Élisabeth Sophie de Lorraine

Élisabeth Sophie of Lorraine
Duchess of Richelieu
Born 1710
Died 2 August 1740
Burial 20 August 1740
Chapelle de la Sorbonne, Paris, France
Spouse Armand de Vignerot du Plessis
Antoine, Duke of Richelieu
Jeanne Sophie, Countess of Egmont
Full name
Marie Élisabeth Sophie de Lorraine
House House of Lorraine
Father Joseph, Count of Harcourt
Mother Marie Louise Jeannin de Castille

Élisabeth Sophie of Lorraine (Marie Élisabeth Sophie; 1710 2 August 1740.[1]) was a French noblewoman and the second wife of Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, the famous womaniser the Duke of Richelieu.


She was born in 1710[1] and was the second daughter of Joseph de Lorraine, Count of Harcourt and his wife Marie Louise Jeannin de Castille.[1] Her older sister Louise Henriette Françoise married the Duke of Bouillon in 1725.

A member of the House of Guise founded by Claude, Duke of Guise,[2] she was a Princess of Lorraine as a male line descendant of René II, Duke of Lorraine. At court, she, like his Lorraine family, held the rank of Foreign Prince, a rank which was below that of the immediate Royal Family and Princes of the Blood. This also allowed her the style of Her Highness.

Family relations included Emmanuel Maurice, Duke of Elbeuf, second cousin of her husband via Emmanuel Maurice's mother Élisabeth de La Tour d'Auvergne.[3] Others included the Abbess of Remiremont, Princess of Epinoy and a Queen consort of Sardinia.[1]

She was a proposed bride of Paul II Anton Esterházy, a prince of the House of Esterházy, a distinguished soldier and patron of music. The marriage never materialised.

Her daughter Jeanne Sophie by Roslin.

In the end, with the help of Voltaire, the Duke of Richelieu was married to Élisabeth Sophie. As she was a Princess of Lorraine, Richelieu had to ask permission from the then Duke of Lorraine Francis III Stephen.[4] The Duke of Lorraine accepted and Élisabeth Sophie married Armand de Vignerot du Plessis, duc de Richelieu on 7 April 1734.

Richelieu had been married before to Anne Catherine de Noailles and had had no children. Élisabeth Sophie however, gave him two children including the next duke of Richelieu.

The court said that Élisabeth Sophie had a strong mind[5] and a heart capable of great affection and gratitude.[5] She was praised for her virtuous,[5] passionate nature and was a devoted wife to one of the most notorious womaniser's of the age.

She died of Scurvy in her husbands arms[6] on 2 August 1740 aged roughly 30 and only five months after the birth of her daughter. She was buried at the Chapelle de la Sorbonne[7] of the [6] on 20 August 1740.[6] In 1780, her husband married again to Jeanne Catherine Josèphe de Lavaulx; there were no children from the marriage.


  1. Antoine de Vignerot du Plessis (4 February 1736 1791) married Adélaide Gabrielle de Hautefort in 1765 and had issue; married Marie Antoinette de Gallifet and had issue;
  2. Jeanne Sophie de Vignerot du Plessis (1 March 1740 14 October 1773) married Don Casimir Pignatelli, Count of Egmont, Duke of Bisaccia in 1755; no issue.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

References and notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 van de Pas, Leo. "Marie Élisabeth Sophie de Lorraine". Genealogics .org. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  2. As the son of René II, Duke of Lorraine, he was given the Duchy of Guise as an appanage which was made a peerage by Francis I of France in 1528
  3. Daughter of Frédéric Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne
  4. Future Holy Roman Emperor and husband of Empress Maria Theresa
  5. 1 2 3 Zinsser, Judith P. "Emilie Du Chatelet: Daring Genius of the Enlightenment". Googlebooks.org. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  6. 1 2 3 "Mercure de France". Googlebooks.org. Retrieved 2010-03-16.
  7. This Parisian chapel is part of the Collège de Sorbonne; it was commishioned by Cardinal Richelieu

See also

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