• The wedding of Marie-Louise d’Orléans and much ado about etiquette…

    The highlight of the year 1679 at court was the marriage by proxy of Mademoiselle and the King of Spain. Mademoiselle was the oldest daughter of Louis XIV’s brother Philippe and his first wife, Henriette d’Angleterre. Since none of the Sun King’s legitimate daughters reached adulthood, this was his first chance to marry a close relative to another King. But…

  • A 17th century Christmas….

    Christmas, as we know it now with all its tinsel and presents, did not always involve presents… and for the court of Louis XIV it was a rather dull affair mostly. Christmas meant a mass marathon for the King and his family. The great Sun King was usually present at around four different masses on Christmas Eve alone and there…

  • Élisabeth-Charlotte d’Orléans, Duchesse de Lorraine

    Born on 13 September in 1676 at Saint-Cloud, Élisabeth-Charlotte was the third and last child born to Philippe de France and his second wife Liselotte von der Pfalz. She was the granddaughter of a King, niece of a King, mother of an Emperor and grandmother of France’s most famous Queen, Marie-Antoinette. After five years of marriage and two sons, Monsieur 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…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Philippe de France, frère unique du roi

    When Louis XIV was born in 1638, it was regarded as a miracle. No-one really thought Louis XIII and Anne d’Autriche, a old woman by the standards of the time, were capable of producing a healthy heir. To everyone’s surprise, both also managed to produce a spare. Philippe de France was born on September 21 in 1640 at the old…

  • Monsieur, Madame, their bed and the Virgin Mary…

    I do love court anecdotes and this is probably my favourite of them all. It’s cute, hilarious and took place in the bed of Monsieur and Madame…. and thanks to the latter’s habit to write pretty much everything down in various letters, we can have a bit of a laugh about it today. The letter that contains this lovely anecdote was…

  • The two marriages of Philippe de France

    A 17th century marriage was more or less a business contract. It was about wealth, titles, patronage, heirs, and if one was a member of a royal house about politics. Everyone involved was aware of it.   Monsieur had the bliss, he would probably call it misfortune, to be married twice. As brother of the Sun King it was his duty to…

  • The death of Philippe de France, Duc d’Orléans

    On 8 June in 1701, the Château de Marly was the location of a dinner party. It was Louis XIV’s habit to leave Versailles at times and retreat to Marly-le-Roi, where he had built a, compared to Versailles, small château. To be of the ‘Marlys’, meaning to be one of few allowed to follow the King to his ‘summer house’…

  • Château de Saint-Cloud, Une Histoire.

    There is a gem, just west of Paris, which once was a place as grand as Versailles, the Domaine National de Saint-Cloud. Close to the banks of the Seine, on an elevation with a magnificent view of Paris, stood a much admired château, surrounded by a large park, fabulous bosquets and fountains. The Russian Tsar Peter I was there in 1717,…

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