Voltaire Residence

This page shows people who were in the life of Emilie du Châtelet.

Stanislas Leszczynski - Duc de Lorraine
b. Oct. 20, 1677, Lwów, Pol. [now Lviv, Ukraine]
d. Feb. 23, 1766, Lunéville, Fr.

A love affair that began at the Court of Stanislas in Lunéville, eventually led to Emilie's pregnancy and untimely death following the birth of a child.

Stanislas Leszczynski was placed on the throne of Poland by Charles XII of Sweden who gained this territory in a military campaign in 1704. Stanislas was deposed in 1709, and left the country to settle in the French province of Alsace.

Stanislas's daughter Marie married Louis XV in 1725. In 1733 Stanislas sought to regain the Polish throne with the help of French support for his candidacy. A war that lasted for five years ended with Stanislas again losing his claim to the Polish throne. The Peace of Vienna signed in 1738 allowed Stanislas to keep his royal titles and granted him the provinces of Lorraine and Bar for life.

Because Stanislas was the father of the Queen of France, he also received a yearly income of two million livres from the French treasury. He set up a court at Lunéville (southeast of present day Nancy) and spent the rest of his life embellishing his two residences and enjoying the good life. The scene is now set for the entrance of Voltaire and Emilie.

Voltaire and Emilie were invited to Lunéville because Father Menou, religious adviser to Stanislas, had a rivalry with Stanislas's mistress, Mme de Boufflers. Father Menou hoped to dispose the mistress by providing a suitable replacement. The woman would have to be cheerful and amusing, beautiful and not too young, a noble Lorrainer by birth or marriage to be acceptable to the Court - and Emilie du Châtelet was the ideal choice.

Father Menou's plan did not work. Instead of becoming involved with Stanislas, Emilie fell in love with Saint-Lambert, a lover of Mme de Boufflers.

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