WHKMLA : History of France, Domestic Policy
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CHAPTER X - FRANCE UNDER LOUIS XIV
Buy As Gift. Her European position was far more commanding at the close of the seventeenth century than at its beginning. Alike in political power, in the influence exercised by her society, in the attention attracted by her literature, France was confessedly the leading state of Europe. Additions of new territory had increased her strength and her prestige; they had gratified the pride of a people which has always been eager to extend the boundaries and the influence of the fatherland.
The aggrandizement of France during the seventeenth century is not to be condemned as the result of a series of piratical excursions. The growth of nations by the absorption of smaller communities, adapted by situation and by race to assimilate with the larger body, has been the law of European progress. Marie Adelaide died on February 12, and the Duke of Burgundy died less than a week later on February However, in March , both brothers contracted measles as well. A day or two into their illness, the Duke of Brittany died.
Biography of Louis XV, Beloved King of France
Their governess, Madame de Ventadour, refused to let doctors continue bleeding Louis, which likely saved his life. He recovered and became the heir to his great-grandfather, Louis XIV. The laws of the land required there to be a regency for the next eight years, until Louis turned thirteen. However, Louis XIV had distrusted the Duke of Orleans and preferred that the Regency be held by his favorite illegitimate son, the Duke of Maine; to this end, he had rewritten his will to create a Regency council rather than a singular Regent.
Louis developed what would be a lifelong love for hunting and horseback riding. He also came to have an interest in geography and science, which would influence his reign. The Duke of Orleans transitioned into the role of prime minister, but soon died. The duke turned his attention to brokering a royal marriage.
Their first child was born in , and they had a total of ten children—eight daughters and two sons—over the next decade. Although the king and queen loved one another, the successive pregnancies took a toll on their marriage, and the king began taking mistresses.
The most famous of those was Madame de Pompadour , who was his mistress from to but remained a close friend and advisor, as well as a major cultural influence. In August , he made a will stipulating that the nation was to be governed by a Regency Council made up of fourteen members until the new king reached the age of majority. The eleven-year-old king was not interested in the arrival of his future wife, the three-year-old Spanish Infanta.
The king was quite frail as a boy and several medical emergencies led to concern for his life. Many also assumed that the Spanish Infanta, eight years younger than the king, was too young to bear an heir in a timely way. To remedy this situation, the Duke of Bourbon set about choosing a European princess old enough to produce an heir. The marriage was celebrated in when the king was 15, and the couple soon produced many children.
The birth of a long-awaited heir, which ensured the survival of the dynasty for the first time since , was welcomed with tremendous joy and celebration in all spheres of French society and the young king became extremely popular. Marie was on a list of 99 eligible European princesses to marry the young king, but she was far from the first choice on the list.
Early Life and Reign of Louis XIV
She had been placed there initially because she was a Catholic princess and therefore fulfilled the minimum criteria, but was removed because she was poor when the list was reduced from 99 to However, when the list of 17 was further reduced to four, the preferred choices presented numerous problems and Marie emerged as the best compromise. Queen Marie maintained the role and reputation of a simple and dignified Catholic queen.
She functioned as an example of Catholic piety and was famed for her generosity to the poor and needy through her philanthropy, which made her very popular among the public her entire life as queen. The ministry of the Duke of Bourbon pursued policies that resulted in serious economic and social problems in France.
These included the persecution of Protestants; monetary manipulations; the creation of new taxes; and high grain prices. It was the most peaceful and prosperous period of the reign of Louis XV, despite some unrest.