The Chateau de Brissac is located in the Loire River Valley of France. It was built sometime in the 11th century. The Duke of Brissac bought the castle in the 15th century. It is the tallest castle in France and is currently open to overnight guests and tours. Lurking in the halls to this day (but mostly the chapel) is the La Dame Verte. In 1462, Jacques de Brézé was set to marry Charlotte de Valois, King Louis XI’s half sister (she was, in fact, the recognized, but illegitimate daughter of Charles VII and his mistress Agnes Sorel.) It was a politically motivated, arranged marriage. But it was NOT a love connection. Jacques preferred to go hunting and do all the outdoorsy stuff, whereas Charlotte- growing up in the haughty french courts was accustomed to a more sophisticated lifestyle. On May 31, 1477, Jacques returned from a day out in the woods- dined with his wife and went to his room. In the middle of the night, a servant woke him to say that Charlotte was “prey to reckless lust.” Upon running into his wife’s bedroom- he did indeed find her with another man. Jacques stabbed both of them to death (over 100 times with a sword. ouch.) Her ghost remained at the castle and is always seen in a green dress- what’s even creepier is that witnesses claim she appears to have gaping holes where her eyes and nose should be. YIKES. There are also reports of loud moaning and the sounds of a woman brushing her hair. Some have even see her ghost trying to remove a sword from her chest. Well- to finish up the story, King Louis XI was furious and had Jacques imprisoned for his crimes. Jacques’ son Luois de Brézé eventually took ownership of the castle and married Diane de Poitiers (another famous mistress.) You can book your stay at the Chateau de Brissac here: http://www.chateau-brissac.fr/2006/english3.htm
Agnes Sorel (1422-1450) was the official mistress of Charles VII of France. And the first to be recognized as such in the french courts.
She was only 20 when first introduced to the King. She was working as a maid of honour (a junior attendant to a Queen or Royal Household) to one of Charles’ consorts- Isabella, Duchess of Lorraine. After that, she was to serve as the lady-in-waiting (a personal assistant) for Marie d’Anjou, Charles’ wife.
She had tremendous influence over the king, and extravagant taste- these traits did not win her favor at court.
She gave birth to three of the King’s daughters: Marie de Valois, Charlotte de Valois and Jeanne de Valois. At the age of 28, a pregnant Agnes joined the King in Jumieges. It was there she became very ill and died giving birth to a son. With so many powerful enemies, many have speculated she was deliberately poisoned.
In 2005, her reamins were exhumed and they determined she died of Mercury poisoning, but there was no indication as to whether or not it was murder.
To be said in an overly DRAMATIC voice…
Heartbroken over the loss of his 28 year old beauty, he quickly replaced her with Agnes’ cousin- Antoinette Maignelais. Oh Mon Dieu!
(back of hand to forehead in distress.)
If you would like to learn more about the seedy stories of Royal Mistresses, I highly recommend this book: http://tinyurl.com/mnepj2y