Rosalie Duthe was a beautiful French courtesan with a dubious claim to fame. Although she lived through the French Revolution, socialized with many of the key players in the Bourbon Restoration, and managed to live well into the 19th century, none of that put her on the map. Instead, she’s now notorious as “the first officially recorded dumb blonde”. But what’s the truth?

Fact Or Fiction?

In some ways, Duthe’s history contradicts the claim of her stupidity. For one, she certainly knew her way around manipulating men. Born in 1748, Duthe spent her formative years in a French convent, but soon escaped France and its burgeoning discontents to move to London, England.  Once there, she had no trouble seducing the English financier George Wyndham.

This was good for Rosalie Duthe, and terrible for poor George Wyndham. Despite Wyndham beginning their dalliance with piles of money, his coffers couldn’t stay full with the rosy-cheeked, flaxen-haired Duthe around. By the time Duthe moved back to France, Wyndham was reportedly “ruined”.

From this point, Duthe’s story took on the proportions of a sleazy fairy tale. She became the “companion” of many illustrious Parisian men, including the future Bourbon king, Charles X, and was an immensely popular artists’ model for nude portraits. Her services were so in demand, the high-ranking Duke of Orleans “gifted” Duthe to his 15-year-old son so the boy could “learn some facts of life”. She proved an apt teacher.

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