Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Louis XIV

Gardens at Versailles October 2009

Versailles La Cour from wikipedi:

A picture of Marie Mancini from wikipedia:

An engraving of Vaux-le-Vicomte,
an inspiration for the Chateau of Versailles

Louis XIV holds a special place in history and also for me,
a favourite person to enjoy reading about. His time on the
throne spanned many years and he certainly is remembered
today for the wonderful achievement of the Chateau of Versailles and
the magnificent gardens which hark back to a more structured time in
society. A time of magnificence and grandeur, respect and admiration for
the young king, who became king at such an early age, when his father Louis XIII passed away and
Louis XIV was still at a young and at an impressionable age.
He was brought up by his mother, Anne of Austria, and Cardinal Mazarin,
who in turn brought his three nieces to the court of Versailles, where at
one stage, Louis XIV wished to marry Marie Mancini and Charles II of
England wished to marry her sister, Hortense Manicini. Unfortunately,
at the time, both kings being young, though for very different reasons
these marriages were not approved.

Marie Mancini was considered not a suitable prospect for the king of France.
This situation caused great distress for the young king. There was a musical
play on the stage in Paris “Le Roi Soleil” which was wonderful to watch on
you tube where the king
invites Marie Mancini to dance with him. At the end of the scene Marie
Mancini appears to be seated on a throne.

Had not Louis XIV been a king,
with the prospects of marrying a royal princess not been expected of him,
and perhaps if he had been Louis de Bourbon and not a king, his life would have been
very different. Louis XIV married Infanta Maria Theresa from Spain and
Marie Mancini was sent away from the court.

It was from the time spent with Marie Mancini and the influences of Cardinal
Mazarin that Louis XIV developed a love of Italian culture and art which
later was reflected in the beauty of the artistic designs of the chateau of
Versailles and its surroundings and landscape.

Unfortunately for Charles II of England, although his mother and sister,
Princess Henriette of England, (popularly known as Minette who subsequently
married the king's brother, Monsieur) were welcome at the court, Charles II for
political reasons was expected to move on. Louis XIV was young at this
stage and not in control.

Charles II spent many years in exile in Europe in
poverty, though with many loyal followers, who had also left England during
the Cromwell years. As Charles II was a king without a throne, his prospects
were suitably diminished and Cardinal Mazarin declined the marriage proposal
on behalf of his niece, Hortense Mancini.

Later, in years to come, when Charles II
was restored to the throne of England, Cardinal Mazarin broached the subject of
marriage again with the king regarding Hortense Mancini. By this time,
Charles II would have experienced many adventures during his travels and time
on the Continent and by this stage he did not wish to marry Hortense, probably for
various other reasons as well. Charles II, because of his experiences so different
from those of Louis XIV, may have had a different outlook on life, perhaps
more understanding of poverty and its consequences. Charles II married Katherine
of Braganza.

Charles II had started to build a palace at Winchester of which the plans were drawn by Sir
Christopher Wren, designer and architect of St Paul's Cathedral in London. He viewed the
beginnings of the building works with Nell Gwynn. Unfortunately, even though this palace
was to be built on a similar design of Versailles, surrounded by town houses, this plan did
not come into fruition and the palace was not completed due to the death of Charles II.

Versailles is a magnificent wonder of beauty and is a favourite place to visit. A real showpiece
of seventeenth century endeavour. The Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte may also have been an
inspiration for the young king with its wonderful gardens, fountains and outdoor entertainment
venues. Quite modern in concepts and design for the seventeenth century. Previously, many of the
older chateaux may have been more of a gothic design and built for defense purposes. Louis XIV
and his family lived at the Louvre in Paris and St Germain-en-Laye where he was born. When he first visited Vaux-le-Vicomte for the entertainments provided there,
he travelled with his family by carriage from the renaissance palace of Fontainebleau.

Castle of Fontainebleu from wikipedia:  a beautiful and serene place to visit;

Louis XIV by Le Brun

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