• The Last Days Of Louis XIV – October 23, 1715

    After laying-in-state for forty days, during which a constant stream of visitors roamed Saint-Denis, Louis XIV’s coffin is carried into the crypt. By tradition, the coffin of a deceased King is placed by the entrance of the crypt, until his successor’s demise, after which the King’s coffin is brought to its final resting place and the successor takes the spot…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – September 9, 1715

    At first light, the funeral convoy is welcomed at the city gates by the Dionysian clergy. After the customary prayers are said, Louis XIV’s body is taken into the Basilica of Saint Denis. It had been decorated in mourning and the upper choir was transformed into a lying-in-state chapel for the King’s coffin. In the meanwhile, the King’s heart was…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – September 8, 1715

    Louis XIV’s coffin is brought from his apartments to the Marble Court of Versailles. At precisely seven o’clock in the evening the royal hearse leaves the château for Saint-Denis, the traditional burial-place of the French Kings. The Sun King will join his wife and legitimate children there, as well as his brother, and his first wife, their mother and father.…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – September 5, 1715

    It is Louis XIV’s birthday. He would have turned seventy-seven today. His coffin of oak is still on display in the Royal Apartment and will be so for a few more days, before it travels to Saint Denis. The Royal Apartments have been transformed into a place of mourning. The walls and floors are covered. People come and go to…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – September 2, 1715

      Louis XIV’s body is opened for an autopsy. His leg is black with gangrene. His heart and guts are removed, his body put into a coffin of lead. It is noted that the King’s bowels are apparently twice as long as that of a normal man. In them, a tapeworm of ‘extraordinary’ size is discovered. Outside of Louis XIV’s…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – September 1, 1715

    Le Roi Est Mort. Vive Le Roi. It is Sunday morning as the Sun sets over Versailles and France. At quarter past eight, Louis XIV takes his last breath, four days before his seventy-seventh birthday. The King’s valets close his eyes and change his shirt. The Duc d’Orleans, now Regent of France, presents the five year old Louis XV to the court.…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – August 31, 1715

    The atmosphere is tense. Louis XIV’s leg is marbled with black. The court prepares to go into mourning. Louis is in a comatose condition the whole day. As a last resource the physicians administer ‘Agnan’s remedy’ for small-pox. It has been sent by the Duchesse du Maine, the wife of Louis’ favourite son by Madame de Montespan. At half past…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – August 30, 1715

    The gangrene spreads further. Dangeau notes “the leg was in such a state that it might have belonged to a man who had been dead for six months“. Louis XIV can still swallow a little jelly and pure water, but his hands need to be held while he is fed, otherwise he would take it out of his mouth again.…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – August 29, 1715

    It is now twenty days since Louis XIV first complained of a pain in his leg and the end draws nearer. Today, upon changing the bandages, it is discovered the gangrene has spread to the thigh. Louis XIV’s leg is slowly rotting, the smell of it almost unbearable. The King hears mass in his bedroom, like every morning. He has lost…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – August 28, 1715

    Wednesday, nineteen days after Louis XIV first complained of a pain in his leg. A ‘quack’ makes an appearance at Versailles, bringing a miracle elixir. He comes from Marseilles and calls himself le Brun. His elixir, so he claims, can cure gangrene at the most advanced stages. After a consultation with the doctors, in which he explained the nature of…

  • The Last Days Of Louis XIV – August 27, 1715

    It is Tuesday, eighteen days after Louis XIV first complained of the pain in his leg. No new black spot appeared during the last days, but the King is becoming weaker by the day. His mind is still clear, but his body merely flesh and bones. Each day his leg is dressed with new bandages in a painful procedure he…

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