What makes that so much more remarkable is really the fact that Madame Pompadour was common born.
Though, really, on some level she was preparing for this since she was a kid.
When she was around 9 – in that day, she was still Jeanne Antoinette Poisson – her mother took her to a fortune teller. The fortune teller told her that she was going to be the King’s mistress. Or that she would “capture the heart of a king.” Accounts vary. Suffice to say, they had super specific fortune tellers in the 1730s. Her family would never stop teasing her about this, and for the rest of her childhood they nicknamed her “Reinette” which meant “little queen.”
Unlike many of the Shelved Dolls we talk about, and certainly unlike Louis, Pomadour had a happy childhood. I mean, sure, her father, who used to be steward to the two men who handled the nations finances, embezzled a whole bunch of money and had to be exiled for a while. But whose father didn’t?
Despite their reduced circumstances, her family, and especially her doting mother, made sure she was tutored and trained in all of the arts of the period. She knew how to sing, recite plays from memory, play the clavichord, paint, engrave and do anything else that was considered a ladylike art. Madame Pompadour excelled at these, and for a time, hoped she might become an actress.
At 19, she was married to Charles-Guillaume le Normant d’Etioles. While it was an arranged marriage, Charles quickly grew to adore her – though they were separated immediately after she met Louis. She founded her own salon, at Étiolles, and was joined by many philosophes, among them Voltaire, who she became close friends with early in life.