What Was an Average Day Like for a French King?

Have you ever dream of being a King or Queen? Or wondered what it was like to live like one? Most of us have wished at one point in our lives to be able to live even just for a day or two like true royalty.  Even in this modern era where monarch governed countries are rare we are still fascinated with the lives of Royalty.

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Let us take a look at the life of one well known French King who has the record of the longest reign, he was crowned at the tender as 4 years old and ruled for 72. That king would be the infamous King Louis XIV, also known as Louis the God-Given (Louis Dieudonné), Louis the Great (Louis le Grand) or the Sun King (Roi Soleil). He was the king of France from 1643 until he died in 1715.  He resided at Chateau Versailles – one of the most opulent palaces ever built.

Let’s see what a typical day was like good old King Louis!

Morning Schedule

This is the start of the king’s daily schedule. In the morning the king would wake up at around eight thirty with a process called “the first getting up ceremony” would commence. This is headed by his First Valet de Chambre or the person who is in charge of the King’s clothes and personal needs. This is the moment when the king would have his bath, shave his beard and have his hair set by his First Valet de Chambre and other servants. Once the king is ready, a second ceremony will take place which is called “The Grand Getting up Ceremony” where around 100 men consisting of the highest officials of the court and closest servants will wait for him at the King’s Bedchamber or what was also called the King’s private apartment.

At around ten o’clock in the morning, a procession would take place at the Hall of Mirrors, this is where the king would exit towards the Royal Chapel for a mass. This is the time when people who are gathered to see the king, would get a chance to talk with him or give a note for him to read.

After the mass, the King would return to his apartment for meetings with various councils assigned per day to meet with him. A set of council was assigned from Monday to Sunday, so the King can keep up with different concerns of state.

Afternoon Schedule

Halfway to the day, at One o’clock in the afternoon, the King would take his lunch at his bedchamber, he would eat alone at times but often also with the people who are in the getting up ceremony. By two o’clock, the king would give his orders to his council and servants and would declare his plans for the morning.

The king would then take time for himself and do any number of activities he wishes to do such as walking to the garden by foot or in a Barouche (carriage), with the ladies or hunting in the forest while riding his horse.

By six or seven in the evening, social functions or other evening gatherings would take place. Usually, it is the King’s son that would be in charge of the function while the king would sign letters and review paperwork and other administrative duties.

Evening Schedule

Later at night at around ten o’clock in the evening, the king would have dinner with his family and close friends. This is the personal time that the king had set aside to relax and converse with friends and family.

By eleven thirty at night, the king would be back to his bedchamber and call it a day. This is a public ceremony just like the getting up ceremony. And the following day, it will be the same routine and schedule that he had planned.

King Louis XIV was unusually precise and punctual in his daily schedule.  He wanted his court to run on a strict well-ordered schedule.   Not all sovereigns were like King Louis XIV, many took refuge in private chambers and residences to avoid the repressive schedule.

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