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Catherine Opalinska

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Tenure  1705–1708 1733–1736
Spouse  Stanislaw I
Coronation  4 October 1705
Name  Catherine Opalinska
Catherine Opalinska
Born  13 October 1680 Poznan, Poland (1680-10-13)
Died  19 March 1747(1747-03-19) (aged 66) Luneville, France
Burial  Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, Nancy
Issue  Anna Leszczynska Maria, Queen of France

Catherine Opalinska (Polish: Katarzyna Opalinska; 13 October 1680 – 19 March 1747) was Queen consort of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth twice and Duchess consort of Lorraine through her marriage with Stanislaw I of Poland.



Catherine was the daughter of magnate Jan Karol Opalinski and his wife Zofia Czarnkowska. On May 10, 1698 in Krakow she married Stanislaw Leszczynski, who became Duke of Lorraine and was, briefly, king of Poland (reigned as Stanislaw I). In 1699, she gave birth to Anna Leszczynska, and in 1703, to Marie Leszczynska, the future wife of Louis XV of France.

In 1704, her spouse was elected King of Poland after having been supported as a candidate by Charles XII of Sweden, who had at the time placed Poland under his occupation. Between November 1704 and July 1705, Charles XII had his headquarters at Rawicz, and the royal couple held court at Rydzyna Castle nearby, were queen Catherine hosted balls and masquerades for the Swedish power holders and welcomed the wives of the Swedish commanders stationed there, such as for example Christina Piper, who visited Carl Piper in Ravicz and were introduced at the Polish court at the same time.

In 1709, her spouse was deposed when the Swedish army lost the military upper hand in Poland, and the family was by Charles XII granted refuge in the Swedish city of Kristianstad in Scania. In Sweden, the family was welcomed by the Queen Dowager Hedwig Eleonora and became popular members of the society life on the estates of the nobility around Kristianstad: one of their acquaintances among the Swedish nobility were Christina Piper, whom they had met in Ravicz in 1705 and with whom they spent several months in Norrkoping in the autumn of 1713. In 1712, they also visited Medevi, the spa of the Queen Dowager. In 1714, Charles XII gave them permission to live in the Swedish province of Zweibrucken in Germany, where they were supported by the income of Zweibrucken: they lived there until the death of Charles XII in 1718 Catherine, as well as her daughter queen Marie, maintained a political correspondence with Margareta Gyllenstierna, the spouse of Arvid Horn, with whom she had made the acquaintance during her stay in Sweden After the death of Charles XII, they lived in Wissembourg in Alsace in France.

In 1725, her daughter Marie was chosen to be the queen of France, which made Catherine mother-in-law to Louis XV of France. After the wedding, Catherine and Stanislaw resided at the Chateau du Chambord.

In 1737, her spouse was made Duke of Lorraine, which made Catherine duchess consort of Lorraine, and she was thereby installed at the Ducal court in Nancy. Until her death, however, she kept her title of Queen. As long as she lived, Stanislaw reportedly benefited the Catholic church and the Jesuit order financially. In contrast to Stanislaw, Catherine did not adjust to life in France or Lorraine, but felt a certain bitterness over her exile, and continue to long for Poland. Catherine Opalinska was described as homely, pious and charitable, but also as a "dour" personality who Stanislaw regarded to be boring. As soon as they were installed with their court in Lorraine, Stanislaw took numerous mistresses, many among her ladies-in-waiting, such as Catherine Ossolinska and Anna Maria Ossolinska, Marie-Louise de Linanges, Madame de Bassompierre and Madame de Cambres, until from 1745 he had a permanent relationship with the marquise de Boufflers, all relationships which Catherine could not prevent.

When his mother-in-law, the wife of the dethroned king of Poland, died in 1747, Louis XV ordered a commemorative ceremony, in her honour at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. The ceremony glorified the deceased who underwent a veritable deification.

Her tomb is in the church of Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, in Nancy, next to her husband and the heart of their daughter.




Catherine Opalinska Wikipedia

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