As the years passed, she was to become one of Louis’s most trusted advisor. Duc de Croy once wrote “it was very agreeable to deal with such a pretty prime minister, whose laugh is enchanting and who listens so well.” Others were less enchanted – the Count D’Argenson wrote “she believes herself to be queen, having dreamt one night that it was so.”
One member of the court remarked, as Louis, later in life, grew more retiring, and less apt to deal with his ministers that “one could hope for no opportunity to be near the king than through her, and he no longer talked at all to any others.”
That’s certainly not true, though Madame Pompadour and Louis did spend a great deal of their time consulting on cares of state, and she probably did have as much influence as many of his ministers.
However, Madame Pompadour, despite being a trusted adviser, was no longer the great beauty she had been in her youth. Louis began – it’s funny to say having affairs since Madame de Pompadour was his mistress – but seeing younger women. Pompadour brushed it off initially saying “It is only his heart I want! All these little girls with no education will not take that from me.”
Still, their relationship seemed increasingly strained. More and more people became aware of Louis’s infidelities, and Croy remarked “I found her distressed at her toilette. She is more influential than ever, and still very pretty indeed. When one spoke of the King’s infidelities, everyone took the Marquise’s part.”
But they began to bicker. During one dinner, the king exclaimed, regarding Madame Pompadour “what boring old wive’s tale is she telling now?” People were shocked. Again, this could be dismissed as evidence of their very familiar relationship, but this was a major dinner, at Versailles, where everyone communicated through a series of coded gestures, and things like that were never said, and certainly not in public.
Madame Pompadour generally didn’t reveal her feelings to anyone, although she did remark to one close confidante “it takes more energy than one might expect to feign being madly in love without making yourself ill.”
This part troubles me, because I think I admire both Pompadour and Louis XV so much that I want them to die in one another’s arm like those people in The Notebook, but that 1) never happens and 2) really never happens when people are mid-18th century Kings of France. Do keep in mind that by the time they began bickering at the dinner table they had been together for many, many years.