The Hurlyburly’s Husband: the true story
Louis-Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Marquis de Montespan, was passionate, eccentric, and in love with his ravishing wife…
Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Marquise de Montespan, was a witty and beautiful style icon with a lust for life…
Only the Sun King himself could cast a shadow over their marriage…
… This is their true story.
‘Louis-Henri, to be a king’s cuckold is the chance of a lifetime. Do not let it go by, it will not come your way again.’
The Marquis de Montespan is known as the most famous cuckold in French history, whose wife, Madame de Montespan, was Louis XIV’s mistress for many years. Unlike every other husband whose wife the King had bedded, he did not see this a great honour, refusing all the titles and riches on offer, and was therefore rejected as a fool by the royal court.
‘Versailles is a dreadful place … there is not a single person whose head is not turned by it. The court changes even the best of souls.’
He devoted the rest of his life to trying to win back his wife and wreaking his personal revenge on the king. Most famously on the day that he arrived at the King’s palace dressed in black, sitting in a carriage painted in black, with massive deer antlers attached to each corner, signifying cuckold’s horns. When the King demanded an explanation he said he was in mourning for his love.
Montespan was imprisoned and exiled to Spain and his chateau in south-west France and died without seeing his wife again.
‘Louis-Henri de Pardaillan, Marquis de Montespan, Separated albeit inseparable spouse.’
In his novel The Hurlyburly’s Husband, Jean Teulé has turned a ridiculed figure from history into a sympathetic man who loves his wife, rejects the cynicism and immorality of the Court and believes he has the right to stand up to the King.
It’s a tale of money: had Montespan been rich enough, Madame de Montespan would never have become a lady-in-waiting and caught the King’s eye; it’s a tale of sex: the voluptuous Madame, irresistible to her husband and all men, including the King; it’s a tale of power: the absolute power of the monarch which crushes everything in its way.
A romp, at other times very poignant, it’s an engrossing story that gives a dazzlingly vivid picture of life in the time of Louis XIV.