He loved luxury and did not shy away from romance. Discover interesting facts about the life of Louis XIV

He loved luxury and did not shy away from romance. Discover interesting facts about the life of Louis XIV
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Louis XIV is one of the most recognizable rulers in the world. He ruled France as the Sun King. What do we know about this remarkable ruler? Here are the most interesting facts about his life

He was the awaited child of Anne of Austria and Louis XIII

The birth of Louis XIV was a huge surprise. It was considered a true miracle because the descendant of Anne of Austria and Louis XIII did not appear until after twenty years of effort. Rumor had it that Louis XIV was an illegitimate child, and his father actually turned out to be Cardinal Mazarini. However, this did not prevent him from taking the throne at the age of a few years!

A stinking ruler

The times of this king were quite controversial. Courtiers and princes did not bathe often, and according to chroniclers, the king himself took a bath only twice during his reign. Apparently the fetor of unwashed flesh was hidden by heavy perfumes and pomades. Versailles itself, which the sovereign had built in honor of his own reign, was no oasis of cleanliness. Faeces left by courtiers and the king himself were cleaned only once a week.

The royal palate

Louis XIV did not avoid exquisite dishes and sweets. The king’s fondness for very exclusive dishes was described by his chroniclers. It is said that during one banquet the king could eat a bowl of salads, two soups, a whole pheasant, pork ham, fruit and a huge amount of sweets. He had as many as 500 cooks who constantly created new, surprising dishes for the royal table. The Sun King loved sweet dishes, which unfortunately took a toll on his health. He suffered from tooth decay and frequent constipation. Medics had to gradually remove his teeth and systematically perform enemas.

Biography – Louis XIV – King of France & Known as the Sun King

The amorous conquests of Louis XIV

The king did not deny himself carnal pleasures either. Among his courtesans he had many mistresses who gave him offspring – some he did not recognize as his own. Married duchesses also sought to enter the alcove of the then ruler of France. It was a great honor and privilege that the Sun King chose the lady in question and recognized her as his concubine. Numerous betrayals of the king did not shock his subjects, who were well aware that their ruler did not shy away from women.

Wealth and splendour

Louis XIV loved luxury, so for his own part he had Versailles built, which delights with its beauty to this day. The baroque and very sumptuous interiors were filled with gold and pearls. In it he arranged grand balls and invited distinguished guests.

l’État c’est moi – the State is me

The Sun King – this is how his subjects and other rulers referred to Louis XIV. He exercised absolute power, but he was a good and understanding king. He took care not only about arms, but also about the development of the economy. During his reign France flourished, and the budget received funds from tributes and taxes. The king remembered that strong citizens are also an image of his power. New manufactories and a navy were built. At that time French became the international language. Court culture flourished, too, and Versailles was the beginning of it. Many rulers of other countries imitated the policies of Louis XIV, and the notion of elegance and appropriate court behavior was absorbed into the customs of other European courts and palaces.

Fight against the Papacy

Louis XIV pursued a very strong policy, which did not please the Vatican. His huge conflicts with the papacy were well known. He also sought autonomy for the French church. The persecution of Huguenots in France weakened the economy, but the king was relentless in his actions. He sought hegemony in Europe, which the anti-French coalition formed called the Augsburg League refused to accept.

Illnesses of the Sun King

His rather rambunctious life and the huge amounts of food he consumed took a toll on his health. Louis XIV often complained of migraines, toothaches, indigestion, and gout. Medics did what they could to save his failing health. At the end of his life, at the age of 77, he no longer had all his teeth and had a severe limp. Despite his illnesses, he lived to a rather old age for those times. He died on September 1, 1717 and was buried in the Basilica of Saint-Denis in Paris.

Photo: Hyacinthe Rigaud/Public domain/Wikimedia Commons

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