Maria Ruspoli de Gramont, daughter of Don Luigi and Clelia of the Counts Balboni, was born in Rome in 1888. In 1907, at the age of just 19, she married the elderly duke Antoine XI Agenor de Gramont, twice a widower with 4 children and older than 37 years old
The marriage was not happy because of the excessive age difference between the spouses, despite the birth of two children. The young duchess wasted no time in betraying her husband, who became the object of salacious irony: "Le duc de Gramont epousa sa première femme pour son écu, the deuxième pour ses écus et la troisième pour son ... cul!".
The first wife of Agenore, in fact, was a Beauvau Craon, a family of ancient lineage, worthy of de Gramont. The second wife was a Rothschild, who left him immensely rich. The third wife was her, the beautiful Italian princess.
Widowed in turn, Maria inherited a fortune and often returned to Italy, in her castle of Vigoleno, near Salsomaggiore. He had bought it in 1922 and turned it into a sumptuous residence. With her, the castle became the seat of worldly and cultural meetings: Gabriele D'Annunzio, actor Douglas Fairbanks, Max Ernst, Alexandre lacovleff, Jean Cocteau, film star Mary Pickford, writer Elsa Maxwell, pianist Arthur Rubinstein, etc.
But all this cost him the fortune he had inherited: in 1935, after having squandered his wealth, he returned to France and married Francois Victor Hugo (1889-1981), son of the writer. Even this marriage was not happy and ended in divorce.
Maria used to keep in her Parisian house on the Champs Elysses the tea dansants that soon became famous for the mixed environment of bohemian and aristocrats, among which also the Marquise Casati. Maria in turn participated in the fabulous parties of the Marchesa, in fact in 1927 participated in a masked ball held by Casati in Paris, Maria made a surprising entry in the form of black snake, introduced to the party on a sarcophagus carried by four pages dressed as Egyptian slaves.
Maria Ruspoli de Gramont died in Aix-en-Provence, where she had retired to a villa that had given her the dancer-choreographer George de Cuevas, at the venerable age of 88 years.