The birthday of one of my favourite…harlots

Today is the famous Madame du Berry’s birthday!

The mistress of Louis XV, born Jeanne Bécu in Vaucouleurs, France (1743). The officer of the king’s troops, Monsieur de Belleval, described her in his memoirs: “I can still see her carelessly seated or rather reclining in a large easy chair, wearing a white dress with wreaths of roses. She was one of the prettiest women at a court which boasted so many, and the very perfection of her loveliness made her the most fascinating. Her hair, which she often left unpowdered, was of a beautiful golden color and she had so much that she scarcely knew what to do with it all. Her wide blue eyes looked at one with an engaging frankness. She had a straight little nose and a complexion of a dazzling purity. In a word, I like everyone else fell immediately under her charm.” (Her paintings must not do her justice).

After the king died from smallpox in 1774, Madame du Barry wasn’t welcome at the new court, but she continued to live in luxury and have affairs with various powerful noblemen. She was suspected of giving money to help people escape from France during the Reign of Terror, and in 1793, at the age of 50, she was sentenced to death and executed by guillotine.

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