Charles-Geneviève-Louis-Auguste-André-Timothée Éon de Beaumont, known as the Chevalier d'Eon was a French diplomat, spy, soldier, and transvestite.
He was born in Tonnerre, son of a noblewoman and an attorney. Later,d'Eon claimed that he had been born a girl but that he was raised as a boy. He graduated in 1749 from Collège Mazarin in Paris, and after a period working as a civil servant he joined the spy network of King Louis XV.
An early mission saw him in Russia, conspiring against the Hapsburg faction. Reportedly, he disguised himself as a woman during some of this mission, in order to become a maid of honour to the Empress.
In 1761 he returned to France and fought as a dragoon in the Seven Year's War, receiving injuries which led to his award of the position of Chevalier.
In 1763 d'Eon became Plenipotentiary Minister in London, collecting information for a possible invasion on behalf of Loius XV. He made plenty of contacts with English nobility by plying them with the produce from his vineyards, and eventually refused a recall to France. In 1766 Louis XV granted him a 12,000-livre annuity, and he continued spying from London.
The rumours that d'Eon was actually a woman led to a betting pool being started on the Stock Exchange regarding his actual gender. After the death of Louis XV d'Eon returned to France on the proviso that he would be regarded as female. the new King, Louis XVI, agreed, but demanded that he wear women's clothing, and even funded a new wardrobe. While in France, he published his memoirs.
D'Eon returned to England in 1785, losing his annuity after the French Revolution. He participated in fencing tournaments until being wounded in 1796. He lived quietly for the next fourteen years and died in London. An autopsy proved, beyond doubt, that he was a man.
St Pancras Old Church Churchyard
London Borough of Camden
Greater London, England
Created by: Mark McManus
Record added: Dec 27, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 17171866