Madame De Pompadour

February 24, 2012 by staff 

Madame De Pompadour, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, also known as Madame de Pompadour (29 December 1721 – 15 April 1764, ) was a member of the French court, and was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to her death.
Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, otherwise known as Reinette to her friends, was born on 29 December 1721 in Paris to François Poisson and his wife Madeleine de La Motte. However, it is suspected that her biological father was either the rich financier Pâris de Montmartel or the tax collector (fermier général) Le Normant de Tournehem, who became her legal guardian when François Poisson was forced to leave the country in 1725 after a scandal over a series of unpaid debts, a crime at that time punishable by death. Poisson was cleared eight years later and allowed to return to France. Her younger brother was Abel-François Poisson de Vandières, who would later become the marquis de Marigny.

Jeanne Antoinette was intelligent, beautiful, and refined. She spent her younger childhood at the Ursuline convent in Poissy where she received a good education. At adolescence, her mother took personal charge of her education at home by hiring tutors who taught her to recite entire plays by heart, play the clavichord, dance, sing, paint and engrave. She became an accomplished actress and singer, and also attended Paris’s Club de l’Entresol (formed in 1724 and suppressed in 1731). The greatest expense of her education was undoubtedly the employment of renowned singers and actors, such as Pierre Jélyotte, much of it paid for by Le Normant de Tournehem; and it may have been this in particular that sparked rumours of his paternity to Jeanne Antoinette.

She later claimed that, at the age of nine, she was taken by her mother to a fortune teller and told that she would someday reign over the heart of a king. Apparently, her mother believed the prophecy and accordingly nicknamed her “Reinette” (meaning “little queen”).

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