When two historic figures met 275 years ago

This month, October 2021, marks the 275th anniversary of the only meeting between two of the most enigmatic and charismatic personalities of the 18th-century, Madame de Pompadour and Prince Charles Edward Stuart.

On Sunday October 23 1746, the Marquise de Pompadour invited the Prince and his entourage to a soirée at her residence in Fontainebleau.

At the time of their meeting, Madame de Pompadour was aged just 24, while Prince Charles was a year older at 25.

Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, commonly known as Madame de Pompadour, was a member of the French court. She was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to 1751, and remained influential as court favourite until her death.

Michael Nevin, chair of The 1745 Association SCIO, tells the story of their meeting in a YouTube video: ‘Their encounter was more than a pleasant social engagement between a young man and a young woman.

‘Two weeks earlier, the Prince had landed in Brittany following his escape from Scotland after Culloden, and was keen to win the support of the Marquise, the French King’s closest and most trusted adviser, to continue his campaign to win the British throne.

‘Their meeting was to have profound significance for them personally, for their nations, and indeed for the history of Europe, and proved to be the final act of the Auld Alliance.’

The 24-minute video marking the anniversary of their meeting, When Madame de Pompadour met Bonnie Prince Charlie: A Tragedy in Three Acts, is free to view on YouTube.