Marie-Thérèse of Spain (1638–1683), the daughter of Philip IV of Spain and Elizabeth of France, was Queen of France as the wife of Louis XIV.
In 1659 the long war between France and Spain was settled in the ‘Peace of the Pyrenees’ and a union between the two royal families was agreed to help secure the deal. Although the Infanta María Teresa and the French King were double first-cousins it was proposed that they wed. After a proxy marriage María Teresa became known as Marie-Thérèse and left Spain for France in 1660.
Louis XIV was faithful to his wife for the first year of their marriage, apparently enjoying the passion that his wife felt for him. However it didn’t last long: he basked in the glorification of his good looks and in the enjoyment of his mistresses; she developed a passion for hot chocolate – and developed her waistline in consequence – and took to the companionship of her dwarfs. Louis neverthess ensured that she was treated with the utmost – public – respect befitting her position as Queen and his wife.
She suffered greatly when the King took Louise de La Vallière as his first official mistress and she treated Louise de La Vallière venomously in consequence. Eventually the Queen accepted her position, acting with dignity and not creating scenes at Court. She tolerated Madame de Montespan, perhaps because La Montespan’s malicious wit left her lost and baffled and she had a friendly relationship with Madame de Maintenon (in whose arms she died).
Marie-Thérèse played little part in political affairs except during the brief periods when she acted as Regent while her husband was away on campaigns. She died in 1683 after a short but painful illness.