rois de france

4

Les grenouilles qui demandent un roi
(Frogland)

1 in x of the works of Władysław Starewicz - French Years
animated short film history
Release: 1922
Country: France
Director: Władysław Starewicz

“This film––the title of which translates to ‘the frogs who ask for a king’––is loosely based on a fable written by French author Jean de La Fontaine.

The frogs, having problems with their democracy, ask Jupiter to send them a king. He sends them a bucket. Not satisfied with their sovereign, the frogs again ask him for a king. Jupiter sends them a crane, which begins to devour them. Fed up with their complaints, Jupiter gets angry and hurls lightning bolts down to Earth. The moral of the story is to leave well enough alone.”

(source)

Frogland is available on YouTube.

Starewicz made several films before Frogland that I was not able to find online. They are:
- Dans les Griffes de L'araignée (1920) - In The Claws of the Spider
Le Mariage de Babylas (1921) - Babylas’s Marriage
L’épouvantail (1921) - The Scarecrow

Dans un autre monde - Part 9

Part 8 is available here

Author note: At long last here’s Part 9 of Dans un autre monde. I am so sorry for the delay in giving this new chapter, but I received some life changing news in the last couple of months. My mother who has been the epitome of health her whole life was diagnosed with breast cancer. Being as close as I am to her it obviously turned my world upside down. She is currently going through chemo and hopefully will get through this. But enough with that (or I’m gonna start crying again), I think you’ve been waiting long enough, right?


The awkwardness of that first Christmas at the rectory would be the last of my interaction with Frank, at least face to face. He quickly left Inverness before New Year and by April the Reverend told me he had moved to America, having been offered a position at Harvard in their History Department.

If I thought that knowing what I was looking for would make the search easier, I was greatly mistaken. The Reverend hadn’t been jesting when he said the Scottish lawyers of the era had petitioned for everything and anything. It was six months into my inquest that I realized how unhealthy it was to spend all my spare moments searching through endless papers. And so with the help of Mrs Graham and her friend Aileen I took a part time position as a triage nurse at the new A&E at the Infirmary. So during my shifts either Mrs Graham or her daughter-in-law would watch over Brianna while Faith was enrolled at the nearby nursery school. I had expected my eldest daughter to suffer from separation anxiety and throw one of her famous Fraser temper tantrum when I dropped her off on her first day, but she simply hugged me and went running to the other children, barely turning back to say “bye mama”. I spent several hours warily wandering the nearby streets pushing Brianna’s pram until it was time to pick Faith up. And instead of a teary daughter waiting for me at the end of the day, I was met by a cheerful one.

“Mama! Me made fwiends!”

By Brianna’s first birthday, I was beginning to think it would take twenty years before I could find proof that Jamie was the Dun Bonnet. That is until a couple of weeks before Christmas, when we received a new batch of documents from the Reverend’s friend at the National Archives. For the first time since I started helping the Reverend with his search I found several names I recognized and knew.

It was a document dating from 1747 regarding the Oath to the King taken by a young Laird, barely 12 years of age, a young Laird named Hamish MacKenzie. The document had been witnessed by his mother, Letitia MacKenzie, and Edward Gowan, a lawyer from Edinburgh. Ned… Of course, Ned was the key to this search! Any documents I would have gathered to exonerate Jamie would have to be presented to the authorities by a lawyer. And there was only one lawyer I trusted back in the 18th century, Ned Gowan.

“Reggie, I think I might have a lead…”

“A lead, ye say?”

“You said the Dun Bonnet was a Highlander Laird, right?”

He nodded, setting his cup of tea on a nearby table that wasn’t nearly collapsing under the weight of several books.

“Look at this document, it’s the Oath to the King taken by the young Laird of Clan MacKenzie upon his twelfth birthday. See the name of the witness, Edward Gowan? His name comes back in several other documents pertaining to different other Highlands Clans. From what I gathered this Mister Gowan was a lawyer settled in Edinburgh, but who worked mainly as some sort of traveling solicitor. He seemed to have been highly regarded throughout the Highlands…”

He took the document, careful even if it was a copy.

“Gowan, ye say? Yes… I remember seeing that name more than once… Ye really think he might be the key to our search?”

“I think so… Do you think your friend at the Archives could send us every document they might have connected to this Mister Gowan?”

He frowned. “It might take a while, me dear…”

And a while it took. Winter made way to spring and by midsummer we still hadn’t received anything from London. By the end of July I decided to use my vacation times from the hospital and treat the girls to a short trip. We spent a couple of days on the beaches of Aberdeen and, upon our return to Inverness, were welcome by several boxes filling the living room of the rectory.

“Claire! At last, ye are here! They’re here, me dear!”

“The documents from the Archives? Reggie, you should have phoned me!”

“Nonsense, me dear! Ye and yer girls needed that short holiday.”

And so began the real search. Mrs Graham and her daughter-in-law were kind enough to entertain Roger, Faith and Brianna while the Reverend and I spent all our spare time buried in 200 years old paperwork.

It was strange, searching those papers and finding the names of people I knew, people I had met. Each time I would get emotional, fighting tears that were begging to be shed. But there were also times where I was nearly gleeful at the suffering of people I hated, people who had made my life a living hell. I have no shame to say I was glad when I found the Order of Execution of Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat.

The breakthrough in the search came one Saturday in August. Mrs Graham was busying herself in the kitchen, preparing for the Parish annual baking sale, while the Reverend was working on his sermon in his study. Mrs Graham-the-younger, the senior Mrs Graham’s daughter-in-law, had taken Roger and the girls for a picnic in the countryside, allowing me some time to go through the ton of paperwork.

At first glance it was yet again another official looking document. At first glance… I nearly set it aside until I realized it was written in French.

Nous, Louis, par la grâce de Dieu, roi de France et de Navarre…

I couldn’t believe what I was reading and it took me a while to fully translate it. And once I did I knew that I had found part of the proof I was looking for.

We, Louis, by the grace of God, king of France and Navarre, declare that on the fifth day of December in the year of our Lord seventeen hundred and forty-four, after having negotiated with an emissary of his Majesty King George of Great Britain, We delivered to James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, Laird of Broch Tuarach of Scotland, a full pardon from the British authority. Thus Laird Broch Tuarach took leave from Us and from the Kingdom of France in order to return to his estate…

Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ! This proved that Jamie couldn’t have signed Prince Charles list of Highland Lairds supporters and that his signature had been forged! But this must not be all… There must be more… And so I went through the whole box and at the very bottom of it laid two pieces of papers that left me breathless and teary eyed. The first was a letter from the Duke of Cumberland to William Grant, Lord Advocate of Scotland.

“… It has come to our attention that James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, Laird of Broch Tuarach in Scotland, has been branded a traitor to the Crown and has been since wanted by the authorities to answer for his supposed crimes during the failed rebellion… Laird Broch Tuarach approached Fort William’s garrison commander, Captain Jonathan Wolverton Randall, Esq., in the early months of Seventeen Hundred and Forty-Four with the intention of infiltrating the Jacobite movement… Laird Broch Tuarach gained access to Charles Edward Stuart while sojourning in France… Returned to Scotland in the early days of Seventeen Hundred and Forty-Five… Took command under Charles Edward Stuart while reporting the Jacobites’ advances to Captain Randall who acted as his liaison… Captain Randall perished at the Battle of Culloden… Laird Broch Tuarach survived… We command that the good name of Laird Broch Tuarach be reinstate and that all his lands and holdings be returned to him…”

The second was a copy of an official proclamation probably sent to all Scottish garrisons regarding the innocence of one James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser, Laird Broch Tuarach…

I don’t know how long I spent staring at those documents… Time seemed to freeze as I felt my vision blurred by unshed tears.

“Claire?”

I jumped, the Reverend and Mrs Graham were standing in front of me, worried looks plastered on their faces.

“Claire… Are ye alright, me dear? See, Mrs Graham, I told ye she’s not responding…”

“Reverend, why don’t ye go and get us something to drink. I think our Claire could really use a dram of scotch.”

The Reverend frowned before sighing and heading to his study to get the scotch.

“Claire, dear, ye look as if someone walked on yer grave!”

“I… I found him, Mrs Graham. I found the Dun Bonnet and…”

“Ye found him? Well, why didnae ye tell the Reverend? He’ll be the happiest man on…”

“The Dun Bonnet is Jamie, Mrs Graham!”

“What… But… How…”

I told her about my suspicions once I heard the legend of the Dun Bonnet, how it felt as if Reggie was telling Jamie’s story.

“And now I have proofs! Proofs that not only the Dun Bonnet is real, but that it’s Jamie! Jamie survived, Mrs Graham, and according to the legend…”

“According to the legend, his lady wife is the one who cleared his name… Claire… Ye have to tell the Reverend, ye have to tell him everything! How ye went through the Stones, how ye found yerself in the past…”

“Reggie won’t believe me…”

“What will I won’t believe?” asked the Reverend, holding a decanter and three glasses.

I took a deep breath, thinking about how I could probably tell the Reverend…

“Reggie… Do you know the song The Woman of Balnain?”

“Aye, it is an old folk song… About a woman taken by the fairies, I think, and traveled to a faraway land to live among strangers…”

Mrs Graham squeezed my hand. “Go ahead, Claire. Tell him.”

“What if I told you that I was the woman of Balnain… Back in 1945, I went to Craigh na Dun and upon touching the largest Stone I was transported to 1743. I lived among strangers, married one of them, fell in love with him, bear his daughter…”

I couldn’t decipher his expression. Did he think me mad?

“You don’t believe me…”

“What ye are telling me, Claire… Well, it is quite a tale… Fairy hill, time traveling through the Stones… Ye are right to think anybody wouldn’t believe ye, but I’m nae anybody, me dear. I’m a Scot. I was raised with stories of fairies and people disappearing, of the magic surrounding Craigh na Dun, though most of me life I thought them to be old wives’ tales. But I do believe ye, me dear Claire.”

I bursted in tears and threw myself at him, hugging him.

“Thank you, Reggie. Thank you for believing me!”

“Ye don’t need to thank me… Although ye could have told me sooner, me dear. Two years is a long time to keep such a secret and from what I can see ye had already told Mrs Graham… I feel quite left off…”

I laughed through my tears.

“Now… Will ye tell me what got ye so emotional earlier? I ken you didnae tell me yer secret for nothing…”

I carefully handed him the letter from King Louis, the one from the Duke of Cumberland and the proclamation.

“I found the Dun Bonnet, Reggie.”

“Ye… ye did?! Claire, it’s…”

He swiftly read the documents and for a moment he looked like a giddy schoolboy.

“That name… James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser… Yer lassies’ father?”

I nodded, not trusting my own voice.

“Will ye tell me yer story, Claire? Yer whole story, from the beginning?”

“I’ll leave ye two to it” said Mrs Graham with a smile. “I’ve already heard it and I still have some baking to do…”

And so I told the Reverend everything, starting with my first encounter with Jack Randall and subsequent saving by Murtagh. He didn’t stop me once to ask questions, but I could feel he was enthralled by my tale. For an avid historian like him, especially one interested by the Jacobites era, this was heaven for him. I was coming to the end of my story, how Jamie had gotten me and Faith to Craigh na Dun when the entrance door came bursting open and the sound of Faith, Brianna and Roger’s crying filled the Rectory.

“Mama!” shouted my youngest.

“Bree, darling, what’s the matter?”

“Roger, lad, why are ye all crying?”

At the grand old age of 9, Roger wasn’t known to cry for nothing, so something must have happened. Before the sweet lad could answer, the younger Mrs Graham came in, carrying her own daughter Fiona.

“Reverend, Miss Beauchamp, I think yer lad and lassies might have some ear infection… We were having a picnic, then they started complaining about their ears…”

“Mama, they scweamed!” sobbed Faith. “They were so loud, mama!”

I frowned. “What was so loud? Roger, what is she talking about?”

“The sound, auntie Claire, the sound was awful!”

Sound? Screams?

“Where did you say you went on your picnic?”

“Just outside the city, Miss Beauchamp. Near this hill, Craigh na Dun.”

TBC

10

Top 10 Cruel Monarchs (or with Black legend)

Louise de La Vallière (Françoise Louise de La Baume Le Blanc; 6 August 1644 – 7 June 1710) was a mistress of Louis XIV of France from 1661 to 1667. She later became the Duchess of La Vallière and Duchess of Vaujours in her own right. Unlike her rival, Madame de Montespan, she has no surviving descendants. Louise was also very religious and she led a religious penance for herself near the end of her life.

Early life

Louise de La Vallière was born in Tours, the daughter of an officer, Laurent de La Baume Le Blanc (who took the name of La Vallière from a small estate near Amboise) and Françoise Le Provost. Laurent de La Vallière died in 1651; his widow remarried in 1655, to Jacques de Courtarvel, marquis de Saint-Rémy, and joined the court of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, at Blois.

Louise was brought up with the younger princesses (the future Grand Duchess of Tuscany, Duchess of Alençon, and Duchess of Savoy), the half-sisters of La Grande Mademoiselle. After the death of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, his widow moved with her daughters to the Luxembourg Palace in Paris and took the sixteen-year-old Louise with them.

Louis XIV

Through the influence of a distant kinswoman, Mme de Choisy, Louise was named Maid of honour to Princess Henrietta Anne of England, sister of King Charles II of England, who was about her own age and had just married Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, the King’s brother. Henrietta (known as Madame) was extremely attractive and joined the court at Fontainebleau in 1661. Her friendly relationship with King Louis XIV, her brother-in-law, caused some scandal and fed rumors of a romantic affair.

To counter these rumors, the King and Madame decided that Louis should pay court elsewhere as a front, andMadame selected three young ladies to “set in his path”, Louise among them. The Abbé de Choise reported that the seventeen-year-old girl “had an exquisite complexion, blond hair, blue eyes, a sweet smile … [and] an expression [at] once tender and modest." One of her legs was shorter than the other, so Louise wore specially made heels.

Mistress

Louise had been at Fontainebleau only two months before becoming the king’s mistress. Although she was intended to divert attention from the dangerous flirtation between Louis and his sister-in-law, Louise and Louis soon fell in love. It was Louise’s first serious attachment and she was reportedly an innocent, religious-minded girl who initially brought neither coquetry nor self-interest to their secret relationship. She was not extravagant and was not interested in money or titles that could come from her situation; she wanted only the King’s love. Antonia Fraser writes that she was a "secret lover not a Maîtresse-en-titre like Barbara Villiers.”

Nicolas Fouquet’s curiosity in the matter was one of the causes of his disgrace, for, when he bribed Louise, the King mistakenly thought that Fouquet was attempting to take her as a lover.

In February 1662, the couple fell into conflict. Despite being directly questioned by the King, Louise refused to tell her lover about the affair between Henrietta and the comte de Guiche. Coinciding with this, Jacques-Benigne Bossuet delivered a series of Lenten sermons in which he condemned the immoral activities of the King through the example of King David’s adultery—and the pious girl’s conscience was troubled. She fled to the convent at Chaillot. Louis followed her there and convinced her to return to court. Her enemies—chief among them, Olympe Mancini, comtesse de Soissons, niece of Cardinal Mazarin—sought to orchestrate her downfall by bringing her liaison to the ears of Louis’s queen, Maria Theresa of Spain.

During her first pregnancy, Louise was removed from the Princess’ service and established in a lodging in the Palais Royal, where, on 19 December 1663, she gave birth to a son, Charles, who was taken immediately to Saint-Leu and given to two faithful servants of Jean-Baptiste Colbert. Despite the secrecy of the transfer, organised by a doctor Boucher who was present at the birth, the story quickly spread to Paris. The public scorn at a midnight mass on 24 December resulted in a distraught Louise escaping home from the church.[6]

Downfall

Concealment was practically abandoned after her return to court, and within a week of Anne of Austria’s death on 20 January 1666, La Vallière appeared at Mass beside Maria Theresa. Ashamed of her conduct, she treated the queen with humility and respect. In return, the queen was reportedly venomous towards her during the five-year affair, continuing even after the affair really ended—unaware that the king had taken another mistress.

After five years, Louise’s favour was waning. On 7 January 1665 she had given birth to a second son, Philippe, and on 27 December of that year she gave birth a third son, Louis;but the three children soon died, Charles on 15 July 1665, Philippe before the autumn of 1666 and Louis shortly after. A daughter was born at Vincennes on 2 October 1666. In May 1667, by letters patent confirmed by the Parlement de Paris, Louis XIV legitimised his daughter, who was named Marie Anne de Bourbon and was given the title of Mademoiselle de Blois. Louis XIV also made Louise a duchess and gave her the estate of Vaujours. As a duchess, Louise had the right to sit on a tabouret in the presence of the queen, which was a highly prized privilege. However, Louise was not impressed. She said her title seemed a kind of retirement present given to a servant who was retiring. Indeed she was correct, for Louis commented that legitimising their daughter and giving Louise an establishment “matched the affection he had had for her for six years”: in other words, an extravagant farewell present.

On 2 October of that year, she gave birth to their fifth child, a son named Louis, but by this time her place in the King’s affections had been usurped by Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan, whom both she and the queen (both pregnant when the affair began) had thought of as a trusted friend. Under the pretense of her pregnancy, Louise was sent away to Versailles while the King and the court were at the scene of the war; however, she disobeyed the King’s orders and returned, throwing herself at his feet sobbing uncontrollably. In a strange twist of fate, she ended her relationship with the King in the same way in which she started: used initially as a decoy for Louis and “Madame”, Louise now became a decoy for her own successor, as Louis made her share the Marquise de Montespan’s apartments at the Tuileries to prevent the legal manœuvres of the Marquis de Montespan (who wanted to get his wife back) and to keep the court from gossiping.

Mme de Montespan demanded that Louise assist her with her toilette, and Louise did so without complaint. Whenever the king wished to travel with his real mistress, Athénaïs, he made both Louise and Athénaïs sit in the same carriage with the queen. Since Athénaïs was married, it meant that both the king and she were committing adultery, a mortal sin. Louise had refused a smokescreen marriage for this very reason. (In cases where one partner is unmarried, canon law of the Roman Catholic Church considered a carnal affair to be simply fornication.)

Mlle de La Vallière was the godmother of Athénaïs’ and Louis XIV’s first daughter, who was given the first name Louise. Louise hated being the decoy for Athénaïs and begged and wept often to be allowed to join a convent. She took to wearing a hair shirt, and the strain of being forced to live with her former lover and his current mistress caused her to lose weight and become increasingly haggard.

She attempted to leave in 1671, fleeing to the convent of Ste Marie de Chaillot, only to be compelled (once more by order of the King) to return. In 1674, she was finally permitted to enter the Carmelite convent in the Faubourg Saint-Jacques in Paris under the name of Sister Louise of Mercy.

When Louise left the Court, the new Duchess of Orléans (born Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate) took care of the education of her only surviving son, Louis. He later was involved in a scandal with his uncle Philippe de France and Philippe’s favourite, the Chevalier de Lorraine, and died in 1683 while in exile in Flandres.His loving sister and aunt were greatly affected by his death, while his father did not shed a tear. His mother, still obsessed with the sin of her relationship with the king, said upon hearing of her son’s death:

I ought to weep for his birth far more than [for] his death.

Madame de Maintenon asked Louise if she had fully considered the discomforts that awaited her at the Carmelite convent which ended up including being forbidden to wear the shoes that allowed her to walk without a limp. “When I shall be suffering at the convent”, Louise replied, “I shall only have to remember what they made me suffer here, and all the pain shall seem light to me.” The day she left, she threw herself at the feet of the Queen, begging forgiveness: “My crimes were public, my repentance must be public, too.”

She took the final vows a year later, accepting the black veil from the queen herself, who kissed and blessed her. The queen already had a habit of spending brief sojourns at the convent for spiritual consolation and repose. Interestingly, later in life, Mme de Montespan went to Louise for advice on living a pious life. Louise forgave her, and counselled her on the mysteries of divine grace. She died in 1710. The Duchy of La Vallière went to her daughter Marie Anne as did the fortune she had acquired during her life as Louis’s mistress.

La Vallière’s Réflexions sur la miséricorde de Dieu, written after her retreat, were printed by Lequeux in 1767, and in 1860 Réflexions, lettres et sermons, by M. P. Clement (2 vols.). Some apocryphal Mémoires appeared in 1829, and the Lettres de Mme la Duchesse de la Vallière (1767) are a corrupt version of her correspondence with the Maréchal de Bellefonds.

Louise Françoise de Bourbon, Légitimée de France (1 June 1673 – 16 June 1743) was the eldest surviving legitimised daughter of Louis XIV of France and his maîtresse-en-titre, Madame de Montespan. She was said to have been named after her godmother,Louise de La Vallière, the woman that her mother had replaced as the king’s mistress. Prior to her marriage, she was known at court as Mademoiselle de Nantes.

Married at the age of eleven, she became known as Madame la Duchesse, a style which she kept as a widow. She was, Duchess of Bourbon and Princess of Condé by marriage. She was later a leading member of the cabale de Meudon, a group of people who centered on Louis, le Grand Dauphin her older half brother. Whilst her son, Louis Henri, Duke of Bourbon was Prime Minister of France she tried to further her political influence but to little avail.

Very attractive, she had a turbulent love life and was frequently part of scandal during the reign of her father Louis XIV. Later in life, she built the Palais Bourbon in Paris, the present seat of the National Assembly of France, with the fortune she amassed having invested greatly in the Système de Law.

Marie Leszczynska - Queen of France
born: June 23, 1703, Breslau, Silesia
died: June 24, 1768, Versailles, FranceMarie

Leszczynska, wife of Louis XV, lived most of her married life secluded in a few small rooms at Versailles. Meanwhile, her husband had a succession of mistresses and excluded her from the life of the court.

Marie was the daughter of Stanislas Leszczynski, who was placed on the thrown of Poland in 1704 when King Charles XII of Sweden gained this territory in a military campaign. Stanislas was driven from power in 1709 when Swedish forces left the area, leaving him without military support. Stanislas, a king without a country, then wandered from one place of refuge to another, including Turkey and Sweden. In 1725, he was living on the on the charity of the French court in Weissembourg, a little village in Alsace.

Marie Leszczynska was chosen to be the wife of Louis XV over 99 marriageable princesses. The decision in favor of the Polish princess was, in reality, an attempt on the part of the Duc de Bourbon and his mistress, Madame de Prie, to secure power for themselves. They selected Marie due to her extreme poverty believing she would gratefully assist them in controlling the king, as she owed her elevation to their favor alone.

Marie Leszczynska was 23 and Louis age 16 at the time they were married. Marie was a very quiet, gentle, and extremely religious person who fulfilled her obligation by having ten children, and provided an heir to the throne. During the first nine years of marriage, Louis was the paragon of husbands, due to his religious upbringing and the ordinary bashfulness of youth.

In 1733, at age 25, the king took his first mistress. This relationship was kept secret for four years. In 1737, the Queen had her tenth and last child. From that time onward, Louis treated his wife with frigid courtesy, never speaking to her except when others were present. He paid her short visits every day as a matter of etiquette. Otherwise, they led separate lives.

The Queen held her own court in her chambers, receiving guests and carrying out ceremonial functions. When Voltaire and Emilie du Chatelet were at Versailles, Emilie attended the Queen’s court and had the high privilege to sit in the presence of the Queen.

Marie Leszczynska was deeply religious, and heard mass in the morning and again at one o'clock with all the court. Louis XV preferred the company of his mistresses and Marie was not included in the daily activities of the king’s court.

In great contrast to Louis, who was bored by everything, the Queen was fond of music, she painted a little, embroidered, and played the guitar and harpsichord. In the evening she dined with a small group of friends who enjoyed conversation and they often played cards. The Queen did not become involved in court intrigues and lived a quiet, peaceful existence. She died in 1768 at the age of 65.


Louis XII de Valois

*Above: Louis de Valois and his four children

“Europe is a masquerade, Louis, in which you must play the main part”- Charles VIII to Prince Louis, 1479

Name: Louis de Valois, Roi de France

Born: 27th November 1465

Reign: 5th January 1480- 

Parents: Charles VIII de Valois (1439-1480, r.1459-1480), Roi de France et Maria de Cleves (1443-), Reine de France et  Douairière reine de France

Spouse: Isabella de Trastámara (1465-1481), Reine de France et Princesse de Aragon

Siblings: Anne de Valois (1460-), Michelle de Valois (1462-1485), Catherine de Valois, (1478-) {all Princesses of France}

House: Valois

War has plagued Louis’ life from an early age. His mother birthed him during the Battle of Paris (1465) where the English had invaded as far as the Parisian border. The guards and Maria had smuggled him out of the Louvre, fearing for his life as the English troops advanced further. It is as though Louis’ birth gave the French hope, as following his arrival, the French troops pushed the English back further and further. Growing up in Paris, he had a life of luxury and opulence, despite the ever-present shadow of war. His father was distant, though his mother guarded him like a lioness. She gave him everything and told him he could have anything he wanted- and he believed her. He was spoiled by his sisters, Anne and Michelle, and in return he spoiled his younger sister, Catherine. 

The young Prince discovered bodily pleasure at the young age of eight and upon hearing this, his uncle Francis, the Duke of Orleans, became the one who introduced him to the pleasures of women. Louis only had the chance to play with wooden soldiers for a short while before his adolescent mind became sadly preoccupied with something else. His first mistress was Madame Chevrolet, a woman twenty years his senior and only left his side when she became a victim of the plague in 1485.

When it become apparent that Queen Maria was struggling to birth sons, the King and his advisers rushed to secure the bloodline of the little heir. At the young age of nine, Louis was betrothed to the Princess Isabella of Aragon and married her a year later in 1475. The two had to wait a few years before they were allowed to produce heirs, and both proved very fertile. Isabella gave birth to twins, Jacques and Isabella, at the young age of 14 in 1479. The following year she birthed another son, Henri. However, in the same year, Louis’ father, Charles, died as a victim of the plague. His own sister, Michelle, succumbed to the same plague five years later. Her death broke Louis, as she had been his best friend for many years. Assuming the throne at the age of 15, the young King inherited his father’s debts and wars. Any remnants of a childhood vanished as Louis set to work, building one of the greatest kingdoms in Europe. In the mean time, Isabella’s terminal illness began to take its toll during her third pregnancy, resulting in her timely death following the birth of Henriette in 1481. It would be inaccurate to romanticise Louis and Isabella’s relationship; she may have been in love with him, though Louis, with his mind occupied with the new pleasures of women and wine, failed to love her. As Louis had two sons, a strong kingdom and was waging war instead of forging peace, he did not see the need for another wife and thus remained unmarried for another twenty years. Lady Marguerite d'Estrees, the French cousin to Isabella, arrived at court in 1479 at the young age of 12. Her attentiveness to Louis’ children following her cousin’s death caught his eye and in 1486, she officially became his Maitresse en titre.

Whilst it would be puzzling and seem impossible to those on the outside, Louis strongly believed in God. He confidently believed in his divine right and spoke with the Lord daily. Louis would tell his plans and intentions to Him, seeking his judgement and advice. He would dream, believing what he saw and heard were the guiding words of God.

Heeding his father’s words, which he had received during one of their few meaningful conversations, Louis has always masked his intentions and deeper parts of his personality. He aimed to control Europe’s perception of him, rather than allow them to invent it themselves. Those who glanced at him and his court would assume that he was a fool who simply loved women and wine. That is not to say, however, that Louis did not appreciate such wonders.  They would believe that they could take advantage of the King and France’s might. King Louis played his part in the masquerade, and he played it very well. He concealed his intelligence and his passion beneath the mask of promiscuity and drunkenness, so that when he would strike his enemies, like he did with Austria in 1501, friend or foe would not have anticipated it. 

*NOTE: This is a mostly fictitious biography, though it does bear some references to history. This is not a biography of the real king- Louis XII. Charles VIII was a real king, but he was not the father of the real Louis XII. Marie of Cleves was Louis XII’ true mother, who was married to the Duke of Orleans. All Houses mentioned are real, though the characters within this biography are fictitious.  

{{ Characters who have been mentioned: @crownprincejacques @princess–isabelle @princexhenri @thefrenchrose @margueritelamaitresse }}