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Armand de Gramont
Count of Guiche
Full name
Guy Armand
Born25 November 1637
Died29 November 1673 (aged 36)
Spouse(s)Marguerite-Louise-Suzanne de Béthune
FatherAntoine de Gramont
MotherFrançoise Marguerite du Plessis

Guy Armand de Gramont, Count of Guiche (25 November 1637 – 29 November 1673), was a French nobleman, adventurer and one of the greatest playboys of the 17th century.

He was the son of Marshal Duke Antoine III de Gramont and Françoise-Marguerite du Plessis de Chivré, Richelieu's niece. His sister was Catherine Charlotte, (1639–1678), Princess of Monaco and one time mistress of Louis XIV of France.[1]

Armand was bisexual. He was part of the entourage of Philippe de France, who was bisexual, where many reckoned him the handsomest man at court.[2] He was known for being vain, overbearing, and somewhat contemptuous, but many lovers of both sexes often overlooked these flaws. It is generally accepted that he became the lover of Princess Henrietta, Philippe's wife, but for a time he also paid court to Louise de La Vallière.

Guiche was, however, not sufficiently enamored with Louise to challenge King Louis XIV's affections for her. He was exiled in 1662 for conspiring with the jealous Henrietta to drive a wedge between Louis XIV and Louise.

He then fought against the Turks for Poland and against the English for the Dutch, and eventually returned to France in 1669.

He returned to court in 1671. In 1672, he joined Louis XIV and the Great Condé in the Franco-Dutch war and covered himself in glory when he swam across the Rhine, and the whole army followed his example.

He died on November 29, 1673.

Portrayals in literature

The Comte de Guiche appears in Alexandre Dumas's novels Twenty Years After and The Vicomte de Bragelonne, where he is portrayed as the closest friend of Raoul, son of the musketeer Athos.[3] In the latter novel, he is included in the entourage of Prince Philippe, and takes a central part in the tangled web of romantic intrigues which engulf the court.[3]


  1. ^ Labau, Denis (2005). Guy-Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche: Un Franc Gaulois à La Cour du Roi-Soleil, 1637-1673 (in French) (Des Régionalismes ed.). Monein, France: Pyrémonde-princi negue. ISBN 9782846182508. OCLC 64167123.
  2. ^ Hosford, Desmond (April 15, 2013). Le Vice Italien: Philippe d'Orléans—Constructing the Sodomite in Seventeenth-Century France (Ph.D. thesis). New York, NY: City University of New York. p. 230. ISBN 9781303535956. Document No. 3601874 – via ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
  3. ^ a b Deibert, Alan T. (1929). "Review of Le Vicomte de Bragelonne and Dix Ans Plus Tard by Alexandre Dumas". The Modern Language Journal. 14 (2): 180–181. doi:10.2307/315281. hdl:2027/njp.32101017407410. JSTOR 315281.

See also

4 Annotations

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Guy Armand de Gramont, Count of Guiche (25 November 1637 – 29 November 1673), lived in London for most of the Diary years, and 50 years later dictated his memoires. Many of the stories are mangled for context, so while the grain of truth may be found there, the context is often very dodgy.

Why did he come to London? He says:…

"La Motte Houdancourt was one of the maids of honor to Anne of Austria, the queen dowager, and, although no sparkling beauty, she had drawn away lovers from the celebrated Meneville. It was sufficient in those days, for Louis XIV to cast his eye upon a young lady of the court to inspire her with hopes, and often with tender sentiments; but if he spoke to her more than once, the courtiers took it for granted, and those who had either pretensions to, or love for her, respectfully withdrew both the one and the other, and afterwards only paid her respect; but the Chevalier de Grammont thought fit to act quite otherwise, perhaps to preserve a singularity of character, which upon the present occasion was of no avail.

The Chevalier had never before thought of La Motte Houdancourt; but as soon as he found that she was honored with Louis XIV's attention, he was of opinion that she was likewise deserving of his: having attached himself to her, he soon became very troublesome, without convincing her he was much in love: she grew weary of his persecutions; but he would not desist, neither on account of her ill-treatment, nor of her threats.

The Chevalier’s conduct at first made no great noise, because La Motte Houdancourt was in hopes that he would change his behavior; but finding him rashly persist in it, she complained of him: and then it was that he perceived that if love renders all conditions equal, it is not so between rivals.

The Chevalier de Grammont was banished the court, and not finding any place in France which could console him for what he most regretted, the presence and sight of his prince, after having made some slight reflections upon his disgrace, and bestowed a few imprecations against her who was the cause of it, he at last formed the resolution of visiting England.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link…

The joy for the restoration of the Stuart royal family still appeared in all parts: the nation, fond of change and novelty, tasted the pleasure of a natural government, and seemed to breathe again after a long oppression. In short, the same people, who, by a solemn abjuration, had excluded even the posterity of their lawful sovereign, exhausted themselves in festivals and rejoicings for Charles II’s return.

The Chevalier de Grammont arrived about two years after the Restoration: the reception he met with in this court soon made him forget the other; and the engagements he in the end contracted in England, lessened the regret he had in leaving France.

This was a desirable retreat for an exile of his disposition: everything flattered his taste; and if the adventures he had in this country were not the most considerable, they were at least the most agreeable of his life. But before we relate them, it will not be improper to give some account of the English court, as it was at that period.

The necessity of affairs had exposed Charles II from his earliest youth, to the toils and perils of a bloody war: the fate of King Charles, his father, had left him for inheritance nothing but his misfortunes and disgraces: they overtook him everywhere; but it was not until he had struggled with his ill-fortune to the last extremity, that he submitted to the decrees of Providence.

All those who were either great on account of their birth or their loyalty, had followed Charles II into exile; and all the young persons of the greatest distinction, having afterwards joined him, composed a court worthy of a better fate.

Plenty and prosperity, which are thought to tend only to corrupt manners, found nothing to spoil in an indigent and wandering court. Necessity, on the contrary, which produces a thousand advantages whether we will or no, served them for education; and nothing was to be seen among them but an emulation in glory, politeness, and virtue.

With this little court, in such high esteem for merit, Charles II returned two years prior to the period we mention, to ascend a throne, which to all appearances he was to fill as worthily as the most glorious of his predecessors.
The magnificence displayed on this occasion was renewed at his coronation.

The death of Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and of the Princess Royal, which followed soon after, had interrupted the course of this splendor, by a tedious mourning, which they quitted at last to prepare for the reception of Catherine, the Infanta of Portugal.

It was in the height of the rejoicings they were making for this new queen, in all the splendor of a brilliant court, that the Chevalier de Grammont arrived to contribute to its magnificence and diversions.

Accustomed as the Chevalier de Grammont was to the grandeur of the court of France, he was surprised at the politeness and splendor of the court of England.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Charles II was inferior to none either in shape or air; his wit was pleasant; his disposition easy and affable; his soul, susceptible of opposite impressions, was compassionate to the unhappy, inflexible to the wicked, and tender even to excess; he shewed great abilities in urgent affairs, but was incapable of application to any that were not so: his heart was often the dupe, but oftener the slave, of his engagements.

The character of James, Duke of York was entirely different: he had the reputation of undaunted courage, an inviolable attachment for his word, great economy in his affairs, hauteur, application, arrogance, each in their turn: a scrupulous observer of the rules of duty and the laws of justice; he was accounted a faithful friend, and an implacable enemy.

James, Duke of York's morality and justice, struggling for some time with prejudice, had at last triumphed, by his acknowledging for his wife Miss Hyde, maid of honor to the Princess Royal, whom he had secretly married in Holland.
Anne Hyde’s father, from that time Lord Chancellor of England, supported by this new interest, soon rose to the head of affairs, and had almost ruined them: not that he wanted capacity, but he was too self-sufficient.

James Butler, Marquis of Ormonde possessed the confidence and esteem of Charles II: the greatness of his services, the splendor of his merit and his birth, and the fortune he had abandoned in adhering to the fate of his prince, rendered him worthy of it: nor durst the courtiers even murmur at seeing him grand steward of the household, first lord of the bedchamber, and lord lieutenant of Ireland. He exactly resembled the Marshal de Grammont, in the turn of his wit and the nobleness of his manners, and like him was the honor of his master's court.

George Villiers, 2nd Duke of Buckingham and the Earl of St. Albans were the same in England as they appeared in France: the one, full of wit and vivacity, dissipated, without splendor, an immense estate upon which he had just entered: the other, a man of no great genius, had raised himself a considerable fortune from nothing, and by losing at play, and keeping a great table, made it appear greater than it was.

Sir George Berkley, afterwards Earl of Falmouth, was the confidant and favorite of the king. He commanded James, Duke of York's regiment of guards, and governed the duke himself. He had nothing remarkable either in his wit, or his person; but his sentiments were worthy of the fortune which awaited him, when, on the very point of his elevation, he was killed at sea. Never did disinterestedness so perfectly characterize the greatness of the soul: he had no views but what tended to the glory of his master: his credit was never employed but in advising him to reward services, or to favor merit: so polished in conversation, that the greater his power, the greater was his humility; and so sincere in all his proceedings, that he would never have been taken for a courtier.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

James Butler, Duke of Ormonde's sons and his nephews had been in Charles II's court during his exile, and were far from diminishing its luster after his return. The Earl of Arran had a singular address in all kinds of exercises, played well at tennis and on the guitar, and was pretty successful in gallantry. His elder brother, the Earl of Ossory, was not so lively, but of the most liberal sentiments, and of great probity.

The elder of the Hamiltons, their cousin, was the man who of all the court dressed best: he was well made in his person, and possessed those happy talents which lead to fortune, and procure success in love: he was a most assiduous courtier, had the most lively wit, the most polished manners, and the most punctual attention to his master imaginable: no person danced better, nor was any one a more general lover: a merit of some account in a court entirely devoted to love and gallantry. ...

... and on and on, everyone got their mention, especially the ladies.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.