This is not a surprising confession, but I am a huge dork. More specifically, I'm a huge history dork. Also, I love time travel. So, it stands to reason that I love Dr. Who (and spin-off, Torchwood). So, when trying to decide what to blog about today, a friend of mine on twitter reminded me of the Dr. Who/Madame de Pompadour episode. And that's how blog topics are born; thank you, @KisavonTeasa!
So here are the quick details of Madame de Pompadour:
For those who don't know, she was the mistress of King Louis XV of France. Her birth name was Jeanne Antoinette Poisson. So how did she get the name "Pompadour?" I'm getting to that.
Apparently, Jeanne Antionette Poisson came out of the womb ready to be a king's mistress. She was beautiful, intelligent- and through the proper schooling- refined. In her youth, her mom took her to see a fortune teller who informed the mother and daughter that Jeanne would steal the heart of a king. Mommy believed the scryer and gave little Jeanne the nickname of "Reinette."
So that still doesn't answer how she became Madame de Pompadour. Be patient. I'm getting to that.
When she reached the proper age, Jeanne was married to the nephew of her guardian (weird) who apparently had BANK. Her new husband, Charles-Guillaume Le Normant d'Etoilles (who we will call Chuck), was infatuated with her. Chuck was so much infatuated with her that he gave her anything she wanted. She even started her own salon (the philosophical type, not the hair type) where she was quickly and easily introduced to French high society.
Enter the court of Louis XV. See, King Louis had heard of Jeanne and wanted to meet her. His second chief mistress had died, so there was any opening in the "other woman" department. She officially met Louis at a royal masked ball at the Palace of Versailles in 1745. Upon meeting her, Louis was sprung. He hooked her up with an apartment in his palace and within in a few months she legally separated from her husband.
But to be an "official" mistress, she needed a title. Louis went ahead and purchased the marquisate de Pompadour and gave the estate to Jeanne. This is how she earned the title Madame de Pompadour. But, even though she now had a title, a lot of people were bent out of shape that she was technically a commoner. Apparently, it's only cool if the king has an affair with someone of higher status....
But, the Madame de Pompadour did not back down. She quickly became the chief mistress and even created a cordial relationship with the Queen. Now, that's some confidence! She also made sure that the King always remembered how beautiful she was by having TONS of portraits of herself commissioned.
Oh, and the pompadour hairstyle? Yep, that's named after her. She had a pension for big hair. That little fact makes me giggle a little when I think about all the tough rockabilly guys I know who are rocking a hairstyle named after a French mistress:)
So, want a necklace of Madame de Pompadour? Here you go: