Louis XIII married Anne of Austria when he was 14 years old, and they had two children when he was in his late 30s- Louis and Phillipe. The boys were born two years apart, Louis being the elder. When their father died aged 42, his son Louis XIV was made king at age 4, although he didn’t officially rule until he was older. France was ruled by his mother, with the help of the court.
When Louis was 22 he married the Spanish princess, and his cousin, Marie Therese. Throughout their marriage, she had 7 children but many of them were stillborn (born dead) or died soon after birth or in early childhood, along with many miscarriages. She only had one legitimate surviving child; Louis the Grand Dauphin.
Her other (possible) child, Louise Marie Therese is thought to be an illegitimate child as she was black and both her “parents” were white, although it may be a throwback to her mother’s Spanish side with the Moors (African Muslims that inhabited Europe). The most likely explanation is that she had an intimate relationship with her companion, the African dwarf, Nabo.
It is possible that the child was born with dark, purplish skin due to oxygen deprivation during delivery. At the time many people thought that a black page or Nabo scared her and corrupted the royal womb or that she drank too much hot chocolate.
As you can imagine rumours ran wild within the court, speculation over the child lasted for years but no one could/can prove anything.
Louise may not have been Marie Therese’s daughter, but she was rumoured to have been from royal descent – whether she was Marie Therese’ daughter or the daughter of a servant that Louis had been cavorting with is a mystery. It might all be a hoax for all we know.
In 1683, a tumour was discovered under Marie Therese’s arm and she died on the 30th of July, and upon her death Louis remarked, “This is the first trouble which she has given me.”
Louis’ second wife Françoise D’Aubergine was the caretaker of his son Louis the Grand Dauphin. They were married in secret in 1683, she was 48 and he was 45. She didn’t bear him any children as she was too old, but it was said he loved her more than his previous wife and mistresses and was always faithful to her. In his dying months, she went away to a convent to renew her faith.
He died on the 1st of September, 1715 due to gangrenous nerves in his back and an injury called sciatica (back, hip and outer leg pain usually because of a damaged spinal disc), just four days before his 77th birthday.
Louis’ legacy lives on until this day, with his Sun King (Le Roi du Soleil) logo, almost as recognisable as the Nike tick. He revoked the Edict de Nuages that had been introduced by his grandfather. The edict had allowed French Protestants to freely worship their religion, but when he took the legislation away, thousands of French Protestants migrated to Spain and Spanish Netherlands.
Louis’ brother, Phillippe d’Orleans lived a very extravagant life. From birth, he had been dressed as a girl, as most children were in those days, but he was also called by names such as ‘my little girl’ and was encouraged to dress in women’s clothes even as a young man. He also often attended parties dressed as a woman. Phillippe was openly homosexual/bisexual and had relationships with many courtiers, disregarding his wives and their feelings.
One of Phillippe’s most notable relationships was with the Chevallier de Lorraine who was three years younger than Phillippe. The chevalier was described as “Insinuating, brutal and devoid of scruple.” Henriette, Phillippe’s wife, was worried by the passion with Phillippe loved the Chevalier.
King Louis imprisoned the Chevalier in the Chateau d’If, a Medditerian Island, but was then later exiled to Rome. Phillippe also had many relationships with younger German courtiers and, it was rumoured he also had a mistress.
He and his first wife Henriette had three children, and he also fathered three children with his second wife Elizabeth Charlotte.
His first wife Henrietta of England (Henriette), complained of intermittent and extreme pains in her side and suffered from digestive problems that became so severe, that she could only consume milk. After she was sent to England to convince her brother that he should sign the Dover Peace Treaty between France and England, she and Phillippe travelled to Saint Cloud.
Reports suggest that Phillipe was angry that she was spending so much time with Louis, as they were planning her trip to visit her brother in England. Some think that there may have been more to their meetings than just discussing her trip. It is possible that he may have poisoned her, or that his partner the Chavallier de Lorraine may have conspired against her.
On the 26 June, she drank a glass of chicory water, and suddenly exclaimed that she thought had been poisoned. She died at two o’clock 4 days later on the 30 June 1670. Her cause of death was determined as being peritonitis – a condition which in her case was determined as being caused by a perforated ulcer – a stomach ulcer that had burnt through the stomach wall and leaked stomach acid and food into her abdominal cavity.
Who do you think had the better life, Louis or Phillippe?