In 1923, a French woman named Marguerite Alibert shot her husband multiple times in the back, and his body crumbled onto the carpet of The Savoy Hotel in London. In her lifetime, she had gone from poverty to prostitution, only to capture the hearts of not just one, but two princes from different countries. As the hotel employees rushed into the room to take her husband to the hospital, Marguerite remained calm, and didn’t try to run away. She knew that she had a secret sitting in her luggage that was her very literal “get out of jail free” card that would allow her to get away with murder.
Marguerite Was The Best Courtesan Money Could Buy
Marguerite Alibert was born in 1890 to a coachman and a cleaning lady, and grew up in Paris. Even though her family did not have a lot of money, her parents worked for people in the upper-class, and she had the benefit of being raised in an area of the city where people were sophisticated and educated. She grew up doing a lot of the same hobbies as a high-class lady, like horseback riding, reading books, going to the theater, and learning how to read music.
It would seem that her parents tried their best to set her up for success to eventually get married into a rich family. With lovely brown hair and eyes added to a fair complexion and beautiful features, her future was looking bright, until tragedy struck. Her 4-year old brother ran out into the street and was killed by a truck. Marguerite was supposed to be babysitting him, so they blamed her for his death, and took it as a sign that she needed more discipline. They sent her to live at a convent called Saint Mary’s, where the nuns beat her and constantly berated Marguerite with guilt in her brother’s tragic death.
At 15 years old, Marguerite ran away from the convent, leaving her parents in the dark as to where she was staying. When they found her, she was pregnant, and gave birth to a baby girl at 16. She said that the father of her child was the teenage son of an English nobleman named Andre Mont-Clare. The two were in love, but the son could not get permission to marry a poor French girl, especially after she became pregnant out of wedlock. In other versions of the story, Marguerite told people that her child’s father was a poor art student at the local university who could not afford to support her.
No matter the truth, the father stayed of the picture, and Marguerite was forced to give her daughter Raymonde away to be raised by a family on a farm willing to take her in. Marguerite’s only option to support herself presented itself in prostitution – although she also moonlighted as a nightclub singer. A woman named Madame Denarte ran a brothel for high-class prostitutes when she discovered Marguerite during one of her performances. She thought that Marguerite was far more beautiful, sophisticated, talented, intelligent than the average girl that had to resort to sex work, and that she had real potential to become a high-class courtesan.
After receiving training on how to act like a lady, Marguerite “attended to” nearly every aristocrat in France, England, and The United States. At one point, the royal family selected Marguerite to meet with the young Prince Edward of Wales, because they felt he needed a more experienced woman to help him with sex before he married. Thus, a passionate love affair ensued – and he wrote her very dirty letters filled with things that would absolutely ruin his reputation if made public. So she held onto them to potentially use as blackmail some day in the future.
After selling her services to dozens of rich men in high society, Marguerite Ailbert earned the ability to finally find men willing to pay a substantial amount of money. This money would be enough to afford her own apartment, and many even gave her an allowance for living expenses. Even though they were not legally married, she would take on their last names, and refer to her lovers as her “husbands” when she was living her life in high society and meeting new people in Paris. As far as the outside world was concerned, she was just another lady, and no one could tell that she was actually a courtesan.
Once in a stable living situation, Marguerite felt that she could finally be a good mother to Raymonde. Seven years had passed since Marguerite last laid eyes on her daughter, and she never wrote any letters to give her an update. But Marguerite planned to change the relationship. At 23 years old, she reunited with her daughter and seven-year old Raymonde left the farm to live with her biological mother in Paris. She wanted her to have a good education, so she sent her daughter to one of the best all-girls boarding schools in London.
Eventually, she married a 40 year old man by the name of Meller while still in her 20’s. He gave her everything she desired- a luxurious apartment in Paris, the newest fashion, and vacations abroad. Meller gave her the whole package: rich, tall and handsome. However, their age difference was simply too large for them to be truly happy together, and Marguerite wanted a divorce. The settlement provided her with a large amount of money – allowing her to keep the luxurious apartment while employing a driver and maids. She was even able to afford all of the newest fashions. She went back to courting rich men in Paris and enjoying all of the free stuff that came along with it.