Anne d'Arpajon

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Anne d'Arpajon
The Lady with the Mask, by Pierre Louis de Surugue (1746)
Spouse(s) Philippe de Noailles, Duke of Mouchy
Father Louis de Sévérac
Mother Anne Charlotte le bas de Montargis
Born (1729-03-04)4 March 1729
Arpajon, France
Died 27 June 1794(1794-06-27) (aged 65)
Barrière du Trône, Paris, France

Anne d'Arpajon (Anne Claude Louise d'Arpajon; 4 March 1729 – 27 June 1794[1]) was a French aristocrat and first lady of honour to Queens of France, Marie Leszczyńska and Marie Antoinette. She was called "Madame Etiquette" by Marie Antoinette for her insistence that no minutia of court etiquette ever be altered or disregarded.[2]

Family and background

Her father, Louis de Sévérac, Marquis of Arpajon-sur-Cère (1667–1736), bought the Marquisat of Saint-Germain-lès-Châtres in 1720, and was granted permission by Philippe d'Orléans (régent for Louis XV), to rename it Saint-Germain-lès-Arpajon, and its seat Arpajon.[3] Her mother, Anne Charlotte Le Bas de Montargis, was lady in waiting to the Duchess of Berry, daughter of the regent. Anne Claude married Philippe de Noailles, Duke of Mouchy, Captain of the Hunts at Versailles, on 27 November 1741. Noailles was one of the leading families of France.[citation needed]

Relations with Marie Antoinette

In 1770, she was made lady in waiting to the new Dauphine Marie Antoinette, upon her arrival in France. She met Marie Antoinette at the border, where she was a part of the French entourage, and was made responsible for her court and behaviour at Versailles. Marie Antoinette greatly disliked her,[4] as she prevented her from doing things she liked with reference to court etiquette, and she gave her the name Madame Etiquette. In 1774, when Marie Antoinette became a queen, she fired the Countess of Noailles, prompting her to become a part of the noble opposition to the queen with the Kings' aunts, Mesdames, at Bellevue.[4]

The French Revolution

Countess Anne and her husband Philippe were guillotined during the French Revolution on 27 June 1794. Many of her relatives met the same fate. On 22 July 1794, the widow, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter of Philippe's brother Louis, 4th duc de Noailles, were guillotined. Louis's other granddaughter, Adrienne, wife of the Marquis de Lafayette, was saved by the intervention of America's Minister to France, James Monroe.[5] They and the other nobles who died at the guillotine are buried at Picpus Cemetery, which is also the final resting place of the Marquis and Marquise de Lafayette.[6]


  1. Louise Henriette Charlotte Philippine de Noailles (1745–1832).
  2. Charles Adrien de Noailles (1747) Prince of Poix.
  3. Louis Philippe de Noailles (1748–1750) Prince of Poix.
  4. Daniel François Marie de Noailles (1750–1752) Marquis of Noailles, later Prince of Poix.
  5. Philippe de Noailles, Duke of Monchy (1752–1819).
  6. Louis Marie de Noailles, Viscount of Noailles (1756–1804).

In popular culture

Anne d'Arpajon was played by Judy Davis in Marie Antoinette in 2006, and by Cora Witherspoon in Marie Antoinette in 1938.


  1. Généalogie de Carné Accessed 8 October 2008
  2. Madame Campan, François Barrière. "Memoirs of the private life of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France and Navarre." p.50. Harvard College Library, 1823
  3. Arpajon profile,; accessed 8 October 2008.(French)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Stefan Zweig: Marie Antoinette, Förlag Forum, Juva, Finland 1992, Erland Rådberg (Swedish edition); ISBN 91-37-10298-2.
  5., Accessed 10 October 2008
  6. Ryan's Paris,; accessed 10 October 2008.