This was a gasp-worthy endeavor for a noblewoman of the time, but she did not stop there.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

12. She Took A Lover

Marguerite d’Orléans might have been going out unchaperoned, but she wasn’t going out alone. Her constant companion on these jaunts was her handsome cousin Prince Charles of Lorraine. Like Marguerite, Charles was also in the middle of an engagement he didn’t want to be in, and the pair of them got along like a house on fire. Soon enough, their friendship turned into a very blatant affair.

As Marguerite’s marriage approached, she only got more brash.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

13. She Tried To Run From Her Fate

On April 19, 1661, the worst day so far of Marguerite’s life occurred. That day, she got married “by proxy” to Cosimo—that is, without having seen her groom. Bereft and feeling helpless, Marguerite only dug her rebellious heels in further. When ministers came by her house to offer their congratulations, she tried to go out hunting to purposefully miss them.

Her cousin King Louis XIV certainly noticed her lack of cooperation, but nothing could save her now.

Medical Practices factsWikimedia Commons

14. She Got A Big Send-Off

That summer, Marguerite d’Orléans traveled to Marseille to meet the Italian fleet that would take her to Tuscany. On the surface, it was the height of luxury: Cosimo’s uncle Mattias was there to greet her, and there was practically a whole Tuscan armada to carry her over. For Marguerite, though, it must have felt like a death march—and she knew just how to show her disdain.

Marguerite d’Orléans facts Wikimedia Commons

15. She Refused To Give Up Her Lover

When Marguerite got to Marseille, she gave the Medicis a nasty surprise. Get this: She brought her lover Prince Charles of Lorraine with her to say one final goodbye. This move was so bonkers, it’s honestly hard to imagine how Marguerite even pulled it off—though, to be fair, Charles was immediately banned from going any further with her.

As she pushed off alone, though, Marguerite was already coming up with another dastardly plan to make the Medicis’ lives a living nightmare.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

16. She Was Expensive

On June 20, Marguerite d’Orléans made a resplendent entrance into Tuscany, and her in-person wedding celebrations were more than worthy of a Grand Princess of Tuscany. Her procession alone boasted 300 carriages, and her new father-in-law, Grand Duke Ferdinando, gave her an enormous pearl “the size of a pigeon’s egg” to say welcome to the family.

All great inroads to a good impression. But when Marguerite laid eyes on her groom, it all crumbled.

Leonardo da Vinci factsWikimedia Commons

17. Her Husband Bored Her

At long last, Marguerite and Cosimo met. It was an utter disaster. Not only was Marguerite as thoroughly unimpressed (no surprise there) but Cosimo didn’t take to her, either. There was about as much passion in the union as, well, you might expect from an arranged marriage done mostly for political clout. Of course, a lack of passion didn’t necessarily mean the union was doomed. Oh no, it was doomed for much more scandalous reasons.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

18. She Made An Indecent Request

Two days after their marriage ceremony—you know, when Marguerite d’Orléans was supposed to be in the throes of infatuation—she really outdid herself. Cutting right to the chase, she brought up the only thing that mattered to her about Cosimo: His bank account. Specifically, she asked her brand-new husband to immediately gift her with the crown jewels of Tuscany.

Yeah, it was a bold ask. It didn’t go her way.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

19. Her Husband Refused Her First Wish

While Marguerite likely expected her husband would hand over the jewels ASAP, she was in for one rude awakening. Cosimo was totally taken aback by the request and stammered out that he didn’t even think he could give them to her, considering they rightfully belonged to his father until the old man passed. This started a series of very dramatic events.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

20. She Was A Thief

At first, Marguerite seemed to play it cool with Cosimo, and simply took a handful of other jewels she managed to finagle out of him. All good so far. After all, she was his wife, and if she wasn’t getting pretty things out of this raw deal, what good was it to her? No, the real problem came when Marguerite then tried to smuggle those jewels out of the country. That’s when all chaos broke loose.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

21. They Caught Her Red-Handed

If it sounds like Marguerite was flailing here, that’s because she was. Obviously, she wasn’t planning on sticking around in Tuscany that long, and wanted the jewels for some kind of insurance. But before she could get them out, her own father-in-law caught her in the act and stopped her. I, for one, would be super embarrassed here. But not Marguerite. Her response was bone-chilling.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

22. She Came To Hate Her Husband

If Marguerite d’Orléans had felt cold and suspicious toward her husband before this Crown Jewel Debacle, she now felt downright hateful. It didn’t help that she was far from over Prince Charles of Lorraine, and her lover’s memory lingered with her wherever she went. In short, her marriage was off to a horrific start—and there were even darker secrets she was about to find out.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

23. She Loved Spending Money

In case you didn’t realize this yet (though I have no idea how you wouldn’t), Marguerite was a woman who loved her luxury. While she may not have gotten the jewels she wanted, she did quickly set about spending all her allowance on clothing, food, drink, and anything else that struck her fancy. But she couldn’t have known how disastrous this was.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

24. Her New Family Had A Ruinous Secret

When Marguerite’s father Ferdinando caught her trying to secret out his jewels from his own country, he must have had a heart attack—because the truth was, the Tuscan coffers were practically empty at the time, despite all the pomp and circumstance they had displayed during Marguerite’s wedding. Yep, Marguerite had all but married a pauper with a title…and she showed her displeasure in the bedroom.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

25. She Did Her Duty

The marriage of Cosimo and Marguerite had never been functional, much less fiery. According to Sophia, Electress of Hanover, the childless pair only managed to choke back their disgust and grudgingly visit each other in the bedroom once a week—this in a time where having an heir was paramount. And even then, they couldn’t keep it together.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

26. She Uttered Violent Threats

You might think Marguerite and Cosimo had a sensual hate-to-love thing going on, but you’d be very wrong. In private, Marguerite was even crueler to her husband. One evening, Marguerite wasn’t in the mood—or else just simply not willing to put up with her husband in general—and she threatened to break a bottle over him unless he left her alone.

Even so, the weekly visits continued…and their dogged, disturbing persistence paid off.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

27. She Got One Thing Right

Marguerite d’Orléans soon got pregnant, giving birth in the summer of 1663—and best of all, she gave birth to a male heir. They named the boy after his grandfather, Ferdinando, and the whole kingdom rejoiced. So, too, did Marguerite…just not for the same reasons. She had now done her duty as a bride, and the relief somehow pushed her to more controversial behavior.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

28. An Ex-Lover Came To See Her

Around the time she gave birth to baby Ferdinando, a ghost from Marguerite’s past came back to haunt her. None other than her old lover Prince Charles of Lorraine sauntered into Italy, staying in Florence as a guest of the Grand Duke. With her obsession so close at hand, it wasn’t long before Marguerite was ramping up a plot to get him back. A really bad one.

Catherine De Medici factsWikipedia

29. Her Husband Spied On Her

Marguerite d’Orléans wrote a series of intense, longing letters to Prince Charles of Lorraine while he was in Italy—and her ardor did not go unnoticed. Her husband Cosimo and father-in-law Ferdinando were so alarmed at the tone of the missives, they actually stooped to spying on her to make sure she didn’t run directly into Charles’s arms.

Unfortunately, the father-son duo was none too smart in how they went about this. When Marguerite caught on to what they were doing, she waged an all-out war.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

30. She Pleaded With The King Of France

In the midst of this, Marguerite and Cosimo both made separate pleas to her cousin King Louis XIV. In her own letter, Marguerite insisted Cosimo was treating her horribly, while Cosimo’s entreaty was basically “put your rabid cousin on a leash, sire”. Trying to please both parties was difficult, but King Louis gave it a shot and sent his emissary, the Count de Saint Mesme, to Tuscany.

The Count was supposed to find out what exactly was going on and act as a peacemaker if he could. The king didn’t like the answer he got back.

Philippe I, The Sun Prince factsVersailles (2015-2018), Canal+

31. She Could Charm Anyone

With all of her scandals and controversies, it’s easy to forget how charismatic Marguerite was. Before long, she had the count eating out of her hand. When she told him how she longed to go back to France, he completely sympathized with her—and when he went back to King Louis, he was firmly on Team Marguerite. Cosimo and his family were incensed at this turn of events, and Louis found himself in the middle of a diplomatic nightmare.

To course-correct, the King of France denied his cousin any kind of safe haven from her marriage. Big mistake.

Louise De Kerouaille factsWikimedia Commons

32.  She Humiliated Her Husband

Although Marguerite d’Orléans had been cunning before, Cosimo and his family hadn’t seen anything yet. She got her revenge in the pettiest way. Completely fed up, she relished every humiliation she could inflict on the Medicis. For one, she insisted on employing only French cooks. Why? She claimed she was worried that the Medicis would poison her, as they were infamously wont to do, and she could only trust chefs from her native land.

Oh, but this lady was just getting started.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

33. She Publicly Insulted Her Groom

The Catholic Church is, in case you didn’t know, a huge deal in Italy, and it was an even bigger deal in Renaissance Italy. Which is why Marguerite’s next burn ran so deep: One day, she found herself in the presence of the Papal nuncio, a high-powered Catholic diplomat. Only, Marguerite wasn’t in a diplomatic mood. In front of the man, she sniped that Cosimo was “a poor groom".

Shots were getting fired left, right, and center, and it was all approaching a mortifying climax.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

34. She Abandoned Her Home

In September 1664, Marguerite chose the nuclear option. She completely abandoned her lavish royal palace—not to mention her toddler son—to take up residence far away from her in-laws at the Villa di Lappeggi. Surprisingly, Cosimo allowed this all to happen, and was even the one who suggested the place. But then again, there was a dark catch.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

35. She Was A Lavish Prisoner

By this time, Cosimo was shaking in his boots about the prospect of his wife hot-footing it to France and causing yet more scandal. Hoping to prevent this, he sent 40 officers and six courtiers to her bachelorette villa to guard her and keep her from fleeing. Yes, he was that afraid of his wife. And well, maybe he was right to be—Marguerite’s next move wasn’t exactly stable.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

36. She Had An Unlikely Reconciliation

After over a year of extreme marital dramatics, Marguerite made a shocking decision. She decided to reconcile with Cosimo—and we have incontrovertible proof of that fact. Namely, Marguerite got pregnant with his child again, which at least suggests the two of them held it together for one night, if only for one night. Because even during her pregnancy, the cracks were starting to show once more.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

37. She Tried To Crudely End Her Pregnancy

Marguerite d’Orléans was a woman who approached her problems with a laser focus, and she saw her pregnancy as a huge problem. In the early months, she actually tried to induce a miscarriage time and again, usually by riding horseback vigorously for long hours. Yet when the jig was up and a baby was definitely coming, she grudgingly threw her lot in with Cosimo again.

In 1667, she gave birth to a girl she named Anna Maria after her beloved sister, Cosimo at her side. But, like every on-off couple you’ve ever known, the storm that followed their tenuous peacetime was worse than ever.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

38. She Blamed Her Husband For A Ridiculous Reason

Marguerite and Cosimo were on the outs again immediately following Anna Maria’s birth, and the reason behind the split is pretty gobsmacking. Simply put, Marguerite caught smallpox and began to feel once more that Cosimo was the root of all her problems, including highly infectious diseases. Little did she know, a much bigger problem was coming her way.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

39. She Became A Grand Duchess

In 1670, Marguerite’s life altered forever. That year, her meddlesome father-in-law Ferdinando passed, turning Marguerite into the Grand Duchess of Tuscany and her good-for-nothing husband Cosimo into the Grand Duke. With this title, moreover, came the potential for great political power, especially if she could get on Cosimo’s Privy Council.

Well, you know Marguerite was down to grab more power for herself. Except this went horrifically.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

40. She Had A Monster-In-Law

Throughout her years in Tuscany, Marguerite had made precious few friends, but she had earned one very formidable enemy: Her mother-in-law Vittoria della Rovere. And if the old Duke Ferdinando had disliked Marguerite, Vittoria despised her. Besides this, Vittoria was already on the Privy Council—and she absolutely refused to admit Marguerite into her ranks.

Enter: The most spiteful catfight to ever grace Italian history.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

41. She Was A Hellraiser

With this latest drama, Cosimo and Marguerite had yet another reason to spat. See, Cosimo sided with his mommie dearest in the fight, and officially locked Marguerite out of all-important talks. What’s more, none of this went down in private. The family arguments were so loud that one visitor remarked that the palace had become “the devil’s own abode”.

And just as the din reached deafening levels, Marguerite’s next act stunned the court into silence.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

42. She Had A Surprise Baby

Marguerite d’Orléans sure kept everyone on their toes, because in 1670, she did another about face and reconciled enough with Cosimo to get pregnant again. This time, it was a boy, Gian Gastone, whom she named after her own father. Surprising no one, Cosimo and Marguerite were on the outs before the year was up. But THIS time—and I mean it here—there was no turning back.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

43. She Manipulated The King Of France

In 1672, Marguerite kicked off the most infamous period of her life. Searching for a way out of her marriage and more desperate than ever before, she crossed an enormous line to get what she wanted. She wrote to her cousin King Louis of France again, but with a new tactic. She now claimed she was suffering from mammary cancer—the same illness that had taken the king’s mother—and needed to come home to recuperate.

This was Marguerite’s end game, but there were more twists in store for her than a soap opera.

Philippe I, The Sun Prince factsWikipedia

44. She Exaggerated An Illness

Concerned but also suspicious, Louis sent over the physician who had nursed his mother and got him to examine Marguerite. However, this man did not come to play. Over Marguerite’s loud pleas to go to France, the doctor informed her that what he saw was “in no wise malignant". As a result, she was going to stay in Tuscany whether she liked it or not.

Frustrated yet again, Marguerite didn’t take it lying down. Instead, she came up with even more bizarre revenge methods.

Henrietta of England factsVersailles (2015-2018), Canal+

45. She Liked Risqué Pillow Fights

This time around, Marguerite played a desperate housewife to a tee, and struck up a saucy flirtation with one of her cooks in order to annoy Cosimo and make him jealous. Her flirtation notably consisted of tickling the man and having loud and public pillow fights with him where anyone could “catch” them in the act. Atta…girl?  Then, when this didn’t scratch her itch, she played her Hail Mary card.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

46. She Began Her Final Escape Plot

By late 1672, Marguerite d’Orléans was jumping out of her skin to escape her hated life, and she simply couldn’t take it anymore. One day, she asked Cosimo if she could visit a shrine that was near the Villa Poggio a Caiano, another one of the Medici properties. And what husband would deny his wife a pious field trip? Cosimo took the bait…and lived to regret it deeply.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

47. She Had A Stand-Off

After this taste of freedom, Marguerite holed herself up in the villa and refused to come back. Yes, this was reminiscent of her earlier abandonment of the Medici palace—except for one crucial difference. This time, she stuck it out for two whole years, withstanding several pleas from both her husband and envoys from King Louis of France.

Finally, everyone had to admit there was nothing more to be done, and Marguerite’s life changed forever.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

48. She Had To Enter A Convent

In December of 1674, Marguerite’s husband finally caved and signed a contract that let her leave for France with a hefty allowance. Not that she got off scot-free: She was still his wife, and he couldn’t have her cavorting about with all the cooks in the country. Instead, Marguerite had to live like a nun at the Abbey of St Peter in Montmartre, Paris.

At that point, Marguerite couldn’t have cared less where she went in France, as long as it was away from Cosimo. She agreed readily—and still found time to enact one last revenge before she left.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

49. She Got The Last Laugh In Her Marriage

As Marguerite finally left the villa, she made sure to pack up many of its furnishings and fixtures. By the time she was done, she’d practically emptied it out, essentially stealing wholesale from her in-laws. After all, as she put it, there was no way she was going to “[set] forth without her proper wages”. Yet all of this came with a great cost.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

50. She Abandoned Her Children

Throughout all this, you may be wondering: What about Marguerite’s three young children? The cold, hard truth is that she dropped them entirely. By the summer of 1675, Marguerite had disappeared from their lives—they were all under the age of 13 at the time—and never saw them again. And if you think Marguerite’s upcoming life in a convent made her repent…think again.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

51. She Was A Drama Queen

While in Montmartre, Marguerite caused an entirely new scandal. Although she acted like she wanted to rebrand herself as a pious saint, that’s not what happened. She was, at this point, still barely in her 30s, and she quickly took up the French joie de vivre with abandon, wearing rouge (a marker of a loose woman at the time) and lemon-yellow wigs. But that wasn’t all.

Paris FactsPxHere

52. She Snuck Out Of The Convent

Marguerite d’Orléans was nothing if not persuasive, so it wasn’t long before her cousin King Louis took even more pity on her and—against the contract Cosimo had drawn up—let her journey away from the convent to visit his court. Of course, Marguerite wasted no time gambling for high-stakes with courtiers, and became infamous for her Bohemian lifestyle.

And yes, the word “Bohemian” there is an enormous euphemism.

Louis XIV at the Taking of Besançon', 1674.Getty Images

53. She Had Naughty Affairs

To the horror of the well-bred court, Marguerite consorted with “those of insignificant birth” during this time, striking up affairs with a groom, plus two men of the Luxembourg regiment. Not that she ignored titled men; to even the score, she also took the Count of Lovigny as her lover. I wish I could say all of this wasn’t going to bite her in the butt, but it very much did.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

54. Her Husband Couldn’t Let Her Go

Throughout this carousing, Marguerite d’Orléans might have thought she was free from the prying eyes of her husband. But she soon discovered how wrong she was. Cosimo was in fact keeping a very close eye on all her sins. Every time he heard tell of something he didn’t like, he wrote letters complaining to King Louis about his scandalous wife. Eventually, this took a toll.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

55. She Drove Her Husband To Disease

Now, Cosimo could have taken a chill pill—King Louis told him as much, snapping back after one too many complaining letters that he had “virtually relinquished any right” to judge Marguerite. Nonetheless, it’s also true that Marguerite’s actions gave Cosimo a lot to stress about. Either way, his health began to fail under duress…and Marguerite’s reaction was ruthless.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

56. She Planned A Hostile Takeover

Absence had not made Marguerite’s heart grow fonder, and when she heard from her son that Cosimo was very ill, she practically crowed over the news. Her exact words were that “at the first notice of her detested husband's demise, she would fly to Florence to banish all hypocrites and hypocrisy and establish a new government". But Marguerite had another thing coming.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

57. She Had To Beg For Money

In 1688, karma came for Marguerite d’Orléans in the most embarrassing way possible. After so many long nights at the card table, she was in debt up to her ears. Indeed, she was so desperate that she had to turn to her “detested husband” Cosimo, who was still very much alive, and beg for more allowance. After weeks of wheedling him, her charms worked their magic again, and he gave in.

But not everybody was so susceptible to her charisma, and she was about to find that out the hard way.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

58. A Powerful Nun Hated Her

Up until now at her convent, Marguerite had gotten away with a lot, partly because the Abbess was a “don’t ask, don’t tell” kind of authoritarian. So when a new, tough-as-nails Abbess named Madame d’Harcourt rolled into the convent, Marguerite knew she was in deep trouble and that her luck had run out. Put it this way: She did not handle this problem like a lady.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

59. She Plotted A Murder

Under threat, Marguerite lashed out at Madame d’Harcourt in high style. As in, she formed a mean girl clique and then threatened murder. Yes, really. Seeing that the new Abbess wasn’t going to let her play her usual games, Marguerite turned a bunch of nuns against the woman and then threatened to kill her very specifically, with an ax and then a pistol.

Somehow, though, she still came out on top.

Anne Lister FactsShutterstock

60. She Left Her Convent In Disgrace

Remember this: The house always wins, and so does Marguerite. Her horrific behavior earned a surprising result. She got to call the shots about what happened next. Since staying in Montmartre was obviously untenable, Marguerite convinced the King to send her to yet another convent, this time Saint-Mande in Ile-de-France, another section of Paris.

At this point, though, things really were different. No, I mean it.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikimedia Commons

61. She Insisted On Being In Charge

Miraculously—or perhaps it was because she was reaching a more mellow middle age—Marguerite actually settled down at Saint-Mande. Well, sort of. She first cleared out the old Abbess and removed a series of nuns she thought were bad eggs. But then she settled down and seemed to genuinely devote herself to what she thought bettered the convent.

Except, the girl just couldn’t help herself. Through no fault of her own (and how often could you say that about her), she went out with a bang.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

62. She Suffered A Terrifying Attack

In 1712, disaster truly struck Marguerite. She suffered an enormous attack of apoplexy that left one of her arms paralyzed and even caused her to foam at the mouth on occasion. Still, with her immense spirit, the Grand Duchess managed to pull through and even start recovering. But just as she began to turn the corner, tragedy hit her like a ton of bricks.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

63. She Lost The One Thing She Loved

The next year after her attack, Marguerite got news that her firstborn son Ferdinando—the only child she actually bothered to stay in contact with—had passed. The heartbreaking tidings sent her into another fit of apoplexy that paralyzed her eyes and also made it difficult for her to speak for a good long while.  This giant of high drama was now a shadow of her former self, and her end wasn’t pretty.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsWikipedia

64. Her Husband Got The Last Word

For the next decade, the sick and aging Marguerite d’Orléans had to live the retiring existence she had spent so much of her life running from. Although she recovered her faculties, she spent most of her time corresponding and giving to charity rather than gambling or stirring the pot. Then in September 1721, she passed at the age of 76—yet that passing contained one final, cruel irony.

Her husband Cosimo, though he had been ill for so long, ultimately “won” the game of life and survived her by two years.

Marguerite d’Orléans factsPicryl

65. History Tried To Erase Her

Although Marguerite’s bad-girl reputation loomed large in France and Italy during her time, we’ve all but forgotten her today. This, as it happens, was likely by design. Some historians argue that King Louis and many of his courtiers purposefully left Marguerite out of their memoirs, feeling that a “conspiracy of silence” was the only way to properly control her antics.

Philippe I, The Sun Prince factsVersailles (2015-2018), Canal+

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

More from Factinate

Featured Article

My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.

Dark Family Secrets

Dark Family Secrets Exposed

Nothing stays hidden forever—and these dark family secrets are proof that when the truth comes out, it can range from devastating to utterly chilling.
April 8, 2020 Samantha Henman

Featured Article

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.

Madame de Pompadour Facts

Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress

Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
December 7, 2018 Kyle Climans

More from Factinate

Featured Article

I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.

These People Got Genius Revenges

When someone really pushes our buttons, we'd like to think that we'd hold our head high and turn the other cheek, but revenge is so, so sweet.
April 22, 2020 Scott Mazza

Featured Article

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.

Catherine of Aragon Facts

Tragic Facts About Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s First Wife

Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but very few people know her even darker history.
June 7, 2018 Christine Tran

Dear reader,

Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your time!

Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at contribute@factinate.com. Thanks for your help!

Warmest regards,

The Factinate team

Want to learn something new every day?

Join thousands of others and start your morning with our Fact Of The Day newsletter.

Thank you!

Error, please try again.