Saturday, 7 February 2015

Wedding of the Duc de Bourgogne & Marie Adélaïde of Savoy

The peace treaty between France and Savoy following the War of the League of Augsburg included a marriage between Louis XIV's grandson and the eldest daughter of the Duke of Savoy.

The couple met at the first time on 4th November when the Princesse de Savoy was greeted by Louis XIV, the Grand Dauphin and the Duc de Bourgogne.

Leading up to the wedding itself Louis XIV gave several balls in honour of the union. The King had told his court that he desired fêtes to rival those of Versailles in the King's prime (with other words, of course). Immediately, the courtiers went scurrying off to secure the most extravagant court attires. Gold and silver was sold out at the most popular tailors of the court and no one thought much of the whole cost of it all. Louis XIV even came to somewhat regret his previous demand for luxury as he was noted to have remarked how he failed to understand how gentlemen would be so foolish as to ruin themselves for gowns and waist-coats. Still, the King was not exempt from the extravagance. He himself chose the embroidery of the new Duchesse de Bourgogne.

The balls took place in the Hall of Mirrors. On the way from the carriages to the château the glittering courtiers were admired by a huge crowd of Parisians who had come to witness the show of splendour.

The wedding ceremony

On 7th December 1697 the wedding took place in the chapel at Versailles. The Duc de Bourgogne was 14 years old while his bride was just 11. The courtiers assembled in the Duc's apartment where they followed him on to the Princesse. Together, the two made their way into the chapel.

Following the wedding ceremony and feast came the usual bedding-ceremony. The Duchesse (whose title was now changed) was taken to her bedchamber where she was undressed by the court ladies. The Duc was likewise changing in another room. The couple had the extraordinary honour to be handed their chemises by the exiled King and Queen of England.

MARIAGE DE MONSEIG.¦R¦ LE DUC DE BOURGOGNE AVEC MARIE ADELAIDE PRINCESSE DE SAUOYE dans la Chapelle de Versailles - le Septiême de Decembre 1697 : [estampe] - 1
Drawing of the ceremony

Everything went as planned and the bride and groom was ceremoniously put to bed together in front of the whole court. However, there were no disappointed murmurs when the marriage was not consummated. Actually, the Duc de Bourgogne had received direct orders from his grandfather to wait with the consummation until the marriage was at least two years old. Therefore, it was not to the King's pleasure that Monseigneur lingered a quarter of an hour after the departure of the rest of the court during which time he persuaded the Duc to kiss the Duchesse on the chin. Outraged, the Duchesse de Lude told the King who reprimanded his heir; it was the King's express order that the Duc was "not to kiss as much as the tip of the Duchesse's finger" until the two years had passed.

Fig. 20 : « La cérémonie du mariage de Monseigr le duc de Bourgogne avec Me la princesse de Savoye dans la chapelle de Versailles le 7 décembre 1697 », gravure anonyme publiée chez Nicolas Arnoult. Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Estampes et photographie, collection Hennin, no 6378.

When the bridegroom had spent just about fifteen minutes with his wife he got up, bid her good-night and went to the antechamber where he dressed himself.

The following evening (a Sunday) offered another display of court celebration when the courtiers assembled in the apartment of the new Duchesse de Bourgogne. The Duchesses were given leave to sit in their huge gowns while the gentlemen - no less sparkling - stood behind them. At six o'clock the King arrived and led the courtiers from the Duchesse's rooms to a room near the chapel (perhaps the Hercules Salon?) where they enjoyed music and refreshments.

The Wednesday of the following week saw another ball in the Hall of Mirrors which was to be far less enjoyable than the previous ones. There was such a throng of people that, according to Saint-Simon, even Monsieur was knocked about. People pushed in everywhere and the considerable size of the fine dresses made it all the worse. Refreshments were served at 9 o'clock and the dinner at half past ten. Only the Princesses of the Blood and the royal family was allowed to join these festivities.

Having learned from the previous evening the next night was not nearly as crowded. It began at 7 o'clock and once again the courtiers were seen in completely new outfits. The King - and his courtiers - all agreed that it was far more agreeable in this fashion.

A visit to the Grand Trianon took up the next few days where there was gambling with the King and Queen of England. No doubt, the Duchesse de Bourgogne had been given the most superb welcome she could ever have imagined.

No comments:

Post a Comment