Five Things You Probably Did Not Know About Louis XIV

Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud in 1701.
Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud in 1701.

-Louis XIV liked his windows open. He did not care much if the weather was good or bad, as soon as he entered a room, Louis opened all windows. His mistresses did not like this habit much. Madame de Maintenon complained of it regularly, saying the King does not care whether she felt cold due to the windows being open. It was rumoured Louis developed this habit because of his odour…

-This odour was caused by him sweating. A lot. He was sweating so much that his shirts were changed several times a day and even during the night. Yes, he did get up from bed to put a new, and dry, shirt on, then continued to slumber. In the morning, as the King was roused for his official ceremony of getting dressed, his shirt was changed again, so the King could meet his court in a clean and not stained garment. A few minutes later, the shirt was changed again as the King got dressed.

-Louis XIV was not exactly fashionable. While he paid great attention to his court being so, he himself mostly walked around in garments that were not only of the last season, but of the last decade. His artists however made sure the King was dressed in the latest fashion on paintings and engravings, although he did not actually wear those fashions. In his youth, Louis XIV was fond of colourful clothing, but as he grew older, he wore more sombre colours.

-The King banned his court from wearing anything orange in 1672. Why? Louis XIV was in the middle of a war against William of Orange. A other time Louis developed a dislike for grey hats and regally frowned at everyone who dared to carry one in his presence.

-Even Louis XIV was something fed up with his creation.  As glorious as Versailles was, even the Sun King needed a break at times from all the flattering he induced, all the rules he made, all the little fights over etiquette and the strict dress code. At moments like this, Louis XIV retired to the Grand Trianon or the Chateau de Marly. The latter had less strict rules in everything and allowed the King to act more freely with the few chosen ones that were allowed to accompany him.

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