The women in the entourage of the sun King
The reign of Louis XIV was the longest in the history of the French monarchy. Seventy-two years, during which the King was surrounded by many women. Three were "official": his mother and two wives. His mother and Regent, Anne of Austria, was a strong woman who, along with Mazarin, restored balance and consolidated the kingdom by marrying her son to her own niece, Maria Theresa of Austria. On the latter’s death, the King secretly, but with the support of the Church, married Madame de Maintenon, who had gained his confidence over the preceding years. Under her influence, the end of the reign of Louis XIV took a devout turn. There were also many favourites, the most famous being the ambitious Marie Mancini, the sweet Louise de la Vallière and the Marquise de Montespan, all wit and charm.