Friday, 27 April 2018

Inner Circle of Philippe, Duc d'Orléans

Louis XIV never allowed his younger brother to obtain any political power at Versailles; consequently, the Duc d'Orléans was obliged to spend his time as best he could. While he did prove himself in battle, these were few and far between. Meanwhile, Philippe established his own court that moved between Palais-Royal, Saint-Cloud and other of his private estates. 
It did not take long for Philippe's faction to become infamous for their behaviour. On several occasions the group of friends were divided by royal will; the Chevalier de Lorraine found himself exiled on several occasions for example. 

These were the people who made up the fast set of Philippe d'Orléans:

Philippe de Lorraine, Chevalier de Lorraine
He became Philippe's official lover in 1658 when he was promptly installed in the Palais Royal. As most already know his relationship with Philippe lasted until the latter's death in 1701. The Chevalier was never on good terms with either of Philippe's wives. His reign as favourite caused quite a stir to both Henrietta and Elizabeth-Charlotte. He was even accused of having poisoned Henrietta but the autopsy proved that to be false. Elizabeth-Charlotte became so vexed by the Chevalier's constant harassment that she threatened to retire to a convent.
The Chevalier was exiled by Louis XIV on the petition of Henrietta in 1670. As for Monsieur, it was said that he was very much under his lover's spell. Thus, the Chevalier definitely made part of the settled circle of Philippe.

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Chevalier de Lorraine 

Louise Élisabeth de Rouxel, Mademoiselle de Grancey
The young Mademoiselle de Grancey was one of Philippe's earliest female friends. It has been speculated that rumours were circulated that the two were lovers as a distraction from Philippe's homosexual inclinations. She was quickly given both an apartment within Palais-Royal and a small house at Saint-Cloud. Due to her being in Philippe's confidence she was soon said to be the queen of his court.
However, Philippe's friendship with her became somewhat cooled when she began an affair with the Chevalier de Lorraine. Philippe was outraged but forgave the both of them and made little of his threats to throw both of them out of Palais-Royal. He also tried to get her the position of dame d'atours to Elizabeth-Charlotte but the Duchesse d'Orléans was firmly against it.

Liselotte got a brief respite from Mademoiselle de Grancey when Monsieur's eldest daughter, Marie-Louise, married the king of Spain. Mademoiselle went with her to Madrid but soon returned to France. Here, Philippe made sure that she was provided for by giving her the position of governess to his children.

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Louise Élisabeth de Rouxel

Antoine Coëffier de Ruzé d'Effiat, Marquis d'Effiat
Entering into the service of Monsieur in the first half of the 1660's, Antoine made sure not to be seen as a threat to the Chevalier de Lorraine. Thus, the two became quite good friends and aided each other as far as possible. Monsieur made him his écuyer - that is his master of horses. Like the Chevalier, he was accused of having participated in Henrietta's poisoning. Elizabeth-Charlotte definitely thought him capable of it; she described him as a spawn of the devil.
He - unlike the Chevalier - managed to also keep on good terms with Louis XIV. Upon the death of the king he found himself as part of the regency council. He would eventually outlive both Philippe and the Chevalier - remaining friends with them both throughout his life.

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Antoine Coëffier de Ruzé d'Effiat

Henrietta Gordon, Madame de Gourdon
The Scottish-born lady had come to court with the intention of securing herself a prominent position. After having refused several posts she was finally made maid of honour to Anne of Austria. It was most likely here she met Philippe d'Orléans. By 1658 La Grande Mademoiselle reported that the two were fast friends; Philippe was said to often advise her on her dress and hair.
Possibly due to Philippe's influence she was placed in Henriettta's household which did not please the first Madame. Likewise, she became unpopular with Elizabeth-Charlotte once she had taken her place in her household too.

She appears to have been quite fond of intrigue and made a good deal of enemies. For a while she did hold a prominent position at Monsieur's court but appears to have been somewhat phased out eventually.

Armand de Gramont, Comte de Guiche
Both Armand and his sister - the Princesse de Monaco - were members of the household of the Duc and Duchesse d'Orléans respectively. A celebrated beauty, Philippe became quite enamoured with his new servant and had an affair with him. Unlike the Marquis d'Effiat and the Chevalier de Lorraine, Armand was on very good terms with Henrietta. They were said to have been lovers and Armand was exiled for a while for conspiring with Henrietta to get rid of Louise de La Vallière.
His relationship with Philippe appears to have been quite shocking to the onlookers. Armand was often downright disrespectful to Philippe and was even seen to kick Monsieur during a masked ball. Nevertheless, Philippe seemed to have put up with it. He died in 1673 just four years after having returned from exile.

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Armand de Gramont

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