Sister Louise Marie-Thérèse, the Black Nun of Moret, was a French Benedictine nun who history has remembered for a very scandalous reason: many believe she was the illegitimate daughter of Queen Maria Theresa of France and her Moorish servant, a dwarf named Nabo. There are varying accounts from multiple sources regarding the nun's heritage. Once Louise Marie-Thérèse began claiming that she was the daughter of royalty many began to speculate that her mother was the queen, who had an affair because she was sick of watching her husband, Louis XIV, cavort with other women.
However, it's important to note that the Queen of France gave birth in front of several people who were present to confirm that a child who was born was indeed from the queen's womb. This practice insured that infants could not be swapped out for other babies. While Maria Theresa did give birth to a daughter in 1664, the same year Louise Marie-Thérèse was born, it's unclear whether the baby died at birth or whether it was the illegitimate Louise Marie-Thérèse, who was whisked away in secrecy because of her dark skin tone.
The Queen's Daughter Reportedly Died, But Some Say She Was Hidden In A Convent
After four years of marriage to King Louis XIV, Maria Theresa bore a premature daughter in 1664 named Marie-Anne. It's believed the baby entered the world with dark purple skin, perhaps from being deprived of oxygen during labor. The queen nearly died from the difficult birth, which took place at the Louvre and was attended by many members of the court.
The queen was pious, and some think it would have been unlikely for her to have an extramarital affair with her African servant, yet rumors swirled that the child survived and was hidden in a convent. When it came time for the burial, the live black infant was reportedly swapped out for a dead white baby.
Louise Marie-Thérèse's Father Was Probably An African Dwarf Named Nabo, Or The King Himself
The true identities of Louise Marie-Thérèse's parents are a bit mysterious, to say the least. There are those who believe the queen had an affair with her servant, an African dwarf named Nabo. During that period of time, it was fashionable and glamorous to have diminutive servants by one's side. The queen and Nabo reportedly had a very close relationship, one that was perhaps also of a sexual nature.
Others think Louis XIV was Louise Marie-Thérèse's father, and her mother was one of his concubines. Philosopher Voltaire believed that Sister Louise Marie-Thérèse was probably the king's illegitimate daughter, even though there's no evidence that Louis XIV had a black mistress.
Greg Jenner, co-presenter of Inside Versailles and consultant to the BBC's Horrible Histories noted in 2016:
"Perhaps Louis has had a romp with one of his servants? There were a few black servants. There’s quite a lot of trading with North Africa, he sets up the Senegal Company. Certainly, exotic animals would have arrived for his menagerie and the women from Africa were also considered exotic and beautiful – he may have slept with them and produced a black child. So we certainly know that there is a black baby born, probably to Louis XIV himself, who ends up in a nunnery.”
Nabo Was Both A Pet And Servant To The Queen
The King of Arda gave Nabo to the queen as a plaything, and he was between 10 and 12 when he arrived at court. Louis XIV's mistress, Madame de Montespan, wrote in her memoirs (which were later attributed to Abbé Philippe Musoni) that the queen was delighted by the boy's mischievousness. He wore stunning African garments, a turban, jewels, and he was often spotted under the queen's skirt. The king reportedly did not like Nabo and mostly ignored him. However, other ladies of the court were entranced by him and wanted one of their own.
Sister Louise Marie-Thérèse Was Convinced Of Her Royal Birth
Sister Louise Marie-Thérèse picked her name when she made her vows as a nun. Notice that her moniker combines the names of her "parents" - the Queen of France, Maria Theresa of Spain, and King Louis XIV. When Louis's second wife, Madame de Maintenon, visited the nun at the convent to confront her about her parentage, the Louise Marie-Thérèse rebuked:
"Madame, the fact that a lady of your rank has taken the trouble to come here with the express purpose of telling me that I am not the king’s daughter convinces me that I am."