About Queen of Hearts 1

Queen of Hearts 1 is a short story about Marie Louise of Orleans, niece of Louis XIV, and Corin Lacroix, a soldier serving at the court of Versailles.

Historical Notes

Marie Louise would not have spent too much time at Versailles, and never lived there. The royal family itself did not live on a regular basis at Versailles until after her departure for Spain. Previous to this, Versailles had been a modest hunting lodge, and was not expanded until after her birth.  Instead, Marie Louise’s father owned the Chateau de Saint-Cloud, and Marie Louise was raised there with her sister, Anne Marie. In this story, Versailles is a physical representation of perfect and unrealistic love, which is the theme of the story.

Cast

marielouise-iconMarie Louise of Orleans

April 26, 1662 – February 12, 1689

Marie Louise was a real person and was born in Paris to Louis XIV’s only brother, Phillipe. Her mother was the youngest daughter of Charles I, who was King of England and Scotland. Her maternal grandmother was also a French princess. Though her mother and father did not get along, she was doted on and was close to her younger sister and, later, got along well with her step mother and step siblings. She appears to have gotten on well with everyone at court, and spent a happy and quiet childhood in France.

In 1679, Marie Louise was married to the King of Spain, Carlos II. Carlos and Marie Louise were also related, as her paternal grandmother was a Spanish princess.

It was said that Marie Louise did not want to leave France and begged her uncle, the King, to let her stay. Louis, however, put the highest value in duty and service. In his eyes, making his niece a Queen of Spain was the greatest gift he could give her. He could see no reason for her to make a fuss, and ignored her request.

In Spain, Marie Louise found it difficult to conceive a child with her husband. Though he adored her, Carlos was sickly and probably sterile. His family had practiced severe and constant inbreeding for several generations.

There were other difficulties for Marie Louise in her new kingdom. While most courts had strict protocol, especially in both France and Spain, the Spanish court was very austere and dull. This was in sharp contrast to her uncle’s court at Versailles, where entertainments such as plays and music were encouraged.

Without much to stimulate her, Marie Louise grew bored and depressed. She died a sudden and painful death at the age of twenty six. Her husband and family were devastated.  The cause of death was uncertain at the time of her passing. As was common at the time, rumours circulated that she was poisoned, though based on the fact her mother died at almost the same age and had experienced similar symptoms, it is now thought both had suffered from appendicitis or a related illness.

You can read more about her on Wikipedia.

 

corin-iconCorin Lacroix

Corin is not an historical figure. Instead, he was created to represent the idea of chivalric love that was popularized at the court of Louis XIV, most importantly by Louis himself.

Corin is smart but lacks the sophistication that came to be typical of the culture of Versailles. He tries to be kind and polite to everyone, though, and this quality was rare enough at court that it was highly valued by those who could recognize its worth.

 

captain-iconCaptain Grellier

Like Corin, the captain is an original character. He is a man who has served for many years for France and seen many battles. Now that he is serving domestically, he finds he cannot be as rough as he was in a battlefield camp, and this frustrates him. He is impatient and gruff, but is at least as honourable as Corin.