Friday, 4 August 2017

Versailles (2015-)

The new drama focusing on Louis XIV and his building of Versailles is the newest series in a line of shows concerning historical eras. Alas, "Versailles" follows the pattern of "the Tudors" and "the Borgias" when it comes to a rather light take on historical accuracy.

SPOILER ALERT

Historical Inaccuracies 

  • While the affair between Louis XIV and Henrietta, Duchesse d'Orléans has been speculated it is far from considered a certain thing; particularly because such an affair would be considered incest in Catholic countries
  • A whole string of characters are completely made up: Fabien Marchal, Madame and Mademoiselle de Clermont and the Duc de Cassel, Claudine and her father, Montcourt and the poor family who is murdered by roguesL
  • Aniaba of Issigny (the African prince) did actually come to France but not until the 1700's and it is not known whether he was actually a prince
  • Marie Thérèse's birth of a black daughter never occurred 
  • Naturally, Madame de Montespan could not have forced the Duc de Cassel to come to Versailles - nor have been abused by him - since he is not real
  • Louis XIV makes only little resistance to Louise de La Vallière's plea to enter a convent. Although the king refused to let her go he quickly seems to change his mind. In reality he did not permit her to leave until 1674
  • The near-fatal illness of Louis XIV took place much earlier than depicted when he was with his army at Metz
  • William of Orange's marriage with Mary of England took place in 1677 - not in 1670
  • Throughout the first and second season the face of Versailles if completely wrong; for obvious reasons it is the modern facade but considering that CGI was used for other views of the chateau it is still an inaccuracy 
  • Louis XIV's affair with Madame de Montespan ends far sooner than their actual rupture

What the show got right:

  • The Chevalier de Lorraine was greatly at odds with both Henrietta and Elizabeth Charlotte
  • Madame de Montespan is seen urinating in a hallway; although the marquise has never been caught in this situation it was not uncommon amongst other courtiers
  • Louis XIV did have affair with both Madame de La Vallière and Madame de Montespan at the same time. They even shared an apartment!
  • Today it is widely believed that Henrietta died of natural causes but in her time it was genuinely thought that she could have been poisoned. The culprit was suspected to be the Chevalier de Lorraine
  • The fictional Duc de Cassel complains about the size of his "apartment" which he compared to a broom closet. Many of the aristocrats who were housed at Versailles had to make do with tiny, cramped quarters which must have come as a shock compared to their luxurious châteaux

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