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Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:19 pm
Posts: 129
Post Versailles...

Where was the British Monarchy's equivalent of Versailles ?
We read about the lascivious, court of Charles 2nd and the decadent goings on
but... where....... was it all going on ?

I suppose the answer is at various palaces and opulent properties around London.
Somehow on the British scene there does nt seem to have been a focus ....
whereas in Paris there was........" Versailles...."

In 1682 King Louis... the Sun King... moved the Court and Government permanently to
Versailles....a village situated just over 10 miles SW of the centre of Paris.

A magnificent Royal Palace was built with extensive gardens designed and landscaped
by Le Notre.
By moving his court and government to Versailles, Louis XIV hoped to extract more control of the government from the French Nobility, and to distance himself from the population of Paris.

All the power of France emanated from this Royal centre... there were government offices , as well as accomodation for thousands of courtiers, their retinues, and all the functionaries of court .
By requiring nobles of a certain rank and position to spend time each year at Versailles, Louis prevented them from developing their own regional power bases.

Thus King Louis could centralise the French government into an absolute monarchy.
King Louis 14th also established strict court etiquette and elaborate Court ceremonies .

These ceremonies and the elaborate Royal Etiquette could be tedious and time consuming but there they all were, Courtiers.... Government Ministers... the Royal Family ... all living
together at Versailles.....a centre of power and effect a Royal City ......... ruling with Royal right and authority... the vast territories of France.

Inevitably Versailles became a centre of intrigue and social climbing with courtiers vying for the King's favour.
There were balls, parties, soirees... all kinds of social events... it was the place to be..
.... to be and be seen.... it was the centre and focus of high society.
It was a bucolic haven and for young people it seemed fashioned by the Gods as a place
for love and romance... for laisons dangerouse


Meanwhile... over Le Manche.... where was the British Monarchy's equivalent to Versailles and its heady social scene.... where was the equivalent to Versailles concentration of power and ostentatious wealth ?

Buckingham Palace ? hardly... the Palace was n't acquired by the Royal Family until 1761 and
was then kept as a private residence which was vastly developed over the years.

When Lady Diana got there in the 1980s it was a pretty cold and forbidding place...slap in the middle of London with fumes and noise of traffic night and day..... say nothing of the endless, cold corridors..... boring formality and Royal protocol.

Could the equivalent then be Royal Windsor ?.....a rural village, .. romantically set on the banks of the River Thames.......? no... its a castle complex ...yet more formality and basically a private residence of the Queen.

No, we had nothing like Versailles... we were tight laced and conservative compared with the more flamboyant French Court.

The French Royal Family, along with the French Royal Court at Versailles....became
the model and template for all the Monarchies of Europe.
King Frederick the Great even built a Prussian version of it near Berlin in the 18th century .... "Sans Soucie Palace..."

Just as France led the world of fashion... it also set the fashion for how Royalty should govern and rule.... and they did it with such style splendour and panache.

For over 100 years Versailles was a " Shining city on a hill "... a place of romance and liaisons dangereuses ....... until..... in the 1790s........ the bloody blades
of the guillotines began their sinister work and signalled the end of the French Monarchy....

1000 years of French Royal Romance and history were over.

Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:58 pm
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Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 12:04 am
Posts: 253
Location: Texas.
Post Re: Versailles...
As for the British; there was Whitehall, and St. James Palace. Although they were nothing compared to Versailles, both were considerable establishments for their time. In the 17th and 18th Centuries, the British monarchy was not all that "conservative." In fact, the expenses of the British royal court cost it's subjects a significantly higher percentage of tax revenues than did the French court; the difference being that France's tax revenue were nearly double that of Great Britian at that time, so while the French court actually spent more in terms of gold, they consumed less of the nation's wealth.
Another observation: during that time period (1600-1700s), the British aristocracy slavishly copied the French aristocracy--manners, clothing, etc---giving English nobles the 'polish' and sophistication they have since become famous for...

"One grows accustomed to one's enemy, and by making it familiar one loses the desire to get rid of it...." Marquise de la Tour du Pin, in a letter to her friend Mme. de Duras.

Fri Jan 22, 2010 8:51 am
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Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:10 pm
Posts: 710
Post Re: Versailles...
There was also Henry VIII's palace Nonsuch - named so because there was no such other palace.

Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:05 pm

Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:19 pm
Posts: 129
Post Re: Versailles...
I wonder if the gilded salons of Versailles and other Royal Palaces are haunted
by ghosts.... ? so much life and historical events took place within the walls and gardens of Versailles
.... I wonder .....
go here ... f=57&t=193


Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:02 pm
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