elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Prince Eugene of Savoy & Marquis de la Moussaye

Prince Eugene of Savoy (18 October 1663 – 21 April 1736) was the brilliant leader of the Franco-Italian-Austrian armies and a companion of PHILLIPE, Duc d’Orleans, the transvestite homosexual brother of Louis XIV. Although Eugene was frail and unattractive, he quickly proved his courage and ability to Emperor Leopold I and was given his own armies to command. He won important battles against the Turks at Zenta in 1697 and Peterwardein in 1716, finally capturing Belgrade in 1717. Eugene was admired throughout Europe as a valiant soldier, statesman, and patron of the arts. (P: Portrait of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663-1736) by Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), privately owned. Oil/canvas, 160 x 130 cm.)

Despite being one of the richest and most celebrated men of his age, Eugene never married and the suggestion is that he was predominantly homosexual. History knows little of his life before 1683. In his early boyhood in Paris "he belonged to a small, effeminate set that included such unabashed perverts as the young abbé de Choisy who was invariably dressed as a girl" wrote the English historian Nicholas Henderson. The Duchess of Orléans, who had known Eugene from those days, would later write to her aunt, Princess Sophia of Hanover, describing Eugene's antics with lackeys and pages. He was "a vulgar whore" along with the Prince of Turenne, and "often played the woman with young people" with the nickname of 'Madame Simone' or 'Madam l'Ancienne'. He preferred a "couple of fine page boys" to any woman, and was refused an ecclesiastical benefice due to his "depravity" Eugene's behaviour may have been a result of his mother's lax household and her own failure to show any affection towards him.

Upper Belvedere, Vienna
Eugene’s sexual orientation was well known to his peers. He never married, and fellow officers referred to him as a "Mars Without Venus." Eugene was particularly close to the Marquis de la Moussaye (probably René Amaury de Montbourcher, died March 29, 1749), and a legend sprang up about an occurrence when they were at sea during a fierce storm. The Marquis assured the Prince that they were safe, since "We are sodomites, destined to perish only by fire." Indeed, the ship made it safely in to port.

Of related interest is a popular soldier's song which parodied an imaginary voyage by Eugene and the marquis de la Moussaye on the Rhine. A storm breaks and the general fears the worst, but the Marquis consoles him: "Our lives are safe/ For we are sodomites/ Destined to perish only by fire/ We shall land." A comment made by Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg in 1709, who had served under Eugene, could be read that the prince enjoyed "la petite débauche et la p[ine] au-delà de tout," or that he derived his sexual gratification from the virile member of others.

During the last 20 years of his life Eugene was particularly close to Countess Eleonora Batthyány, daughter of Count Theodor von Strattman. Much about their acquaintance remains speculative (Eugene never mentions her in any of his surviving letters), and there is certainly no suggestion of a sexual relationship, but although they lived apart most foreign diplomats regarded Eleonora as his "official lover". Eugene and Eleonora were constant companions, meeting for dinner, receptions and card games almost every day till his death. But their surviving correspondence does not indicate any real intimacy in the relationship. Eugene's other friends such as the papal nuncio, Passionei, made up for the family he still lacked.

For his only surviving nephew, Emmanuel, the son of his brother Louis Thomas, Eugene arranged a marriage with one of the daughters of Prince Liechenstein, but Emmanuel died of smallpox in 1729. With the death of Emmanuel's son in 1734, no close male relatives remained to succeed the Prince. His closest relative, therefore, was Louis Thomas's unmarried daughter, Princess Maria Anna Victoria of Savoy, whom Eugene had never met and, as he had heard nothing but bad of her, made no effort to do so.

Eugene returned to Vienna from the War of the Polish Succession in October 1735, weak and feeble; when Maria Theresa and Francis Stephen married in February 1736 Eugene was too ill to attend. After playing cards at Countess Batthyány's on the evening of 20 April he returned to his bed at the Stadtpalais. When his servants arrived to wake him the next morning, 21 April 1736, they found Prince Eugene dead after choking from phlegm in his throat, presumably after suffering from pneumonia. Eugene's heart was buried with those of others of his family in Turin. His remains were carried in a long procession to St. Stephen's Cathedral, where the body was interred in the Kreuzkapelle.

Countess Batthyány expressed in a letter dated 23 December 1720, that at the Kreuzkapelle a solemn requiem would be held annually. She dedicated for this purpose two thousand guilders.

Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Eugene_of_Savoy

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