Marie Claudine de Vendôme (20th October 1710 - 19th January 1750) was a Grandelumierian noblewoman and youngest sister of Pope Jean XXIII. She was also a lady-in-waiting to the Princesse de Bretagne and mistress to Louis le Dauphin.
Reign of Louis XI -
Early Life: Comtesse de Landau
Marie Claudine was born to her father, Marquis Jean-Baptiste de Vendôme and his mother, Marquise Elisabeth Josephe de Vendôme in the family Chateau de Vendôme. She was one of three children to her mother, with one step-sister. Her father was a prominent member of Dijon society and thus rarely spent much time at the family residence. Marie Claudine was sent away to study at Fontevraud Abbey for the rest of her childhood. She did enjoy paying visits to the Chateau de Vendôme whenever it was possible.
Young Adulthood: Comtesse de Landau
Marie was very proud of her brothers who both perused a career in the Clergy, she did seriously consider a life in a convent but couldn't part with her personal passions. While at Fontevraud Abbey she became acquainted with the children of Emperor Louis XI, especially Louis Emmanuel for whom she had the most tender feelings for. Though she wasn't made an official mistress it was always implied. They did not consummate the relationship due to the Dauphin's wishes to consummate an official marriage before straying elsewhere. In the future the two would produce a son together. In order to keep Marie close, Louis Emmanuel introduced her to the Princesse de Bretagne. It wasn't soon after them being introduced that Marie soon became her lady-in-waiting. The Dauphin made his favorite a Comtesse.
Adulthood: Comtesse de Landau
Marie kept herself to herself at court, making sure to keep her relationship with the Dauphin a quiet one. One of her greatest pleasures was to spend recreation him with the Princesse de Bretagne, the two were most fond on working on large pieces of tapestry. During this time the young Marie moved in the circles of the elder women including the Empress Dowager Anastasie Genevieve, Madame and the Duchesse de Valois. Madame was rather bitter to the young Comtesse, most likely due to Marie's youth:
"It is clear that Madame has become popular in our circle. You owe it neither to your beauty, which in fact is not so great, nor to your talents or culture. You know very well you have neither"
At the marriage of the Dauphin to Marie Philippine she made sure not to cause a shadow upon the Dauphin or to take her place in his heart in any way. Marie took it upon herself to regularly send flowers from the Chateau de Landau to Philippine as well as other porcelain trinkets and small gifts. She moved away from court during the year of 1730 due to her pregnancy with the Dauphin's son. Though it wouldn't have made a difference if she had given birth at Court, Marie wished not to make a bother or to cause the Dauphine any grief. Marie gave birth to Louis Jean Marie de Landau on November 16th, 1730. She'd return to court a year later after sending him away to the Abbaye de Saint-Seine.
After a few peaceful years a violent smallpox epidemic broke out towards the end of the decade. Marie to the Princesse de Bretagne's advice and left Dijon to reside at the Chateau de Landau. It was during this time that Emperor Louis XI contracted pneumonia and made the decision to leave for the Chartreuse Abbey to recover, which was in the southern, warmer territories. Due to his illness, he appointed the Princesse de Bretagne as his regent, with the favored courtier, Prince de Bretagne. Marie soon encountered a most trying experience. The early years of the regency were filled with much violence. A rebellion soon broke out in Dijon. For a brief period she became a prisoner of the rebellion with the two Regents, though they were later freed by nobles and militants under the command of her brother, the Cardinal Vendome, while fire spread throughout Dijon.
Marie would accompany her mistress to various new developments, be that the reconstruction of Dijon or refurbishment of Chateau de Saint-Etienne. She lived quite happily at court, as the trusted confident to Sophie Antoinette. In 1750 an even would take place which she only described as "blissful happiness". In-fact she was pregnant with another child. Unfortunately this "blissful happiness" would only seal her fate.
It was a difficult birth and after successfully delivering a young boy she died from violent convulsions. In her will she bequeathed her children into the care of her sister-in-law, the Comtesse Elisabeth du Berry. Upon her death the Princesse de Brittany noted "The women of the Court have lost their dearest confidante". Marie Claudine de Vendome, Comtesse de Landau died on the 20th October, 1750, she was in her thirty-ninth year.
With Louis Emmanuel, Monsieur le Dauphin (son of Louis XI)
- Jean Marie de Landau, later Jesuit Priest (16th November, 1740 - 1770)
- François Marie, Chevalier de Landau (1750 - 24th March, 1771)
- Marie Antoinette, Dame de Landau (1755 - Present)
Titles, styles and honours
Titles and styles
-20th October, 1710 - 19th August, 1723 Mademoiselle de Vendôme
-19th August, 1723 - 20th October, 1751 Comtesse Marie Claudine de Landau