Born in 1643 (day and month unknown), Philippe was the second born son of Monsieur le Grand, Henri de Lorraine, pair de France, Comte d’Harcourt, d’Armagnac, de Brionne, and de Charny, Vicomte de Marsan and de Pagny, Grand écuyer de France, Vice-Roi de Catalogne in 1645, grand Sénéchal de Bourgogne, Gouverneur d’Anjou, and Marguerite-Philippe du Cambout.
Philippe’s father, Henri, did his first military service at the siege of Prague in November 1620. He was famous for his bravery shown on the field of battle and was thus nicknamed Cadet la Perle by his companions after the large pearl earring he wore. Later he fought against the Protestants and took part in the Siege of La Rochelle (1627–1628) and also that of Saint-Jean-d’Angély. Due to his bravery, Henri was made a Chevalier du Saint-Esprit in 1633 and in 1643 Seneschal of Burgundy.
In 1637, Henri de Lorraine fought in Piedmont during the Franco-Spanish War (1635-1659), where he defeated the Spanish forces, very superior in numbers, near Chieri. Henri was put in charge of the Siege of Turin (1640) and managed to take the city after a siege of three months. He then fought in Sardinia and Catalonia, of the latter he was even named Vice-Roi in 1645. (A regal official who runs a country, colony, city, province, or sub-national or state, in the name of and as the representative of the actual King or Ruler of territory.)
During the Fronde, Henri remained loyal to Anne d’Autriche, who was acting as Regent for her son Louis XIV, but Henri clashed with Cardinal de Mazarin and retreated to Alsace. Earlier, during the Franco-Spanish War, Henri de Lorraine was approached by Gilles du Hamel de Latréaumont in a plot to raise the Normandy as sort of sovereign, from the rule of Louis XIV, republic. Latréaumont wanted to put this new republic under the control of Henri, but he refused. Some years later, Latréaumont plotted again to turn the Normandy into a republic, and to kidnap the heir of Louis XIV, together with the Chevalier de Rohan.
In 1643, Henri was made Grand Écuyer de France -Grand Squire of France- and as such was referred to as Monsieur le Grand. The Grand Écuyer de France was one of the Great Officers of the Crown of France and a member of the Maison du Roi -King’s Household- during the Ancien Régime. He was in charge of the royal stables, the transport of the King and his ceremonial entourage (heralds, men of arms, musicians, etc.). As well as the Superintendence of the Royal Stables and was also in charge of the funds set aside for the religious functions of the court, like coronations and funerals. On the death of a Sovereign, the Grand Écuyer had the right to all the horses, including their equipment and even carriages, of the Royal Stables. The Grand Écuyer was also responsible to keep the stables full of horses, he oversaw the horse breeding for them, and was in charge of the provincial military academies, which taught young noblemen all over France how to ride proper.
According to Saint-Simon the position of Grand Écuyer meant for his own father, Claude de Rouvroy. He writes that it was actually given to his father by Louis XIII shortly before his death, however the name of who was appointed to the position was left blank (for whatever reason) and after the death of Louis XIII, the name that was added to it was that of Henri de Lorraine and not Claude de Rouvroy. Saint-Simon argues further that all of it was part of an intrigue by Monsieur Chavigny who “had the villainy, in concert with the Queen, to fill in the name of the Comte d’Harcourt, instead of that the King had instructed him of“. This might be one reason why Monsieur de Saint-Simon often spoke ill of the Lorraine-Guise in his memoirs. (A other might be that one of the Lorraine girls, a daughter of Louis de Lorraine, ‘politely’ refused to marry him. He tries to play that a bit down in his scribblings and even hints the the woman he then married was way better anyway.)
Henri de Lorraine married Marguerite-Philippe du Cambout, called Mademoiselle de Pontchâteau, in February 1639.
Marguerite was a niece of Cardinal de Richelieu and daughter of Charles du Cambout, Baron de Pontchâteau and de La Roche-Bernard, Marquis de Coislin, who was Conseiller au Conseil d’État et Privé du Roi, Chevalier du Saint-Esprit, Gouverneur des villes et forteresse de Brest, Lieutenant-Général en Basse-Bretagne. Marguerite was born in 1622 and a whole twenty-one years younger than Henri, who was born on 20 March in 1601. It was quite a match with the bride descending from the sovereign Ducs de Bretagne and the groom from the old sovereign Rulers of Lorraine.
It was not her first marriage though. On 28 November in 1634, as she was aged twelve, she was married to Antoine de L’Age, Sieur de Puylaurens, a member of the House of Languedoc. This marriage was arranged by Richelieu and of a political nature. The groom was attached to the household of Gaston d’Orléans, the brother of Louis XIII, and had a certain degree of ascendancy over him. Gaston d’Orléans had bestowed him with several positions, such as Grand Master of the Wardrobe, First Chamberlain, and Superintendent.
As his favourite, Antoine de L’Age, advised Gaston in his intrigues against Richelieu and organised the escape of Gaston to Brussels in 1632. As well as the reconciliation with his brother Louis XIII and the Cardinal, which led to Gaston’s return to France later on. As a reward for this reconciliation, the Cardinal came up with the plan to marry him to his niece Marguerite.
This marriage did not provide the safety one would assume the wedding to a niece of the Cardinal would bring. Antoine de L’Age was arrested by the Cardinal, now his uncle, on 14 February in 1635. After an imprisonment in the Louvre and then in Vincennes, Antoine de L’Age died in July 1635. He was buried two days later. The whole thing caused a bit of a fuss, since some suspected he was actually murdered while in prison.
In 1639, the Cardinal arranged for Marguerite’s second wedding to Henri de Lorraine. The marriage seemed to be quite a happy one and the couple had 6 children:
-Armande-Henriette (1640–1684), Abbess of Soissons.
-Louis de Lorraine (1641–1718), Comte d’Armagnac, Charny and of Brionne. Ancestor of Prince Albert II of Monaco through his daughter Marie de Lorraine, who married Antoine I de Monaco. A great-grand daughter, Princess Joséphine de Lorraine, was the grand-mother of Charles Albert of Sardinia, the present House of Savoy descend from this line.
-Philippe de Lorraine (1643–1702), called the Chevalier de Lorraine.
-Alfonse-Louis de Lorraine (1644–1689), Abbot of Royaumont, called the Chevalier d’Harcourt.
-Raimond-Bérenger de Lorraine (1647–1686), Abbot of Faron de Meaux.
-Charles de Lorraine (1648–1708), Vicomte and later Comte de Marsan.
Henri de Lorraine was the younger son of Charles I, Duc d’ Elbeuf and his wife Marguerite de Chabot, Comtesse de Charny. Charles I was a son of René de Lorraine, Marquis d’Elbeuf and Comte d’Harcourt, and his wife Louise de Rieux. Renè de Lorraine was the youngest son of Claude, Duc de Guise and Antoinette de Bourbon and therefore a brother of Marie de Guise, who married James V of Scotland and was the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots. René’s and Marie’s father Claude de Lorraine, Duc de Guise, was the second son of René II, Duc de Lorraine.
This links the family, and Philippe, to the Stuarts and Bourbons, as well as many other noble houses such as Vendôme, Luxembourg, d’Este and Savoy. Being born into a family with the status of prince étranger, Philippe held the rank of prince étranger himself from birth on and was thus entitled to be addressed as his Highness.
“The Chevalier was a man of handsome appearance and great personal attraction, but vicious morals. He was almost as great a favourite with the King as with Monsieur.”
Philippe de Lorraine was born in 1643, the exact date is (currently) not known, as third child and second son of Henri and Marguerite.
Not much is known about Philippe’s youth and education. Whether his family wanted him to be a man of the church, still typical for a second born son, or or saw him more in a military career is not perfectly traceable. Considering the strong catholic background of his family, especially the Guise branch of the house of Lorraine, and considering that his father was a man that fought in many campaigns himself and achieved military glory, both possibilities are likely. Even a combination of both is possible, considering that Philippe joined the l’ordre souverain militaire hospitalier de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem, de Rhodes et de Malte at a young age. A membership payment made in 1650, when he was seven years old, and his name listings is mentioned in the publications of the time. There is no known document that hints that he actually actually fulfilled his duties, known as caravans, as an adult, unlike his younger brother, who participated in the caravans.
Alternatively, he may have never intended to become a full Knight of the Order, with the possibility to be inducted into one of the honorary classes. Like the Cross of the Devotion or the Grand Cross, which was infrequently given to those of high rank to allow them to marry in case of future dynastic needs. The order received the sum of 3990 livres in August 1650 for his passage and dispenses.
On the same day it also received a sum listed for Raymond-Bérenguer, Philippe’s brother, although it was not him, but their brother Alphonse-Louis who joined and later participated in the caravans. A caravan consisted of four expeditions of at least six months and Alphonse-Louis later held several lucrative commands in France due to them. After several years in the Mediterranean, he even became commander of a galley.
Philippe’s life from his teenage days on was closely linked to that of another Philippe, Philippe de France. This link would remain for the rest of their lives, sometimes more closely, sometimes less. Like with most things involving the Chevalier, it is again hard to tell when both of them had their first contacts. Since the Chevalier’s mother was a close friend and confidant to Anne d’Autriche, it is likely that both have know each other from childhood on. Anne d’Autriche also acted as godparent, along with Cardinal de Mazarin, at Philippe’s baptism on 6 June in 1644.
Philippe de Lorraine and Philippe de France had other lovers during the almost 50 years they were together, but the Chevalier was undoubtedly the “love of his life” for Philippe de France.
“The Chevalier de Lorraine, who ruled Monsieur in everything. He had been compellingly handsome; Monsieur’s taste was not for women; he made no attempt to disguise it; he had taken the Chevalier de Lorraine as his master and so he remained throughout the rest of his life.”
It seems likely they made their first romantic contacts around 1658, when Philippe, described as “insinuating, brutal and devoid of scruple“, was 15 years old, the same year in which the other Philippe was supposedly “corrupted” by Philippe-Jules Mancini. According to some they already knew each other since 1650, when both Philippe and Louis de Lorraine used to play with the young King and his brother, sometimes even in the dried out moat of the Louvre.
In 1658, both Philippes were living at the Palais-Royal in Paris, where the young Princess Henriette-Anne of England, aka Henriette d’Angleterre, Monsieur’s future wife, was living with her mother Henriette-Marie. The two Henriettes had fled England due to the English Civil War and had been allowed to live in the Palais-Royal as a grace and favour residence.
Monsieur, at this point still being known as le Petit Monsieur, since his uncle Gaston still held the title of Duc d’Orleans, made the Chevalier swiftly one of his closest friends. It took another few years before he officially became his favourite, after the Comte de Guiche was removed from this spot. It can be only speculated on whether those two were engaged in a love affair already before the Chevalier became the official favourite. (We can’t really travel back in time and have a look into the bedrooms.) Philippe, said to be “beautiful as one paints a angel” surely was a temptation for Monsieur, and Guiche, “known for being vain, overbearing, and somewhat contemptuous“, was tempted otherwise as well.
The Comte became Monsieur’s favourite shortly before the Chevalier began to have closer contact with Monsieur, and was much adored by the latter. So much that Monsieur easily oversaw the insults Guiche bestowed upon him in front of the whole court. One time Guiche kicked and hit him during a masked ball in which Monsieur and his cousin la Grande Mademoiselle were dressed as shepherdesses. La Grande Mademoiselle states that even though in disguise, Monsieur was recognised as as such by everyone, yet Guiche pretended not to notice with whom he danced and behaved with utmost insolence. He insulted him if front of everyone present and then even slapped and kicked him.
According to most writings of the time, the Chevalier was mainly led by greed and seeking favours as he started to engage closer with Monsieur. He is said to have been willed to gain total control of the Prince, who was described as rather weak of will and easily manipulated.
Whether that is was his aim or not, no-one can tell. (We can’t look into his head….skull?) All letters and documents that might hint the true nature of their relationship, as well as those written to Monsieur by other admirers, have been burned by the second Madame after the dead of Monsieur in 1701.
It is likely that Philippe partly aimed for a improvement of his fortune, as he most likely saw it happening to Guiche, yet it has to be considered that he had plenty other possibilities to achieve it. He could have aimed for a military career, everyone agreed on him being very capable in the matter, or seek favour in the lines of the King, like his brother Louis, which perhaps would have granted him a high ranking position as well, he even could have married someone of equal or higher rank. For someone of his rank, and from such a rich and influential family, the possibilities were almost endless.
Instead he chose the way that would bind him to Monsieur, make him at least partly dependable on the moods of the Prince and the dangers of being replaced. A way that would be a constant fight to keep his position, and surely was not the easiest. Although the King tolerated, or mostly ignored, the preference of his brother, due to him being his brother, what we call homosexuality now was not that openly accepted. Philippe and Philippe would ignore in later days and “openly flaunt their lifestyle“.
Some people of the time said Philippe’s true preference was with women, which somehow seems contrary to “flaunting the lifestyle” and if this was the case leaves the question why he engaged with Monsieur, not just briefly, but for the rest of his life, if he did indeed fancied the female gender over the male. It can be argued that above said “greed” was the reason, but even for the prize of a whole Kingdom, it is not easy to feign affection towards a man, who one has no real love for, or have physical contact with him, for a good 50 years. It might have been that gaining influence was his goal in first, but the whole thing went into a, for him, totally different direction, one he might not have expected. Even without the friendship of Monsieur, the Chevalier would have been able to make a comfortable living for himself.
However, at some point in the 1660’s not a day passed in which one Philippe did not seek the company of the other Philippe… and that not always in the most discreet manner possible.
In 1658, Philippe went to Italy and participated in the Siege of Turin. After it he joined the troops of the Emperor in Hungary and fought against the Turks in the Austro-Turkish War.
Around the same time, Louis XIV, by request of his brother and perhaps anticipating a possible affair, allowed Philippe to join Monsieur’s entourage. This was something of great prestige for both sides. It was a honour for Philippe to belong to the household of the King’s brother, just as it was a honour for the King’s brother to have a Prince of Lorraine in his household. Philippe’s older brother Louis was already a close companion to Louis XIV for quite the same reasons. The position of Grand Squire of France, which Louis took over as their father retired, required and allowed close contact to King. Louis de Lorraine was later said to be one of the closets friends of Louis XIV, they enjoyed to hunt side by side and engaged in games of billiard regularly. On some occasions they even met without ceremony and privately in the King’s bureau and Louis was allowed to sit in presence of the King. As old men, Louis XIV and Louis de Lorraine were often rolled through the gardens of Versailles.
After Louis XIV’s marriage to Marie-Thérèse on 9 June 1660, Anne d’Autriche turned her attention to the marriage of her youngest son Philippe. Monsieur had previously been encouraged to court his older cousin la Grande Mademoiselle, the Duchesse de Montpensier, eldest daughter of Gaston and his first wife Marie de Bourbon. She had an immense private fortune and rejected suitors such as Charles II of England. La Grande Mademoiselle was the sole heiress of her mother, who died in childbirth. Mademoiselle declined the union, although she was very fond of Philippe, and perhaps due to Louis XIV’s fear that this union would make his brother too independent. Mademoiselle remained unmarried, at least officially, and Philippe married another first cousin instead, Henriette d’Angleterre, youngest child of King Charles I of England and his wife Queen Henriette-Marie de France, Philippe’s aunt.
Monsieur and his bride signed their marriage contract in the Palais Royal on 30 March in 1661. The actual ceremony took place the next day in front of selected members of the court. The bride came with a promised dowry of 840,000 livres. Elizabeth-Charlotte, who should become Monsieur’s second wife, writes: “The Queen-mother of England had not brought up her children well: she at first left them in the society of femmes de chambre, who gratified all their caprices; and having afterwards married them at a very early age, they followed the bad example of their mother.”
Monsieur treated his wife well and with great respect at the beginning of their marriage and was even proud to show her off at court, in the finest and most fashionable gowns adorned with jewels. Minette, as she was nicknamed by her brother Charles II, enjoyed the attention greatly which everyone bestowed upon her and was the jewel of many festivities.
The idyll of the newly weds did not last long. Henrietta’s flirting with the King started early in the summer of 1661 while the newly-weds were staying at Fontainebleau for the summer. Philippe complained to his mother about the intimacy that Louis and Henriette displayed, which led Anne to reprimand both son and daughter-in-law. This brought a certain tension into the relationship of the brothers. Minette also started a friendship with the Comte de Guiche in the same year, who was still her husband’s official boyfriend, and soon should become her own lover.
The second Madame writes: “Monsieur was himself the cause of Madame’s intrigue with the Comte de Guiche. He was one of the favourites of the late Monsieur, and was said to have been handsome once. Monsieur earnestly requested Madame to shew some favour to the Comte de Guiche, and to permit him to wait upon her at all times. The Comte, who was brutal to every one else, but full of vanity, took great pains to be agreeable to Madame, and to make her love him. In fact, he succeeded, being seconded by his aunt, Madame de Chaumont, who was the gouvernante of Madame’s children. One day Madame went to this lady’s chamber, under the pretence of seeing her children, but in fact to meet de Guiche, with whom she had an assignation. She had a valet de chambre named Launois, whom I have since seen in the service of Monsieur; he had orders to stand sentinel on the staircase, to give notice in case Monsieur should approach. This Launois suddenly ran into the room, saying, “Monsieur is coming downstairs.” The lovers were terrified to death. The Count could not escape by the antechamber on account of Monsieur’s people who were there. Launois said, “I know a way, which I will put into practice immediately; hide yourself,” he said to the Comte, “behind the door.” He then ran his head against Monsieur’s nose as he was entering, and struck him so violently that he began to bleed. At the same moment he cried out, “I beg your pardon, Monsieur, I did not think you were so near, and I ran to open you the door.” Madame and Madame de Chaumont ran in great alarm to Monsieur, and covered his face with their handkerchiefs, so that the Comte de Guiche had time to get out of the room, and escape by the staircase. Monsieur saw someone run away, but he thought it was Launois, who was escaping through fear. He never learnt the truth.”
Around 1662, the Chevalier played a minor role in the events leading to the exile of the Marquis de Vardes, the lover of Minette’s good friend Olympe Mancini. The three of then had tried to make the affair of Louis XIV and Louise de La Vallière known to Queen Marie-Thérèse by dropping a letter, apparently written by Marie-Thérèse’s father Philippe IV. This letter, it is said, was actually written by the Comte de Guiche, who later blamed Madame de Noailles to be writer in front of the King. This led to the temporary banishment of both Monsieur and Madame de Noailles from court.
One day the Marquis de Vardes met the Chevalier de Lorraine and both engaged in a conversation in the fashionable tone of the time, complimenting each other on their good taste of dress, and laughing and chatting about this and that. Vardes, being of already of a ‘older’ age at this point is said to have said to the Chevalier “….but as to you, at your age, you may do what you will. Only throw the handkerchief and there is not a lady at court, who will not pick it up.” Philippe later repeated this conversation, perhaps knowing to what it would lead, to one of his friends, the Marquis de Villeroy, a enemy of Vardes. Villeroy in turn repeated the conversation immediately to Madame, stating Vardes said to the Chevalier “He was wrong to occupy himself with the maid, and that he had better try the mistress. He would find as little difficulty in one quarter as the other.” Madame, feeling rather insulted, informed Louis XIV of what was said. Vardes was exiled. Madame de Soissons, using foul language, complained to Minette about Vardes’ exile. Minette in turn revealed the involvement of both Vardes and Olympe in the matter of the Spanish Letter to the King. Olympe then told the King about the secret letters exchanged between Madame and the Comte de Guiche. (Something that led then to an argument between Louis XIV and Louise, because she being a lady to Minette, refused to tell him what is going on. Court life is fun.) In the end, Madame and Monsieur de Soissons were exiled as well.
Philippe, in the meanwhile, might have played no small role in making the affair Madame had with the Comte de Guiche known to Monsieur, before it was even hinted to the King, who was said to have an affair with Madame himself. Minette was also said to make merry with the Chevalier’s brother Louis at some point. (Again, court life is fun.)
It was in fact rumoured the father of Monsieur’s and Madame’s first born, a daughter born in March 1662, can be found sitting on the throne, if it was not agreed on that the father was the Comte de Guiche, since Madame seemed to have been in an affair with both at the same time, starting shortly after her marriage in 1661.
Guiche was exiled by the King in 1662, mainly due to his affair with Madame, and it undoubtedly must have pleased Monsieur as much as the King himself. Guiche being exiled also brought a little reduction of tension between Louis XIV and Monsieur, but it did not last long.
In August 1664, the Chevalier fought at the river Raab and the Battle of Saint Gotthard. As the Turks advanced to attack, a young Turk rode out to challenge a Christian to single combat. This challenge was accepted by Philippe, who killed his adversary. He was praised as particularly valorous in the mounted combat against the overly proud Turk.
The Chevalier’s bravery on the fields of battle inspired the print of poems, which were dedicated to him. The title humbly says they were written by a Monsieur de B. This Monsieur is actually Isaac de Benserade, one of the most famous poets of Louis XIV’s time. It praises the Chevalier’s looks, his bravery and skill, his elegance and charm, and says Monsieur de B wouldn’t mind if the Chevalier showed his poems to Monsieur and the King.
It is said that in 1666 after the death of his mother Anne d’Autriche, Monsieur locked himself for days in his apartment in great grief, allowing no-one but his daughter and Philippe to see him. Also in 1666, Philippe participated in the Second Anglo-Dutch War as volunteer in the Dutch Navy.
In 1667, Philippe succeeded to the position of Colonel of the Regiment Hartcourt and did lead them to battle in Flanders, where he fought vigorously at the Sieges of Bergues, Lille, Douai and Oudenaarde in 1667 and 1668. In the same year, 1668, he was promoted to Marcheal de Camp by Louis XIV. During one of these battles of the War of Devolution, Philippe was wounded at the foot and what followed led to a slight scandal… Monsieur himself insisted to nurse the Chevalier back to health, in his own tent, “forgetting everything around him“, and even lending his own carriage to the Chevalier….. at the end of the war both Philippe’s were inseparable.
Daniel Cosnac, Monsieur’s almoner, writes that during this time Monsieur asked the King to have the Regiment of the Chevalier transferred from Marshal d’Aumont troops to those under Royal Command, so he might continue to enjoy the company of the Chevalier. The King declined in first, but later granted the favour and Monsieur was ecstatic. Cosnac also writes that Monsieur had met the Chevalier in the previous winter for the first time, which is contrary to others stating they have known each other for a while already, but were not too close. Cosnac states further that during this time in Flanders, Monsieur was not too eager to participate himself, or get to close to the fighting, until he was advised to do so. He writes Monsieur preferred to spend his time in company of the Chevalier, but later also visited him in the trenches after the Chevalier’s regiment was ordered there. While others speak of a wound to the foot, Cosnac writes it was a wound to the head caused by a hand grenade, which occurred during a moonlight rendezvous with Monsieur. As others, he also states that Monsieur himself nursed the Chevalier with great care, and thanked everyone heartily that came to inquire after the Chevalier’s health, as well as lending him his own carriage.
Shortly after these events, Cosnac describes a conversation that took place between him and Monsieur, the latter eager to find a position for Lorraine. “He must be given a position in my Household.” Cosnac advised Monsieur against it, which did not keep Monsieur to spent most of his time in company of the yet not fully recovered Chevalier, and to write him every day after his departure to Villers-Cotterêts. There the main topic was once more the Chevalier, and Cosnac once again advised against giving him a position as “only favourite”, not quite aware yet of the nature of the relationship, he said it would be wiser to have not only one favourite, but to honour other gentlemen with friendship as well. “Help him, if you wish, but do not close the door in the face of all those who desire to serve you”.
The same day the Chevalier arrived at the chateau and was received by Monsieur “with transports of unbelievable joy, and from that moment his position was made evident.” Cosnac writes that the Chevalier made himself agreeable with Cosnac, until the point there Monsieur Boisfrac, the treasurer of Monsieur, lured him into the rival camp. From that point on the Chevalier, “infatuated with success“, did not bother to make himself agreeable to Madame as well. After Monsieur seemingly started to tire of Cosnac’s advice, he made himself agreeable with Madame and spend much time with her, perhaps too much, because the duties he once had were swiftly transferred to Lorraine.
“Monsieur enjoyed to dance the minuet with his friend Philippe de Lorraine, after the campaign of Flanders, on his return to St Cloud, they both were found entwined in the halls, gardens and its thickets. Many saw them caressing each other’s faces, shoulder, and knees, in a merry air.”
Since their marriage in 1661, Monsieur had suffered under his wife’s tendency to flirt openly for everyone to see. It caused many scenes of jealousy, some due to her relations with Guiche, others due to Louis XIV’s regular presence in Madame’s salon. Now, with the Chevalier on his side, things would change, but not always to the better, certainly not for Madame. As Monsieur sought affection in the arms of Philippe, they both quickly discovered who they thought is to blame for all the humiliations Monsieur had to suffer, Madame and the King, and so the Palais-Royal developed into a kind of anti-court ruled by both Philippes.
The Chevalier quickly secured his role as friend to Monsieur by making himself indispensable in all matters, surely not a too difficult task, since he was said to be highly intelligent and well educated in many matters. He, for example, was present at the weekly financial meetings considering the household of Monsieur, who “did not know well how to keep his money together“.
Philippe certainly helped him with that, perhaps to secure the biggest share for himself, perhaps to keep Monsieur from throwing his fortune at the many pretty faces that gathered around him daily to seek favours. It is certain, that from some point on, the Chevalier had the say in who gets what, and he used this position to claim some things for himself and others for his friends, such as the Marquis d’Effiat. Who became one of Monsieur’s closer friends as well. D’Effiat himself made not the mistake of trying to gain the favour Philippe owned, as many others did, he instead teamed up with him, which led to a somewhat friendship-tolerance. Philippe would later use his influence regularly to gain favours for the d’Effiat in the household of Monsieur by recommending him before all others.
The common tone of the time states that Monsieur “liked whoever the Chevalier liked, while being rather impolite on occasion to those disliked by the Chevalier“. While the friendship of Philippe’s brother Louis with Louis XIV was seen positive, the friendship of Philippe and Monsieur was seen more and more with a wrinkled nose by some.
Monsieur, being seemingly in a better mood than ever and with Philippe always on his side, showed himself at least in the Palais several times in female disguise.
La Grande Mademoiselle describes a masked ball: “Later, in a masked ball that he gives at the Palais-Royal, one Mardi Gras, he is unable to resist the temptation of showing himself in clothing which, by displaying all his graces, makes him appear one of the prettiest people at the Court. After having opened the ball with Mlle de Brancas, he went to dress himself like a woman and came back masked, on the arm of the Chevalier de Lorraine. He danced the minuet, and went to sit down among all the ladies. He had to be persuaded a bit to take off his mask; he was really quite happy to do it and wanted to be seen. It is not possible to say how far he pushed this coquetry, by wearing patches, by changing their places. Men, when they think themselves beautiful, are twice as taken with their beauty than women. ”
Monsieur quickly gave his Chevalier the best apartments in the Palais-Royal and Saint-Cloud, enriched him with jewels, money and objects of art, and ,as official favourite, allowed him to control most matters of his household. At the same time Philippe and his brother Louis created a powerful brokerage system at court.
According to Dirk van der Cruysse, the Chevalier “…was the worst enemy of the latter’s two wives. As greedy as a vulture, this cadet of the French branch of the House of Lorraine had, by the end of the 1650s, hooked Monsieur like a harpooned whale. The young prince loved him with a passion that worried Madame Henrietta and the court bishop, Cosnac, but it was plain to the King that, thanks to the attractive face and sharp mind of the good-looking cavalier, he would have his way with his brother.”
Philippe secured his appointments for the abbeys of Saint-Père de Chartres, Tiron, Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire et Saint-Jean-des-Vignes de Soissons, but was not seen as a proper man of the church as even Louis XIV stated by saying “he is not fit to hold benefits of the church” most likely referring to his affair with Monsieur.
The Mercure de France noted that the Pope granted Philippe a dispensation, which authorised him to hold of church benefits and property, while at the same time retaining the rights of carrying a sword, the symbol of a secular nobleman at court. His title of abbot in commendam referred to the “temporary curatorships” of his abbeys, customarily awarded to secular individuals, though Knights of the Order of Malta were clerics entitled to benefits “sine cura animarum“, without the care of souls. Most commendatory abbots were purely absentee governors, yet Philippe can be seen as active, at least physically if not spiritually, for he had the abbot residence at Saint-Benoit rebuild on a grand scale and was noted to have spent time at two of these Abbeys. The relative value and prestige attached to the abbeys can be judged by looking at their former holders, all had be held by Cardinals, legitimised princes, favourites, and even a ex-King of Poland. The abbeys itself were not singular institutions, but heads of much larger monastic networks. La Trinite de Tiron, for example was the head of 14 abbeys and 86 priories, with some of its most lucrative properties close to Paris, notably the Hôtel de Tiron in the rue Saint-Antoine, which a jurisdiction over several surrounding streets, and the Parc du Raincy with its large château to the north of Paris, it was leased to Anne de Gonzague, Princesse Palantine. (She was the one who partly arranged Monsieur’s second marriage.)
Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire was one of the largest and richest abbeys in France, with dependent priories stretching from the Ardennes to Gascony. The prestige added by this was great, but an account from 1662 gives a mere 171 livres from the dependent priories, revealing nominal dependence at least. Some of the dependant benefices were the gift of the abbot, and some were appointed by the chapter. Amounts of annual revenues for the four abbey are not fully known, but are given by Boislisle at around 70000 livres. La Trinité de Tiron 10000 livres, Saint-Jean-des-Vignes 25000 livres, Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire 25000 livres, Saint-Pere 10000 livres. Most benefices had various forms of “le temporel” attached; rights of seigneurial jurisdiction over lands, farms, mills and forests, from which the revenue was generated. Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire had jurisdiction over shipping on a segment of the Loire, and Saint-Pere de Chartres had similar rights for the Eure. It is possible that the abbot received some form of income from “le spirituel”, fees for services performed by the cúres within his jurisdiction. Some abbeys also had pre-existing or new pensions attached to them.
Philippe acted as direct patron through his rights to appoint and sell ecclesiastic positions in his jurisdictions. On some occasions, instead of selling them, he gave them to members of his family to supplement their income. For example in 1695, he gave a priory dependent on Tiron, worth 3000 livres a year, to his brother Charles, despite the King’s discomfort to give a benefice to a married man. In 1698 he gave a priory dependent on Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire, worth 6000 livres a year, to his nephew, Prince Camille. Hundreds were involved in the administration of these abbeys, including dependent abbots and lay staff to manage temporal holdings, maintain abbatial residences and administer seigneurial justice at any secular property. All of this offered vast patronage possibilities for Philippe and he undoubtedly had some role in the administration of the temporal benefices of his holding, though there are few direct references to this.
More important than this, were the possibilities to act as a patron at court. As abbè commendataire, the Chevalier was not directly involved in the daily business of his abbeys, but selected those that were, and represented them at court. It was mutually beneficial for a rich abbey to have a rich and influential abbot, who could act on their behalf at court and in matters of justice. Philippe served as the legal representative of all his abbeys in the royal courts and lent his renown as a Prince de Lorraine to his monks against opponents as the University of Paris and the Prince de Condé. In the early 1680’s, Philippe intervened in a case pending at the Counsil du Roi, in which a doctor in theology, with the backing of the University de Paris, claimed to a vacant curate dependant on the abbey of Saint-Jean-des-Vignes. In 1690, as abbot of Tiron, he pursued the Prince de Condé, as guardian of the Duc de Longueville, for arrears of a rente of 30 septiers of wheat due to the abbey from the county of Dunois. Other cases involved struggles over jurisdictional rights, for example over Saint-Pere’s claims over the river Eure.
Although many festivities and merry gathering where held in the Palais, it sometimes seemed to be a battlefield in which the troops of Madame fought those of Monsieur, clearly having the better cards now with Philippe on his side.
“The Palais Royal became the focus of intrigue and scenes of notorious pleasures. L’archimignon, as Lorraine was known (a sobriquet recalling the court of Henri III), and his epigones, male and female, hoping that the favours he enjoyed might extend to them, formed a bloated cabal within the house of Orléans.” – Nancy Barker
Madame feared the spreading influence the Chevalier gained over Monsieur and, being jealous of it, gathered her own troops, afraid some sort of cabal led by the Chevalier might make her eclipsed in her own court. The first casualty of this war was Monsieur Cosnac, bishop of Valence.
Cosnac being one of few Madame could count on, after being evicted from the cluster of people surrounding Monsieur, such as Madame Saint Chaumont, governess of the children, or Madame Fiennes, who the Chevalier later had an affair with, and Madame de Monaco, who was said to have an affair with the Chevalier as well.
Cosnac writes that the affair of the Chevalier and Mademoiselle Fiennes started shortly after the Chevalier had entered Monsieur’s service. He writes the Mademoiselle fell in love with him, and he with her, both displaying their affections openly to a scandal causing degree. Until Mademoiselle was ordered from court and Madame’s service by Monsieur, and both Monsieur and the Chevalier blamed the Mademoiselle for what happened. The Chevalier said she seduced him.
The Chevalier realised Cosnac could be a enemy. He had made the mistake of saving Madame’s reputation, after pamphlets had been published against her. Monsieur was not to happy with Cosnac either, not just did he not approve of his favourite, he also failed to secure the governorship of Languedoc for Monsieur. Philippe only needed little time to finish him off with the help of supposedly secret letters of dubious authenticity. Monsieur was outraged and Cosnac exiled. It is not quite clear whether Monsieur new these letters were fake or not.
Cosnac was swiftly stripped of his position of chaplain to Monsieur and ordered to retire in his diocese in Valence, despite Madame’s protest.
Madame’s protest was rather fierce, considering that Cosnac was in possession of three rather compromising letters written by the Chevalier to Mademoiselle Fiennes, maybe of dubious authenticity as well, which she planned to use against him. A secret meeting was arranged between Cosnac and Madame at Saint-Denis, where she was to attend a religious service, but already before the meeting Cosnac was seized and send away again, this time to the south. Madame de Saint Chaumont was sent from court and dismissed as governess as well, after a letter was found on Monsieur Cosnac that revealed Madame de Saint Chaumont was involved in the arrangement of the secret meeting. The letters apparently written by the Chevalier were not found and Cosnac later said he managed to save and hide them. Apart from those incidents, there were several smaller in which Madame and Monsieur, aided by Philippe, clashed and Monsieur was considered the winner.
All these things, the war of Monsieur and Madame, did of course not stay in the Palais and travelled abroad. Madame regularly wrote her brother Charles II, who was convinced, due to her letters, that Monsieur and the Chevalier humiliated his sister. If one only knows her part of the story, it might seem so, but no party was entirely innocent. For Monsieur it was surely the humiliation he had suffered from his wife, and his former lover, who became her lover. In case of the Chevalier, there might really have been fear to be separated from Monsieur and perhaps a certain need to protect him against Madame.
After all these cabals, it was just a matter of time until Louis XIV would involve himself. Until this time he had refused to take part in the war of Madame against Monsieur and also in the banishment of Cosnac and Madame Saint Chaumont, for he had his own reasons of wanting to get rid of them. Now however he needed Madame for a mission.
Secret Treaty of Dover, was a treaty between England and France signed at Dover on 1 June, 1670. It required France to assist England in Charles II’s aim to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church and England to assist France in its war of conquest against the Dutch Republic. The Third Anglo-Dutch War was a direct consequence of this treaty. Who exactly proposed the alliance between the two Kingdoms is unknown, as is the date when the possibility was first discussed. The two nations had discussed forming a closer relationship since 1663, but no real progress was made in the negotiations until 1669, after Charles allegedly held a meeting with some of his advisers. During this meeting Charles announced that he wished to officially convert to Catholicism and at the same time reunite his lands with the Roman Catholic Church, whether this meeting actually took place is a source of intense speculation.
Ever since the conclusion of the War of Devolution, Louis XIV had made plans of declaring war on the Dutch to unite the Spanish Netherlands with the Kingdom of France, for this he needed to break the triple Alliance of England, Holland and Sweden in order to have his way with the Dutch without the rest of Europe interfering. Charles II, on the other side, was not too fond of the Alliance and more important, he needed the money Louis XIV promised. Madame was included in the talk leading to the treaty as most of its contents were already settled. Charles II wished for his sister to carry the papers to England and Louis allowed it thus. This inclusion of Minette should also include the two Kings into the private war between her and Monsieur… whose victim would be the Chevalier.
Madame’s involvement was once again an affront against Monsieur. He was not just strictly excluded, as always, in political matters, he was also supposed to agree to a voyage his brother planned for Minette without even seeking his, her husband’s, permission in first. Louis and Charles II had already decided that Madame was the one to deliver the final terms to England. As Charles II wrote in his letters to Madame he would not “have this business passe through hands than yours (Minette)” and later stated to Colbert de Croissy in 1669, as the negotiations were in a critical state, “the intermediacy of Madame was absolutely essential.”
Minette was anything but reluctant to accept this role, since the dead of her mother Henriette-Marie, she was the strongest link between France and England and realised she could exploit it to her advantage. Monsieur on the other hand, had new reasons to be in a jealous air, the fact that Louis sought Madame’s company and the other way around, fueled new gossip at court of a resuming affair between his brother and his wife. Like already shortly after their marriage, he was strongly tormented by it. Until a certain point at the end of the negotiations he and the rest of the court had no clue what the nature of the meetings of the King and his sister-in-law were. Everyone presumed they were having an affair again. (By 17th century standards, having a affair with your sister or brother-in-law was pretty much the same as having it with your brother or sister. Their was no such thing as ‘in-law’ and when marrying someone his/her siblings, were seen as one’s own siblings.)
It is not clear how Monsieur came to know what the nature of these meetings was, but the second Madame states in her letters: “Madame de Coetquen was the Chevalier de Lorraine’s mistress, although Madame did not know it; and she contrived that the Marechal de Turenne should become attached to her. Madame having told the Marshal all her secrets respecting the negotiations with England, he repeated them to his mistress, Madame de Coetquen, whom he believed to be devoted to his mistress. This woman went every night to the Chevalier de Lorraine and betrayed them all. The Chevalier used this opportunity to stir up Monsieur’s indignation against Madame, telling him that he passed with the King for a simpleton, who could not hold his tongue; that he would lose all confidence, and that his wife would have everything in her own hand. Monsieur wished to know all the particulars from Madame; but she refused to tell him her brother’s secrets, and this widened the breach between them. She became enraged, and had the Chevalier de Lorraine and his brother driven away…”
Charles II wrote to Minette “I think you have taken a very good resolution, not to live with so (Lorraine), but that when there offers a good occasion, you may ease yourselfe of such a rival, and by the carrecter I have of him there is hope he will find out the occasion himselfe.”
Charles sympathised with his sister greatly in her longing to get rid of the Chevalier, who she undoubtedly had mentioned often in her letters to him and most likely blamed for every slight inconvenience she had experienced since the Chevalier became a close friend to Monsieur. He was, for example, convinced that Madame Saint Chaumont, who had been exiled during the affair involving Cosnac, was the victim of a cabal of the Chevalier and not had brought it upon herself, and also that Monsieur treating Minette badly was all due to the Chevalier as well. Charles’ opinion of Monsieur himself was not too good either due to what his sister wrote him. Charles called Monsieur’s jealousy towards Minette “fantastical humours”…. and so Charles intervened subtly by stating that “he was still disappointed nothing had been done to ease Madame’s situation”.
Louis XIV had his own reasons for wanting the banishment of Philippe. At this point, he was slightly annoyed with his brother for asking favours for the Chevalier and also the amount of control the Chevalier had over his brother. Philippe made this annoyance grow himself after making fun of the King’s habit to become particular pious whenever the Easter festivities came closer, in reference of Louis not seeing his mistresses during this time, or bloating in a state of drunkenness that, if he tried, he could surely get Monsieur to divorce Madame based on the affairs she had. Along with that Monsieur would not visit the bed of his wife, unless the Chevalier allowed him to do so. Monsieur actually said that himself at court as well.
On 29 January in 1670, Monsieur Colbert de Croissy wrote to Charles II that he is sure the English King would be satisfied.
A day later, on 30 January, Philippe and Philippe conversed in Monsieur’s apartment at Saint-German as a loyal valet of Monsieur interrupted them with the news of rumours of a order of arrest. At this point, the royal guards already made their way to Monsieur’s apartment and confusion spread as to who was to be arrested, not few feared it might be Monsieur himself and panic spread under the servants. Louis XIV’s captain of the guard, followed by soldiers, soon arrived and the Chevalier was unceremoniously seized and arrested by the order of the King. In front of Monsieur.
Monsieur bursted out in tears and temper. The Chevalier was swiftly brought to the prison of Pierre-Encise near Lyon, out of reach for Monsieur.
Outraged, Monsieur rushed to Louis XIV in order to know why the Chevalier was arrested, but he was not satisfied by his brother’s reaction and therefore ordered his servants to collect all his furnishings, and his wife, from the Palais-Royal and to have everything brought to the château de Villers-Cotterêts, so far away from Paris that it can be considered to be at “the end of the world”. Madame was ordered to board a carriage with him and, not minding the bad winter weather and even worse winter roads, Monsieur left for Villers-Cotterêts. Minette protested mightily and Monsieur made it known to his brother he “will not return unless the Chevalier is set free”.
Louis, now rather outraged with his brother’s behaviour, ordered the Chevalier to be brought to the Château d’If and the scandal was perfect.
Once in Villers-Cotterêts, Monsieur wrote Monsieur Colbert on 2 February: “Monsieur Colbert, as for some time I have regarded you as among my friends, and as of them you are the only one having the honour of approaching the King since the frightful misfortune that has just befallen me, I believe you not be angry if I ask you to inform the King that I came here in an extremity of grief that required me either to leave his presence or to remain in his court in shame. I beg him to consider what the world would think of me if it saw me merrily enjoying the pleasures of carnival while an innocent prince and the best friend that I have on earth for the love of me languishes in a wretched prison far away. Furthermore, the manner in which he was seized could not have been more insulting to me, since for some time no one knew if in fact it were I that was to be taken, for my rooms were surrounded with guards at doors and windows, and frightened servants would come to me saying they could not say if it was my person that was wanted. And worse, the King went so far as to ask my wife what she intended to do, thus making it clear that he wanted to authorize her not to follow me, as her duty required. Even so, if I believed I might be useful to the service of the King, I should not have left him, but the manner in which he has treated me all his life make me think just the contrary.”
Monsieur made his knowledge about the Treaty of Dover not public. Madame seemed too pleased with herself. The whole of the court speculated about what was behind the arrest of the Chevalier and the departure of Monsieur. This gossip spread through all of Europe. Only few were in the know of the secret negotiations between France and England, and the reasons for the arrest were more than unclear. Several foreign papers made it a topic and the scandalous events spread more every day, to a point where Louis felt obligated to make reassuring explanations to the foreign governments and the French public. Madame in the meanwhile denied any involvement in the matter. Since Monsieur kept what he knew about the treaty to himself, he made sure Madame was seen as the reason for the Chevalier’s arrest by most people.
Mademoiselle, the oldest daughter of Monsieur and Madame, later wrote about meeting Monsieur and Madame in the Palais-Royal shortly before their departure. She was not all taken by the anger Madame feigned about the arrest and “In the depths of her heart she (Madame) was really very pleased… No one doubts that she was behind (Lorraine’s) disgrace.”
Saint Simon states: “The Chevalier de Lorraine, then in the prime of his first youth (having been born in 1643) completely ruled over Monsieur, and made Madame feel that he had this power. She, charming and young, could not suffer this, and complained to the King, so that M. de Lorraine was exiled. When Monsieur heard this, he swooned, then melted into tears, and throwing himself at the feet of the King, implored him to recall M. de Lorraine. But his prayers were useless, and, rushing away in fury, he retired into the country and remained there until, ashamed of a thing so publicly disgraceful, he returned to Paris and lived with Madame as before. “
Saint-Simon is not quite correct in his presumption. Monsieur Colbert took a role as mediator between King and brother. He tried to bring both to an agreement on the terms of Monsieur returning to court.
In the meanwhile, Philippe was transferred from Lyon to the château d’If, a fortress and prison with the worst reputation, located on the island of If about a mile offshore in the bay of Marseille. The isolated location and dangerous offshore currents of the château d’If made it an ideal escape-proof prison. Its use as a dumping ground for political and religious detainees soon made it one of the most feared and notorious jails in France. The cchâteau started life as a fortress. It was built between 1524-31 on the orders of King François I as a defence against attacks from the sea, and was instantly controversial. Marseille had been annexed by France in 1481, but the city retained in theory the right to provide her own defence. The new château was to many people an unwelcome reminder of royal, Parisian authority and, in the long term, although it successfully repelled an attack on the port by Charles V of Spain in 1536, the cannons gradually proved inadequate to reach invading ships.
So, the château became a prison in the mid 16th century. Among its first guests were a couple of fishermen and one Anselme, a knight accused of plotting against the monarchy who died, strangled, in his cell. Subsequent inhabitants over the next 200 years included 3,500 Huguenots, who earned their keep as galley slaves and a Monsieur de Niozelles who was given six years for failing to take his hat off in the presence of Louis XIV. Others were imprisoned without trial under so-called lettres de cachet, signed by the King, for minor misdemeanours. A popular ploy used by moneyed families to get rid of unruly offspring without causing a public scandal.
The inmates received a treatment that was largely based on their wealth and social standing. Wealthy inmates could buy a private cell with windows and even a fireplace. Poor individuals were placed in a dark, underground dungeon with no fresh air and plenty. Philippe seems to have taken the few offered comforts, in exchange for money, and was imprisoned a cell that was in possession of a window and a fireplace, but like the others had walls of raw stone and was surely, considering the time of the year, freezing cold, never minding the fireplace.
Even after a official reason for Philippe’s arrest was given, several different stories circulated at court as to what was the reason. Some stating a intrigue of Madame, others a argument with the King, or a argument between the King and his brother as the latter demanded favours for the Chevalier. Others thought it was due a argument Philippe had with Monsieur Colbert about the worth of a Abbey. The official reason given was Philippe being guilty of revealing secrets of State, most likely Minette’s involvement in the Treaty of Dover to Monsieur, lèse-majesté, an offence against the dignity of Louis XIV, along with the participation in homosexual acts. Monsieur himself is not mentioned in the list of names that came with the latter, but the Comte de Guiche is.
Monsieur returned to court on the 24th February along with Madame. It was announced in the Gazette de France as well as in papers abroad, to calm the speculations. Officially, Monsieur had returned without having made any conditions, but upon his return to court, the Chevalier was released from d’If and ordered to go to Rome, or Italy, for a uncertain period of time. Monsieur was allowed to contact the Chevalier again. It was later rumoured that Charles II, nervous about his sister’s absence at court and perhaps unavailability for the last parts of the Treaty, now hinted to Louis XIV that the Chevalier should be perhaps released in order to achieve Madame’s return to court.
La Grande Mademoiselle wrote about the situation between Madame and Monsieur “The absence of the Chevalier de Lorraine was a new source of discord between Madame and Monsieur. Every day they had another row.” She noted being shocked by Monsieur’s moods and felt obliged to remind him of the two children he had with Madame more than once. Monsieur was indeed still rather upset about the arrest, even after returning to court.
Philippe arrived in Rome in the spring of 1670 together with his younger brother Charles, Comte de Marsan, after spending several weeks in Genoa first. Apparently, Louis XIV had actually in mind to send Philippe to fulfil his obligations to the Order of Malta and fight the Barbary pirates, instead of sending him into exile in Rome, but Philippe’s brother Louis and Monsieur Villeroy, the brother of Louis’ wife, interfered and the King agreed to exile.
In Rome, both brothers regularly frequented the house of the Princesse de Colonna, Marie Mancini, who was in company of her brother Philippe-Jules and her sister Hortense. The Chevalier and Philippe-Jules Mancini previously had helped Hortense to escape France and a brutal husband in 1668. Marie Mancini wrote that Philippe and Charles were in company of a Monsieur de Gersé and a Monsieur Morelli (Morel) “That celebrated city pleased the Chevalier immensely, however, what compelled him even more to remain there during the space of two years that his exile lasted was the throng of elegant society who frequented our house, which teemed with delights as if it were the very center of pleasure.” and “At the beginning of his visits the Chevalier undertook to make a good impression on Madame Mazarin (Hortense) but when his efforts did not meet with the success he had hoped, he lost patience and abandoned his pursuit.” “Every day, the Chevalier came to see me, and when the weather was favourable we went out together, choosing especially the banks of the Tiber, near the Porta del Popolo. I had even caused a bath house to be built there, so that I might plunge in the river. … It was not through love, as pretend my enemies, but out of mere gallantry that the Chevalier, seeing me in the water up to my throat, begged to have my portrait painted in that state, as he had never seen so shapely a form nor so beautiful a face ; he vowed that Zenocrates would have fallen in love with my perfections.“
Rumours quickly spread that Philippe was having a affair with Marie, which fueled the jealously of her husband. She wrote “My servants can testify that I never left the cabin to step into the water without having donned a chemise of gauze which fell to my feet.” and “…..The Chevalier de Lorraine presented me on behalf of Monsieur with a hunting equipage, worth a thousand pistoles, trimmed with loads of the richest and most beautiful ribbons of Paris, which His Royal Highness had sent for him to give me, purely out of recognition for a few little trifles I had sent him such as gloves and some other perfumed articles which are not even worth mentioning. This present that the Chevalier had procured for me is far from the sums of money that malicious gossips had falsely rumoured I had lent him, since it is certain that he never needed any and that, on the contrary, he expressed displeasure every time that he learned I had sought money elsewhere than from him in order to pay what I owed from gambling.“
While Marie Mancini states writes she received a hunting equipage from Monsieur, it was whispered that Marie, in Monsieur’s name, had given Philippe “a hunting suit worth a thousand pistoles, covered with a quantity of ribbons, the most beautiful and expensive that could be found in Paris.” and that she “could not resist the temptation of showing herself in her native town in company with so gorgeous a cavalier; the Chevalier de Lorraine was always at her side.”
During Philippe’s time in Rome and him spending time with Marie, a near drowning of the latter is said to have happened. This occurrence, for whichever reason, was something most kept quiet about and seems a little mysterious. Marie herself seemed to have altered details of the story later on, probably in a attempt to save her reputation. During one of her afternoons at the Tiber, in company of the Chevalier, as she was enjoying a bath in the river, Marie seems to have to been close to drown and was rescued by Philippe, who dragged her half nude to the shore. Marie herself writes it was her brother Philippe-Jules who rescued her from the waters, but Hortense says this took place as Hortense and her Philippe-Jules were on the way to Paris in the summer of 1670 and not as Marie claims in 1671.
Madame de Sévigné hints is was indeed Philippe in a letter to her daughter in February 1672. She writes about the Marquis de Villeroy being sent from court, supposedly after something he said about the matter in the Hôtel de Soissons and in company of Olympe Mancini, and quotes a line from Cinna; “People speak of water, of the Tiber, and they say nothing more.” She also recounts an exchange between Louis XIV and Monsieur, in which Monsieur relates the people of Paris say the poor Marquis only wanted to speak up for another poor wretch, as he was asked who that wretch was Monsieur replied “The Chevalier de Lorraine.”
Philippe was also involved in a cabal with the Cardinal Chigi, an admirer of Marie Mancini, during his time in Rome. The Cardinal had black-balled Philippe shortly after his arrival. Hortense mentions Marie having quarrelled with all Rome for the sake of Philippe and his brother Charles and taking their side in some “rather delicate situations” involving Cardinal Chigi and her own husband. Also that at some point the brothers were not welcome anymore in any house in Rome, apart from hers.
Philippe left Rome as the preparations concerning Marie’s return to Paris and escape from her husband come to an end. Firstly rather enthusiastic about it and willed to travel to France with Marie, Hortense and Philippe-Jules, he then decided to stay in Italy and travelled to Neapel to avoid rumours of him being involved in the preparations and perhaps a new punishment by Louis XIV. The Chevalier however informed Louis XIV of rumours Marie’s husband was planning to have her poisoned, after she confessed it to the Chevalier, and which led to Marie being able to acquire a passport with the blessing of Louis XIV.
In France, the last preparations for the Secret Treaty of Dover were under way and Madame was allowed to travel to England, officially to visit her brother, after Louis came to an agreement with Monsieur.
Monsieur, still rather outraged, was now officially in the know of the negotiations, after being told in private by Louis XIV what Philippe had told him in secret shortly before his arrest. He made several conditions concerning the departure of Madame, which once again led to a disagreement with his brother. He insisted to accompany his wife to England, which was of course denied to him by Louis and another slap into his face, for he was not just strictly excluded from the negotiations, but it was not wished be would accompany her. Charles II wanted it this way.
It was agreed, that while on the way to Flanders, in company of Louis XIV and Marie-Theresé, Monsieur, Madame de Montespan and la Grande Mademoiselle, Minette would suddenly be struck by a mood of homesickness and longing to see her family in England. Monsieur would then graciously allow her a visit to England. It is mentioned by Mademoiselle that the atmosphere during this voyage was more than tense, mainly due to Monsieur being forced to participate and his continuing foul mood. Madame left for Dunkirk to cross the English Channel on the 24th May.
She arrived two days later and was greeted by her brother, who hosted lavish festivities in her honour. Once all affairs had been settled and the Treaty signed, she returned to Saint-Germain on 18 June, where she was greeted by Louis XIV with embraces. Monsieur had refused to greet his wife, as etiquette requested, by escorting her to the château and urged Louis to do the same. He agreed to advance only a short distance towards Madame’s carriage. It was one of very few occasions in which Monsieur ever broke etiquette and seeing Louis embrace his sister-in-law was surely another slap. On the next day Louis XIV left Saint-Germain for Versailles and Monsieur left for Saint-Cloud. Madame would much rather have gone to Versailles to bask in her glory.
After a short stop in Paris, they arrived in Saint-Cloud on the 24th June, where Minette immediately began to complain of pains in her stomach and side, as she had often done in the past.
In 1667, Minette began complaining of an intermittent, intense pain in her side. Beginning in April 1670, according to reports, Henrietta also started to have digestive problems so severe that she could consume only milk.
During the next days her condition became worse, to an extent that even Monsieur expressed worry about it. Madame’s face, after a afternoon nap, had swollen and changed almost beyond recognition. On the 29th June, as it was her custom, Madame drank a glass of cold chicory water brought to her by one of her ladies. Immediately after drinking the water she felt a pain in her side and cried out, “Ah! What a pain! What shall I do! I must be poisoned!”
She was quickly helped into bed and undressed by her ladies, as Monsieur came to her to take his leave, planning to spend the night in Paris. Madame claimed that the bottle must have been exchanged for a other containing poison and all eyes went to Monsieur, who watched the scene in shock and according to the people present showed no sign of guilt, but asked both for an antidote and for someone to examine the chicory water. Madame was given common contemporary treatments for colic, as well as anti-poisons. Monsieur also ordered the rest of the chicory water to be given to a dog, which afterwards showed no signs of poisoning. The royal family arrived at Saint-Cloud, having heard the news within hours. Bishop Bossuet was called and later administered the Extreme Unction. At 3 o’clock in the morning of June 30, 1670, Madame died.
Madame’s own claim to having been poisoned and the swiftness of her passing made rumours spread just as swiftly as to who had poisoned her. Some claimed the water itself was poisoned, others the cup of Madame was poisoned, but all agreeing on the involvement of the Chevalier de Lorraine, who still enjoyed the Italian sun. The involvement of Monsieur himself was deemed unlikely, he seemed too shocked by all of it.
The most precise accounts and the most widespread ones on what apparently happened are by Saint-Simon and the second Madame. The first having not been born yet at the time it happened, the second not having been in France at this point and stating her knowledge of the affair only after the dead of Monsieur and the Chevalier.
Saint-Simon writes: “Although M. de Lorraine was banished, two of his intimate friends, d’Effiat and the Comte de Beuvron, remained in the household of Monsieur. The absence of M. de Lorraine nipped all their hopes of success, and made them fear that some other favourite might arrive from whom they could hope for nothing. They saw no chance that M. de Lorraine’s exile would speedily terminate; for Madame was in greater favour with the King than ever, and had just been sent by him into England on a mysterious errand in which she had perfectly succeeded. She returned triumphant and very well in health. This gave the last blow to the hopes of d’Effiat and Beuvron, as to the return of M. de Lorraine, who had gone to Italy to try to get rid of his vexation. I know not which of the three thought of it first, but the Chevalier de Lorraine sent a sure and rapid poison to his two friends by a messenger who did not probably know what he carried. At Saint Cloud, Madame was in the habit of taking a glass of endive-water, at about seven o’clock in the evening. A servant of hers used to make it, and then put it away in a cup- board where there was some ordinary water for the use of Madame if she found the other too bitter. The cupboard was in an antechamber which served as the public passage by which the apartments of Madame were reached. D’Effiat took notice of all these things, and on the 29th of June, 1670, he went to the ante-chamber; saw that he was unobserved and that nobody was near, and threw the poison into the endive- water; then hearing some one approaching, he seized the jug of common water and feigned to be putting it back in its place just as the servant, before alluded to, entered and asked him sharply what he was doing in that cupboard. D’Effiat, without losing countenance, asked his pardon, and said, that being thirsty, and knowing there was some water in the cup- board, he could not resist drinking. The servant grumbled; and d’Effiat, trying to appease him, entered the apartments of Madame, like the other courtiers, and began talking with-out the slightest emotion. What followed an hour afterwards does not belong to my subject, and has made only too much stir throughout all Europe. Madame died on the morrow, June 30, at three o’clock in the morning; and the King was profoundly prostrated with grief. Apparently during the day, some indications showed him that Purnon, chief steward of Madame, was in the secret of her decease. Purnon was brought before him privately, and was threatened with instant death, unless he disclosed all; full pardon being on the contrary promised him if he did. Purnon, thus pressed, admitted that Madame had been poisoned, and under the circumstance I have just related. “And my brother,” said the King, “did he know of this?”—”No, Sire, not one of us was stupid enough to tell him; he has no secrecy, he would have betrayed us.” On hearing this answer the King uttered a great “ah!” like a man oppressed, who suddenly breathes again. Purnon was immediately set at liberty; and years afterwards related this narrative to M. Joly de Fleury, procureur-general of the Parliament, by which magistrate it was related to me. From this same magistrate I learned that, a few days before the second marriage of Monsieur, the King took Madame aside and told her that circumstance, assuring her that he was too honest a man to wish her to marry his brother, if that brother could be capable of such a crime. Madame profited by what she heard. Purnon remained in her service; but after a time she pretended to find faults in him, and made him resign; he sold his post accordingly, towards the end of 1674, to Maurel de Vaulonne, and quitted her service.”
Guy Breton notes: “The Chevalier de Lorraine, while in Rome, became the lover of Marie Mancini, and still had such a grip on Monsieur, and hating Madame, obtained the poison in Italy. He sent it to France, but in a discreet manner; he had an send and unknown person to the court: one Antoine Morel. This Antoine Morel, back in Paris, organized a meeting with the Marquis d’Effiat, gave him poison and disappeared. Leaving d’Effiat to act. “
The second Madame wrote after the dead of Monsieur: “It is too true that the late Madame was poisoned, but without the knowledge of Monsieur. While the villains were arranging the plan of poisoning the poor lady, they deliberated whether they should acquaint Monsieur with it or not. The Chevalier de Lorraine said “No, don’t tell him, for he cannot hold his tongue. If he does not tell it the first year he may have us hanged ten years afterwards; ” “it is well known that the wretches said, “Let us not tell Monsieur, for he would tell the King, who would certainly hang us all.” They therefore made Monsieur believe that Madame had taken poison in Holland, which did not act until she arrived here. ” ” It was not Madame’s endive-water that d’Effial had poisoned; that report must have been a mere invention, for other persons might have tasted it had Madame alone drank from her own glass. A valet de chambre who was with Madame, and who afterwards was in my service (he is dead now), told me that in the morning, while Monsieur and Madame were at Mass, d’Effiat went to the sideboard and, taking Madame’s cup, rubbed the inside of it with a paper. The valet said to him, “Monsieur, what do you do in this room, and why do you touch Madame’s cup?” He answered, “I am dying with thirst; I wanted something to drink, and the cup being dirty, I was wiping it with some paper.” In the afternoon Madame asked for some endive-water; but no sooner had she swallowed it than she exclaimed she was poisoned. The persons present drank some of the same water, but not the same that was in the cup, for which reason they were not inconvenienced by it. It was found necessary to carry Madame to bed. She grew worse, and at two o’clock in the morning she died in great pain. When the cup was sought for it had disappeared, and was not found until long after. It seems it had been necessary to pass it through the fire before it could be cleaned.”
Not many believed Madame died of natural causes, and so the rumours of her being poisoned spread even after a autopsy ordered by Louis XIV was performed.
It took place under the eyes of the English ambassador, a English surgeon, and the best physicians that could be found in France and came to the conclusion that Madame had died due to a colic with the organs showing signs of gangrene. One of Madame’s physicians expressed surprise that she had lived so long, considering in all the complaints she had over the past years, the pains in her sides, hyperactivity, digestion problems, frequent insomnia as well as signs of undernourishment and her general frail condition.
Rumours of poison always spread swiftly whenever someone died quickly, and without anything hinting a serious illness. The most likely culprit was indeed the Chevalier, for he had several reasons to loathe Madame and homosexuality was associated with a weak mind and the ability to perform any crime, since the crime of men-love had been already committed.
Whether Louis XIV himself believed his sister-in-law was poisoned or not, is not entirely clear. The second Madame states in one of her letters that the King himself confirmed to her the first Madame was indeed poisoned, but his brother had nothing to with it and knows nothing of it. The Marquis d’Effiat remained at court and had a position in Monsieur’s household, as were all the others mentioned in the rumours like the Comte de Beuvron. The Chevalier de Lorraine was about to return to court.
“But do you still think of this Chevalier de Lorraine? Do you still care for him? Would you like to see him returned to you?” “Truly, Monsieur,” replied Monsieur, “that would be the greatest joy that I could know my whole life.” “Very well,” said the King, “I wish to make you a present; in fact the courier left two days ago. [The Chevalier] will return; I give him back to you and want you to remember all your life that I have done this for you, and that you love him for the love of me. And I shall do more, for I shall make him camp marshal in my army.” On these words Monsieur threw himself at the King’s feet, embraced him about his knees and kissed his hand with unsurpassed joy. “Brother, that is not how brothers should embrace,” said the King, raising him up and kissing him in fraternal fashion.” Madame de Sévigné in a letter to Madame de Grignan, Paris, 12 February, 1672
As this scene took place in February 1672, Philippe’s return to court had been settled for weeks, in fact he was just waiting for the official permission, although, according to la Grande Mademoiselle, the King seemed to have intended to never let the Chevalier return. She writes he told her himself in 1670 he had no intention in allowing the Chevalier to return to France or to ever let him be close again to Monsieur. This official allowance to return put a ‘not guilty’ stamp on the brow of the Chevalier in the eyes of the court. No matter what Louis XIV believed had happened, there was at least not enough proof to blame it on the Chevalier. By allowing his return, for selfish reasons, the King therefore washed him somewhat clean from the accusations. It was generally believed that if he had been indeed guilty or the King would think so, he would not have been allowed to return.
Monsieur married Élisabeth-Charlotte du Palatinat on 16 November in 1671, and although, or perhaps because, Monsieur seemed quite happy with himself again and his marriage to the German Princess seemed to be not less happy, Louis XIV had already decided to allow the Chevalier to return to France. Letters were exchanged between both parties, asking the Chevalier what he would do in order for the allowance to return, what he could do for his King. Louis XIV was planning to go to war with the Dutch and needed every officer he could get, and the Chevalier was said to be rather skilled in that matter and had proved it several times. He also felt his grip on his brother slip, and new favourites taking control, in turn he needed someone to keep a eye on his brother, and perhaps influence him whenever it was needed.
Philippe was allowed to return to France under the condition that he would influence Monsieur whenever Louis XIV seemed necessary to achieve whatever the latter found necessary…. which seems to have pleased the King greatly, since Philippe accompanied the King during his war in the Netherlands and fought at Orfoy and Zutphen in 1672, Maastricht in 1673, and in Besancon and Dole in 1674.
Philippe returned to France and Monsieur in 1672, but should not receive the greeting he perhaps had hoped for. His place was taken by a other, the Chevalier de Chatillon, described as being well build and beautiful, popular with both genders, “a great whore” and a master of intrigue. Louis XIV was not too fond of this young gentleman and realised that Lorraine was the smaller of two evils, one reason why he was allowed to return.
With the return of Philippe, the great intrigues also returned to the Palais and Saint-Cloud. Philippe was still in possession of his apartments in both the Palais and Saint-Cloud and, in the meanwhile, came into possession of a chateau in Fremont, an apartment in Versailles, located in the Aile des Princes, rez de chaussee, among the family suites of Condé and Conti, and very close to the King’s primary ministers. Philippe lived immediately next door to the apartment of Colbert/Louvois/Chamillart. He received a pension of 10000 livres each year and apart from this pension, Philippe also received a great share of the wine taxes, which he shared with Mademoiselle de Grancey. He also had a lavish income due to his Abbeys and other possessions.
Saint Simon writes “The Chevaliers de Lorraine and Chatillon had both made a large fortune by their good looks, with which he was more smitten than with those of any other of his favourites. Chatillon, who had neither head, nor sense, nor wit, got on in this way, and acquired fortune. The other behaved like a Guisard, who blushes at nothing provided he succeeds; and governed Monsieur with a high hand all his life, was overwhelmed with money and benefices, did what he liked for his family, lived always publicly as the master with Monsieur; and as he had, with the pride of the Guises, their art and cleverness, he contrived to get between the King and Monsieur, to be dealt with gingerly, if not feared by both, and was almost as important a man with the one as with the other. He had the finest apartments in the Palais Royal and Saint Cloud, and a pension of ten thousand crowns.”
Philippe, while Monsieur was otherwise occupied and perhaps to annoy him, amused himself with the ladies of court and in particular those of the Palais-Royal, much to the displeasure of Monsieur. Memorists mention a least two sons fathered by Philippe and born between 1668 and 1674, one by Mademoiselle de Fiennes and one by Mademoiselle de Grancey.
Madame de Sevigne describes how they were raised by the Comtesse de Armagnac as their own, in a letter written in 1672, and at least one of them, Alexis or Alexandre was legitimised. Thus allowing him to inherit property, the small Seigneurie de Beauvernois in Burgundy from which he took his name, Chevalier de Baeuvernois. His mother being claimed to be a certain Mademoiselle Claude de Souches, while Madame Sevigne notes the mother was Mademoiselle de Fiennes.
Alexandre defected from the french army in 1690 and began a life at the court of Hanover, where he married into two of the most prominent Hanoverian courtly and minister families, closely connected the second Madame’s favourites von Harling.
Madame de Sevigne also describes a break up scene between Philippe and a Mademoiselle F, probably being said Mademoiselle de Fiennes. “The Chevalier de Lorraine called the other day upon the F–, she playing La Desesperee. The Chevalier, with that beautiful full air which you recollect, endeavored to do away at once with her embarrassment. “What is the matter, Mademoiselle?, he said; Why are you out of spirits? What is there extraordinary in the accident that has happened to us? We loved one another… we love one another no longer. Constancy is not the virtue of our age. We much better forget the past, and assume the ordinary manners of the world…..what a pretty little dog you have got!”…. and “Thus ended the belle passion.”
Philippe was quite outraged about the fact he had been replaced by Châtillon, who was the captain of Monsieur’s guard. One evening in 1675, in company of around 20 friends and armed with sticks, while roaming the grounds of the Palais-Royal, he and his companions spied Monsieur de Vangeville. He was the one who had introduced Châtillon to Monsieur some years ago. Monsieur de Vangeville was company of Monsieur de Rochplate, a lieutenant of Monsieur’s guard. As the two parties met, Philippe “insulted Vangeville in his usual insolent manner” and “accused him of having a affair with Châtillon, who he said was Vangeville’s catamite (a boy kept for homosexual practices), and threatened to have him beaten with sticks“. Vangeville went straight to Monsieur to complain and both Philippe and Châtillon were ordered to Monsieur’s apartments, while the Palais-Royal was already buzzing. Philippe was reprimanded and Châtillon scolded. Both went their ways at least for a while.
Madame de Sévigné reports another incident that took place in 1675, a little later than the previous. She writes that ”upon noticing the Chevalier could not get rid of Châtillon as quickly as he wanted, he went to Versailles and spoke with Monsieur in presence of the King”, saying that he “begs for his dismissal, with the King as witness for his loyalty towards Monsieur, for he can no longer be quiet and watch how Monsieur prefers Châtillon, a secretary, nor can bare to be any longer in the disgrace it causes and wishes to withdraw to wherever his destiny leads him“.
She writes the King refused to interfere and after a few words left “probably innerly laughing” both Monsieur and the Chevalier.
Philippe indeed withdrew from court to his Abbey Saint-Jean-des-Vignes, and following Philippe’s retreat, d’Effiat and Morel de Volonne also threatened to leave Monsieur, whereupon the situation became rather delicate. Monsieur now rather upset after days of arguments with everyone involved, sent letters with tender words to Philippe and d’Effiat in which he promised to find a solution for the situation, along with a few bags of coins. After a few more days of “sulking” Philippe finally agreed to come back and join Monsieur’s service again. He also returned into his arms as undoubted favourite.
Primo Visconti writes, as the Chevalier started to become older, perhaps too old to fully satisfy Monsieur, he made himself “indispensable without bringing himself in danger” by other matters. Philippe started to provide a steady flow of young boys willed to engage with Monsieur, without being himself replaced as favourite by one of them, who he had fully under his control. Visconti writes he was known as “benefactor of young handsome boys“. One of them, a valet named Bolgar from Lyon, who appeared to have been eager to satisfy and more loyal than others towards his benefactor, was presented with a diamond adorned sword by Monsieur for his services. At some point Philippe transferred the acquiring of boys to Monsieur Morel, who was regularly seen sneaking about the entrance of the Opera and in conversation with young men. Madame Liselotte describes him as “having the mind of the devil and being without believe and morals”.
In 1680, Primi Visconti describes a incident that took place at a Parisian brothel in the Rue aux Ours, in which according to rumours the Chevalier was at least present if not directly involved, although Visconti does not mention him himself. He writes of a occurrence in the brothel involving the Duc de La Ferté and the Marquis de Biran, the Chevalier Colbert and Monsieur d’Argenson, as well as “others”. Depending on the version of the story some mention the Chevalier de Lorraine to have been part of the group as well. The gathering, being well in their cups, is said to have sent for a waffle seller in order to amuse themselves with him, but the brave boy refused all advances and was struck down by a sword. Bussy-Rabutin writes about the matter as well and describes it almost the same, both however left out that the boy was left to die on the street after the gentlemen cut his genitals off and ran away.
A pamphlet, said to be written by Bussy-Rabutin, notes a occurrence in roughly 1680/1682 in which the Chevalier seems to have been partly involved. It describes the founding of a society of men in form of a “homosexual brotherhood“. Its members are said to been Monsieur himself, the Chevalier de Lorraine and his brother Monsieur de Marsan, the Comte de Guiche and his brother Monsieur de Gramont, the Prince de Conti, as well as Messieurs Tilladet, Manicamp, Biran, and Tallard. This brotherhood was led by four Grand Masters and had a set of “outrageous” rules such as “wearing a cross between west and shirt, which displays a man kicking a woman with his feet into the dust, just like the cross on which Saint-Michel kicks the demon“.
This order apparently had plenty of novices eager to take part, one of them being Louis de Bourbon, Comte de Vermandois, the son of Louis XIV and Mademoiselle de La Vallière. He seems to have joined the order at the age of fourteen and to have been deflowered by the Chevalier himself. After his mother entered a convent in 1674, Louis de Bourbon was given into the care of Monsieur and the second Madame, to live with them at the Palais-Royal. He became very close to his aunt despite her well-known dislike of Louis XIV’s bastards.
As the Comte de Vermandois, was introduced into the circle in he apparently had to sign a statement in which he swore obedience to the rules of the brotherhood, but not with ink. It is said that, as Vermandois wanted to sign the document, the Chevalier kept him from it by saying “it can not be signed with ink“. Vermandois asked if he should sign it with his blood, upon which the Chevalier said it must be signed with Vermandois’ semen. The tale continues with Vermandois swooning in pleasure as said liquid is acquired by “being taken” by the Chevalier. Vermandois did keep the matter not too much of a secret, which led to a gain of new members from the nobles families. Gatherings were held in Parisian brothels, that quickly turned into orgies, in which “the female participants where treated in the worst kind“. It took not long until Louis XIV was also informed about the matter and the fun was over. Louis was outraged about the happenings and nobody dared to speak up for those involved. Vermandois confessed everything to his father, including the names of the members and all their debaucheries. Louis XIV exiled his son to the Normandy, but due to the intervening of Madame, he was sent to Flanders as soldier instead.
The Prince de La Roche-sur-Yon was exiled only a few days later, as well as “Chevaliers” of the best and noblest families. Philippe was not sent into a proper exile and disgrace, but Sourches says that “The King asked the Chevalier to not appear at court too regularly” in the same year. Vermandois died only a year later as sixteen year old alcoholic in Flanders.
Madame de Ségviné relates another happening that took place in 1682, and either during the brotherhood times or shortly after them, in a letter to her son-in-law. She describes how the Chevalier was challenged to a duel by the Prince de Conti and what followed after: “You are going to hear a beautiful and an admirable story; pay great attention to every circumstance attending it. The Prince de Conti having expressed himself dissatisfied with the Chevalier de Lorraine, because he had said the Prince de la Roche-sur-Yon was in love with his wife, found an opportunity of telling him, two days ago, in the gardens of Versailles, that he would do him the honour of fighting him, because he had offended him by his conversation, etc. The Chevalier de Lorraine thanked him for the honour he intended him, and wished to justify himself in what he had said; after which the Prince told him that he might have Monsieur de Marsan (the Chevalier’s brother) for his second, who, hearing himself named, stepped forward and accepted the office without hesitation, desiring the Prince de Conti to allow Monsieur de Soissons to be the other second, as he had long been and enemy to their family. The proposal was yielded to, the party was formed, the place appointed, the hour chosen, and secrecy enjoined. Can you not fancy yourself in the times of the late Monsieur Boutteville? Each went his way; but the Chevalier de Lorraine went straight to Monsieur, to whom he related the whole story, and Monsieur the next moment confided it to the King. You may guess what he said to his son-in-law. He talked to him for more than two hours with more of gayety than anger, but in a tone of authority, which must have caused great repentance. Here the affair ended. The public thinks the Chevalier de Lorraine ought to have refused upon the spot, instead of consenting and betraying every thing; but people of the trade think that a refusal would have excited some angry words from the Prince, and perhaps some menace not very easy of digestion, and then to have such a stigma cast upon him, and from a man who is so much to be dreaded! In this way his conduct has been approved, and the more so because his courage is unquestionable.”
Meanwhile at court in 1682, Lorraine and d’Effiat teamed up again to reduce the influence the second Madame had over Monsieur with was she describes as “vile cabals” and which led to some of the members of her household being replaced with people who were “more trustworthy” in the eyes of the Chevalier. One of these replacements was Mademoiselle de Loubes, who was instructed to write down even the smallest of matters and present it to Philippe. She was not born to be a spy however and it did not take long until she confessed everything to Madame, which in turn confronted Monsieur with it, but Philippe denied any involvement in the matter and declared himself innocent. Philippe and d’Effiat gained assistance from Madame Grancey and Mademoiselle de Gordon-Huntley and the four of them continued to spread rumours of Madame’s infidelity and affections towards several gentlemen. Louis XIV thought his sister-in-law innocent, but Monsieur became alarmed.
Philippe and d’Effiat controlled most of her household along with Madame de Grancey from the start on, much to the displeasure of Madame. She was however allowed to keep her German companions close, with which she conversed in her mother language. This led to suspicions “something might be planned” in the eyes of Philippe and d’Effiat, both not understanding a word German. So much that Philippe was seen to leave the apartment of Madame in a hurry several times, convinced that Madame’s companions wanted to slaughter him. There were indeed rumours stating one of Liselotte’s half-brothers was rather eager for a duel with the Chevalier and the rest of the Germans being eager to be his secondary.
Madame wrote “I have always had my own household, although during Monsieur’s life I was not the mistress of it, because all his favourites derived a share of profit from it. Thus no one could buy any employment in my establishment without a bribe to Grancey, to the Chevalier de Lorraine, to Cocard, or to M. Spied. I troubled myself little about these persons; so long as they continued to behave with proper respect towards me, I let them alone; but when they presumed to ridicule me, or to give me any trouble, I set them to rights without hesitation and as they deserved. Finding that Madame la Marechale de Clerambault was attached to me, they removed her, and they placed my daughter under the care of Madame la Marechale de Grancey, the creature of my bitterest enemy, the Chevalier de Lorraine, whose mistress was the elder sister of this very Grancei. It may be imagined how fit an example such a woman was for my daughter; but all my prayers, all my remonstrances, were in vain.” “He (Monsieur) did not distinguish people sufficiently, and behaved very well only to those who were attached to the Chevalier de Lorraine and his favourites.”
Madame became more and more bothered about the tricks played against her and started to stay in her rooms even more than she had done previously. She still engaged in one of her favourite pastimes, the hunt, and enjoyed it greatly. Bothered by the presence of the Chevalier at said hunts, she complained to Louis XIV, who in turn asked the Chevalier not to participate in the hunts, because Madame felt herself offended by his presence.
As word reached Monsieur, he went outraged to the current maîtresse en titre, Madame de Maintenon. He complained of his bother not granting him the affection that is due to him, since he treats those dear to him badly, which is obviously the fault of Madame. Madame wrote to her sister a little later that since then “she finds the King entirely different in his acting with her and finds him avoiding conversation with her, or only giving short replies” for which she blames Madame de Maintenon saying “the devil can not be worse than her“.
In the summer of 1683 a rapprochement by Louis XIV towards the Chevalier was noted, but it was not entirely sure what the reason for it was for a long time. Madame did expect nothing good and she was partly right. The King had approached the Chevalier in order to gain his brother’s agreement to a marriage. He wanted to marry his legitimised daughter to Monsieur’s only still living son, Philippe II d’Orléans, known as the Duc de Chartres back then. Louis was aware that gaining the agreement would not be easy, unless he would have the assistance of the Chevalier in the matter…which caused new trouble in the Palais-Royal.
Saint Simon writes “The King was very anxious to establish his illegitimate children, whom he advanced day by day; and had married two of them, daughters, to Princes of the blood. One of these, the Princesse de Conti, only daughter of the King and Madame de la Valliere, was a widow without children; the other, eldest daughter of the King and Madame de Montespan, had married Monsieur le Duc (Louis de Bourbon, eldest son of the Prince de Conde). For some time past Madame de Maintenon, even more than the King, had thought of nothing else than how to raise the remaining illegitimate children, and wished to marry Mademoiselle de Blois (second daughter of the King and of Madame de Montespan) to Monsieur the Duc de Chartres. The Duc de Chartres was the sole nephew of the King, and was much above the Princes of the blood by his rank of Grandson of France, and by the Court that Monsieur his father kept up. The marriages of the two Princes of the blood, of which I have just spoken, had scandalized all the world. The King was not ignorant of this; and he could thus judge of the effect of a marriage even more startling; such as was this proposed one. But for four years he had turned it over in his mind and had even taken the first steps to bring it about. It was the more difficult because the father of the Duc de Chartres was infinitely proud of his rank, and the mother belonged to a nation which abhorred illegitimacy and, misalliances, and was indeed of a character to forbid all hope of her ever relishing this marriage. In order to vanquish all these obstacles, the King applied to M. le Grand (Louis de Lorraine). This person was brother of the Chevalier de Lorraine, the favourite, by disgraceful means, of Monsieur, father of the Duc de Chartres. The two brothers, unscrupulous and corrupt, entered willingly into the scheme, but demanded as a reward, paid in advance, to be made “Chevaliers of the Order.” This was done, although somewhat against the inclination of the King, and success was promised. The young Duc de Chartres had at that time for teacher Dubois (afterwards the famous Cardinal Dubois), whose history was singular. He had formerly been a valet; but displaying unusual aptitude for learning, had been instructed by his master in literature and history, and in due time passed into the service of Saint Laurent, who was the Duc de Chartres’ first instructor. He became so useful and showed so much skill, that Saint Laurent made him become an abbe. Thus raised in position, he passed much time with the Duc de Chartres, assisting him to prepare his lessons, to write his exercises, and to look out words in the dictionary. I have seen him thus engaged over and over again, when I used to go and play with the Duc de Chartres. As Saint Laurent grew infirm, Dubois little by little supplied his place; supplied it well too, and yet pleased the young Duke. When Saint Laurent died Dubois aspired to succeed him. He had paid his court to the Chevalier de Lorraine, by whose influence he was much aided in obtaining his wish. When at last appointed successor to Saint Laurent, I never saw a man so glad, nor with more reason. The extreme obligation he was under to the Chevalier de Lorraine, and still more the difficulty of maintaining himself in his new position, attached him more and more to his protector. It was, then, Dubois that the Chevalier de Lorraine made use of to gain the consent of the young Duc de Chartres to the marriage proposed by the King. Dubois had, in fact, gained the Duke’s confidence, which it was easy to do at that age; had made him afraid of his father and of the King; and, on the other hand, had filled him with fine hopes and expectations. All that Dubois could do, however, when he broke the matter of the marriage to the young Duke, was to ward off a direct refusal; but that was sufficient for the success of the enterprise. Monsieur was already gained, and as soon as the King had a reply from Dubois he hastened to broach the affair. A day or two before this, however, Madame (mother of the Duc de Chartres) had scent of what was going on. She spoke to her son of the indignity of this marriage with that force in which she was never wanting, and drew from him a promise that he would not consent to it. Thus, he was feeble towards his teacher, feeble towards his mother, and there was aversion on the one hand and fear on the other, and great embarrassment on all sides. One day early after dinner I saw M. de Chartres, with a very sad air, come out of his apartment and enter the closet of the King. He found his Majesty alone with Monsieur. The King spoke very obligingly to the Duc de Chartres, said that he wished to see him married; that he offered him his daughter, but that he did not intend to constrain him in the matter, but left him quite at liberty. This discourse, however, pronounced with that terrifying majesty so natural to the King, and addressed to a timid young prince, took away his voice, and quite unnerved him. He, thought to escape from his slippery position by throwing himself upon Monsieur and Madame, and stammeringly replied that the King was master, but that a son’s will depended upon that of his parents. “What you say is very proper,” replied the King; “but as soon as you consent to my proposition your father and mother will not oppose it.” And then turning to Monsieur he said, “Is this not true, my brother? “Monsieur consented, as he had already done, and the only person remaining to consult was Madame, who was immediately sent for. As soon as she came, the King, making her acquainted with his project, said that he reckoned she would not oppose what her husband and her son had already agreed to. Madame, who had counted upon the refusal of her son, was tongue-tied. She threw two furious glances upon Monsieur and upon the Duc de Chartres, and then said that, as they wished it, she had nothing to say, made a slight reverence, and went away. Her son immediately followed her to explain his conduct; but railing against him, with tears in her eyes, she would not listen, and drove him from her room. Her husband, who shortly afterwards joined her, met with almost the same treatment. That evening an “Apartment” was held at the palace, as was customary three times a week during the winter; the other three evenings being set apart for comedy, and the Sunday being free. An Apartment as it was called, was an assemblage of all the Court in the grand salon, from seven o’clock in the evening until ten, when the King sat down to table; and, after ten, in one of the salons at the end of the grand gallery towards the tribune of the chapel. In the first place there was some music; then tables were placed all about for all kinds of gambling; there was a ‘lansquenet’; at which Monsieur and Monseigneur always played; also a billiardtable; in a word, every one was free to play with every one, and allowed to ask for fresh tables as all the others were occupied. Beyond the billiards was a refreshment-room. All was perfectly lighted. At the outset, the King went to the “apartments” very often and played, but lately he had ceased to do so. He spent the evening with Madame de Maintenon, working with different ministers one after the other. But still he wished his courtiers to attend assiduously. This evening, directly after the music had finished, the King sent for Monseigneur and Monsieur, who were already playing at ‘lansquenet’; Madame, who scarcely looked at a, party of ‘hombre’ at which she had seated herself; the Duc de Chartres, who, with a rueful visage, was playing at chess; and Mademoiselle de Blois, who had scarcely begun to appear in society, but who this evening was extraordinarily decked out, and who, as yet, knew nothing and suspected nothing; and therefore, being naturally very timid, and horribly afraid of the King, believed herself sent for in order to be reprimanded, and trembled so that Madame de Maintenon took her upon her knees, where she held her, but was scarcely able to reassure her. The fact of these royal persons being sent for by the King at once made people think that a marriage was in contemplation. In a few minutes they returned, and then the announcement was made public. I arrived at that moment. I found everybody m clusters, and great astonishment expressed upon every face. Madame was walking in the gallery with Chateauthiers—her favourite, and worthy of being so. She took long strides, her handkerchief in her hand, weeping without constraint, speaking pretty loudly, gesticulating; and looking like Ceres after the rape of her daughter Proserpine, seeking her in fury, and demanding her back from Jupiter. Every one respectfully made way to let her pass. Monsieur, who had returned to ‘lansquenet’, seemed overwhelmed with shame, and his son appeared in despair; and the bride-elect was marvellously embarrassed and sad. Though very young, and likely to be dazzled by such a marriage, she understood what was passing, and feared the consequences. Most people appeared full of consternation. The Apartment, which, however heavy in appearance, was full of interest to, me, seemed quite short. It finished by the supper of the King. His Majesty appeared quite at ease. Madame’s eyes were full of tears, which fell from time to time as she looked into every face around, as if in search of all our thoughts. Her son, whose eyes too were red, she would not give a glance to; nor to Monsieur: all three ate scarcely anything. I remarked that the King offered Madame nearly all the dishes that were before him, and that she refused with an air of rudeness which did not, however, check his politeness. It was furthermore noticeable that, after leaving the table, he made to Madame a very marked and very low reverence, during which she performed so complete a pirouette, that the King on raising his head found nothing but her back before him, removed about a step further towards the door. On the morrow we went as usual to wait in the gallery for the breaking-up of the council, and for the King’s Mass. Madame came there. Her son approached her, as he did every day, to kiss her hand. At that very moment she gave him a box on the ear, so sonorous that it was heard several steps distant. Such treatment in presence of all the Court covered with confusion this unfortunate prince, and overwhelmed the infinite number of spectators, of whom I was one, with prodigious astonishment.”
Never minding Madame’s obvious dislike for said marriage it took place on 18 February in 1692.
In January of 1689, and as Saint-Simon states as reward for their involvement in the arrangement of marriages, three Lorraine brothers were promoted to Knights of the Order of the Holy Spirit. The published list of promotions was noted by nearly every contemporary writer, and served as a regulation of precedence at all court functions in the succeeding years. As mentioned in the Introduction, most of those heading the list were marshals of France or Duc-et-Pairs, Philippe and his brothers were none of that, yet they preceded everyone on the list save the Princes of the Church, Princes du Sang, and legetimes de France. In addition to the promotion of Philippe, his brother Louis and his brother Charles, the Comte de Brione, youngest son of Louis, was also promoted at the age of 27, which was considered to by too young by most, but made the victory of precedence perfect.
In addition to the gained prestige, the membership of the order also brought a yearly pension of 3000 livres from the crown, thus the four of them gained 12000 livres in a single day, which is equivalent to the yearly income of a County or several Signeuries. The Saint-Esprit promotion clearly established the Lorraine-Guise branch as Princes with rank above the peers of France. It was considered to be a demonstration of affection by Louis XIV, as well as a honouring of the brother’s father, Henri de Lorraine, who had fought bravely during the Fronde and defended the young Louis XIV.
Around 1690 Monsieur’s affection for the Chevalier seemed to have become smaller and Madame writes “he had become tired of the Chevalier de Lorraine, because he suspected him of having different motives for his affection”. Yet, Philippe still had a certain control over Monsieur’s household and was in favour with both, Monsieur and Louis XIV.
In 1691, Philippe participated in the Siege of Mons and in 1692 at the siege of Namur as part of the Nine Years’ War. At the end of the 1690’s Philippe was again at least partly involving in arranging a marriage. This time that of Élisabeth-Charlotte d’Orléans and his cousin Léopold de Lorraine, Duc de Lorraine. The marriage took place in 1698. On of their children, François Étienne, married Maria-Theresia of Austria, and became Emperor. François and Maria Theresia had sixteen children, one of them being Marie-Antoinette.
Somewhen around 1701 or 1702, Philippe received the honour of a justaucorps bleu. Monsieur Dangeau states the Chevalier was in possession of one at the time of his demise. This justaucorp granted the right to the wearer to follow and accompany the King as he was walking about his Palaces, instead of waiting for him to pass by in hopes to catch his attention. It was something every noblemen wanted and only available to a very limited few.
On 8 June 1701 Louis XIV and Monsieur met at the château de Marly to dine together as so often before. The Chevalier had often accompanied Monsieur to Marly in the past, which was the more private residence of Louis XIV. Invitations to Marly were scarce and only bestowed to people of the highest favour by Louis XIV.
On this very day, in a private meeting before supper, Louis XIV attacked Monsieur about the behaviour of his son, who was married to Louis daughter. Philippe responded by reprimanding Louis for similar conduct with his own mistresses during his marriage to Marie-Thérèse, adding that his son had still not received the favours promised to him for having married Louis’ daughter. Louis was shocked to be spoken to in such manner by his brother and Monsieur outraged, so much that nearly every word they spoke could be easily heard in the surrounding rooms, until the announcement of dinner halted the argument, and the brothers sat down to dine. Monsieur still with an angry air and eating even more as usual. Philippe angrily returned to Saint-Cloud, where he collapsed into the arms of his son and died the next day after suffering a fatal stroke.
Saint-Simon writes that after Monsieur’s dead, the Chevalier was granted to keep his apartments in the Palais-Royal but “would not from pride continue to receive the pension, which from pride was offered him” while the new Duc d’Orleans describes it as a offer of affection and friendship.
Philippe followed the other Philippe to the grave a little over a year later, on 8 December 1702. A stroke was the reason in his case as well.
Madame Liselotte wrote “The Chevalier de Lorraine looked very ill, but it was in consequence of his excessive debauchery, for he had once been a handsome man. He had a well-made person, and if the interior had answered to the exterior I should have had nothing to say against him. He was, however, a very bad man, and his friends were no better than he. Three or four years before my husband’s death, and for his satisfaction, I was reconciled with the Chevalier, and from that time he did me no mischief. He was always before so much afraid of being sent away that he used to tell Monsieur he ought to know what I was saying and doing, that he might be apprised of any attempt that should be made against the Chevalier or his creatures. The Chevalier died so poor that his friends were obliged to bury him. He had 100,000 livres in revenue, but he was so bad a manager that his people always robbed him. Provided they would supply him when he wanted them with a thousand pistoles for his pleasures or his play, he let them dispose of his property as they thought fit. That Grancey drew large sums from him. He met with a shocking death. He was standing near Madame de Mare, Grancey’s sister, and telling her that he had been sitting up at some of his extravagant pleasures all night, and was uttering the most horrible expressions, when suddenly he was stricken with apoplexy, lost the power of speech, and shortly afterwards expired.“
While Dangeau writes „He died suddenly in his own house, playing at ombre, as many of his family had done, and was regretted by no person except Mdlle. de Lillebonne, to whom he was believed to have been privately married.“
Philippe had indeed lost most of his fortune as well as tapestries and expensive furniture from his apartments in the last years of his life, but their is no evidence that he actually married.
The place of his grave is not known anymore. It might have been destroyed during the Revolution.
This is a work in progress and is/will be updated from time to time. (last update October 7, 2016) It is based on the research I have done out of personal interest for the life of the Chevalier and due to him being connected so closely to that of Monsieur and his wives, there is plenty of talk of them as well. Whenever I find something new, I will make sure to add it. Hours of research were put into this and I provide it to the public for free. (At some point it will be put into book form). This article, at nearly 20k words, is the most precise article that you will find on the internet about the Chevalier. So, please ask for permission if you intend to use it for anything. It is only polite.
References; letters of Madame de Sévigné, letters of Liselotte von der Pfalz; memoirs of Saint-Simon, Dangeau, Primi Visconti, Marie and Hortense Mancini; Nancy Nichols Barker- Brother to the Sun King; Bibliothèque nationale de France; Dirk Van der Cruysse- Madame sein ist ein elendes Handwerk; Sylvia Jurewitz-Freischmidt – Galantes Versailles; Jonathan Spangler- The Society of Princes;