The Sun King and his Loves



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Special Collections DC126 NV92



London: The Folio Society


Louis XIV (1638-1715), the Sun King, ascended the throne aged four after the death of his father, Louis XIII. He married his Spanish cousin, Marie Thérèse (d. 1683), in 1660, and despite his usual strict adherence to Church rules, he kept three long-term mistresses in his lifetime, by whom he fathered around 18 children - few survived childhood. Purportedly, Louis had a ‘vigorous physique’ and he was ‘hands on’ in the development of the gardens at Versailles, the palace that is his most visible legacy. A man of opposites, Louis loved hunting and was an excellent horseman; but he also danced in ballets and was prone to weeping at the ‘drop of the hat’. Louis XIV’s reign lasted 72 years – one of the longest in European history.


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Lucy Norton, “The Sun King and his Loves,” | OUR Heritage, accessed September 30, 2023,