Marie Thérèse de Bourbon, was born at the Hôtel de Condé in Paris on 1 February 1666 to Henri-Jules de Bourbon, prince de Condé, the then Duke of Bourbon and his wife Anne Henriette of the Palatinate. Known from birth as mademoiselle de Bourbon, she was named after the wife of Louis XIV, Maria Theresa of Spain.
On her father's side she belonged to a cadet branch of the French royal House of Bourbon, and on her mother's side, from English royalty and the House of Nassau.
It was planned for her to marry the Italian Emmanuel Philibert of Savoy, Prince de Carignan, but on 22 January 1688, Marie-Thérèse married François Louis de Bourbon, le Grand Conti, head of the Conti cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, in the chapel of Versailles.
The bride was passionately in love with her husband, but his attentions were elsewhere. It was well known at court that he had an affair with his wife's sister-in-law, the Duchess of Bourbon; it was also said that he had homosexual tendencies and did not pay his wife much attention.
Marie Thérèse had a difficult relationship with her children and, as a result, lived quietly at the various Conti residences, mainly at the Château de L'Isle-Adam. The family later reconciled after the death of the Prince de Conti. Marie Thérèse was known for her quiet personality and her piety, much praised by many at court. Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, Dowager Duchess of Orléans and mother of the Regent Philippe d'Orléans), wrote of the widowed Marie Thérèse:
This Princess is the only one of the House of Condé who is good for anything. I think she must have some German blood in her veins. She is little, and somewhat on one side, but she is not hunchbacked. She has fine eyes, like her father; with this exception, she has no pretensions to beauty, but she is virtuous and pious. What she has suffered on account of her husband has excited general compassion;
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