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Jeanne Louise Anthoinette Demont

Demont, Jeanne Louise Anthoinette, 1793—1867

Louise Demont (or Dumont) was born in Colombier, a village in Switzerland, the daughter of Jean-Charles-Samuel Dumont (1761-1795) and Jeanne-Louise Gex, later Bron (1766-1825). Her father died when she was barely two years old, but his legacy provided for her education, even after her mother married Jean Henri Bron (1770-1846) in 1797.

In September 1814 Louise Demont became Lady's maid to Princess Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1768–1821; ODNB), later Queen Caroline, then touring Geneva. Around the same time, Demont's half-sister, Mariette Bron (b. 1797), became part of the household and together they followed the Princess on her travels from Italy to Tunis, Greece, and Constantinople, returning to Italy in 1817. In November of that year, Louise Demont was dismissed under circumstances by no means clear, but which found her pleading unsuccessfully for forgiveness from the Princess.

In 1819, the Milan Commission took evidence from Demont during its investigations into allegations that the Princess had entertained an adulterous relationship with her groom, Bartolomeo Bergami, or Pergami, during her travels, the beginning of the newly minted King's campaign to divorce his long estranged wife. Things came to a head in 1820, when Demont appeared in England as one of the prosecution's chief witnesses during the reading of the Bill of Pains and Penalties in the House of Lords. Under cross-examination by Sir John Williams (1777-1846; ODNB), junior counsel for the Queen's defence, it became clear that her testimony was compromised, not least by what appeared to be her selective memory of events and the fact of her dismissal for what was generally believed her being an accomplice in a theft.

Little is known of her life after this period. The Journal of the Visit (1821) was based on a journal kept by Demont while still in the Queen's service, showing none of the rancour she evidently later felt. Demont ended her days at the age of 74 in Geneva.

Sources:

Droin-Bridel, Monique. Servir ou trahir: notables genevois et serviteurs vaudois autour de Caroline de Brunswick, Princesse de Galles, entre 1814 et 1821. Genève: Éditions Suzanne Hurter, 2000.

Fraser, Flora. The Unruly Queen: The Life of Queen Caroline. London: A & C Black, 2012.

Texts

Title Published
Journal of the Visit of Her Majesty the Queen, to Tunis, Greece, and Palestine 1821

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