From the Emperor’s Desk: I interrupt my sabbatical to post this short entry concerning my favorite King.
On May 21, 1662 King Charles II and Infanta Catherine de Braganza of Portugal were married at Portsmouth in two ceremonies—a Catholic one conducted in secret, followed by a public Anglican service.
Catherine was born at the Ducal Palace of Vila Viçosa as the second surviving daughter of Joâo, 8th Duke of Braganza, and his wife, Luisa de Guzmán. Following the Portuguese Restoration War, her father was acclaimed King Joâo IV of Portugal on December 1,1640.
With her father’s new position as one of Europe’s most important monarchs, Portugal then possessing a widespread colonial empire, Catherine became a prime choice for a wife for European royalty, and she was proposed as a bride for Johann of Austria, the duc de Beaufort, Louis XIV of France and Charles II of England.
Felipe V (December 19, 1683 – July 9, 1746) was King of Spain from November 1, 1700 to January 14, 1724, and again from September 6, 1724 to his death in 1746. Felipe V instigated many important reforms in Spain, most especially the centralization of power of the monarchy and the suppression of regional privileges, via the Nueva Planta decrees, and restructuring of the administration of the Spanish Empire on the Iberian peninsula and its overseas regions.
Philippe was born at the Palace of Versailles in France as the second son of Louis, Grand Dauphin, the heir apparent to the throne of France, (son of Louis XIV) and his wife Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria, known as the Dauphine Victoire. He was a younger brother of Louis, Duke of Burgundy, the father of Louis XV of France. At birth, Philippe was created Duke of Anjou, a traditional title for younger sons in the French royal family. He would be known by this name until he became the King of Spain. Since Philippe’s older brother, the Duke of Burgundy, was second in line to the French throne after his father, there was little expectation that either he or his younger brother Charles, Duke of Berry, would ever rule over France.
In 1700, King Carlos II of Spain, the last Habsburg to rule Spain, died childless. His will named as successor Philippe, grandson of Charles’ half-sister Maria Theresa, the first wife of Louis XIV. Upon any possible refusal, the Crown of Spain would be offered next to Philippe’s younger brother, the Duke of Berry, then to the Archduke Charles of Austria, later Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. Philippe had the better genealogical claim to the Spanish throne, because his Spanish grandmother and great-grandmother were older than the ancestors of the Archduke Charles of Austria.
However, the Austrians maintained that Philip’s grandmother had renounced the Spanish throne for herself and her descendants as part of her marriage contract. The French claimed that it was on the basis of a dowry that had never been paid.
After a long Royal Council meeting in France at which the Dauphin spoke up in favor of his son’s rights, it was agreed that Philippe would ascend the throne, but he would forever renounce his claim to the throne of France for himself and his descendants. The Royal Council decided to accept the provisions of the will of Carlos II naming Philippe, King of Spain, and the Spanish ambassador was called in and introduced to the new king. The ambassador, along with his son, knelt before the new King Felipe V and made a long speech in Spanish, which Felipe did not understand.
On November 2, 1701, the almost 18-year-old Felipe V married the 13-year-old Maria Luisa of Savoy, as chosen by his grandfather King Louis XIV. She was the daughter of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy, and his wife Anne Marie d’Orléans, Felipe’s first cousin once removed. The Duke and Duchess of Savoy were also the parents of Princess Marie Adélaïde of Savoy, Duchess of Burgundy, Felipe’s sister-in-law. There was a proxy ceremony at Turin, the capital of the Duchy of Savoy, and another one at Versailles on September 11.
Proclamation of Felipe V as King of Spain in the Palace of Versailles on November 16, 1700.
Felipe V’s accession in Spain provoked the 13-year War of the Spanish Succession, which continued until the Treaty of Utrecht forbade any future possibility of unifying the French and Spanish crowns while confirming his accession to the throne of Spain. It also removed the Spanish Netherlands and Spanish-controlled Italy from the Spanish monarchy.
Shortly after the death of Queen Maria Luisa in 1714, the King decided to marry again. His second wife was Elisabeth of Parma, daughter of Odoardo Farnese, Hereditary Prince of Parma, and Dorothea Sophie of the Palatinate. At the age of 22, on 24 December 1714, she was married to the 31-year-old Felipe V by proxy in Parma. The marriage was arranged by Cardinal Alberoni, with the concurrence of the Princesse des Ursins, the Camarera mayor de Palacio (“chief of the household”) of the king of Spain.
On January 14, 1724, Felipe V abdicated the throne to his eldest son, the seventeen-year-old Luis, for reasons still subject to debate. One theory suggests that Felipe V, who exhibited many elements of mental instability during his reign, did not wish to reign due to his increasing mental decline. A second theory puts the abdication in context of the Bourbon dynasty.
The French royal family recently had lost many legitimate agnates to diseases. Indeed, Felipe V’s abdication occurred just over a month after the death of Philippe II, the Duke of Orléans, who had been regent for Louis XV of France.
The lack of an heir made another continental war of succession a possibility. Felipe V was a legitimate descendant of Louis XIV, but matters were complicated by the Treaty of Utrecht, which forbade a union of the French and Spanish crowns. The theory supposes that Felipe V hoped that by abdicating the Spanish crown he could circumvent the Treaty and succeed to the French throne.
In any case, Luis died on August 31, 1724 in Madrid of smallpox, having reigned only seven months and leaving no issue. Felipe was forced to return to the Spanish throne as his younger son, the later Fernando VI, was not yet of age.
During Felipe V’s second reign, Spain began to recover from the stagnation it had suffered during the twilight of the Spanish Habsburg dynasty. Although the population of Spain grew, the financial and taxation systems were archaic and the treasury ran deficits. The king employed thousands of highly paid retainers at his palaces—not to rule the country but to look after the royal family. The army and bureaucracy went months without pay and only the shipments of silver from the New World kept the system going. Spain suspended payments on its debt in 1739—effectively declaring bankruptcy.
Felipe V was afflicted by fits of manic depression and increasingly fell victim to a deep melancholia. His second wife, Elizabeth Farnese, completely dominated her passive husband. She bore him further sons, including another successor, Carlos III of Spain. Beginning in August 1737 his affliction was eased by the castrato singer Farinelli, who, became the “Musico de Camara of Their Majesties.” Farinelli would sing eight or nine arias for the king and queen every night, usually with a trio of musicians.
Felipe V died on July 9, 1746 in El Escorial, in Madrid, but was buried in his favorite Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, near Segovia. Fernando VI of Spain, his son by his first queen Maria Luisa of Savoy, succeeded him.
Louis III, Prince of Condé (November 10, 1668 – March 4, 1710), was a prince du sang as a member of the reigning House of Bourbon at the French court of Louis XIV. Styled as the Duke of Bourbon from birth, he succeeded his father as Prince of Condé in 1709; however, he was still known by the ducal title. He was prince for less than a year.
Louis de Bourbon, duc de Bourbon, duc de Montmorency (1668–1689), duc d’Enghien (1689–1709), 6th Prince of Condé, comte de Sancerre (1709–1710), comte de Charolais (1709), was born at the Hôtel de Condé in Paris on November 10, 1668 and died at the Palace of Versailles on March 4, 1710. The eldest son of Henri Jules de Bourbon, Prince of Condé and Anne Henriette of Bavaria, and the grandson of the le Grand Condé.
One of nine children, he was his parents’ eldest surviving son. His sister, Marie Thérèse de Bourbon, married François Louis, Prince of Conti in 1688. Another sister, Louise Bénédicte de Bourbon, would marry Louis Auguste, Duke of Maine, a legitimised son of Louis XIV, in 1692. His youngest sister, Marie Anne de Bourbon, much later married the famous general Louis Joseph de Bourbon.
He was made a Chevalier du Saint-Esprit in 1686, a colonel of the Bourbon-Infanterie Regiment later that same year, a maréchal de camp in 1690, and a lieutenant general in 1692. Upon the death of his father, he inherited all the Condé titles and estates.
In 1685, Louis married Louise Françoise de Bourbon, known at court as Mademoiselle de Nantes, who was the eldest legitimised daughter of King Louis XIV of France and his mistress, Madame de Montespan. In an age where dynastic considerations played a major role, eyebrows at court were raised at a marriage between a full-blooded prince du sang and a royal bastard. The head of the House of Condé, le Grand Condé, however, acquiesced to the socially inferior match in the hope of gaining favour with the bride’s father, Louis XIV.
The seventeen-year-old duc de Bourbon was known at court as Monsieur le Duc. After the marriage, his wife assumed the style of Madame la Duchesse. Like his father, who became Prince of Condé in 1687, Louis de Bourbon led a typical, unremarkable life. At a time when five-and-a-half feet was considered a normal height for a woman, Louis, while not quite a dwarf, was considered a short man.
His sisters, in fact, were so tiny that they were referred to as “dolls of the Blood”, or, less flatteringly, as “little black beetles” since many of them were dark in complexion and hunchbacked. While not suffering from this condition himself, Louis was macrocephalic. In addition, his skin tone was said to have a definite yellowish-orange tint to it. On the plus side, while no scholar, Louis was respectably well educated. Similarly, while certainly no fool, he was not burdened with too much intelligence for his time and station in life.
Louis III was prince de Condé for a little less than a year, as he died only eleven months after his father. Like his father, Louis was hopelessly insane, having slipped into madness several years before his actual death, “making horrible faces”, as one historian noted. Louis died in 1710 at the age of forty-two.
Louis XIV (Louis Dieudonné; September 5, 1638 – September 1, 1715), known as Louis the Great (Louis le Grand) or the Sun King (le Roi Soleil), was King of France and Navarre from May 14, 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. Louis XIV’s France was emblematic of the age of absolutism in Europe.
Louis XIV was born on September 5, 1638 in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, to Louis XIII of France and Navarre and Anne of Austria. He was named Louis Dieudonné (Louis the God-given) and bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent: Dauphin. At the time of his birth, his parents had been married for 23 years. His mother had experienced four stillbirths between 1619 and 1631. Leading contemporaries thus regarded him as a divine gift and his birth a miracle of God.
Louis XIV began his personal rule of France in 1661, after the death of his chief minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin. An adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, Louis continued his predecessors’ work of creating a centralised state governed from the capital. He sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France and, by compelling many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during his minority.
By these means he became one of the most powerful French monarchs and consolidated a system of absolute monarchy in France that endured until the French Revolution. He also enforced uniformity of religion under the Gallican Catholic Church. His revocation of the Edict of Nantes abolished the rights of the Huguenot Protestant minority and subjected them to a wave of dragonnades, effectively forcing Huguenots to emigrate or convert, and virtually destroying the French Protestant community.
Louis XIV surrounded himself with a variety of significant political, military, and cultural figures, such as Mazarin, Colbert, Louvois, the Grand Condé, Turenne, Vauban, Boulle, Molière, Racine, Boileau, La Fontaine, Lully, Charpentier, Marais, Le Brun, Rigaud, Bossuet, Le Vau, Mansart, Charles, Claude Perrault, and Le Nôtre.
During Louis’s long reign, France emerged as the leading European power and regularly asserted its military strength. A conflict with Spain marked his entire childhood, while during his reign, the kingdom took part in three major continental conflicts, each against powerful foreign alliances: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, and the War of the Spanish Succession.
In addition, France also contested shorter wars, such as the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. Warfare defined Louis’s foreign policy and his personality shaped his approach. Impelled by “a mix of commerce, revenge, and pique”, he sensed that war was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime he concentrated on preparing for the next war. He taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military.
In 1658, as war with France began to wind down, a union between the royal families of Spain and France was proposed as a means to secure peace. Infanta Maria Theresa and Louis XIV were double first cousins: Louis XIV’s father was Louis XIII of France, who was the brother of Infanta Maria Theresa’s mother, while her father was brother to Anne of Austria, Louis XIV’s mother.
Spanish procrastination led to a scheme in which France’s prime minister, Cardinal Mazarin, pretended to seek a marriage for his master with Margaret Yolande of Savoy. When Felipe IV of Spain heard of a meeting at Lyon between the Houses of France and Savoy in November 1658, he reputedly exclaimed of the Franco-Savoyard union that “it cannot be, and will not be”. Felipe then sent a special envoy to the French court to open negotiations for peace and a royal marriage.
A marriage by proxy to the French king was held in Fuenterrabia. Her father and the entire Spanish court accompanied the bride to the Isle of Pheasants on the border in the Bidassoa river, where Louis and his court met her in the meeting on the Isle of Pheasants on June 7, 1660, and she entered France. On June 9, the marriage took place in Saint-Jean-de-Luz at the recently rebuilt church of Saint Jean the Baptist. After the wedding, Louis wanted to consummate the marriage as quickly as possible. The new queen’s mother-in-law (and aunt) arranged a private consummation instead of the public one that was the custom.
Louis XIV and his wife Maria Theresa of Spain had six children from the marriage contracted for them in 1660. However, only one child, the eldest, survived to adulthood: Louis, le Grand Dauphin, known as Monseigneur. Maria Theresa died in 1683, whereupon Louis remarked that she had never caused him unease on any other occasion.
Despite evidence of affection early on in their marriage, Louis was never faithful to Maria Theresa. He took a series of mistresses, both official and unofficial. Among the better documented are Louise de La Vallière (with whom he had five children; 1661–67), Bonne de Pons d’Heudicourt (1665), Catherine Charlotte de Gramont (1665), Françoise-Athénaïs, Marquise de Montespan (with whom he had seven children; 1667–80), Anne de Rohan-Chabot (1669–75), Claude de Vin des Œillets (one child born in 1676), Isabelle de Ludres (1675–78), and Marie Angélique de Scorailles (1679–81), who died at age 19 in childbirth. Through these liaisons, he produced numerous illegitimate children, most of whom he married to members of cadet branches of the royal family.
Louis proved relatively more faithful to his second wife, Françoise d’Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon. He first met her through her work caring for his children by Madame de Montespan, noting the care she gave to his favorite, Louis Auguste, Duke of Maine. The king was, at first, put off by her strict religious practice, but he warmed to her through her care for his children.
When he legitimized his children by Madame de Montespan on December 20, 1673, Françoise d’Aubigné became the royal governess at Saint-Germain. As governess, she was one of very few people permitted to speak to him as an equal, without limits. It is believed that they were married secretly at Versailles on or around October 10, 1683 or January 1684. This marriage, though never announced or publicly discussed, was an open secret and lasted until his death.
Despite the image of a healthy and virile king that Louis sought to project, evidence exists to suggest that his health was not very good. He had many ailments: for example, symptoms of diabetes, as confirmed in reports of suppurating periostitis in 1678, dental abscesses in 1696, along with recurring boils, fainting spells, gout, dizziness, hot flushes, and headaches.
From 1647 to 1711, the three chief physicians to the king (Antoine Vallot, Antoine d’Aquin, and Guy-Crescent Fagon) recorded all of his health problems in the Journal de Santé du Roi (Journal of the King’s Health), a daily report of his health. On November 18, 1686, Louis underwent a painful operation for an anal fistula that was performed by the surgeon Charles Felix de Tassy, who prepared a specially shaped curved scalpel for the occasion. The wound took more than two months to heal.
Louis died of gangrene at Versailles on September 1, 1715, four days before his 77th birthday, after 72 years on the throne. Enduring much pain in his last days, he finally “yielded up his soul without any effort, like a candle going out”, while reciting the psalm Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina (O Lord, make haste to help me). His body was laid to rest in Saint-Denis Basilica outside Paris. It remained there undisturbed for about 80 years, until revolutionaries exhumed and destroyed all of the remains found in the Basilica.
Louis outlived most of his immediate legitimate family. His last surviving in-wedlock son, Louis. the Grand Dauphin, died in 1711. Barely a year later, Louis, Duke of Burgundy, the eldest of the Dauphin’s three sons and then heir to Louis XIV, followed his father to the grave. Burgundy’s elder son, Louis, Duke of Brittany, joined them a few weeks later. Thus, on his deathbed, Louis’ heir was his five-year-old great-grandson, Louis, Duke of Anjou, Burgundy’s younger son, who became King Louis XV.
Infanta Margaret-Theresa of Spain (12 July 1651 – 12 March 1673) was, by marriage to Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I, Holy Roman Empress, German Queen, Archduchess of Austria and Queen of Hungary and Bohemia.
Infanta Margaret-Theresa of Spain
Infanta Margaret-Theresa was born on July 12, 1651 in Madrid as the first child of King Felipe IV of Spain born from his second marriage with his niece Mariana of Austria. Because of this avunculate marriage, Margaret’s mother was nearly thirty years younger than her father.
Her mother, Archduchess Maria-Anna of Austria (December 24, 1634 – May 16, 1696), was the the second child of Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III and Infanta Maria-Anna of Spain, daughter of King Felipe III of Spain and Archduchess Margaret of Austria (the daughter of Archduke Charles II of Austria and Maria-Anna of Bavaria)
King Felipe IV of Spain and Portugal (father)
Archduchess Maria-Anna of Austria (mother)
Maria-Anna of Austria and her husband Emperor Ferdinand III were first cousins continuing a long line of multiple cousin and niece/uncle marriages between the Austrian and Spanish branches of the House of Habsburg.
Infanta Margaret-Theresa of Spain also was the elder full-sister of King Carlos II, the last of the Spanish Habsburgs. She is the central figure in the famous Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, and the subject of many of his later paintings.
The marriage of her parents was purely made for political reasons, mainly the search for a new male heir for the Spanish throne after the early death of Balthasa-Carlos, Prince of Asturias in 1646.
Besides him, the other only surviving child of Felipe IV’s first marriage was the Infanta Maria-Theresa, (Margaret-Theresa‘s half-sister) who later became the wife of King Louis XIV of France and Navarre. After Margaret-Theresa, between 1655 and 1661, four more children (a daughter and three sons) were born from the marriage between Felipe IV and Maria-Anna of Austria, but only one survived infancy, the future King Carlos II of Spain.
Margaret-Theresa did not develop the serious health issues and disabilities (because of the close consanguinity of her parents) that her younger brother Carlos had shown since his birth. During her childhood she was once seriously ill, but survived. According to contemporaries, Margaret-Theresa had an attractive appearance and lively character. Her parents and close friends called her the “little angel”.
She grew up in the Queen’s chambers in the Royal Alcazar of Madrid surrounded by many maids and servants. The Infanta loved candies, which she constantly hid from the physicians who cared for the health of her teeth. Both Margaret-Theresa’s father and maternal grandfather Emperor Ferdinand III loved her deeply. In his private letters King Felipe IV called her “my joy”. At the same time, Margaret-Theresa was brought up in accordance with the strict etiquette of the Madrid court, and received a good education.
In the second half of the 1650s at the imperial court in Vienna the necessity developed for another dynastic marriage between the Spanish and Austrian branches of the House of Habsburg. The union was needed to strengthen the position of both countries, especially against the Kingdom of France. At first the proposals were for Maria-Theresa (Margaret-Theresa’s half-sister) to marry the heir of the Holy Roman Empire, Archduke Leopold Ignaz. But in 1660 and under the terms of the Treaty of the Pyrenees, the Infanta was married to the French King; Louis XIV, and as a part of her marriage contract, she was asked to renounce her claims to the Spanish throne in return for a monetary settlement as part of her dowry, which was never paid.
Then began discussion about a marriage between Margaret-Theresa and the Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I (who was her maternal uncle and paternal cousin). However, the Madrid court hesitated to agree to this proposal, because the infanta could inherit the Spanish crown if her little brother died. The count of Fuensaldaña, Spanish ambassador in France, suggested the infanta as a possible bride for King Charles II of England. However, King Felipe IV rejected this idea, replying that the King of England should look for a wife in France.
In October 1662, the new Imperial ambassador in the Spanish Kingdom, Count Francis Eusebius of Pötting, began one of his main diplomatic assignments, which was the celebration of the marriage between the Infanta Margaret-Theresa and the Emperor Leopold I. Negotiations by the Spanish side were led by Ramiro Núñez de Guzmán, Duke of Medina de las Torres. On April 6 1663, the betrothal between Margaret and Leopold I was finally announced. The marriage contract was signed on December 18. Before the official wedding ceremony (which, according to custom, had to take place in Vienna) another portrait of the Infanta was sent, in order for the Emperor to know his bride.
King Felipe IV died on September 17, 1665. In his will, he did not mention Margaret-Theresa’s betrothal; in fact, the context in which the document was prepared suggests that the late monarch still hesitated to marry his daughter to his Austrian relative because he sought to ensure her rights as sole ruler of the Spanish crown in case of the extinction of his male line. Maria-Anna of Austria, now Dowager Queen and Regent of the Kingdom on behalf of her minor son Carlos II, delayed the wedding of her daughter.
The marriage was agreed upon only after intense Imperial diplomacy efforts. On April 25, 1666, the marriage by proxy was finally celebrated in Madrid, in a ceremony attended not only by the Dowager Queen, King Carlos II and the Imperial ambassador but also by the local nobility; the groom was represented by Antonio de la Cerda, 7th Duke of Medinaceli.
On April 28, 1666 Margaret-Theresa traveled from Madrid to Vienna, accompanied by her personal retinue. The Infanta arrived at Denia, where she rested for some days before embarking on the Spanish Royal fleet on July 16, in turn escorted by ships of the Order of Malta and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Then (after a short stop in Barcelona because Margaret had some health issues) the cortege sailed to the port of Finale Ligure, arriving on August 20.
There, Margaret-Theresa was received by Luis Guzman Ponce de Leon, Governor of Milan. The cortege left Finale on September 1 and arrived in Milan ten days later, although the official entry was not celebrated until September 15. After spending almost all September in Milan, the Infanta continued the journey through Venice, arriving in early October in Trento. At every stop Margaret-Theresa received celebrations in her honor.
On October 8, the Spanish retinue arrived at the city of Roveredo, where the head of Margaret-Theresa cortege, Francisco Fernández de la Cueva, 8th Duke of Alburquerque officially handed the Infanta to Ferdinand Joseph, Prince of Dietrichstein and Count Ernst Adalbert von Harrach, Prince-Bishop of Trento, representants of Leopold I. On October 20, the new Austrian cortege left Roveredo, crossing the Tyrol, through Carinthia and Styria, and arrived on 25 November 25, at the district of Schottwien, twelve miles from Vienna where the Emperor came to receive his bride.
Today I feature my 9th favorite European Crown, The Crown of Louis XV, the sole surviving crown from the French ancien regime among the French Crown Jewels.
The Crown of Louis XV of France and Navarre
The crown was created for King Louis XV in 1722, when he had a new crown created. It was used at his coronation and was embellished with diamonds from the Royal Collection.
The new crown was made by Laurent Ronde, the French Crown jeweller. It originally contained a collection of Mazarin Diamonds, the de Sancy diamond in the fleur-de-lis at the top of the arches, and the famous ‘Regent’ diamond, which was set in the front of the crown, as well as hundreds of other precious diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
The de Sancy diamond has a long and colorful history, too long to tell in this blog entry. I’ll tell it’s story in one of tomorrow’s blog entries. I can tell the history of the Regent Diamond.
The Regent Diamond.
According to one rumour, in 1698, a slave of India found the 410 carats (82 g; 2.6 ozt) rough diamond in the Kollur Mine in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, India and hid it inside a large wound in his leg. An English sea captain stole the diamond from the slave, killed him and sold it to an Indian merchant.
The Regent Diamond
Thomas Pitt claimed he acquired the diamond from the eminent Indian diamond merchant Jamchund for 48,000 pagodas in the same year, so it is sometimes also known as the Pitt Diamond.
Thomas “Diamond” Pitt (1653-1726) of Stratford in Wiltshire and of Boconnoc in Cornwall, was an English merchant involved in trade with India who served as President of Madras and six times as a Member of Parliament. He was the grandfather of William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham (“Pitt the Elder”) and was great-grandfather of Pitt the Younger, both prime ministers of Great Britain.
Pitt dispatched the stone to London hidden in the heel of his son Robert’s shoe aboard the East Indiaman Loyal Cooke, which left Madras on October 9, 1702. It was later cut in London by the diamond cutter Harris, between 1704 and 1706. The cutting took two years and cost about £5,000. Rumours circulated that Pitt had fraudulently acquired the diamond.
Sale to the French Prince Regent
After many attempts to sell it to various Members of European royalty, including King Louis XIV of France, it was purchased by the French Regent, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, in 1717 for £135,000 (equivalent to £20,680,000 in 2019), at the urging of his close friend and famed memoirist Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon.
The stone was set into the crown of Louis XV for his coronation in 1722 and then into a new crown for the coronation of Louis XVI in 1775. It was also used to adorn a hat belonging to Marie-Antoinette. In 1791, its appraised value was £480,000 (equivalent to £58,160,000 in 2019).
All of France’s about 20 crowns of the Ancient Regime, kept in the Basilica of Saint-Denis, including the one of Saint Louis IX of France and the one said to have belonged to Charlemagne, were destroyed in 1793 during the French revolution. The crown of Louis XV was the only one to survive and counts, with those of the 19th century, among the only six remaining French crowns.
Louis XV of France and Navarre (Crown in the background)
The Ancien Régime (literally “old rule”) was the political and social system of the Kingdom of France from the Late Middle Ages (circa 15th century) until the French Revolution of 1789, which led to the abolition (1792) of hereditary monarchy and of the feudal system of the French nobility. The late Valois and Bourbon dynasties ruled during the Ancien Régime.
In 1885 the French Third Republic decided to sell the Crown Jewels. Given its historic importance, the crown of Louis XV was kept, though its precious stones were replaced by colored glass. It is on permanent display in the Louvre museum in Paris.
Crown of Louis XV displayed with Regent Diamond
The Regent Diamond is now separate from the crown diamond and is on display in the Louvre, worth as of 2015 £48,000,000. It is widely considered the most beautiful and the purest diamond in the world.
His Serene Highness Prince Louis Antoine de Bourbon, The Duke of Enghien (Louis Antoine Henri; August 2, 1772 – March 21, 1804) was a member of the House of Bourbon of France. More famous for his death than for his life, he was executed on charges of aiding Britain and plotting against France.
The Duke of Enghien was the only son of Louis Henri de Bourbon and Bathilde d’Orléans. As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, he was a prince du sang (Prince of the Blood). He was born at the Château de Chantilly, the country residence of the Princes of Condé – a title he was born to inherit. He was given the title Duke of Enghien from birth, his father already being the Duke of Bourbon and the heir to the title the Prince of Condé, the Duke of Bourbon being the Heir apparent of Condé.
His mother’s full name was Louise Marie Thérèse Bathilde d’Orléans; she was the only surviving daughter of Louis Philippe d’Orléans (grandson of the Regent Philippe d’Orléans) and Louise Henriette de Bourbon. His uncle was the future Philippe Égalité and he was thus a first cousin of the future Louis-Philippe I, King of the French. He was also doubly descended from Louis XIV through his legitimated daughters, Françoise Marie de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Blois and Louise Françoise de Bourbon, Duchess of Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Nantes.
He was educated privately by the Abbé Millot, and in military matters by Commodore de Vinieux. He early on showed the warlike spirit of the House of Condé, and began his military career in 1788. In 1792, at the outbreak of French Revolutionary Wars, he held a command in the corps of émigrés organized and commanded by his grandfather, Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé? The Army of Condé shared in Charles Wilhelm, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg’s unsuccessful invasion of France.
The Duke of Enghien privately married Princess Charlotte de Rohan, niece of the Cardinal de Rohan, and took up his residence at Ettenheim in Baden, near the Rhine. Princess Charlotte de Rohan was born in Paris. Her father was Charles Jules, Prince de Rochefort, a member of the House of Rohan, which held princely rank in France prior to the revolution, although they were not prince du sang. Her mother was Marie-Henriette d’Orléans-Rothelin, a descendant of Joan of Arc’s ally the Bastard of Orléans, whose legitimate heirs, the Orléans-Longueville dukes, died out in 1694 leaving only the Rothelin branch, prominent in the kingdom despite a bar sinister, which in Heraldry is the usual mark used to identify illegitimate descendants of royalty.
Early in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte, then First Consul of France, heard news which seemed to connect the young duke with the Cadoudal Affair, a conspiracy which was being tracked by the French police at the time. It involved royalists Jean-Charles Pichegru and Georges Cadoudal who wished to overthrow Bonaparte’s regime and reinstate the monarchy. The news ran that the duke was in company with Charles François Dumouriez and had made secret journeys into France. This was false; there is no evidence that the duke had dealings with either Cadoudal or Pichegru.
Bonaparte, First Consul, by Ingres. Posing the hand inside the waistcoat was often used in portraits of rulers to indicate calm and stable leadership.
On March 15, 1804, upon orders from Napoleon, French dragoons crossed the Rhine secretly, surrounded his house and brought him to Strasbourg and thence to the Château de Vincennes, near Paris, where a military commission of French colonels presided over by General Hulin was hastily convened to try him. The duke was charged chiefly with bearing arms against France in the late war, and with intending to take part in the new coalition then proposed against France.
The military commission, drew up the act of condemnation, being incited thereto by orders from Anne Jean Marie René Savary, who had come charged with instructions to kill the duke. Savary prevented any chance of an interview between the condemned and the First Consul, and, on March 21, the duke was executed, shot in the moat of the castle, near a grave which had already been prepared. A platoon of the Gendarmes d’élite was in charge of the execution. In 1816, his remains were exhumed and placed in the Holy Chapel of the Château de Vincennes.
The execution of The duc d’Enghien
Royalty and the aristocracy across Europe were shocked and dismayed at the Duke’s death, many who still remembered the bloodletting of the Revolution. Emperor Alexander I of Russia was especially alarmed, and decided to curb Napoleon’s power.
The duc d’Enghien was the last descendant of the House of Condé; his grandfather and father survived him, but died without producing further heirs. It is now known that Napoleon’s wife, Joséphine de Beauharnais and Claire Élisabeth de Vergennes, Madame de Rémusat had begged Bonaparte to spare the Duke; but nothing would bend his will.
Conversely, in France the execution appeared to quiet domestic resistance to Napoleon, who soon crowned himself Emperor of the French. Cadoudal, dismayed at the news of Napoleon’s proclamation, reputedly exclaimed, “We wanted to make a king, but we made an emperor”.
James II-VII (October 14, 1633 – September 16, 1701) was King of England and Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from February 6, 1685 until he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. The last Roman Catholic monarch of England, Scotland and Ireland, his reign is now remembered primarily for struggles over religious tolerance.
However, it also involved the principles of absolutismand divine right of kings and his deposition ended a century of political and civil strife by confirming the primacy of Parliament over the Crown.
King James II-VII of England, Scotland and Ireland.
James inherited the thrones of England, Ireland and Scotland from his elder brother Charles II with widespread support in all three countries, largely based on the principle of divine right or birth. Tolerance for his personal Catholicism did not apply to it in general and when the English and Scottish Parliaments refused to pass his measures, James attempted to impose them by decree; it was a political principle, rather than a religious one, that ultimately led to his removal.
In June 1688, two events turned dissent into a crisis; the first on June 10 was the birth of James’s son and heir James Francis Edward, threatening to create a Catholic dynasty and excluding his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William III of Orange. The second was the prosecution of the Seven Bishops for seditious libel; this was viewed as an assault on the Church of England and their acquittal on June 30, destroyed his political authority in England. Anti-Catholic riots in England and Scotland now made it seem only his removal as monarch could prevent a civil war.
Representatives of the English political elite invited Willem III of Orange to assume the English throne; after he landed in Brixham on November 5, 1688, James’s army deserted and he went into exile in France on December 23. In February 1689, Parliament held James II-VII had ‘vacated’ the English throne and installed Willem III of Orange and Princess Mary as joint monarchs, establishing the principle that sovereignty derived from Parliament, not birth.
James landed in Ireland on March 14, 1689 in an attempt to recover his kingdoms but despite a simultaneous rising in Scotland, in April a Scottish Convention followed their English colleagues by ruling James had ‘forfeited’ the throne and offered it to William III and Mary II. After defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690, James returned to France where he spent the rest of his life in exile at Saint-Germain, protected by Louis XIV of France and Navarre (who was also his first cousin).
In France, James was allowed to live in the royal château of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. James’s wife, Maria of Modena, and some of his supporters fled with him, including the Earl of Melfort; most, but not all, were Roman Catholic. In 1692, James’s last child, Louisa Maria Teresa, was born. Some supporters in England attempted to assassinate William III to restore James to the throne in 1696, but the plot failed and the backlash made James’s cause less popular. Louis XIV’s offer to have James elected King of Poland in the same year was rejected, for James feared that acceptance of the Polish crown might (in the minds of the English people) render him incapable of being King of England. After Louis concluded peace with William III in 1697, he ceased to offer much in the way of assistance to James.
The Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, James’s home during his final exile
During his last years, James lived as an austere penitent. He wrote a memorandum for his son advising him on how to govern England, specifying that Catholics should possess one Secretary of State, one Commissioner of the Treasury, the Secretary at War, with the majority of the officers in the army.
He died aged 67 of a brain haemorrhage on 16 September 1701 at Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Had James remained king this entire time he would have reigned in all three kingdoms for 16 years, 7 months, 10 days. James’s heart was placed in a silver-gilt locket and given to the convent at Chaillot, and his brain was placed in a lead casket and given to the Scots College in Paris. His entrails were placed in two gilt urns and sent to the parish church of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and the English Jesuit college at Saint-Omer, while the flesh from his right arm was given to the English Augustinian nuns of Paris.
The rest of James’s body was laid to rest in a triple sarcophagus (consisting of two wooden coffins and one of lead) at the Chapel of Saint Edmund in the Church of the English Benedictines in the Rue St. Jacques in Paris, with a funeral oration by Henri-Emmanuel de Roquette. James was not buried, but put in one of the side chapels. Lights were kept burning round his coffin until the French Revolution. In 1734, the Archbishop of Paris heard evidence to support James’s canonisation, but nothing came of it. During the French Revolution, James’s tomb was raided.
James Francis Edward Stuart (June 10, 1688 – January 1, 1766), nicknamed The Old Pretender, was the son of King James II-VII of England, Scotland and Ireland, and his second wife, Mary of Modena. He was born at St. James’s Palace and was automatically Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay, among other titles. Subsequently he was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.
James II-VII, King of England, Scotland and Ireland.
The prince’s birth was controversial and, coming five years after his mother’s last conception, unanticipated on the part of a number of British Protestants, who had expected his sister Mary, from his father’s first marriage, to succeed their father. Mary and her younger sister Princess Anne had been raised as Protestants.As long as there was a possibility of one of them succeeding him, the king’s opponents saw his rule as a temporary inconvenience. When people began to fear that James’s second wife, Mary, would produce a Catholic son and heir, a movement grew to replace him with his elder daughter Princess Mary and his son-in-law/nephew, Willem III of Orange.
Rumors immediately began to spread that he was an impostor baby, smuggled into the royal birth chamber in a warming pan and that the actual child of James and Mary was stillborn. In an attempt to scotch this myth, James published the testimonies of over seventy witnesses to the birth.
Prince James Frances Edward, Prince of Wales
It is widely considered that the birth of Prince James Francis Edward was the sole reason that James II-VII was deposed. This event event certainly hastened the demise of king James’s reign, however, it was not the only cause. The second event that sealed the Kings fate was the prosecution of the Seven Bishops for seditious libel; this was viewed as an assault on the Church of England and their acquittal on June 30, destroyed his political authority in England. Anti-Catholic riots in England and Scotland now made it seem only his removal as monarch could prevent a civil war.
Let me provide more context to the second event. In April 1688, James re-issued the Declaration of Indulgence, subsequently ordering Anglican clergy to read it in their churches.
The Declaration granted broad religious freedom in England by suspending penal laws enforcing conformity to the Church of England and allowing persons to worship in their homes or chapels as they saw fit, and it ended the requirement of affirming religious oaths before gaining employment in government office.By use of the royal suspending power, the king lifted the religious penal laws and granted toleration to the various Christian denominations, including Catholic and Protestant, within his kingdoms.
While this was a progressive act, anti-Catholic sentiments ruled the day and many Protestant clergy viewed this act as an attack on their authority. When seven Bishops, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, submitted a petition requesting the reconsideration of the King’s religious policies, they were arrested and tried for seditious libel.
Protestant Clergy and Nobles had already entered into negotiations with Prince Willem III of Orange when it became known the Queen was pregnant, and the birth of a son reinforced their convictions. On June 30, 1688, when the group of Seven Bishops were acquitted, it resulted in wild celebrations throughout London, including within regiments of the Royal Army based in Hounslow, much to James’ annoyance and concern.
The same day of the acquittal seven Protestant nobles sent an Invitation to Willem III of Orange, ‘inviting’ him to take the throne on behalf of his wife Mary, James’ Protestant daughter. The invitation was signed by seven individuals selected from key elements of the political nation, including Tories, Whigs, Bishop Compton and the Royal Navy.
By September, it had become clear that Willem III sought to invade England. Believing that his own army would be adequate, James II-VII refused the assistance of Louis XIV, fearing that the English would oppose French intervention. When Willem arrived on November 5, 1688, many Protestant officers, including Churchill, defected and joined Willem as did James’s own daughter, Anne.
James lost his nerve and declined to attack the invading army, despite his army’s numerical superiority. On December 9, Mary of Modena disguised herself as a laundress and escaped with the infant James Francis Edward to France. On December 11, James II-VII tried to flee to France, first throwing the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames. He was captured in Kent; later, he was released and placed under Dutch protective guard. Having no desire to make James a martyr, the Prince of Orange let him escape on December 23. James was received by his cousin and ally, Louis XIV, who offered him a palace and a pension.
Elizabeth II, Queen of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Frequently on social media I will see posts by people that think the Queen should give the throne to the Duke of Cambridge, bypassing the Prince of Wales. These people generally are not fans of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The truth is the Queen has absolutely no power to give the crown to anyone.
She cannot legally bypass the Prince of Wales and give the crown to the Duke of Cambridge. The succession to the throne is regulated by Parliament through its laws and statutes and this authority to control the succession has been in the hands of Parliament for centuries. Therefore, it would take an Act of Parliament to remove the Prince of Wales from his rightful place in the order of the succession. There are no plans to do so, nor is there any reason or need to alter the succession.
Here is a brief history of the power to control the succession.
Even during the reigns of the Anglo-Saxon kings the power to regulate or name your successor was not in the hands of the monarch. That power was in the hands of the Witenagemot (Witan) a council of elders. At the time the English kingship was elective and semi-hereditary. The Witenagemot had the power to name and elect the king and they limited their choices to princes within the House of Wessex. The Witenagemot didn’t follow succession based on male primogeniture, they would often select a brother of the pervious King especially if the king left children too young to reign.
In 1066 when William I “the Conqueror” became king he abolished the Witenagemot and became the first English king to hold the power and right to name his successor. Although at this time the king did hold this power, the will of the king was not always followed. Case in point was Henry I of England (1100-1134) who named his only surviving child, his daughter, the Empress Matilda, as his successor. Empress Matilda was the widow of Holy Roman Emperor Heinrich V. However, despite the Barons swearing an oath to uphold the succession of the Empress Matilda, this oath was ignored upon King Henry’s death allowing the King’s nephew, Count Stephen of Blois, to usurp the throne, plunging England into many years of civil war.
Eventually the crown evolved into the male preferred primogeniture that remained the law of the Kingdom up until recently. Also, concurrent with the settling into the tradition of male preferred primogeniture, came the rise of Parliament which also tried to influence the crown in matters of succession. When Henry IV (1399-1412) usurped the crown from Richard II (1377-1399) he had his kingship sanctioned by Parliament to give his reign legal status.
Even when monarchs such as Henry VIII (1509-1547) and his son Edward VI (1547-1553) tried to alter the succession they were unable to assert their will without Parliamentary approval. Henry VIII did succeed in making his daughters Mary and Elizabeth illegitimate and removing them from their place in the succession. However, Henry VIII’s last queen, Catherine Parr helped reconcile Henry with his daughters. In 1543, an Act of Parliament put them back in the line of succession after Edward. The same act allowed Henry to determine further succession to the throne in his will.
One of Henry’s desires was to exclude the descendants of the union of his sister Margaret and King James IV of Scotland. Henry VIII’s successor, Edward VI, tried to bypass his sisters Mary and Elizabeth and give the throne to his cousin, Lady Jane Grey, desiring to maintain the Protestant faith which Mary would certainly (and did) return the English Church to the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.
Elizabeth I, Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Parliament did not sanction altering the succession that Edward VI attempted. This was another reason Lady Jane is considered a usurper. However, had the attempted usurpation by Lady Jane Grey, lead by her Father-in-Law John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland, been successful and thereby solidifying Lady Jane’s position as the first Queen Regnant of England, it is very plausible Parliament would have sanctioned her reign by passing it’s own statute or legalizing the Will of King Edward VI.
James I-VI, King of England, Scotland and Ireland.
Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) was the last monarch who had power to name her successor given the fact that she left no issue. This was a power she refused to use as she did not name her successor, although historians debate whether or not she did name her distant cousin, King James VI of Scotland, as her successor. However, during the reign of Elizabeth I concerns were once again raised about who would succeed the childless queen. Although Margaret’s (Henry VIII’s sister) line had been excluded from the English succession, in the last decade of her reign it was clear to all that James VI of Scotland, great-grandson of James IV and Margaret, was the only generally acceptable heir. In the end Henry VIII’s will was bipassed.
Another succession crisis, called the Exclusion Crisis, which ran from 1679 through 1681 in the reign of King Charles II when three Exclusion Bills sought to exclude the King’s brother and heir presumptive, James, Duke of York, from the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland because he was Roman Catholic. None became law. Two new parties, Tories and Whigs, formed as a result. The Tories were opposed to this exclusion while the “Country Party”, who were soon to be called the Whigs, supported it. The matter of James’s exclusion was not decided in Parliament during Charles’s reign, representing the last time a monarch asserted his power of controlling the succession.
After two failed attempts to pass the Bill, Charles succeeded in labelling the Whigs as subversives. Louis XIV of France offered financial support to Charles, allowing him to dissolve the 1681 Oxford Parliament. It was not called again during his reign, depriving the Whigs of their main goal. This crisis between Crown and Parliament almost caused another English Civil War.
James II-VII, King of England, Scotland and Ireland
The Duke of York became King James II-VII of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1685 and the tension between Crown and Parliament reached a head when he was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It was the abandonment of the throne by James II-VII in 1688 which lead to the Convention Parliament calling William III of Orange and Princess Mary, daughter of the deposed king, to rule jointly as king and queen.
This act was legalized when William III called for the election of a new Parliament which passed the Crown and Parliament Recognition Act of 1689. Also, With the Passing of the Act of Settlement in 1701, which regulated the throne to the Protestant descendants of the Electress Sophia of Hanover. With this Act Parliament then held held the complete power to regulate the succession to the crown and it’s a power they’veThe most held ever since.
William II-III, King of England, Scotland, Ireland and Stadholder of the Netherlands.
Although France isn’t England, even the great powerful Louis XIV of France and Navarre (1643-1715), an absolute monarch, was unable to alter the succession to the French throne when he wanted to give succession rights to his legitimized children after the Princes of the Blood. This demonstrates how difficult it is for a monarch to alter the succession to the crown.
The most recent example of Parliament altering the succession was when Male preferred primogeniture ended when Parliament (and all members of the Commonwealth) passed the Crown Act of 2013 which left the succession to the Crown to the eldest child of the Sovereign regardless of gender.
I hope this short history lesson demonstrates why the Queen cannot alter the succession to the crown by giving the throne to the Duke of Cambridge bypassing the Prince of Wales.