Élisabeth Thérèse of Lorraine

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Élisabeth of Lorraine
Princess of Epinoy
Élisabeth Thérèse de Lorraine, princesse d'Epinoy Demahis Etienne-Achille.jpg
Portrait after Etienne Achille Demahis
Born(1664-05-04)4 May 1664
Died7 March 1748(1748-03-07) (aged 83)
Hôtel de Mayenne, Paris, France[1]
SpouseLouis de Melun, prince of Epinoy
Louis, Duke of Joyeuse
Anne Julie, Princess of Soubise
Élisabeth Thérèse de Lorraine
FatherFrançois Marie de Lorraine
MotherAnne of Lorraine

Élisabeth of Lorraine (Élisabeth Thérèse; 5 April 1664 – 7 March 1748) was a French noblewoman and the Princess of Epinoy by marriage. She is often styled as the princesse de Lillebonne. She was the mother of Louis de Melun, Duke of Joyeuse who disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1724 and of Anne Julie de Melun, princesse de Soubise.

Early life and ancestry[edit]

A member of a cadet branch of the House of Guise, her father François Marie of Lorraine, Prince of Lillebonne was the youngest son of Charles II de Lorraine, Duke of Elbeuf and Catherine Henriette de Bourbon, a natural daughter of Henry IV of France and Gabrielle d'Estrées. Her mother, Anne of Lorraine (1639-1720), was her father's distant cousin and was the only daughter of Charles IV of Lorraine and his secret wife Béatrice de Cusance. The fifth of her parents' nine children, she was the only one of her siblings to marry or have children. She was styled Mademoiselle de Commercy at the French royal court, the princedom of Commercy being a subsidiary domain of the House of Lorraine.


She was a lady in waiting to Marie Anne de Bourbon, Princess of Conti (1666–1739), a legitimised daughter of Louis XIV of France.

She and her sister were said, by Saint-Simon, to be spies for Madame de Maintenon. While in the circle of the Grand Dauphin, she became close to his other half sister Louise Françoise de Bourbon known as Madame la Duchesse.[2] She was also close to her uncle Charles Henri, Prince of Vaudémont and to Louis Joseph, Duke of Vendôme.[3]

In 1721, at the death of her great-aunt, Marguerite Louise d'Orléans, Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Élisabeth Thérèse was designated her heiress, despite Marguerite Louise having allegedly promised that she would make her children her heirs.[4]

She lost both her children in 1724: Louis, having secretly married Marie Anne de Bourbon (1697–1741),[5] disappeared while at a ball at the Château de Chantilly in July. Anne Julie had died earlier from smallpox, leaving five young children.

She and her husband died on 7 March 1748 at the Hôtel de Mayenne.[1] She was aged eighty-three.[1]

Through her daughter, she is an ancestor of the present Duke of Montbazon of the House of Rohan.


Élisabeth Thérèse was the Duchess of Luxembourg-Saint-Pôl[6] in her own right. She bought the duchy from Marie d'Orléans in 1705, and in 1724 she transferred it to her son, who died shortly after. It was later given to her daughter who passed it to her son Charles de Rohan.

Marriage and issue[edit]

On 7 October 1691, Mademoiselle de Commercy married Louis de Melun, Prince of Epinoy and Duke of Joyeuse, who was nine years younger than his bride). The couple had two children, one son born in 1694 and a daughter born in 1698. Only the latter would have issue.


References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c von Rosen, Laurent Tahon (2002). Ducs de France: les 32 quartiers des ducs français et de leurs épouses. Googlebooks.org. ISBN 9782706816529. Retrieved 2010-04-07.
  2. ^ a daughter of Louis XIV by Madame de Montespan and wife of Louis de Bourbon-Condé, Monsieur le Duc
  3. ^ Goldhammer, Arthur, tr., Saint-Simon and the court of Louis XIV [Translated memoirs of Saint-Simon], The University of Chicago Press, London, 2001, p.33
  4. ^ Acton, Harold (1980). The Last Medici. Macmillan. pp. 272–273
  5. ^ Daughter of Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé
  6. ^ "Women in power". guide2womenleaders.com. Retrieved 2010-03-26.