Louis XIV was born on September 5, 1638 in the Château deSaint-Germain-en-Laye, to Louis XIII 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.
Here is some background information on his parents and his birth.
Louis XIII (September 27, 1601 – May 14, 1643) was King of France from 1610 to 1643 and King of Navarre (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged with the French crown.
Born at the Palace of Fontainebleau, Louis XIII was the eldest child of King Henri IV of France and Navarre and his second wife Marie de’ Medici. As son of the king, he was a Fils de France (“son of France”), and as the ⁷eldest son, Dauphin of France. His father Henri IV was the first French king of the House of Bourbon, having succeeded his second cousin, Henri III (1574–1589), in application of Salic law.
Louis XIII’s paternal grandparents were Antoine de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme, and Jeanne d’Albret, Queen of Navarre. His maternal grandparents were Francesco I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and Joanna of Austria, Grand Duchess of Tuscany. Eleonora de’ Medici, his maternal aunt, was his godmother. As a child, he was raised under the supervision of the royal governess Françoise de Montglat.
Shortly before his ninth birthday, Louis became king of France and Navarre after his father Henri IV was assassinated. His mother, Marie de’ Medici, acted as regent during his minority. Mismanagement of the kingdom and ceaseless political intrigues by Marie and her Italian favourites led the young king to take power in 1617 by exiling his mother and executing her followers, including Concino Concini, the most influential Italian at the French court.
Louis XIII, taciturn and suspicious, relied heavily on his chief ministers, first Charles d’Albert, duc de Luynes and then Cardinal Richelieu, to govern the Kingdom of France. The King and the Cardinal are remembered for establishing the Académie française, and ending the revolt of the French nobility.
Anne of Austria (September 22, 1601 – January 20, 1666), a Spanish princess and an Austrian archduchess of the House of Habsburg, Anne was queen of France as the wife of Louis XIII, and regent of France during the minority of her son, Louis XIV, from 1643 to 1651. During her regency, Cardinal Mazarin served as France’s chief minister. Accounts of French court life of her era emphasize her difficult marital relations with her husband, her closeness to her son Louis XIV, and her disapproval of her son’s marital infidelity to her niece and daughter-in-law Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain.
Born at the Palace of the Counts of Benavente in Valladolid, Spain, and baptised Ana María Mauricia, she was the eldest daughter of King Felipe III of Spain and his wife Margaret of Austria, the daughter of Archduke Charles II of Austria and Maria Anna of Bavaria and thus the paternal granddaughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I.
Anne of Austria held the titles of Infanta of Spain and of Portugal (since her father was king of Portugal as well as Spain) and Archduchess of Austria. Despite her Spanish birth, she was referred to as Anne of Austria because the rulers of Spain belonged to the senior branch of the House of Austria, known later as the House of Habsburg, a designation relatively uncommon before the 19th century.
Anne was raised mainly at the Royal Alcazar of Madrid. Unusual for a royal princess, Anne grew up close to her parents, who were very religious. She was raised to be religious too, and was often taken to visit monasteries during her childhood. In 1611, she lost her mother, who died in childbirth. Despite her grief, Anne did her best to take care of her younger siblings, who referred to her with affection as their mother.
At age eleven, Anne was betrothed to King Louis XIII of France. Her father gave her a dowry of 500,000 crowns and many beautiful jewels. For fear that Louis XIII would die early, the Spanish court stipulated that she would return to Spain with her dowry, jewels, and wardrobe if he did die. Prior to the marriage, Anne renounced all succession rights she had for herself and her descendants by Louis, with a provision that she would resume her rights should she be left a childless widow.
On October 18, 1615, Louis and Anne were married by proxy in Burgos while Louis’s sister, Elisabeth of France, and Anne’s brother, Felipe IV of Spain, were married by proxy in Bordeaux. These marriages followed the tradition of cementing military and political alliances between France and Spain that began with the marriage of Felipe II of Spain to Elisabeth of Valois in 1559 as part of the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis.
The couple were second cousins, by mutual descent from Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor. This marriage followed a tradition of cementing military and political alliances between the Catholic powers of France and Spain with royal marriages. The tradition went back to the marriage of Louis VII of France and Constance of Castile. The marriage was only briefly happy, and the King’s duties often kept them apart.
Anne and Louis, both fourteen years old, were pressured to consummate their marriage in order to forestall any possibility of future annulment, but Louis ignored his bride. Louis’s mother, Marie de’ Medici, continued to conduct herself as queen of France, without showing any deference to her daughter-in-law. Anne, surrounded by her entourage of high-born Spanish ladies-in-waiting headed by Inés de la Torre, continued to live according to Spanish etiquette and failed to improve her French.
Anne began to dress in the French manner, and in 1619 Luynes pressed the king to bed his queen. Some affection developed, to the point where it was noted that Louis was distracted during a serious illness of the queen. A series of stillbirths disenchanted the king and served to chill their relations.
On March 14, 1622, while playing with her ladies, Anne fell on a staircase and suffered her second stillbirth. Louis blamed her for the incident and was angry with the Duchess of Luynes for having encouraged the queen in what was seen as negligence. Henceforth, the king had less tolerance for the influence that the duchess had over Anne, and the situation deteriorated after the death of her husband Luynes in December 1621.
Despite a climate of distrust, the queen became pregnant once more, a circumstance that contemporary gossip attributed to a single stormy night that prevented Louis from travelling to Saint-Maur and obliged him to spend the night with the queen. Louis XIV was born on September 5, 1638, an event that secured the Bourbon line. At this time, Anne was 37. The official newspaper Gazette de France called the birth “a marvel when it was least expected”.
The birth of a living son failed to re-establish confidence between the royal couple. However, she conceived again fifteen months later. At Saint-Germain-en-Laye on September 21, 1640, Anne gave birth to her second son, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, who later founded the modern House of Orléans. Both of her children were placed under the supervision of the royal governess Françoise de Lansac, who was disliked by Anne and loyal to the king and the cardinal.