Orleanism


This is a term invented by the historians to designate the inter-dynastic opposition. The descendants of the younger brother of Louis XIV were not the only princes of opposition, but their opposition happened to be spectacular, complete with the vote cast by Phillip Egalité in favor of the execution of Louis XVI. Consequently the Regency is often understood as a reaction to the pious phase in the reign of Louis XIV. According to a contemporary, even the fig leaf was banished from their parties. “It should have been a time of trouble,” says the other commentator, “but it turned out to be peaceful.”

“It was a beautiful thing to watch!” adds the third, and I tend to agree that it is the voyeurism that makes the greater part of politics. The stage of virtual transparency created by the Sun King at Versailles establishes itself in all of its splendor in Paris. The curtain moves — a libertine, in this act Duke Richelieu, finds his wife in the arms of another, ” Don’t you worry, honey, it is only your husband. But Madam, if this were anyone else, what would they think?”

P.S. In the painting Adam and Eve, to be found at Fontainbleau, Jean-Baptiste Santerre shows us the Regent, Duke of Orleans, and his mistress, Countess Parabere.

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