The salon hostess and writer Mme de Boigne (1781-1866), née Adèle d’Osmond, was literally born in the Château de Versailles, and spent her childhood at the court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette.
In the first chapter of her memoirs, Mme de Boigne writes, “It was soon after my parents settled into Versailles that I came into the world. My mother had already been delivered of a still-born infant, so I was welcomed with transports of joy and pardoned for being a girl. I was not swaddled, as was still the custom, but dressed in the English manner and nursed by my mother in the midst of Versailles. I promptly became the plaything of the princes and the court, all the more since I was very well-behaved, and also since children in those days were as rare a species in a drawing room as they are common and tyrannical today.”
This remarkable circumstance is due to the fact that her mother was a lady-in-waiting to Mme Adélaïde, one of the daughters of Louis XV. She and her sisters were generally referred to as “Mesdames,”and later, in the reign of their nephew Louis XVI, as “Mesdames Tantes.” It was not usual for ladies-in-waiting to keep their children at court, but Mme de Boigne’s parents, the Marquis and Marquise d’Osmond, chose — and were permitted — to do so.