Double Life of Louis XV


“Guard, open the door, this is your king…” The year is 1737. The place is Chateau Versailles. The time  is close to six in the morning. The guard answers, ” The king is asleep, and I am not going to open to you, whomever you may be!” An awkward situation.  Candles have to be brought in, and eventually the king is recognized and let into his bedroom. 

This guard must have been an old-timer from the days of Louis XIV. Under Louis XV the rituals of awakening and of going-to-bed are performed as before, only the king does not sleep in the bed of his great-grandfather, he slips out as soon as the last courtier leaves the room and comes back shortly before the official waking hour. There are other, more comfortable beds in the palace; as for the official royal bed, sometimes the king’s page takes a nap there.

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