All of us as children read “The Three Musketeers” and other books from this series, many even began to love history thanks to Alexander Dumas, although there was not much real history there…. However, such characters as Richelieu, Mazarini, both Louis, Queen Anne of Austria, Louise de Lavallière are certainly quite authentic, historical persons. Even d’Artagnan – he too had prototypes. But Athos, Porthos, Aramis, my lady – everyone will say that these characters are fictitious, children of Dumas himself. And they’d be wrong. At least with regard to Milady.
Because this character had a very real historical prototype. Moreover, a prototype so interesting that it is worthy of a separate adventure book, which will probably be written someday. (The fact that she lived a little later than the events described in “The Three Musketeers”, in general, does not matter much).
The real story of this woman seems fictional – so much intrigue and cunning in it. And the enumeration of the real historical persons involved in it would do honor to any adventure novel: Queen Marie Antoinette, Count Cagliostro and, in fact, the famous adventuress Jeanne de Lamotte, the famous con artist who eventually became the prototype of Milady from The Three Musketeers.
Jeanne de Lamotte, born St. Remy de Valois, was born in 1756. Her origin was both noble and at the same time very piquant: she was in some kinship with the royal house of Valois, but belonged to the family that came from the extramarital affair of King Henry II with Mrs. St. Remy.
This family was very poor, and Jeanne’s mother taught the girl to earn money with the help of cunning and feminine charm. It must be said that the girl quickly mastered the science of seduction and deception, and soon found a couple to match – Guard officer Count Lamotte. The groom of the young adventuress was characterized by the same passion for money, loved adventures and did not have a drop of conscience. They quickly found a common language and married.
After the wedding, the newlyweds decided to settle in Paris, where opportunities for enrichment and intrigue was not much, but very much. After looking around in the new place, cunning Jeanne chose her victim, a man not at all stupid and famous for his good-naturedness – a rich man Louis de Rogan, Cardinal of Strasbourg.
Cardinal this belonged to the highest society, but Jeanne, despite his dubious origin and poverty, managed to get acquainted with him and get “access to the body”. At the same time, according to contemporaries, Jeanne was not distinguished by beauty, but she was able to present herself and was so clever that under her charms no one could not resist. The cardinal was conquered by the young adventurer, showered her with money, brought her into his circle.
Jeanne meanwhile announced in society that managed to shortly get acquainted with the wife of Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette. In her scams, the fraud began to cover herself with the name of the queen and soon gained the reputation of her closest friend.
True, later Marie Antoinette claimed that never in her life has never been acquainted with Jeanne de Lamotte. But it is not known who was right and who was not – the cunning and ability to lie to benefit themselves differed both ladies …. It is not excluded that the Queen really close to herself a clever schemer, able to make the most unexpected and profitable connections. For example, with the mysterious Count Cagliostro.
Count Cagliostro was a famous esotericist and mystic of his time. He was able to predict the future and had unusual powers. Jeanne de Lamotte used her acquaintance with him for her fraudulent schemes. Together they created the illusion of mystery and magic, attracting attention and money.
However, all this playing with fire could not go on forever. The exposure of Jeanne de Lamotte and her ties to Cagliostro led to her arrest and subsequent imprisonment. Thus ended the story of a real milady, who became the prototype for one of the most famous heroines of literature.