Published by Orbis, 1983, Hardback in Dust Wrapper. 1st Ed.
Condition: Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper a little wrinkled at the edges. Price Clipped. Text complete, clean and tight.
Illustrated with black and white photographs. Genealocial tables to the lining papers. First British Edition. [First Published: in French by Les Editions Olivier Orban, 1979] From the cover: Louis XIV, whose great prestige earned him the title of the Sun King, is the most famous of all the French kings. He ruled France in one of its most glorious periods, and remains to this day the supreme symbol of absolute monarchy. Now, in a brilliant new biography, Prince Michael of Greece has revealed a darker side to the Sun King. Drawing on detailed evidence from contemporary records, letters and memoirs, he explored the possibility that, underneath it all, this epitome of kingship was a shy, weak, unstable man of unexpected and intriguing complexity. Prince Michael assesses the continued and enduring influence of Cardinal Mazarin and Louis mother, Anne of Austria, on the little boy who came to the throne at the age of five but who learnt early on to hide his profound insecurity behind the ever more elaborate trappings of monarchy.
Here, then, is a vivid portrait of a not particularly intelligent king, secretly poring over textbooks, preferring to command sieges rather than battles because they were more convenient, whose voracious sexual appetite right into his seventies flouted the very conventions he himself tried to impose on a reluctant court at Versailles. Without simply debunking Louis, Prince Michael of Greece succeeds in presenting an iconoclastic biography which shatters many of the accepted myths about the man and his century. The result is a glimpse of the human frailties and inadequacies that lay behind the arrogance, protocol and pageantry of Frances greatest king.