Notorious French diplomat and transvestite.
Worked as a lawyer and author, then entered the diplomatic corps. Special envoy to Russia (1755), where he abruptly adopted women’s clothing. On returning to France, he resumed masculine attire and served as an officer of dragoons. Minister plenipotentiary to London (1762), where rumors circulated that he was actually a woman. Returned to France (1777-84) under strict orders to wear only women’s clothing. A scurrilous rumor accused Franklin of a dalliance with the “chevalière.” Eventually settled in London, where he supported himself as a fencing master. An autopsy performed after his death proved him to have been male.
Son of Louis and Françoise (de Charanton) d’Eon de Beaumont of Tonnerre (Burgundy).