Madame de Pompadour: The Life and Legacy of French King Louis XV’s Chief Mistress
Madame de Pompadour: The Life and Legacy of French King Louis XV’s Chief Mistress3,8 5 5 Autor: Charles River Editors Narrador: Bill Hare
Madame de Pompadour achieved her power through her connection to Louis the Beloved, as he was called early in his reign, who had inherited an absolute empire eclipsed by none. His people responded in kind, as one writer noted: “There were in those days no people in the world so passionately attached to their King as the French…The populace stood in the streets and roads to see him pass and watched with awestruck admiration the procession of splendid state coaches when the Court went to Versailles, Marly, or Fontainebleau. To see the King at dinner was one of their favourite [sic] amusements, and in all domestic events in the royal family they had an intense and personal interest.” The people’s interest in their king included his health, his marriage, and his children. Of course, this also meant their interests included the king’s mistresses, who had been part of court life since the Middle Ages. With very few exceptions, a French king took a wife who would provide legitimate heirs to the throne, but he took several mistresses as well.
King Louis XV reigned for 72 years, and his predecessors had survived multiple palace intrigues and challenges to their thrones, sometimes by their mothers, wives, and members of the court. Louis XV had used Versailles, his grandfather’s getaway hunting lodge, to control the nobility and center court life around the king’s personality cult. Rather than seek political power, the nobility sought proximity to the king at Versailles as all other venues paled in comparison. In Madame de Pompadour, author Nancy Mitford explained that “all fashion and all fun were gathered together at Versailles. Parisian society, though very middle-class, hummed with life and could be enjoyed from time to time as a change from the Court; the provinces were unthinkable. The heaviest blow that could befall a man was banishment to his estates; this did not only mean loss of place and influence; the exile, condemned to live in the country became ridiculous in the eyes of his friends. Let him embellish his house and garden, let him give expensive parties and make a social and intellectual center for the whole neighborhood, the poor man was a dowdy provincial; he counted for nothing anymore.”
Duración: 1H 22M
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