Anglo-French Relations The Cloak of Secrecy A personal voyage of detection



An Instrument of French Foreign Policy: The Secret Treaty of Dover

The de Gramont family had a descent from Jean d’Aure who married Isabelle de Bearn, daughter of Gaston Foix-Grailly (Tree 2). Their daughter Francoise married Antoine Carmain de Nègrepelisse, and their son Menaud married Claire de Gramont. From Menaud d’Aure and Claire came the current de Gramont line. Philibert’s brother was Antoine III, Duc de Gramont (a witness at the marriage of d’Artagnan to Anne de Chanlecy in March 1659, with Louis XIV and Mazarin), and his cousins included the Durfort Duras (including Louis who became Lord Feversham) and Antoine Nompar de Caumont, Duc de Lauzun. Philibert married Elizabeth Hamilton and they had a daughter Claude Charlotte who married Henry Stafford-Howard.

Philibert became a soldier, and subsequently a courtier. His valour in war and luck in gambling won him the admiration of the camp; whilst his ardour in love and his genius for intrigue gained him the esteem of the Court, but finally lost him the favour of his King. For attaching himself to one of the maids of honour, Madamoiselle de la Motte Houdancourt, whom his most Christian Majesty Louis XIV had already honoured with his regard, Gramont was banished from the French Court.

As a soldier Philibert had a good battle roll of honour including: the 1643 siege de Trino, the 1645 battle of Nordlingen, the 1647 siege de Lerida. He participated in the Fronde alongside the Prince de Condé. He volunteered to serve with Turenne and participated in the 1654 siege of Arras, was at the 1668 siege of Dole, then he was in Holland 1672 and at the 1673 siege de Maastricht, Cambrai 1677 and Namur 1678. In 1679 he was made Lt General of Bearn and in 1687 Governor of d’Aunis.

Before his banishment he had been sent to Spain with his brother Antoine to seek the hand of Marie Theresa for Louis XIV. At Louis’ ceremonial entry into Paris with his bride, Madame de Maintenon noted: ‘The Chevalier de Gramont, Rouville, Bellefont and some other courtiers followed the household of Cardinal Mazarin, which surprised everybody: it was said that it was out of flattery. The Chevalier was dressed in a flame-coloured suit, and was very brilliant’ (Notes and Queries, June 1854). Just the man to bring colour to the post-Cromwellian English court, and he knew that they would need it!

 
 

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