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Françoise-Athénaïs was born into one of the oldest and haughtiest aristocratic families in France. She married the marquis de Montespan in 1663 and a few years later became the official mistress (maîtresse-en-titre) of King Louis XIV. She was famous for her beauty, her biting wit, and her arrogance. She and the king had 7 children together whose existence was originally kept secret; they were later legitimized. Madame de Montespan was rumored to be involved in the scandalous "Affair of the Poisons" in the late 1670s. Afterwards, her influence with the king waned though she was allowed to remain at court. She was supplanted in the king's affections by her former protégé, Madame de Maintenon. Madame de Montespan retired with a huge pension to a convent in 1691.
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