Philippe d'Orléans, Duc de Chartres
The Duc de Chartres is Gonzague’s other close friend, a royal connection the Prince made sure to acquire by any means possible. It turned out all it took was to be sufficiently entertaining to the King’s nephew.
Chartres is an easy friend to have, very little seem to bother him.
A libertine, he likes to indulge with parties and numerous lovers, making him infamous in court. In reality, this outrageous reputation hides a bright mind and lofty ambitions.
Liselotte's Favourite Childhood Christmas
Liselotte von der Pfalz, Duchess of Orléans, with her two children Philippe and Elisabeth Charlotte, whom she wanted to experience the same Christmas festivities as she did as a child, c. 1678–1679 by Pierre Mignard.
A merry Christmas to all of you who celebrate (and of course an equally happy day to everyone who is currently celebrating a different holiday or none at all)!
Do you know that feeling of being nostalgic for the time when Christmas was a magical, festive season rather than a busy rush of obligations, get-together and worrying about presents, food and keeping all the relatives happy? You're not alone in that.
This year's Christmas post comes straight from the 17th century: on 11 December 1708, the Duchess of Orléans, more commonly known as Liselotte to her friends, family and posterity, recounted the magic of her favourite childhood Christmas, the last she spent in Hannover with her aunt Sophie (in the year 1660, I believe; Liselotte would have been 8 years old), to her daughter. Luckily, we still have the letter:
Ich weiß nicht, ob ihr auch jenes andere Spiel kennt, das man in Deutschland immer noch pflegt; man heißt es das Christkindl; dabei richtet man die Tische wie Altäre her und legt für ein Kind alle möglichen Sachen darauf, neue Kleider, Silber, Seidenbänder, Puppen, Naschereien und alles mögliche. Auf die Tische stellt man Buchsbäume, und auf jedes kleine Ästchen steckt man eine kleine Kerze: das sieht ganz wunderhübsch aus. [...] Ich erinnere mich, wie man in Hannover das letzte Mal das Christkindl zu mir kommen ließ: Man hat Schulbuben kommen lassen, die recht ordentlich eine Komödie spielen. Als erstes kommt der Stern und dann der Teufel und die Engel und schließlich der heilige Christ mit Petrus und den anderen Aposteln. Der Teufel schilt die Kinder und liest eine lange Liste mit ihren Untaten vor. Darauf sagt der Christ, daß er gekommen ist, sie zu beschenken, aber weil sie so böse sind, könne er nicht bei ihnen verweilen. Der Engel und der heilige Petrus bitten für sie und versprechen, daß sie sich bessern werden. Da vergibt Christus ihnen, und der heilige Petrus und der Engel führen sie zu den Tischen, die für sie bereitet sind [...]. Und als der heilige Petrus mich bei der Hand nahm -- es war ein kleiner Schuljunge mit einem falschen Bart --, da sah ich, dass er Krätze hatte, und daran merkte ich den Schwindel. [...] Und ganz bestimmt freue ich mich noch heute daran."
I don't know if you know that game which is still being maintained in Germany and called Christkindl [Christ Child]; they dress the tables, one for each child, in the style of an altar, and put all manner of things onto them, such as new clothing, silver, silk ribbons, dolls, sweets and much else. Onto the tables, they put little box trees, and on each little branch they place a little candle; it all looks very beautiful. I recall how they had the Christkindl visit me for the last time in Hannover: They had schoolboys come to act in a rather amusing comedy. At first, the star arrives, and then the devil and the angels and at last Christ with St. Peter and the other apostles. The devil scolds the children and reads a long list of their misdeeds to them. To this Christ replies that he has come to give them presents, but since they are so naughty, he cannot stay. The angel and St. Peter plead for them and promise that they will be good. Christ forgives them and St. Peter and the angel lead them to the tables which have been arranged for them [...]. And as St. Peter took me by the hand -- he was a little schoolboy with a false beard -- I remarked that he had scabies and saw through the sham. And without a doubt it still brings me joy until this day."
Sadly, this was to be the last Christmas of this sort Liselotte ever celebrated; her father, notoriously stingy to the point of arguing with his son's school at Heidelberg to lower the lunch fees citing poor young Karl's meagre appetite, was not one to indulge in grand festivities and when in France with children of her own, Liselotte, intent on bringing this favourite childhood tradition back for her own son and daughter, met with resistance from her husband. In a letter dated to January 1711 to Sophie von Hannover, the beloved aunt in whose home she had celebrated this favourite Christmas:
"hir weiß man gar nichts davon; wolte es introduciren, allein Monsieur sagte: 'Vous nous voulés donner de vos modes Allemandes pour faire de la despence, je vous baisse les mains'."
"They don't know nothing of it here; I wanted to introuce it, but Monsieur said 'You want to give us your German fashions [just to] create expenses, I kiss your hands."
So, young Philippe and Elisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans sadly never experienced the things that had made their mother's childhood Christmasses special, most crucially, they never had a Christmas tree, which would not arrive in France until after WWI.
To some degree, Liselotte's Christmas still exists materially; we know Christmas trees, presents still look very much the same, and there are holiday-themed plays both secular-ish and classic nativity plays put on by children, albeit luckily with a less harsh moral undertone.
But what's perhaps the most important, contrary to Philippe d'Orléans's fear of overspending is the aspect is to pass the joy of the festivities on, and share it with others because in the end, what's more precious than all the new clothes, silver, silk ribbons, dolls and sweets are the happy memories of the day.
Quotations taken from:
Dirk Van der Cruysse: Madame sein ist ein ellendes Handwerck. Liselotte von der Pfalz. Eine deutsche Prinzessin am Hof des Sonnenkönigs (1995), 4th edition 1997, p. 85 f.
Considerations upon appointments
Louis XIV's brother Philippe, duc d'Orléans- known as Monsieur- was a major asset whom Louis shrank from deploying to full advantage. Philippe had captured Zutphen in 1672 and Bouchain in 1676, before winning a major victory at Cassel in 1677 and following it up with a successful conclusion to the siege of Saint-Omer. Louis was proud of his brother's achievements, even to the point of placing a vast canvas by van der Meulen of the battle of Cassel on the great staircase at Versailles, but he was also horrified at Monsieur's disregard for his own safety. He was henceforth confined to acting as Louis's deputy when they campaigned together, as in 1684 and 1691, though in 1693 he was entrusted with command in western France. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to see this last appointment as an insult by an insecure elder brother, for in the Nine Years War Louis was consternated by the prospect of an Anglo-Dutch attack on the French coast. He could spare few regular troops for such an eventuality, but instead placed his trust in Monsieur. In the event of an invasion probably only Monsieur (or the king of the Dauphin themselves) could have mobilised the gentlemen of Normandy, Brittany and Poitou in sufficient numbers to make up a force capable of repulsing the Allies when backed by a handful of regular battalions and several regiments of milice. Based at Laval in Mayenne, from where he could rush to any part of the coast, Monsieur was a highly active commander who not only supervised military administration but also repaired major local highways. But his career was also governed by that of his older brother, and when the king retired from active campaigning so too, for precisely that reason, did Monsieur. Considering the duke was still in rude health, though aged fifty-three, with years of invaluable experience behind him, it was a dynastic decision which Louis could perhaps, at the time, ill afford to make.
Louis trusted Monsieur but he could not allow himself to be completely outshone by him. Yet when it came to the Condé Louis revealed all the submerged prickliness and insecurity of his character. Unsurprisingly, at first Louis was reluctant to place too much faith in the Grand Condé who had fought against him for eight years before 1659, and though Condé was more experienced in the Low Countries than Turenne he was not a commander in the first year of the War of Devolution. It would be an error, though, to assume that Condé was brushed aside owing primarily to royal paranoia. Contrary to what has been assumed, his exclusion from command in 1667 was not due to lingering royal resentment, but because, according to the Savoyard ambassador, the money he was owed by Spain, and which was enumerated in the treaty of the Pyrenees, was in arrears, and would be threatened by his participation in an active assault on the Spanish Netherlands. This money was considered necessary because of his likely candidature for the throne of Poland. Later that year, however, Condé was named as commander of the army of Germany, in part so that Turenne would realise he was not indispensable.
Guy Rowlands- The Dynastic State and the Army under Louis XIV: Royal Service and Private Interest, 1661-1701
Hey just want to tell you if you don’t already know that the demo is amazing and equal parts fun and angst 😀😀 is there a reason though why chartres is not a ‘full’ romance?
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the demo! Gotta have some fun to balance out the horrors, lol.
I'm assuming you're asking about Chartres not being a full romance option because there are no romance indicators in the choices relating to MC's relationship with him. And you would be correct, in a way!
The main reason why he's not really a romance option is that I'm writing him as being on the aromantic spectrum. So his relationship with MC is not really romantic in nature and is more of a friends-with-benefits kind of deal. There still can be a lot of affection between them (if you choose so), but it's not really romantic in nature.
Another reason was that Chartres wasn't really super present in the original novel, and when I started writing this IF, I hadn't planned to do a whole lot with him. But now that I started writing his character, I really like him and want to include him a lot more. I think his presence will lend a whole new impact on what Gonzague will do to Nevers, since he's the character closest to both of them...
I am not the one running the Twitter account, in case that is your question, but I appreciate this person's enthusiasm for Liselotte! We need more Liselotte enjoyers in this world.
The full quote this collage alludes to runs:
Marriage is like death: the day and the hour of it are marked; no one escapes. As our Lord God wills it, so it comes to pass.
Liselotte resented having been born a woman on account of the social restrictions her station as princess imposed upon her, as compared to her brother; as a child, her interests aligned more with activities that were at the time considered to be traditionally male-coded, and all her life had, to the annoyance of her fashion-conscious husband, no liking for clothes, make-up and jewellery. As an adult, she repeatedly stated in her letters that she would have preferred to have been born a male heir and become her father's successor as Elector Palatine rather than a prince's consort, which is an interesting statement, seeing as Liselotte has sometimes been interpreted as having been uninterested in politics (which was not the case, her letters contain frequent commentary on European politics at the time).
She clearly resented not being able to live a self-determined life according to her own wishes and choices which is the constant, melancholy undertone of her often so humorous and at times explosive letters that must not be forgotten in our retrospective analysis of her character.