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Marie-Clotilde-Elisabeth Louise de Riquet, known as Louise, was born to an aristocratic French family. Her parents were Michel Gabriel Alphonse Ferdinand de Riquet, prince de Chimay in his lifetime, and Rosalie de Riquet de Caraman. She showed skill as a pianist beginning in childhood. In 1860, she married Eugène, comte de Mercy-Argenteau. Six years later, she met the Emperor Napoleon III and they had a four-year relationship that may have been platonic or sexual. She later wrote a memoir, The Last Love of an Emperor, which was published posthumously in 1926.
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