Far more than the intrigue of perhaps a queen, it was that of mistresses of the kings, especially one of Louis XIV -that often resulted in drama and even death in the French court .
Montespan’s fondness of sexual commerce2 became visually apparent in the multiple pregnancies that ensued from her amorous relations with the king. It is likely that Montespan’s voluptuous body and her image as confident seductress played a role in accusations of meddling in the forbidden world of illicit black magic.
When Louis XIV caught wind of the accusations against Montespan, he suspended the judicial sessions of the Chambre. La Reynie, however, continued his own private investigation. He reasoned that it was not logical for her to try to poison the king, as it would cause her to lose her fortune. However, he did find it plausible that she would want to poison a rival, which, as Mollenauer theorizes, “confirms correlations that linked poison, jealousy and female adultery.”
Among those involved in Montespan’s accusations, the magician Lesage and the Abbé Mariette were convicted of conducting magical ceremonies for Mme de Montespan, both who were sent to the galleys in 1668.5
Montespan’s supposed magical actions, and the magical underworld overall, were beginning to undermine and to eclipse the authority of Louis XIV. He would not permit these shadows to be cast upon his crown:
“The king could not tolerate even the slightest risk that Mme de Montespan’s sacrilegious activities might become public knowledge; to do so would certainly damage her repuation but, even more important, would blacken ‘the glowing image of his greatness.'”