Ten Facts About Louis XIV
Louis XIV (Louis the Fourteenth) is one of the most well-known and was one of the most powerful of the Kings of France. Famous for his big hair and residing in the rather large Palace of Versailles with other members of the aristocracy, his rule came at a time of France's supreme power. Here are ten facts about King Louis XIV of France.
Louis XIV was born on 5th September 1638 and died on 1st September 1715, four days before his 77th birthday.
Louis XIV holds the record of being the ruler for the longest period of time of any of the major European monarchies. He ruled France for 72 years, 3 months and 18 days.
The second longest reigning monarch was Franz Joseph I who was Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary from 1848 to 1916 (68 years), and third is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since February 1952..
Louis XIV became King at the age of four in 1643 after the death of his father, Louis XIII (Louis the Thirteenth). As he was still a little nipper at the time, his mother Anne of Austria carried out ruling duties, assisted by Cardinal Jules Mazarin, who was chief minister of France. Louis XIV took charge in 1661 after the death of Cardinal Mazarin. By then, he was 22 years old.
The American state of Louisiana is named after Louis XIV. It was under French control between 1682 to 1763 and again from 1800 to 1803 and was known as La Louisiane (Land of Louis).
Louis XIV married twice. His first wife was Maria Theresa of Spain to whom he was married from 9th June 1680. She died on 30th July 1683. Louis XIV remarried in 1685 or 1686. Due to the fact that his second wife, Françoise d'Aubigné, marquise de Maintenon, was of a different social standing to the King, the marriage had to be kept secret. However, it was something of an open secret. It was never officially announced and no records exist of it taking place, but everybody knew about it! Louis XIV remained 'married' to Françoise d'Aubigné until his death
After he had died, it was found that Louis XIV's stomach was twice the size of a normal human being's stomach. He liked to eat!
Louis XIV owned over 1000 wigs and 413 beds
Louis XIV was often known as the Sun King. In the same way as the planets revolve around the Sun, he wanted his courtiers and the people of France to revolve around him. Louis XIV was a generous King but you had to earn favour by flattery and waiting on him
It is often claimed that Louis XIV only bathed three times in his life. In fact, Louis XIV was an incredibly clean King who bathed regularly in a large Turkish bath in his palace. He disinfected his skin with spirits or alcohol and changed his clothing (especially his underwear!) numerous times a day.
Pictures of Louis XIV often show him in high heels with big hair. This wasn't because Louis XIV liked dressing as a woman, but because it made him look taller. Louis XIV was only five foot, four inches tall. But, when wearing his heels and one of his 1000 wigs, he would appear almost 7 feet tall.
Bonus Fact!!! (Fait de Bonus!!!)
Louis Louis Louis Louis! The name Louis seemed quite popular at the time. Louis XIV's father was Louis XIII (13), and it seems that Louis XIV was determined to ensure that the next King of France was also a Louis. Heirs to the throne - Louis XIV's eldest son, eldest grandson, eldest great-grandson and great-grandson's brother - were all called Louis, the latter becoming King Louis XV (the fifteenth). The successive Kings of France were Louis XVI (the sixteenth), Louis XVII (the seventeenth) and Louis XVIII (the eighteenth).