Louise Marie-Thérèse also known as The Black Nun of Moret was born on 16 November 1664 and died in 1732 in Moret-sur-Loing. She was a French nun, the object of a gossip story in the XVIIIth century, were she is pointed out as the daughter of the Queen of France, Maria Theresa of Spain. Her existence is mentioned in several different sources.
Louise Marie-Thérèse was a Benedictine nun in the abbey of Moret-sur-Loing. She was called the “Mauresse de Moret”, and a portrait of her exists in the Bibliothèque Sainte Geneviève in Paris. The research done by the Société de l’histoire de Paris et d’Ile-de-France, published in 1924 by Honoré Champion éditions, concluded that this pastel portrait was painted around 1680 by the same hand which painted the series of twenty-two pastel portraits of Kings of France, from Louis IX to Louis XIV, between 1681 to 1683 on the initiative of Father Claude Du Molinet (1620-1687), librarian of Sainte Geneviève abbey. No less than 6 memorialists have devoted paragraphs to her: she is mentioned in the memoirs of Madame de Maintenon, the Grande Mademoiselle, Madame de Montespan (whose so-called memoirs were written by Philippe Musoni years after Montespan’s death), Duke of Saint-Simon, Voltaire and Cardinal Dubois (who is probably not the author of his own Memoirs).
Shortly after the death of the French Queen Maria Theresa of Spain in 1683, wife of Louis XIV, courtiers pointed out this woman as the black daughter the Queen allegedly once gave birth to.
La Grande Mademoiselle tells that the child could be of the black page Nabo, of whom the Queen was very fond. The adultery thesis is not considered likely, as the Queen was a very pious woman, and there is no knowledge of even the slightest mistake of hers. It would be very difficult in Versailles to have a liaison and even to give birth in secret. Every Royal birth happened in public, in the Queen’s bedchambers, with all courtiers present as witnesses. The little princess Marie-Anne was born (16 November 1664) with a dark skin caused by cyanosis, and died shortly after birth (26 December 1664). Some say that the baby remained black, and had been changed with a dead girl, to avoid scandal. According to Madame, wife of Louis XIV’s brother, her husband said that the child was not black at all but very ugly. In any case, although the story about the black daughter of Maria Theresa is unconfirmed, it was still persistent and believed by many.
Saint-Simon mentions that her convent was visited sometimes by the Queen and later by Madame de Maintenon, he also mentioned that they didn’t always see her but always watch over her welfare. The nun however seemed convinced of her Royal birth, and it is told by Saint-Simon that she once greeted the Dauphin as “my brother”. A letter sent on June 13, 1685, by the Secretary of the House of King to Mister De Bezons, general agent of the clergy, and the pension’s patent of 300 pounds granted by King Louis XIV to the nun Louise Marie-Thérèse on October 15, 1695, “to be paid to her all her life in this convent or everywhere she could be, by the guards of the Royal treasure present and to come” confirm this opinion.
Historical notes on the exhumations made on 1793 in the abbey of Saint-Denis where Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses of France are buried, published by the French national museum of monuments, reveal the following: “The same day October 14, after the workmen’s dinner, around 3 PM, we continued the extraction of the other coffins of the Bourbons; instance Louis XIII, died in 1643, 42 years old; Louis XIV, died in 1715, 77 years old; Marie de Médicis, second wife of Henri IV, died in 1642, 68 years old; Anne of Austria, wife of Louis XIII, died in 1666, 64 years old; Maria Theresa of Spain, wife of Louis XIV, died in 1688, 45 years old; Louis, Dauphin, son of Louis XIV, died in 1711, 50 years old. Note: some of these bodies were well preserved, especially the one of Louis XIII; but Louis XIV skin was black like ink.”