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Agnès Sorel

French Royal mistress
The title of this article contains the character è. Where it is unavailable or not wanted, the name may be written as Agnes Sorel.


Agnès Sorel (1421 – 9 February 1450), was a favourite mistress of King Charles VII of France. Charles VII was the father of her three daughters.

Agnès Sorel
AgnesSorel11.jpeg
Portrait of Agnès Sorel by an unknown artist
Born1421
Died9 February 1450 (aged 28)
OccupationMaid of Honour
Known forRoyal mistress
Partner(s)Charles VII of France
ChildrenCharlotte de Valois
Marie de Valois
Jeanne de Valois
Parent(s)Jean Soreau
Catherine de Maignelais

She was the subject of several contemporary paintings and works of art, including Jean Fouquet's Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels.

Life in the royal courtEdit

Sorel was twenty years old when she was first introduced to King Charles. She was a very beautiful young woman, and was also of above-average intelligence. The French king immediately fell in love, and she soon became his mistress. The King gave her the Château de Loches (where he had been persuaded by Joan of Arc to be crowned King of France) as her private residence.[1]

Sorel's presence was alleged to have brought the king out of a protracted depression.[source?] She had a very strong influence on the king, and that, in addition to her extravagant tastes, earned her a number of powerful enemies at court.[1]

Suspicious deathEdit

 
Agnès Sorel was the model for this Virgin and Child Surrounded by Angels, by Jean Fouquet (c.1450)

Agnès gave birth to three daughters fathered by the King: Marie de France, Charlotte de France, and Jeanne de France. While pregnant with their fourth child, she journeyed from Chinon in deep midwinter to join Charles on the campaign of 1450 in Jumièges, wanting to be with him as moral support. There, she suddenly became ill and died at the age of 28. While the cause of death was originally thought to be dysentery. In 2005 French forensic scientist Philippe Charlier examined her remains and found that the cause of death was mercury poisoning.[2] This did not mean Sorel was murdered, because mercury was sometimes used in cosmetic preparations and also to treat worms. this could therefore have been the reason for her death.

Sorel's cousin Antoinette de Maignelais took her place as mistress to the king after her death.

Agnès Sorel in the ArtsEdit

FoodsEdit

Woodcock salmis Agnès Sorel was a dish probably created by herself, but many chefs have name recipes after her because she was known to be interested in food

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 http://www.editionsmontparnasse.fr/france/english/cultural_tourism/loire.html
  2. "Joan of Arc 'relics' to be tested". 14 February 2006 – via news.bbc.co.uk.

PublicationsEdit

  • Duquesne, Vie et Aventures galantes de la belle Sorel, (Paris, 1909)
  • Autheman, Marc, Agnès Sorel: l'inspiratrice,(2008), ISBN 978-2-84114-952-0