La Cour

Prominent and lesser known individuals of the Sun King's court. From Ministers and Princesses to traitors and sorceresses.

  • Ninon de Lenclos, courtisane and femme d’esprit

    Louis XIV’s court was full with witty and smart ladies. Ninon de Lenclos is one of the most famous. She was praised for her beauty, her style, her mind, her spirit, her council… the list goes on. She was legendary already during her lifetime.   Ninon was born around 10 November 1620 as Anne de l’Enclos, also spelled de Lenclos or de Lanclos, and…

  • Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie, Duchesse de Bourgogne et Dauphine de France

    Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie was certainly on of the most sparkling gems of Louis XIV’s Versailles and the mother of Louis XV. She was born in Turin on 6 December in 1685 to Victor-Amédée II, Duc de Savoie, and Anne-Marie d’Orléans. Anne-Marie d’Orléans was a daughter of Monsieur, brother to Louis XIV, and his first wife Henriette d’Angleterre, sister of Charles II. She married Victor-Amédée…

  • Françoise-Marie de Bourbon, Duchesse d’Orléans

    Françoise-Marie was the youngest illegitimate daughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan. She was born 4 May 1677 at the château de Maintenon, but not given into care of Madame de Maintenon, because the Marquise was not happy the King and la Montespan were still sharing beds.   She grew up in the care of the Mesdames de Monchevreuil,…

  • Roger de Bussy-Rabutin, Comte de Bussy

    If you read about 17th century France, you will often encounter quotes from a certain Monsieur de Bussy-Rabutin. The most famous quote is probably “Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.”   Roger was born on 13 April in 1618 as third son of Léonor de Rabutin and Diane de…

  • Marthe-Marguerite Le Valois de Villette, Marquise de Caylus

    Madame de Caylus was one of the grand dames of Versailles and famous for her writings. She was born on 17 April 1671 or 1673 to Philippe Le Valois de Villette de Mursay and Marie-Anne de Chateauneuf at the château de Mursay, a estate that once belonged to Agrippa d’Aubigné. This Agrippa d’Aubigné, a famous companion of Henri IV, was…

  • Anne-Marie d’Orléans, Reine de Sardaigne

    Anne-Marie d’Orléans was the last born child of Philippe de France and his first wife Henriette d’Angleterre. The couple married in 1661 and their first child was born in 1662. After a miscarriage in 1663, a son was born to them in 1664, who died two years later. Another 3 miscarriages, in 1665, 1667 and 1668, followed, before Anne-Marie was…

  • Louis de France, Duc de Bourgogne et Dauphin de France

    Louis de France was born on 6 August in 1682 at Versailles as the first child and son of Louis, le Grand Dauphin, and his wife Marie-Anne de Bavière. As son of the Dauphin, and thus after him next in line of succession to the throne, Louis was a fils de France and received the title Duc de Bourgogne upon…

  • Marie-Louise d’Orléans, Reine d’Espagne

    Marie-Louise was the first-born daughter of Philippe de France and Henriette d’Angleterre. Born on 27 March in 1662 at the Palais-Royal, her mother, disappointed it was not a male heir, apparently welcomed her daughter into the world with the words jeter à la rivière -throw her into the river-.   As daughter of the King’s brother and grandchild of a King,…

  • Alexandre-Louis d’Orléans, Duc de Valois

    Born on 2 June in 1673 at Saint-Cloud, Alexandre-Louis was the first-born son of Philippe de France and his second wife Élisabeth-Charlotte du Palatinat aka Liselotte von der Pfalz.   In autumn of 1672, as hints of pregnancy became visible, Liselotte was ordered to go a bit easier by the doctors. No more riding, no long strolls, not even carriage rides. She…

  • François-Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Conti

    Born on 30 April in 1664 at the Hôtel de Conti in Paris, François-Louis was the youngest of three sons of Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti, and Anne-Marie Martinozzi, a niece of Cardinal Mazarin.   François-Louis was baptised at Saint-Sulpice on the day of his birth, with his uncle le Grand Condé and his aunt Anne-Geneviève de Bourbon acting as godparents. François-Louis…

  • Philippe-Charles d’Orléans, Duc de Valois

    Born on 16 July in 1664, Philippe-Charles was the second child and first-born son of Philippe de France and his first wife Henriette d’Angleterre.   The little boy, a grandchild of France, received the title Duc de Valois from his father upon his birth at the Château de Fontainebleau and was emergency baptised in presence of the King and Queen. Upon…

  • Gaston de France, Duc d’Orléans

    Gaston de France was the fifth of six children born to Henri IV and his second wife Marie de Médicis. Henri IV was married to Marguerite de France aka la Reine Margot, but no children were born to them. They settled for separation and Henri married the Italian Marie de Médicis in October 1600.   Their first child was born pretty much nine months…

  • Henri-Jules de Bourbon, Prince de Condé

    Henri-Jules was the oldest child of Louis de Bourbon, aka le Grand Condé, and his wife Claire-Clémence de Maillé-Brézé, and born on 29 July in 1643. While his father was a famous man of the military, Henri-Jules was best known for his insanity.   From the day of his birth, on which he was also baptised at Saint-Sulpice, Henri-Jules was known…

  • Marie de Bourbon, Duchesse de Montpensier et d’Orléans

    Marie was the only child of Henri de Bourbon, Duc de Montpensier, and his wife Henriette-Catherine de Joyeuse. Born at the château de Gaillon, in the former province of Normandy, on 15 October in 1605 into the royal house of Bourbon, Marie was a Princesse du Sang.   Her mother, one of the richest women in France, was the last member of the…

  • Henriette d’Angleterre

    Henrietta of England was born on 16 June in 1644 at Bedford House in Exeter at the height of the English Civil War. Her mother Henriette-Marie de France, daughter of le bon roi Henri, who had married Charles I of England on 13 June in 1625, lived at Oxfort with her husband during the autumn of 1643. But as, by…

  • Marquise-Thérèse de Gorla, called Mademoiselle du Parc

    Born in 1633 in Paris, Mademoiselle du Parc was a famous actress, ballet dancer and one of the stars of Molière’s troupe.   Marquise-Thérèse was the daughter of Giacomo Gorla, who was a mountebank and barker at fairs, and of Italian-Swiss origin. Giacomo Gorla settled in Lyon in 1635 with a little troupe of actors. Marquise-Thérèse seems to have started out…

  • Louis-Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti

    Louis-Armand was born in Paris on 4 April in 1661 to Armand de Bourbon and his wife Anne-Marie Martinozzi, and thus a Prince du Sang.   His papa, Armand de Bourbon, was the brother of the famous Grand Condé and both brothers mingled in the Fronde. The regain his favour with the King, Armand married Anne-Marie Martinozzi, a niece of Cardinal…

  • Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti

    Born in Paris on October 11 in 1629, to Henri II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé, and his wife Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, Armand was a Prince du Sang and destined to become a man of the church.   His father Henri married Charlotte-Marguerite de Montmorency, daughter of Henri I de Montmorency, in 1609 and the couple had three children: Anne-Geneviève…

  • Anne de Bavière, Princesse de Condé

    Born in Paris on 13 March in 1648, Anne-Henriette Julie de Bavière was the daughter of Edward, Count Palatine of Simmern, and his Italian/French wife Anne de Gonzague de Clèves, sister of the Queen of Poland Louise-Marie.   Although the family came from two sovereign families, they had not much of a fortune. On her father’s side, Anne was related…

  • Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, Duchesse de Bourbon et Princesse de Condé

    Louise-Françoise was the fourth child born to Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan. Her birth, on 1 June in 1673, took place in slightly unusual surroundings. Madame de Montespan accompanied the King, along with the rest of the court, on a military tour through Flanders.   Reaching Tournai, 85 kilometres southwest of Brussels, Madame de Montespan was forced to halt…