• Philippe de France, frère unique du roi

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

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

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

  • The two marriages of Philippe de France

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

  • Élisabeth-Charlotte du Palatinat, Duchesse d’Orléans

    She is known under many names and one of my favourite people in history. In Germany most people know her by her nickname Liselotte von der Pfalz. In France she is Élisabeth-Charlotte du Palatinat or de Bavière, some call her la Palatine or simply Madame. As she was born in Heidelberg on May 27 in 1652, her parents gave her the name Elisabeth…

  • Guy-Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche

    Guy-Armand de Gramont, mostly just called by his second name Armand, was born on November 25 in 1637. He achieved fame due to his bravery on the battlefield, his libertine lifestyle and his scandalous affair with Philippe de France, brother to the great Sun King.   Armand was the first-born child of Antoine III de Gramont, Peer-Duc de Gramont and Marshal…

  • The Death Of Madame

    Saint Cloud, June 30, 1670, three o’clock in the morning. Henrietta of England, Henriette d’Angleterre as the French called her, Minette as she was called by her brother, closes her eyes forever. Madame, as she was called at court, being the wife of Monsieur, the King’s brother, had suddenly fallen ill the previous day, June 29, and died less than…

  • Dangeau’s Diary, July & August 1685

    1st. — The Duke of Monmouth attacked the King’s troops the 15th of this month. He was defeated, then pursued, and taken on the 17th, disguised and hidden in a ditch. Lord Gray was taken a few days after. They were conducted to London and saw the King. The duke of Monmouth tried all that submission and prayers could effect,…

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

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

  • Château de Saint-Cloud, Une Histoire.

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

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