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Coat of arms of the Dukes of Guise.

Marie de Lorraine, Duchess of Guise (15 August 1615, Hotel de Guise, Paris – 3 March 1688, Hotel de Guise, Paris) was the daughter of Charles, Duke of Guise and Henriette Catherine de Joyeuse and the last member of the House of Guise, a branch of the House of Lorraine.

Biography

Marie de Lorraine de Guise was a "foreign princess naturalized in France" (that is, the daughter of a foreign prince of the House of Lorraine). After the death of the last male of the House of Guise in 1675, Marie became duchess of Guise, duchess of Joyeuse, and princess of Joinville and enjoyed the vast revenues from these duchies and principalities.[1]. People addressed her formally as "Your Highness"; she herself signed legal documents as "Marie de Lorraine"; and after 1675, as "Marie de Lorraine de Guise," but she ended personal letters with, simply, "Guise."

Exiled to Florence with her family, 1634-43,[2] Marie (whom the French knew as "Mademoiselle de Guise") became close to the Medicis and came to love Italy and especially Italian music. For over forty years scarcely a week passed that she did not write to her Medici friends in Florence, or receive word from them through the Tuscan resident in Paris. Circa 1650 she morganatically married Claude de Bourdeille, count of Montrésor [3] by whom she had several children whose existence was never acknowledged publicly.

Starting in 1670, Marc-Antoine Charpentier composed for her and sang haute-contre in her service. She protected her loyal servant by soliciting commissions for him from people or establishments who were seeking her continued patronage. For example, she was probably one of the "enraged virgins" and "heroines" who swooped down on Molière in late 1672 and forced him to give Charpentier the chance to write the music for Molière's the forthcoming theatrical spectacle, the Malade Imaginaire. For eighteen years her patronage fostered a number of major works, most of them devotional and strongly influenced by Italian music.[4] [5]

Marie de Lorraine, Duchess of Guise, after a portrait by Mignard

Successively guardian of her nephew, Louis Joseph, Duke of Guise (d. 1671) and of her grand nephew Francis Joseph, Duke of Guise (d. 1675), as the last member of the senior branch of the House of Guise, she used her vast wealth not only to live splendidly but for projects dear to her heart.[6]. After these two closely spaced deaths, Marie turned to devotion. With the help of Father Nicolas Barré, Minim, she founded a teachers' training institute and created schools for girls and hospitals for the poor in her Parisian parish and in her provincial lands. In her vast Parisian residence known as the "Hôtel de Guise," she presided "magnificently" over a select little "court" composed chiefly of members of the House of Lorraine, clergy, learned protégés, and Italians passing through Paris. Music (often Italian and Italian-style music) was the principal entertainment at these events.

Although her relations with Louis Joseph's widow, Élisabeth Marguerite d'Orléans, were often frosty, the two women continued to see one another, both in Paris and at the abbey of Saint Pierre de Montmartre, where Marie's sister Renée was abbess and where Élizabeth's sister, Marguerite Louise d'Orléans, the erstwhile Grand Duchess of Tuscany, resided after 1675.

In the early 1670s, Marie had begun to assemble a small ensemble of household musicians to perform the pieces being written by her in-house composer, Marc-Antoine Charpentier.[7] Then, in the early 1680s she enlarged the group, until it rivaled both in size and quality of ensembles maintained by "several sovereigns." Over the years Marie made her composer and her musicians available to her nephew's widow Élizabeth, for performances in churches and at the royal court. Both women had private apartments at Montmartre.

In a will intended to disinherit her niece,[8] la Grande Mademoiselle (that is, Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier [9]) she chose Charles François de Stainville as beneficiary in 1688; but on the urging of her heirs, the will was broken by the Parlement of Paris in 1689.[10]. [11].

References

  1. ^ Marie de Guise (1615-1688), French Wikipedia.
  2. ^ Patricia M. Ranum, Portraits around Marc-Antoine Charpentier (Baltimore, 2004), pp. 353-58
  3. ^ Ranum, Portraits, pp. 360-62
  4. ^ Chez Mademoiselle de Guise
  5. ^ The Guises as Patrons (Patricia Ranum); and Patricia M. Ranum, "Un 'Foyer d'italianisme' chez les Guises: quelques réflexions sur les oratorios de Charpentier," Marc-Antoine Charpentier, un musicien retrouvé, ed. Catherine Cessac (Sprimont: Mardaga, 2005), pp.85-110.
  6. ^ Ranum, Portraits, pp. 426ff
  7. ^ Patricia M. Ranum, "A sweet servitude, A musician's life at the court of Mlle de Guise," Early Music, 15 (1987), pp. 347-360. Among the musicians was Étienne Loulié, pedagogue and theorist, who collaborated with Marc-Antoine Charpentier on the musical education of Philippe II, Duke of Orléans.
  8. ^ Patricia M. Ranum, "Mademoiselle de Guise, ou les défis de la quenouille," XVIIe Siècle (1984), pp.221-32.
  9. ^ Ranum, Portraits, pp. 449-54
  10. ^ Marie de Guise (1615-1688), French Wikipedia.
  11. ^ Counts and Dukes of Guise
French nobility
Preceded by
Francis Joseph, Duke of Guise
Duchess of Guise
1675 – 1688
Succeeded by
Henry III Jules de Bourbon, prince de Condé
Duchess of Joyeuse
1675 – 1688
Succeeded by
Charles François de Lorraine-Elbeuf, prince de Commercy
Princess of Joinville
1675 – 1688
Succeeded by
Anne, Duchess of Montpensier
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