The Last Days Of Louis XIV – August 24, 1715

Élisabeth-Charlotte du Palatinat, also known as Liselotte von der Pfalz, Monsieur's second wife
Élisabeth-Charlotte du Palatinat, also known as Liselotte von der Pfalz, Monsieur’s second wife

August 24, 1715

Louis XIV is in pain. The King dined in bed and held a council of Finances, then continued to work alone with the Chancellor. In the evening the court was allowed to enter the King’s room in order to see him, in his dressing gown, sup in public. It was the last time they did so. Louis’ leg began to ache badly during supper and so the court was dismissed and he hurried back to bed to rest.

What started as one odd black spot on Louis XIV’s leg, now spread and turned into several spots. It is feared his leg is the victim of gangrene. Mareschal realised the King was dying. Liselotte von der Pfalz, widow of Louis XIV’s brother Philippe, declared “The King’s illness has me so worried that my heart is trembling.”

Louis XIV realises the graveness of the situation and asks for Father Le Tellier to come to him. The King wishes to confess.

The Marquis de Dangeau writes: “The King passed the night tolerably well, but his leg still gives him great uneasiness and it is feared that the disorder in it is much more serious than was at first apprehended. However, he dined in public, held a council of finance, and transacted business with the chancellor as if he had been in perfect health. Madame de Maintenon and the ladies came to his apartment. After being engaged with his ministers, he supped at nine o’clock in his robe-de-chamber, and admitted the courtiers, but soon after begged them to retire, as his pains increased. He did not go into his closet to see the princesses, but sent for father le Tellier, and confessed. It is feared that his leg is gangrenous. There are black spots on it, which give rise to that opinion. In this lamentable condition, the King neglects no business, and seems not to fear death. They will not give him any more bark or milk, all the physicians are greatly perplexed. It is thought that he has frequently and almost constantly had an inward fever since Whitsuntide, and the physicians, to excuse themselves, say that he would take no remedy, not thinking himself to be so ill.”

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