The Royal Bastards

One of the things that Saint-Simon does not stop obsessing about is the royal bastards. That is the way he calls them in his memoirs, the bastards. Count of Toulouse and Duke of Maine were legitimized after the death of all Louis XIV’s adult legitimate successors. The future Louis XV was only five and by legitimizing the bastards the king had insured a succession in case the boy did not survive. “I have done what you wanted me to do”, he told the Count and the Duke, “the rest is up to you.” What he meant was it is not a piece of paper that makes a prince. Verily so, since right after Louis XIV’s death both of them were reduced by the Parliament to the rank of simple dukes.
Duke Louis-Joseph de Vendome was precisely the opposite. In the army everyone addressed him as Your Highness, which drove Saint-Simon nuts: How could this out-of-the-closet homosexual be the most successful general of Louis XIV? Saint-Simon claims that Vendome would allow the enemy to take a superior position and not bother with too much maneuvering if he had found a comfortable lodging. Slovenly, with little regard for personal hygiene, he shared his bed with his little dogs and conducted all the urgent morning business while taking a dump. He easily forgave any misconduct of the rank and file and fraternized with the junior officers. And this is why, writes Saint-Simon, in the army Vendome was thought to be superior to all other generals, including Duke Marlboro and Prince Eugene. During the long campaigns in Italy he woke up late and spent his days at cards and dinner table. His favorite dish was fish, even when it wasn’t very fresh. He died of indigestion. Phillip V of Spain, the last legitimate son of Louis XIV, gave Vandome a national funeral for the victories over the Austrians and the English in the War of  Spanish Succession.

About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
This entry was posted in Court, Duke de Vendome, Homosexuality at Versailles, Louis XIV, Saint-Simon. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Royal Bastards

  1. Love the article no matter how the royal family thought or tried to disclaim him he was more a royal to the people he served. Good for him, never knew this and till this day there is still an unjust toward families to the crown because of race, national origin or creed. I am one of those people never. I can have all the paper trail in the world and DNA testing and never to be excepted into the family.

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