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  #1  
Old 03-16-2006, 12:04 PM
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Court Etiquette and Ceremonial

As of late, I've been doing a study of the etiquette observed in the Court of Louis XIV, XV and XVI.
I'm amazed that this is the first post on this subject here, since it seems so relevant when speaking of princes and dukes and so forth.
I'd like to start a discussion where we can share whatever little we know, hopefully clear up some aspects of protocol, and HOPEFULLY get more people interested in these subjects as well. Feel free to ask questions and post responses because there's always new tidbits of information that has escaped us so far.
The Honnours can be divided depending on the rank of each Individual:
-King of France (head of state, patriarch, the boss :)
-Enfants & Petit Enfants de France (children & grandchildren of king)
-Princes of the Blood (from great-grandchildren on, stemming from a king)
-Ducs-et-Pairs (Peers of the realm w/the Honnours of the Louvre***)
-Non-titled Nobles (Maqs., Count, Baron, but considered non-titled because not a peer.)

AND THEN THERE WERE THE DIFFERENT HONOURS:
The Honours of the Lovre = most comprehensive and belong from Dukes, up.
The Honours of the Court = the right to ride Kings carriages and be invited to court balls.
The Honours of Versailles = the right to be presented at court, from gentlemen, up.


MORE ON THE HONNOURS OF THE LOVRE:
-the right to have a throne room with a velvet dais in your own palace, displaying your own arms in the back courtain
-the right to gold-leaf your carriage all over
-the right to have a red velvet "imperiale" or covering as the roof to your carriage
-the right to crown the carriage lanterns with "golden ducal crowns (of 8 strawberry leaves)"
-the right to enter with a carriage pulled by 4 horses to the innermost courtyards of royal palaces
-the right to ride (not in the presence of the king, meaning in his palaces) in a carriage pulled by 6 horses
-the right (for women) to sit on a tabouret (stool) in the presence of the King and Royal Family.
-the right (for the women, then slowly also the men) to have a square cushion/hassock on which to kneel during mass in the presence of the king.
-the right to have a prie-dieu (google it for a pic :) at church when the king is not present.
-the right to display a ducal mantle (in France, blue) and a ducal coronet (8 strawberry leaves) on one's arms
-the right (for women) to wear a court mantle with a train borne by a page.
REMEMBER THAT ALL THE ABOVE WAS TRUE FOR THE DUCHESSES, PSSES OF THE BLOOD, AND OFCOURSE, TRH and TMajesties. ANYONE BELOW, EVEN IF TITLED, WAS NOT ALLOWED ANY OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED.
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:10 PM
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THINGS I NEED HELP WITH:
Does anyone know of the use of the balustrades? I think that the right to have a balustrade (or fencing) around your bed was part of the 'Honnours du Louvre' but haven't quite found any other mention than the Duc de Saint. Simon, when speaking of the SPANISH GRANDES (similar to Duc et Pair of France, Peer of England, Furst von Holy Roman Empire, Principe del Soglio of Rome) and how THEY didn't have such honours even for their Kings because their bedrooms were not public...
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:25 PM
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Also, the lenght of the court-trains/mantles: Every source out there gives a different number and a different unit of measurement (ells, aunes, yards, meters, pieds-de-roi.....sometimes with congruent numbers, which doesn't make sense because all of the above measurements are of different lenghts...)

This much is true:

***Queen's train was 9 (later 11, after the creation of rank of gran-daughter of france)
***Filles de France were 7 (later 9, after the creation of rank of gran-daughter of france)
***Petite-Filles (Grand-daughters) of France were 7 (this rank created for daughters of Gaston, Duc d'Orleans was given all perrogatives and honours previously due only to the Filles/Daughters of France)
***Princesses of the Blood: no clue, though 5 would seem logical
***Duchesses: some sourses say 5, others 4, others 3
***Other Ladies: surely less than a Duchess, but how long eitherway?

AS YOU CAN SEE, I'M CONFUSED

On occasions of Mourning, the Black veil, as recounted by Mme de Crecy:
-a Fille de France had a veil 14 aunes long (which if 1 aune= 1 yard=3feet, it would have to be 42 feet long....that's REALLY long)
-a Duchess (Mme de Crecy, acting as Dame d'Honneur to the Pss.) had a veil extending 36 'pieds-de-roi' (Again, pretty long....)

CAN ANYONE MAKE ANY SENSE OF THIS ALL? I would greatly appreciate it. I wonder if there is any book out there, or in anyone's shelf, explaining this intricacies.... I know that the best source is found in the National Archives in France (the indexes are online, but not the actual papers explaining all of this.... anyone in france interested in helping me out with that? :)
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:57 PM
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Lightbulb

Here are some examples of the mantles I'm talking about.
It will be of interest to point aout that The Queen, The Fille de France, and The Petite-Fille(Grand-daughter) de France all wear a mantle embroidered all over of gold fleurs-de-lis, while a Prince of the Blood (next pic) has only a border of fleurs-de-lis on a blue mantle, and a regular duke a mantle simply of blue velvet.
This was the custom from at least the coronation of Catherine de Medicis in the 1600s. (Though I must add that the robes of a P. du Sang, were until AFTER the coronation of Louis XIV, used by the Children and grandchildren of the king also instead of the later consession of using one in the likeness of the royal coronation robe embroidered all-over.
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Old 03-24-2006, 11:03 AM
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Thank you for this informative topic. During the reign of Louis XIV, he legalized the "bastards" adding a little chaos to the Court!
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Old 04-08-2006, 12:59 AM
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is it true that with the different titles the people had to do different styles of bowing to the king?
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Old 04-10-2006, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semisquare
is it true that with the different titles the people had to do different styles of bowing to the king?
Well, there were many rules to curtseys in the French court: for example, if you saluted someone higher in the hierarchy than yourself, you would put your best/right food forward and bend your body at the waist (and more than likely "scrape" the floor with the plumes of your hat). If you were the higher ranking person, you wouldn't salute first, and upon someone saluting that way described above: you'd put your LEFT foot forward and make a like demonstration of courtesy (unless you were the king or royal highness, in which case you'd move far less - perhaps just your head).An actual "curtsey" however, was required of anyone wearing long-robes (from knights, judges and ministers to the clergy). By "curtsey" I mean a "spanish-style curtsey" = bend both knees so your upper body descends, and then bend either your head or from the waist (similar to how women curstsy in Britain, but without the fancy crossing of the legs... )Also interesting to note is how the king would salute back: touch athe arms of his arm-chair as if to rise - for a Prince of the Blood. Bend only slightly at the waist for a Duc. Bend only his head forward a bit for another titled person; and finally - do nothing for an untitled person.
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Old 04-10-2006, 04:17 PM
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Oh, also, only the Princesses and the Duchesses would be allowed to kiss the king or a member of the royal family on both cheeks: untitled nobles only on 1 cheek, and the commoners, well, just bow as down as they could manage!
(this rule, however, mustn't have applied their many mistresses....or the production of batards would've been kept lower.... :) )
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Old 04-11-2006, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxeundGotha
Oh, also, only the Princesses and the Duchesses would be allowed to kiss the king or a member of the royal family on both cheeks: untitled nobles only on 1 cheek, and the commoners, well, just bow as down as they could manage!
(this rule, however, mustn't have applied their many mistresses....or the production of batards would've been kept lower.... :) )
So well informed...I'm impressed
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Old 04-11-2006, 03:38 PM
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Thumbs up

Merci beaucoup!
I study human-behavior, etiquette is the most formal representation, if not to say the most exalted... I'm biased, ofcourse, because I like it :)

It is actually very hard getting the bits and pieces of French Court etiquette, for it is dective work: reading and sorting and making sometimes sense of the things people left in their memoirs... much is lost in translation also (so I've taken 2 years of French and have found it most helpful, since the resources duplicated that way...)
I hope to sometime get my hands on the National Archives of France - they have a most amazing collection of the ceremonials, households, etc. of the Royal family and Princes of the Blood... sadly, these are not online, nor are many of the books and inclusively memoirs, available to be bought. BNF also has but a very limited collection to draw from in its web-resourses....
Feel free, and this goes to all here, to share anything you know or have questions about... we can answer some, and have some others finally answered :)
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Old 04-12-2006, 11:17 PM
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i would love to know how the minute was done and how court what held during louis xiv day
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Old 04-13-2006, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semisquare
i would love to know how the minute was done and how court what held during louis xiv day
It depends what you mean by "court" since technically, everyday was "court-day" in Versailles. The amount of etiquette, constant attendance upon the King by both servants/officers and by-standers, made of everything an important -and more than likely- what we would consider formal.
There were however, special "gala days" in which for example, everyone would wear their "cordon bleu" outside their coats instead of under them: Usually upon the reception of some extraordinary-ambassador. There were also "collar days" which were those in which the king (and knights) wore the mantles of the St. Esprit, went to a high mass, and took communion.
There were also the occasions in which a new lady or gentleman was introduced to the king and court (they first needed to go through lenghty and painful ordeal of proving that they were of clean-noble blood etc, in order to be afforded this honour...)

There were many other court-functions, and each could probably start a new thread on it own...

And the minuet.... I believe the libaray of congress (usa) has scanned a couple of books that show step by step how to dance all of those courtly-dances... probably at your local library too (ask them, because I know there are some tapes that teach those dances too - look in amazon.com).
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Old 04-13-2006, 03:54 PM
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thank you saxeundgotha
you know so much about this stuff, its like you're a walking dictonary. and i will try the library of congress for the info. thanks
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Old 04-16-2006, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beatrice
So well informed...I'm impressed
That's what i thought when i first came here.Bravo SaxeUndGotha!
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Old 08-30-2006, 10:43 PM
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Does anyone know of the existence of any regalia besides the crown in the Gallery of Apolo in the Louvre and the Coronation mantle of the king at the museum in Chartes in existence?
I know there is a crown worn by the Dauphin in the coronation of his father (Charles X) in existence - I have pictures also.
Any light?
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Old 08-31-2006, 05:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semisquare
i would love to know how the minute was done and how court what held during louis xiv day
There's a computer game called Versailles 1685 which is set during a day at court of Louis XIV. The producers worked together with the museum of history of France to provide historical accuracy. Here's a link to a review of the game including some screenshots. http://www.mrbillsadventureland.com/...ersaillesR.htm

I bought the game (it is available in several languages) and while it was too boring because of all the details for my 13 yo old son, it was fascinating for me, because I cannot get enough infos about this topic...

The game should be easily available through amazon or other game sellers.
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Old 09-13-2006, 09:37 PM
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I have always thought that it is bit ironic that Louis de Bourbon XIV is remembered for possesing wonderous etiquette, because he only had two recorded baths in his life. I would thnk that etiquette would include hygiene.
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Old 12-10-2006, 11:58 AM
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I have always thought that it is bit ironic that Louis de Bourbon XIV is remembered for possesing wonderous etiquette, because he only had two recorded baths in his life. I would thnk that etiquette would include hygiene.

You hear it again and again: no bath, no propper toilets. The tourguides will repeat it routinly to the squeaking delight of the visitors.
But:
Louis XIV's bathtub, a large basin of Languedoc marble, is now preserved at the Orangery. The Sunking had a hole Bath-Appartement at the nordwest corner of the Palace of Versailles Ground Floor. Unter Louis XV. these rooms became the Rooms for his daughters. It sure wasn't the every day shower and deodorant generation, but they weren' t living like 'pigs'
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Old 12-12-2006, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrosteSchattenburg
I have always thought that it is bit ironic that Louis de Bourbon XIV is remembered for possesing wonderous etiquette, because he only had two recorded baths in his life. I would thnk that etiquette would include hygiene.

You hear it again and again: no bath, no propper toilets. The tourguides will repeat it routinly to the squeaking delight of the visitors.
But:
Louis XIV's bathtub, a large basin of Languedoc marble, is now preserved at the Orangery. The Sunking had a hole Bath-Appartement at the nordwest corner of the Palace of Versailles Ground Floor. Unter Louis XV. these rooms became the Rooms for his daughters. It sure wasn't the every day shower and deodorant generation, but they weren' t living like 'pigs'
It is not so long ago that you could rent flats without bathrooms in it! I remember that when I was a child in the 60ies, there was a public bath in the basement of my school, where people could go and rent a bathroom with a bathtub or a showerstall for their weekly bath. Afterwards the bathroom was cleaned and could be rented out to the next person.

The nobility had transportable tubs which were brought up into their bedrooms and put into a corner close to the fireplace, then servants filled up the tub and the august personage had a bath in it.

But the problem of no toilets existed in all palaces till the WC was invented. When there was a ball, a part of the ladies' or gents restroom was schielded by paravents and champer pots were offered there, while maids helped with the ladies' balldress... I know some writers have enjoyed to describe Versailles as a kind of enourmous, luxurious pissevoir but it wasn't like that. There were chambers which offered chamberpots and staff to take care these were replaced and cleansed.
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Old 04-03-2007, 02:18 PM
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Is not the original coat of arms of France, the Lys de France held by angels supporting the crown of France the MOST BEAUTIFUL coat of arms in the world? (I must have been a French Royalist in another life!) Just my observations.
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