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Anne Claude Louise d'Arpajon, Comtesse de Noailles, Duchesse de Mouchy, Duche
Madame de Mouchyjpg
sse de Poix à brevêt (4 March 1729 in Arpajon - 27 June at Barrière du Trône Paris) was a french aristocrat and member of the famous House of Noailles. She was nicknamed "Madame Etiquette" by the late Dauphine Marie Antoinette she served as 1ère Dame d'Honneur for her continuous insistence on court etiquette.

Background

Her family name Arpajon derives from the Marquisat Saint-Germain-lès-Châtres her father, Louis de Sévérac, Marquis d'Arpajon-sur-Cère (1667-1736), had renamed Saint-Germain-lès-Arpajon with the permission of Philippe d'Orléans, the Régence regent. Her mother was the reknowed Anne Charlotte Le Bas de Montargis, a lady-in-waiting to the Duchesse de Berry, a Princesse du Sang. In 1741 she was married to the youngest son of Adrien Maurice de Noailles, Duc de Noailles, Philippe de Noailles, Comtesse de Noailles, a scion of the powerful Noailles family - a dynasty which had brought up many Maréchals and even became grands d'Espagne at the beginning of the 18th century.

Court Life

Anne Claudine and her husband the Comte were highly favoured courtiers during the reign of both Louis XV and Louis XVI. Anne for her part became Dame d'Honneur first to Marie Leszczyńska and later on upon her arrival at Versailles in 1770 also to the young Marie Antoinette of Austria. The young Dauphine however despised her for her dominant behaviour in her presence and her insistence in terms of court etiquette. It is evident that the Comtesse - albeit faithful to the Dauphine and most importantly the etiquette - was seeking for royal favours and advantages at court and surely had her own political intentions. In this respect Noailles was surely a very ambitious and typical courtier of her time. The etiquette gave her a means of controling people, a trait that is clearly reflected in her personality according to several sources¹.

Ironically, upon Louis XV's death she was among the crowd of courtiers that praised Louis Auguste and Marie Antoinette the king and queen-to-be informing them how the etiquette needs to be applied. However, after Louis Auguste's accession to the throne Anne de Noailles was replaced as Dame d'Honneur by the Princesse de Lamballe, the queen's intimate friend. In anger she began to side with the Royal Aunts now opposing the young queen.

Death

The Comtesse and her husband along with many of her relatives found a miserable end on the scaffold on 27th of June 1794.

Sources

 ¹Antonia Fraser, Marie Antoinette The Journey, Phoenix 2001

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