Saturday, 4 April 2015

The Royal Family Between 1643-1715

The following is a complete list of the main royal family of Louis XIV's reign. The main purpose is to give an insight into the specific ranks within the royal family and the list is consequently arranged hierarchical.

King: Louis XIV
Queen: Marie Thérèse

Dauphin: Louis, le Grand Dauphin
Dauphine: Marie-Anne-Victoire of Bavaria

Children of France
Arranged with name, title and relation

Gaston de Bourbon, Duc d'Orlèans - brother of Louis XIII and as such Louis XIV's uncle. It was because of him that Louis XIV's brother, Philippe, had to wait until Gaston's death to be awarded the title of "Monsieur"

Marguerite de Lorraine, Duchesse d'Orlèans - second wife of Gaston

Philippe, first Duc d'Anjou and later Duc d'Orlèans - brother of Louis XIV

Henrietta-Anne of England, Duchesse d'Orlèans - first wife of Philippe

Elisabeth-Charlotte, Duchesse d'Orlèans - second wife of Philippe

Louis, Duc de Bourgogne and later Dauphin - son of the Grand Dauphin and father of Louis XV

Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy, Duchesse de Bourgogne and later Dauphine - mother of Louis XV

Philippe, Duc d'Anjou and later King of Spain - son of the Grand Dauphin

Charles, Duc de Berry - son of the Grand Dauphin

Louis (XV), Duc d'Anjou and later King of France

Grand-children of France

Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orlèans, Mademoiselle d'Orlèans - daughter of Gaston and known as "la Grande Mademoiselle"

Marguerite-Louise d'Orlèans, Grand Duchess of Tuscany - daughter of Gaston (she returned to France in 1675)

Elisabeth d'Orlèans, Mademoiselle d'Alencon and later Duchesse de Guiche - daughter of Gaston

Françoise-Madeleine d'Orlèans, Mademoiselle de Valois and later Duchess of Savoy - daughter of Gaston

Marie-Louise d'Orlèans, known as Mademoiselle and later Queen of Spain - daughter of Philippe

Anne-Marie d'Orlèans, later Duchess of Savoy - daughter of Philippe

Philippe II d'Orlèans, Duc de Chartres, later Duc d'Orlèans and Regent for Louis XV - son of Philippe

Elisabeth-Charlotte d'Orlèans, Mademoiselle de Chartres and later Duchesse de Lorraine - daughter of Philippe

Princes and Princesses of the Blood

Marie de Bourbon-Soissons, Princesse de Carignan - granddaughter of the first Prince de Condé

Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Condé - son of Henri II, Duc d'Enghien and known as the Grand Condé

Henri-Jules de Bourbon, later Prince de Condé - son of Louis II, Duc d'Enghien and known as "Monsieur le Prince"

Anne of Bavaria, later Princesse de Condé - wife of Henri-Jules and known as "Madame la Princesse"

Louis-Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti

François-Louis de Bourbon, Prince de La Roche-sur-Yon and later Prince de Conti

Louis III de Bourbon, later Prince de Condé - son of Henri Jules and known as "Monsieur le Duc"

Louis-Henri de Bourbon, later Duc de Bourbon and Prince de Condé - son of Louis III and acted as Prime Minister for Louis XV

Marie-Louise-Elisabeth d'Orlèans, Duchesse de Berry - daughter of Philippe II and became a Princess of the blood through marriage, known as "Mademoiselle"

Louis d'Orlèans, Duc de Chartres and later Duc d'Orlèans - son of Philippe II

Legitimized children

César, Duc de Vendôme - son of Henri IV

Henri, Duc de Verneuil - son of Henri IV

Marie-Anne de Bourbon, Princesse de Conti (Princess of the blood by marriage) - daughter of Louis XIV and Louise de La Vallière

Louis de Bourbon, Comte de Vermandois - son of Louis XIV and Louise de La Vallière

Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, Duc du Maine - son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan

Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, Duchesse de Bourbon (Princess of the blood by marriage) - daughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan

Francoise-Marie de Bourbon, Duchesse de Chartres (Grand-daughter of France by marriage) - daughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan

Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, Comte de Toulouse - son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan

Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, Prince des Dombes - legitimate son of the Duc du Maine

Louis-Charles de Bourbon, Comte d'Eu - legitimate son of the Duc du Maine

Friday, 3 April 2015

Château de Saint-Cloud

The château de Saint-Cloud became a royal residence in 1658 when Philippe, Duc d'Orlèans bought the estate for 240.000. Apparently, the young prince had become enamoured by the château during a fête two weeks earlier and decided to make it his own.

Philippe was very fond of his Saint-Cloud and continued to expand and embellish it until his death in 1701. To make sure that everything turned out the way he wished, Philippe hired Antoine le Pautre to carry out the design while Jean Nocret was put in charge of the decorations of the lady of the house's apartment. Undoubtedly, one of the greatest attractions of the château was the Great Gallery which took up an entire wing. Pierre Mignard decorated it with mythological scenes.

Saint-Cloud was the main seat of Monsieur's family and would witness both the births of several children and the death of their mother. Philippe's elder brother, Louis XIV, came to visit in 1677 and was probably annoyed at the splendour of the Great Gallery - the King had nothing to compete with it yet. No doubt the King liked the gardens as well considering that they were designed by his favourite André le Nôtre. It is estimated that Monsieur spent 156.000 livres in total on the château.

The Ducs d'Orlèans kept Saint-Cloud as their main seat outside Versailles for most of the 18th century. None of Philippe's heirs seems to have been particularly eager to alter the château's appearance. It was not until 1785 that Saint-Cloud was bought by Louis XVI as a present for Marie Antoinette for 6.000.000 livres.
Marie Antoinette set out to alter her new estate to her own tastes with the help of Richard Mique. Usually, the royal residences were furnished by the royal stock of furniture called the Garde Meubles which was also the case for Saint-Cloud for the first months of Marie Antoinette's ownership. Since then furniture was commissioned especially for the château.

Sadly, the château de Saint-Cloud burned down in 1870 and what remained after the fire was demolished on the orders of Empress Eugénie.


View of the gardens

Front view
Ground floor

The first floor

Amazing virtual reconstruction

Château de la Muette

The history of the Château de la Muette stretches back to the end of the 16th century. From 1606 it became the property of the crown which it remained until 1792. Up until 1716 the château had served as a royal residence for when the royal family was on tour. In 1716 it was given to Marie Louise Élisabeth d'Orlèans, Duchesse de Berry who was the daughter of the Regent.
The Duchesse called upon Antoine Watteau to carry out the fine carvings of the salons. She was later visited by Peter the Great during his stay in France. Eventually, the Duchesse died at la Muette after a birth that proved too much to bear.

Louis XV became the new owner of la Muette and would use it as a pleasant retreat where he could entertain his mistresses. Three of the Nesle-sisters were brought here as were Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry. Not much remains of the Duchesse de Berry's château since Louis XV had it entirely rebuilt and greatly expanded.

In 1764 Louis-Auguste was granted possession of la Muette and it housed Marie Antoinette when she arrived in France. It is said that Louis XVI spent the happiest days of his life there with his young wife. It was also here that Marie Antoinette's brother, Joseph II, visited incognito. Actually, Louis XVI's interest in natural science meant that he gave a part of the ground over to the cultivation of potatoes - these had not been used for feeding humans in Europe yet (apart from Ireland but that is a whole different story). It was also from this château that the first hot-air balloon was launched in 1783.

The original château was demolished in 1793 and the one that stands in its' place is somewhat resembling it.

View from the gardens in 1730

Plan of la Muette


Château de Clagny

The Clagny-estate belonged to the Hôpital des Incurables until 1665 when Louis XIV bought it. The King intended to use it as a retreat for his mistress, Madame de Montespan, who was only too eager to commence the building project. So, work began in June that same year.

André Le Nôtre designed the gardens while the château itself was the work of Jules Hardouin-Mansart. Conveniently, the new château was located quite near Versailles itself which permitted the royal mistress to spend her days at court and her evenings at home. A large work force was needed to complete the château in time to meet the favourite's demands and suggestions range from 22.000-36.000 workers! The total sum: 17.000.000 livres.

When Madame de Montespan lost her favour with the King she stopped visiting their former retreat. Louis XIV decided to finally grant it to her in 1685 though the courtiers mused that it was mostly for the sake of his illegitimate son, the Duc du Maine whom he loved dearly.

Even though Madame de Montespan never went back to Clagny after retiring to a convent in 1692 it was still her property. So it remained until her death in 1707 when her son, the Duc du Maine, inherited it. In turn the Duc du Maine would leave Clagny for his grandson, the Princes des Dombes. In 1766 it reverted to the crown but by then it had not been in use for a while and was severely neglected.

Louis XV, who understandably had no ties to Madame de Montespan nor her son for that matter, gave 11 hectares to Marie Lescszynska who built a convent on the grounds. Since there was no more use for the old love nest it was finally demolished in 1769.

How it would have looked

Ground floor
Plans (drawings), Chateau de Clagny
First floor
A virtual reconstruction
View from the front

Cross-section of the château
Cross-section from 1678

Plan of the castle grounds
Engraving of the château from the garden side
Allegorical portrait of Madame de Montespan at Clagny

This epic portrait of Madame de Montespan gives us a peak into
the hall of Clagny

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Wedding Celebrations of the Comte and Comtesse d'Artois

The wedding of Charles-Philippe, Comte d'Artois and Marie Thérèse of Savoy took place on 16 November 1773 in the chapel of Versailles. Two days earlier Marie Thérèse had arrived in coach from Savoy; she had been greeted by her husband, Louis XV, Louis-Auguste and Marie Antoinette.

At 1 o'clock the bride and groom left their apartments and headed to the chapel where the ceremony took place. The couple knelt in front of the altar as was custom.
Louis XV led the procession that took the newly married couple back to their apartments where the Duc de Richelieu handed the couple the King's gifts. Or rather, the key to the King's gifts. Louis XV had had a chest of jewels prepared for the couple. Afterwards, the new Comtesse d'Artois was presented to her new household and each member swore an oath of loyalty to her.

At 6 o'clock in the afternoon the court moved into the Hall of Mirrors where tables had been placed for the royal family to play games at. So, the King and his family sat for games such as lansquenet. An hour later the party moved into a salon nearby where a dinner-table had been prepared for the wedding feast. The King took his seat at the head of the table and was followed by the rest of the royal family. People were not allowed to sit wherever they might want to; court etiquette demanded that they be seated according to their rank so that the Dauphin would take the place nearest the King.
While the dinner was being served a small orchestra performed several pieces by Francoeur who had created them just for the occasion.

When everyone had eaten their full, the King rose and headed for the couple's apartment for the bedding ceremony. Cardinal la Roche-Aymon stepped in front of the royal entourage and blessed the marriage bed by sprinkling holy water on the sheets. Louis XV handed the Comte d'Artois his chemise, as was custom, while Marie Antoinette gave the Comtesse hers - Marie Antoinette was the highest ranking woman since there was no Queen. Then, all that remained was for the couple to climb into bed and for the curtains to be drawn.

Originally, a display of fireworks had been prepared but the weather was so poor that it had to be postponed.

The wedding ceremony

The following days continued the string of celebrations:

On the 17 November the court went to the opera in the north wing to watch a production of "Ismeror which was scheduled for 18.00.

On 18 November the couple received their congratulations from the ministers and state deputies of foreign countries. The same day saw the corps of Paris in their finest livery paraded in honour of the union; the corps was headed by the Duc de Brissac who later gave the Comte and Comtesse gifts on behalf of Paris.

On 19 November a ball was held in the King's Grand Apartment. It was opened by Louis-Auguste who danced with his other sister-in-law, the Comtesse de Provence (who happened to be the actual sister of the new Comtesse d'Artois!). Marie Antoinette was supposed to have opened the ball with her husband but she had been indisposed and watched from the sideline with Madame Élisabeth. When the Comte and Comtesse d'Artois took to the floor for their first dance it turned out to be a huge disappointment. Unlike Marie Antoinette, Marie Thérèse was a poor dancer and Charles-Philippe was clearly irritated with his wife's clumsiness.

Later that evening the weather was finally clear enough for the fireworks to be fired. No less than a battery with 800 "rounds" as well as a staggering 700 rockets were fired and that was just the beginning of the spectacle. It was followed by an impressing show that had been arranged to show off the best features of the gardens.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Prince's Pistols

These two pistols were the property of Charles-Ferdinand, Comte d'Artois who was the son of Louis XV.

Photo credit: Musée de l'Armée, Paris

A Lovely Gift

These beautiful vases was a part of the Duc d'Aumont's collection and had in turn been a gift from the Duchesse de Mazarin. The vases are made of green porphyry, bronze and gold. They were created around 1780 in Paris.

(Photos are by Thierry Ollivier)