Family portrait
   Anne of Austria
   Louis XIII
   Family Tree
 Discuss. Group

Family portrait

The Boy - King

Young Louis XIV
Young Louis XIV
Anne of Austria mother of Louis and Philippe
Anne of Austria mother of Louis and Philippe
Young Louis XIV
Young Louis XIV
Louis with his younger brother Philippe
Louis with his younger brother Philippe

According to his confessor, Father Paulin, the children had daily exercises that helped to make them strong; Louis excelled in these - "He easily fatigues all his courtiers, being almost indefatigable himself." At seven he learned to shoot at a target, and soon became a crack shot, a skill that he retained most of his life. He also had some emotional difficulties. Like any small boy he jealously resented the time that Mazarin spent with his mother over affairs of state, and there is an amusing story of rivalry with his brother that resulted in each wetting the other in bed. Thus even though courtiers tended to note his more sober moments, we can assume that this king, who was "handsome as an angel", "precocious", "bright", and "dignified", was also a child and sometimes acted like one.

The Grand Dauphin

Louis, called le Grand Dauphin and Monsieur (1661-1711), eldest son of Louis XIV of France and Maria-Theresa of Spain. He was given command of armies in Rhine campaign (1688) and in Flanders (1693) in the War of League of Augsburg and aided Villars in War of Spanish Succession (1709-10).

Louis (Dauphin) and his family (1687)
Louis with relatives
Philipp V of Spain, Louis' grandson

In 1679, he married Marie Christine of Bavaria. He was father of three children: Louis, duc de Bourgogne, 1682-1712. (the father of Louis XV) ; Philip V of Spain, 1683-1746.; Charles, duc de Berry, 1686-1714.
Le Grand Dauphin,died of smallpox in 1711, aged fifty. His son and heir, the crippled Duc de Bourgogne, died one year later, and the throne was inherited by his infant grandson Louis (XV) in 1715.

He loved art and was it's greatest protector and collector at the court after his father. His rooms looked like museum - finest and refined sculptures and paintings were to find there.

Elisabeth-Charlotte of Bavaria, Princess Palatine

When Henriette (Henriette of England, first wife of Philippe d'Orleans, Louis XIV's brother) died, a "place" was indeed vacant (Louis' remark -"There is a place vacant"- has become famous), French diplomacy cast about to find a suitable princess. The choice fell upon Elizabeth-Charlotte of Bavaria, she is known to us as La Palatine, or Madame, or simply as Liselotte. Some writers have suggested that the marriage was made with the idea of claiming a share of the Palatinate inheritance, which in fact did happen, but a glance at the documents that were used to establish these claims a decade later will show that at the time of the marriage the French had no idea about the complexities of German feudal law and no serious concern for the inheritance of the Palatinate.

Philippe d'Orleans, Louis' brother

Elisabeth-Charlotte, his second wife

Henriette of England, fist Philippe's wife and Louis' lover

Philippe d'Orleans, Louis' brother

If we look at the marriage contract, it would seem that the jewels and vessels of silver and gold that the princess brought with her to France were of primary importance: the collar of pearls (fifty-four in number) the four watches (one set with diamonds), the bracelets, pins, earrings, and the silver and gold vessels were all carefully enumerated. Several of them must have been very beautiful. But Liselotte was not a bejeweled beauty; she was a big-boned, broad-faced, buxom, outspoken lady-married to Monsieur who used rouge, wore ribbons and lace, and loved jewelry. He walked in mincing steps; she prescribed a two-league walk in case of illness.

When Philippe first saw her, his question was the obvious one, "How can I sleep with her?" Her first question we don not know, but her voluminous correspondence, in which she was often brutally outspoken about her opinions, gives us the answer to many of the later ones.
La Palatine was to be a fixture in the French court for the rest of the reign. From her letters it is clear that she, like so many women, fell in love with king; Louis did come off quite handsomely when compared with his brother. There is no indication at all that Louis ever responded to his sister-in-law's secret affection. Liselotte was the center of the small German circle in the court; she participated in all the court events, from the hunt to the balls. When her Heidelberg was destroyed by the king's order, she wept; when her son had to marry the king's legitimized daughter (by de Montespan), she suffered and carried on terribly; her hates seem stronger than her loves, and the historian is cautioned to use her letters carefully.


© Elena Steingrad     2000 -

the image of Louis XIV in the menu is taken from PC-Game "Versailles II" created by Cryo Interactive Entertainment. See the description of that game under "Software" for more information.