Elisabeth Justine (7th November 1691 - 21st December 1752), was the Empress Consort of Grandelumiere as the spouse of the Sun-Emperor Louis XI She was the daughter of the powerful Duke of Valois. She was popular with the common people for her kindness and simplistic lifestyle.
Reign of Louis X - Madame de Valois
Elisabeth Justine was born at the Chateau de Saint-Etienne, to her Father, Duc Philippe de Valois and her Mother, the Duchesse Antoinette. She was the eldest daughter of her parents and eldest child. She was referred to as Madame de Valois from her birth. She was baptised aged 4 and named Elisabeth Justine.
She would be brought up as a strict Catholic, learning the catholic doctrine, as her parents were strict adherents who expected their children to follow. Her mother would die several years later after a miscarriage. Her father and siblings would be devastated at the death. This was seen in her father who would only dress in black following the death of his wife.
Shortly afterwards, her father likewise died, rumoured to be the cause of poisoning. However, the doctors of the time stated he had died of a fever. She would take the title of Duchesse de Valois as the eldest child.
Regency of Anastasie - Duchesse de Valois
From the age of 7 she had begun her education under her governess, Madeleine Poisson. She was educated in learning Latin, French and English. Besides language, she studied and took great interest in learning music, particularly fond of the harp. Etiquette and the study of the Catholic Doctrine were her chief studies, which her governess believed would suit her to a life at the court, which had become essential for maintaining ones' importance within the state. Poisson also hoped to ensure she would be married to the young Louis XI, her distant 4th cousin. She was not entirely close to her siblings and would write occasionally to her sister, Isabelle Marie, who lived in Spain with their uncle.
She was particularly close to her governess throughout her childhood and looked to her as a mother figure. However, as a child, she was rather harsh to her siblings who lived with her. She wished to ensure they would grow up to be upright members of society. She could be playful, though, this would come out in her adulthood, likely resulted from her requirement to take over her father's position from a young age.
She had been arranged to Louis XI, Emperor of all Grandelumiere, and just 11 years old, in 1702. The following year, she would be moved to the Palais-des-Ducs-de-Bourgogne with her Governess. She would remain in the Empress's apartments while living there. She never actually met Louis XI despite being in court the two never spoke, until their marriage. She would continue to study her court etiquette and learn her duties as Empress. In 22nd of March, 1705, she would be moved back to Saint-Etienne, where she would speak to her husband for the first time. The next day, they would share a breakfast, and then be moved back to Dijon, for their wedding at the Notre Dame de Dijon. This would thrust her onto the worlds stage.
Reign of Louis XI - The EmpressHer husband would have his coronation on the 14th of September, taking his personal rule from his mothers' regency. She would take on the duties of most Consorts, and busied herself with overseeing court. Her education from Poisson had prepared her for the role of Consort and allowed her to fill it with ease. She followed the etiquette as best as she could, though she was known to be warm to most of the courtiers.
In December 27th, she would give birth to her first child, Monsieur le Dauphin. Her birth would be witnessed by many members of the court, who crowded the room to watch the birth. In fact, the room was so busy that it would cause Elisabeth to faint once he was delivered due to lack of fresh air. She would wish to care for the child herself but was unable to due to the etiquette of the court. Her son would be taken off to be cared for by the Governess and nurses.Louis and Elisabeth would be rather close, and as a result, Elisabeth would hold considerable political power. With the status of her position, she worked to help the common people, and, as expected of her rank, supported a great many charities, supported from her court pension.She would go on to have 14 children in all. Though she would have preferred to care for her children personally, she was again restricted by etiquette, as Louis would not allow her to act in a manner below that of her status. She saw her children for one hour every morning before Mass, and one hour in the evening, with her husband, before retiring to bed. Though she was a caring and loving woman, her playfulness and occasional lack of adherence to etiquette made her a target of gossip. She was somewhat disliked by the courtiers for being too personal and lacking in formality, though she generally responded to this with further kindness and made it a point to be overly kind to them. She was formal however when it was required of her. She often disagreed with Louis, privately about their expectations at court to be formal, and over various other topics. Though these disagreements were rarely openly public, or serious, they did occasionally have more heated debates.
She was incredibly hurt by Louis' several affairs, especially his affairs with men. She was shocked and often confided in her sister-in-law Sophie. The pair had grown close at court and Sophie often offered her figurative, and sometimes literal, shoulder to cry on in private.
During the rebellion of the Guard, Elisabeth was staying at the Chateau de Flavigny, away from the court due to illness. She was beside herself with worry over the possible death of her husband and children. Though she wasn't able to provide much assistance as Empress Consort in this period, she wrote letters to Louis expressing her opinions and fears on the issue.
In early September, after suffering a fever, she returned to the court from Flavigny. She had been informed of her husbands' illness and remained at his side. Her husband was diagnosed with pneumonia and therefore left for the Province of Dauphine, where the climate was deemed more favourable. A regency period began, in which she would visit her husband often, her sister-in-law becoming Regent until Louis XI had recovered.
Later In Life
Nearing the end of Elisabeth's life, she often enjoyed the same activities as when she was young, if her body would allow. Despite her husband's melancholy state, and the lose of many of her children, Elisabeth tried to continue to uphold her caring and lively demeanor. She thought it best for the sake of herself and the rest of the court.
In the smallpox outbreak of 1752, many court members fell victim to this deadly disease. Elisabeth would become ill during this time. Although, Elisabeth did not fell ill with smallpox. Instead, she suffered a severe heart attack which lead to her death on the evening of December 21st. On her deathbed, it was said that her last words were to her husband, His Majesty.
To her marriage with Louis XI she had twenty-one children, fourteen of which were carried to full term, with their styles at the time of their birth;
- Louis Emmanuel, Monsieur le Dauphin (27th December 1706 - 17th December 1752)
- Marie Amelie, Madame Premiere (5th June 1707 - Present)
- Marie Therese, Madame Deuxieme (18th January 1708 - 10th February 1745)
- Louis Auguste, Prince de Bourgogne (6th May 1709 - 21st December 1752)
- Miscarried son (15th October 1709)
- Stillborn daughter (24th May 1710)
- Louis Joseph, Duc de Brabant (27th February 1711 - 28th September 1760)
- Marie Catherine, Madame Troisieme (18th May 1712 - 9th December 1752)
- Miscarried daughter (31st March 1713)
- Charles Philippe, Duc d'Aquitaine (19th June 1714 - 14th October 1752)
- Henri Francois, Duc d'Anvers (3rd January 1715 - 17th October 1742)
- Marie Louise, Madame Quatrieme (30th November 1715 - 13th March 1718)
- Marie Josephe, Madame Cinquieme (30th November 1715 - 27th July 1739)
- Miscarried daughter (6th August 1716)
- Marie Henriette, Madame Sixieme (18th July 1717 - 19th December 1752)
- Marie Elisabeth, Madame Septieme (30th March 1718 - 1st February 1774)
- Stillborn daughter (19th December 1718)
- Stillborn son (13th June 1719)
- Louis Antoine, Duc de Forez (29th April 1720 - 5th May 1720)
- Miscarried son (9th December 1720)
- Marie Sophie, Madame Huitieme (14th September 1721 - 6th December 1738)
Styles, Titles and Honours
Titles and Styles
- 7th November 1691 - 18th November 1798 Her Ladyship, Madame de Valois
- 18th November 1799 - 2nd October 1705 Her Grace, Duchess of Valois
- 2nd October 1705 - 21st December 1752 Her Most Catholic Majesty, the Empress Consort
- Grandmaster of the Order of Saint Marie