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Versailles Season Three…. – Party like 1660

Versailles Season Three….

Season three of Canal +’s Versailles is currently being filmed in Paris and surroundings. While we had no clue what to expect from season one story-wise and had a bit of a clue for season two, the main story-line of season has been confirmed already. It will be all about the Man in the Iron Mask and although our Sun King should have aged a bit by now, he has not done so in the show. As George Blagden said, Louis XIV is now at the point where he sees himself a bit like a God and will confront the Church.

Image of season three from the Instagram of @rrclarkie

Rumours about the whole Man in the Iron Mask topic have been around since the time season two aired in France. You are probably all somewhat familiar with the story and its various adaptions. The most common one sees a twin brother of Louis XIV as the mysterious prisoner…. which does not necessarily mean that Versailles will go down that road. Over the centuries, there have been various guesses on who this man could have been and interestingly, there is no mention that this man wore a mask of iron. The only mention of a masked prisoner, from a guard of the Bastille, refers to it as a mask of black velvet. It was not until a century later that the talk of a mask of iron began as Voltaire mentioned the story in his Questions sur l’Encyclopédie. Voltaire was also the one to claim the prisoner was a brother of Louis XIV. Alexandre Dumas picked that story up another century later and made it topic of his The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later.

Fact is there was a masked prisoner whose identity can not be confirmed until this very day. As mentioned, the twin brother story is not the only one, but probably the one who is the most unlikely. If you fancy to read about who it could have been, click here.

As George mentioned, season three will not necessarily follow historical events and have a fair bit of fiction again. I know some of you do not mind the fiction, I know some of you loathe the fiction. I personally hope we will return to the balance of history and fiction season one had. As for the man behind the mask, I would enjoy it to be Nicolas Fouquet. Since the previous two seasons had the loose plot of someone endangering the King, Fouquet as his former minister would fit that plot.  Worst case scenario? Monsieur finds out there is a prisoner ordered to keep his face hidden and that this prisoner is actually his and Louis’ brother, who has been locked away under the orders of their mother, so he may not challenge Louis claim to the throne. Philippe finds himself in the odd situation whether he should replace the current King with the masked one, who appears to be a whole lot less bothersome than Louis.

Whoever they chose to be the masked man, I will keep you updated and provide you with the first trailers. Season three will most likely air early 2018 in France.


  • Paulette Young

    My hope is that not too much fiction destroy historical accuracy as far as the personalities of our lead characters go. I realize that the series if not a documentary but I would hope the creators don’t go the “Hollywood” route and ruin the essence of who these real-life characters were. I hope Season 3 is challenging, as repetitiveness can only bore the audience AND the actors. I’m also hoping for a Season 4. There is really a lot of story to tell, interesting and engaging.

  • P^2

    I am hoping for the best, but I can’t help feeling less than enthusiastic about that story line (a LOT less). I totally agree with your assessment of the worst-case scenario, but it got me to thinking. Just for fun, suppose that the man in the iron mask really was Louis’s twin. Based on your knowledge of the real Louis XIV and his Court, do you think Monsieur would have ever been allowed to know? If not, and Monsieur eventually found out, do you think Louis would have had him mysteriously vanish on one of his carriage rides, and lock him away somewhere (or worse)?

    As I said, it’s just for fun. It’s going to be a LONG wait until 2018.

    • Aurora von Goeth

      Oh dear… if we go with the version of Voltaire, who to my knowledge said it is a son of Anne and Mazarin and we take it as a fact that Louis XIV and Philippe are without a doubt the sons of Louis XIII, it can’t be a twin of Louis. Thus the issue would not be whether that son can challenge Louis’ claim to the throne, but more his birth. Mazarin was not in France as Louis XIV was fathered and Philippe is undeniably a Bourbon, thus the masked one must have been born after the demise of Louis XIII…. although I can not imagine how Anne would have kept a pregnancy secret.
      So, the masked one was born after both Louis and Philippe, and thus most likely not named Philippe as well. Whether he was born in or out of wedlock would play little role. In case of a secret marriage, it would have been a morganatic marriage, so that is out of the question. In case of not married, it’s the same. As long as Louis, Philippe, Gaston and other male relatives are around, even if no Bourbon heir was around that son would have no right to the throne… but he might challenge the fact that Louis and Philippe are the sons of Louis XIII.
      If Anne got naughty with Mazarin after the demise of Louis XIII, it could mean, in the eyes of some, that she did so during her marriage too. On top of that, it would have been a proper scandal anyway. So, let’s say that son was taken away as soon as born and hidden in some country chateau with a nurse, a tutor, a cook and a valet.
      Now back the masked man rumours, some say the arrest took place in 1661, which would fit the time of Mazarin’s death and him telling Louis of it. Some say the man was arrested in 1669, which could mean Anne, if Mazarin did not, told Louis of it on her deathbed but Louis did not do anything for some years. Then in 1669, for some reason, he finds it necessary to take the brother, who has no idea who his parents are, out of the care of the servants and put him into prison under orders to wear a mask, so no-one would notice that he might look like a Bourbon relative.
      Let’s say some years pass and Monsieur hears some sort of rumour about it. He goes to Louis and inquires…. I’m pretty sure Louis would either deny there is a masked prisoner or tell him a story he made up. Maybe of a man that is not right in the head and needs to be locked away, because that man thinks he’s a Bourbon or something like that. He could also say the man is insane and wears the mask to hide horrible smallpox scars. He would come up with something and he would certainly try his best to keep that brother hidden away.

      • P^2

        Thanks for your detailed and intriguing response. It makes perfect sense. I went and read your article on all of the possible candidates- it was a very good read indeed! Of course, it led to more questions…I hope you don’t mind.
        I had a thought that I have not seen proposed, but that fits with the theory about the illegitimate son slapping the Dauphin. Do you think the man could have been a relative or illegitimate child of Louis’s with an intellectual or behavioral disability? I bring this up because of the case of the “Secret Prince”, Prince John, son of George V and Queen Mary of England, who was an epileptic with learning and other intellectual disabilities (quite possibly autism). Although he frequently made public appearances with the family up until the time he was about 11, as he got older and his condition deteriorated, he was removed from the public eye. Could this have been a similar case, where perhaps the child became more difficult to control as he got older and became a problem for the royal family? Louis seemed to genuinely care for all of his children, so if a son by Louise (or another) did in fact slap the Dauphin, imprisoning him for life in solitary confinement under a mask seems awfully harsh, but what if that slap was part of a much larger issue? Slapping the Dauphin could have provided Louis with a convenient excuse to remove him from Court. His true identity could than have easily been masked with a lie. Do you think this a viable possibility?
        Of course we will never know for sure, but it is fun to speculate. Again, I really hope you don’t mind the questions. What is your “favorite” theory on the man’s identity?

        • Aurora von Goeth

          I think the great mystery is probably not so much of a mystery. For me the most plausible explanation is that it was a somehow unstable son of a noble house. Someone that needed to be watched and the mask was worn to hide possible links to that noble house. Maybe it even was a Bourbon relative. A mad Condé that was hidden away. I don’t think whoever it was, was a son of Louis XIV or a brother. It also could have been someone that looked like a prominent member of the royal family. Maybe someone with Louis’ nose that went about pretending he is the king of France. Louis would not have locked a son away like that, that goes against his understanding of his divine self and his divine blood. He would have hidden that son somewhere in the country instead. 🙂

      • Dawn Martinez-Byrne

        Do you know why they are going the ‘Iron mask’ route, instead of following the incredibly interesting, real stories?
        Because no one would believe them.

  • carol brand

    oh my god I,m now in a state of mourning season two has just finished andmy Friday night will never be the same again until season three starts . my devine man ever The Marchal is in my dreams every night He,s adorable ( those sexy eyes oh my god )

  • Elisabetta

    Very interesting, but if you ask me I don’t think they will go with the worst scenario (hopefully: It would be too much to endure). I guess they will push the “popular rebellion” button with the Iron mask involved. As for the historical figure, some historian (I don’t recall who) also supposed he was Louis’s father (he actually died very old in 1703). But Fouquet is still the most likely my opinion; or maybe, as you suppose, a member from an influent family related to the King ( a Conti, for example). Me too I wonder why they chose the Iron mask route instead of dealing with the billions of exciting storylines which the real History provided them. In any case, I hope it will be entertaining to watch at least, since I got that we must forget History when It comes to this show..
    OT I pm you something about The Chevalier. I hope you got It.

  • Tess

    Since Evan Williams said in the interview >>There are some choices in season 2 and definitely in season 3 where I have a thought in the back of my head saying “What are people going to think about this?”<<, I prefer not to think too much about what will be in season 3. Filming of the new season is still going on, so everything is possible… e.g. a guest appearance of Gaspard Ulliel as Duc de Nevers 😉 Girl can dream….

  • Dan Mitchell

    I do wsh some contributors would stop peddling the stories related to the Dumas version of the “Iron Mask” – a story which has done more harm to the probable truth than any other historical fiction.

    Most genuine researchers of the last few 100 years are in reasonable agreement on his identity being “Eustache Dauger” (E. D’Anger, E. D’Auger), and not either “Mattioli” or “La Riviere”, or any of the more fanciful claimants to the identity.

    I have a feeling that thee are still vast amounts of relevant French archives still not properly researched for someone close enough to Louis XIV/Louvois to be the man arrested in Dover/Calais in 1669, and who therefore disappears from the records after 1669 ……..

  • Carin

    I suppose we should not expect anymore the Chevalier de Lorraine to be portrayed like he should be portrayed. I mean, I think now I resigned to the idea he became a fictional character and I have my guess about how he will be developped in the S3. If we admit that every character should progress from S1 to S3… well… Even if I accept the “fictional Chevalier”, I’m just scared that he will have a weak storyline. And either there will be more soap or a complete loss of his original atttibutes… – Anxious face -_-

  • Patricia O

    One of the trailers (in French) for ‘Versailles’ season 3 popped up in my ‘recommended channel’ in YouTube which pretty much confirms that the show runners are going the “Iron Mask” route. Like other commenters I have mixed feelings about this series – I think it’s well acted and it’s made me aware of some actors/actresses that I had no knowledge of before (I knew of Mr Vlahos because he’d been on some BBC shows but not many of the others though I can recall a young Gretcha Scaachi {sp?} in ‘Bergerac’ in the 1980s). Also I love the sumptuous outdoor shots even if some of them are not actually shot in the grounds of the palace of Versailles itself (though I think some are). Considering that the court of Louis XIV was an interesting enough place factually without going off on a tangent and running with rumours I’m disappointed that the writers have sometimes chosen the more fanciful options.

  • Isabella

    Honestly I am so grateful that this is not my era of expertise; even so after reading your posts concerning the Chevalier and Monsieur in particular it gives me great regret… as somebody who is a fan of an even more controvesial time and set of personages (the French Revolution) I sympathise deeply with your frustration at poorly nuanced or downright inaccurate depictions of beloved figures. However, you have inspired me to take a great deal more interest in this set of characters, for who they really were ! As ever, truth can be more shocking than fiction!

  • Carin

    Patricia, Isabella. Yes, there is frustration. Indeed. I hope that this last season won’t be too disappointing. It seems that the main focus will be the Philippe x Fabien pairing investigating on the Iron Mask. Many can be satisfied with this. I used to like Fabien, and even more on S2 but he is not a historical figure and it’s troubling me that he becomes a major character in S3 whereas so many options were offered in history itself. I can’t understand the writers.

  • Vivi

    I don’t believe the Masked prisoner was someone of high birth. Noble people of that time, especially the king, would never have treated the prisoner as a “valet” and let him do valet duty to another prisoner, if he was of noble birth. What I tend to believe is that he was a monk or lowly priest from a monastery somewhere between Paris and Calais who by chance got to serve as the confessor of a person who knew something important. Something, that bishop Bossuet should not learn about. The masked prisoner was allegedly captured sometime around 1670, when La Montespan had her first child by the king and Henriette of England died. Back then the king would not have let his men kill an innocent priest, but life imprisonment, yeah, sure why not. The prison was made in a way, no one outside could hear what was going on in the cell – IMHO to make sure noone would hear the monk/priest pray. The “mask” could well have been a cap which covered the complete hair and the eyes, so noone could see the traditional haircut of monks.

  • Nee

    I remember in Season 2 when Louis decided to make Philippe not to go to the war, Philipe sulked and said (to his wife), “I just need another brother.” It’s as if the writer was hinting that the story will go that way?