A play… a melodrama… three actors, three acts, three days! The cries and tears of the first, the anguish of the second ... and the triumph of the third! The main day of November 11, 1630, called the Dupes Day by Guillaume de Bautru, Comte de Serrant was memorable in the history of France. The queen mother Marie de Medici lost all her power there, King Louis XIII was disturbed but succeeded in asserting himself and Cardinal Richelieu emerged victorious from this political crisis.
Prelude to Dupes Day
The Court was in Lyon in September 1630. The queen mother Marie de Medici and Anne of Austria wanted the departure of the cardinal, principal minister of Louis XIII. They urge the king to dismiss Richelieu, who has been very frowned upon lately, accused of all the evils of the kingdom: insecurity, popular revolt, cabals within the state, alliance with German Protestants, etc. But Louis XIII was taken from a serious illness. Everyone thinks he's lost.
The clans are formed and built "after Louis". The Guise clan, with the Princess de Conti (sister of Guise) in the lead, the Great who feel bullied by Richelieu, the queen mother, Michel de Marillac the Keeper of the Seals, his brother Louis the Marshal, Gaston d'Orléans the favorite of Marie de Medici. Back in Paris, the circle of the oppressed gathers under the leadership of the queen mother who reminds Louis to keep the promise made in Lyon: to drive out the cardinal.
On November 9, 1630, Louis XIII back in Paris, instead of settling in the Louvre, which was under construction, chose the Hôtel des Ambassadeurs, very close to the Luxembourg Palace.
On the morning of November 10, he visits his mother in Luxembourg. Marie de Medici reminded him of his promise. Louis asks him for a little time to think again, but above all asks him to forgive the cardinal! Anger rises and in the meantime, Richelieu comes before her. Marie de Medici will say nothing, however. It was only in the afternoon that his anger broke out: under bitter reproaches and a torrent of insults, Mme de Combalet, his lady in waiting and the cardinal's niece, was dismissed. The cardinal, wanting to implore the queen, is insulted, treated as ungrateful, traitor, deceitful. It deprives him of his title of superintendent, of head of his Council, of his office of chaplain. All members of his family are expelled, the captain of the Guards La Meilleraye is deprived of his post.
The king and the cardinal, stunned, do not say a word. But they decide to go back to see Marie de Medici the next day, the night giving advice! Richelieu appears resigned, and ready to slip away.
On the morning of November 11, Louis XIII visits his mother. In order not to be disturbed, she had all the doors closed on the pretext that she was very tired and did not want to see anyone except the king. Richelieu, on arriving, ran up against the instructions given. Knowing Luxembourg well, he goes through secret passages and thanks to the complicity of a chambermaid, bursts into the room where Marie tries to convince her son to completely dismiss the cardinal, to disgrace him, to have him arrested and replace him with the Keeper of the Seals.
In his Memoirs, the cardinal recounts: "God used the occasion of an unblocked door which gave me cause to defend myself when they tried to conclude the execution of my ruin". And Marie de Medici: "If I had not neglected to close a lock, the cardinal was lost".
Bassompierre wrote in his Memoirs: “They both shut themselves up in his study. The king came to beg her to supersede another six weeks or two months before breaking out against the cardinal for the good of the affairs of his State, which were then in their crisis ... As they were on this speech, M. le Cardinal arrived, who, having found the door of the antechamber of the room closed, entered the gallery and knocked on the door of the cabinet, where no one answered.
Finally, impatient to wait and knowing the people of the house, he entered by the little chapel, the door of which not having been closed, the cardinal entered, of which the king was a little astonished, and said to the queen bewildered: Here he is, believing he would burst. The Cardinal, who noticed their astonishment, said to them: I make sure you are talking about me. The queen replied: No, we were doing it. On which he replied: Admit it, madam, she said yes. Yes, we were talking about you as the most ungrateful and the meanest of all men! "
We can easily imagine the state of anger in which Marie de Medici is. Outside of her, insults raged against the cardinal as well as against her son. To the king, she said: "Do you prefer a lackey to your own mother?" ". To the cardinal, she speaks in Italian ... throwing all possible insults at him, with incredible crudeness.
Richelieu replies: "But, madam, madam ... What are you saying? What are you doing ? You disparage me, you torture me! As well, I no longer want to live being so miserable as to have lost your good graces. " Then he falls to his knees in tears, at the feet of the queen, begging her forgiveness. The queen mother sobs with rage, the king asks his minister to leave the place. Not knowing how to hold back his emotion any longer, Louis hurriedly left the palace and ran to take refuge in Versailles, in his little castle.
The queen mother triumphs and announces the loss of the cardinal. Her entourage, made up of Les Guises, the Princess of Conti, the Duchess of Elbeuf, relishes the victory, the courtiers bow to her, Michel de Marillac is jubilant and already composes his government.
Richelieu feels lost. Everything collapsed around him: his life, his ambition, his fortune. He returned to his apartments in Petit Luxembourg and prepared his flight to Pontoise, then to Le Havre, the city that belonged to him. But his friend the Cardinal of Valletta "advises him against leaving the king in sight." Because he might forget it ... Whoever leaves the game loses it. "
Richelieu gets in his car, and goes to Versailles to find the king. He is welcomed with pleasure by Louis, in his office. The cardinal knelt down and thanked the king "the best of all masters". Louis replies "that he is the most faithful and affectionate servant in the world." After a four-hour interview, the cardinal is invited to sleep in the castle, in the room of the Count of Soissons! Richelieu, however, was not entirely reassured and once again presented his resignation ... which Louis XIII was quick to refuse. He urges him to stay and "continue to hold the tiller of business, because that is my irrevocable decision." And to add "I am more attached to my state than to my mother". The king had long ago chosen between filial piety and reason of state!
Once the cardinal reassured, Louis XIII summons his ministers and immediately decrees radical measures: the person in charge of all the cabals for a year is Michel de Marillac! He is dismissed. Not chastised, but exiled and replaced by a man in Richelieu: Charles de L’Aubespine, sieur de Châteauneuf. The second measure concerns Brother Louis de Marillac, the Marshal. He had just been appointed head of the army of Italy! He also had to be removed, but above all quickly.
Epilogue of the fool's day
During the night that followed, Michel de Marillac was arrested in Glatigny, exiled and thrown in prison in Châteaudun. He remained there for two years until his death. His brother Louis, the Marshal, is arrested during a meal by Schomberg and La Force (his friends with whom he had fought for the king!). He was taken to the citadel of Verdun.
The servants of Anne of Austria including her nanny dona Estefana and the future Mme de Motteville, are escorted back to the border, the Spanish ambassador M. de Mirabel is asked to behave like any other diplomat and the door of the The queen's apartment was closed to her, the faithful Beringhen was forced to flee to Holland, Madame du Fargis, the lady in waiting, had to take refuge in Flanders, we asked, not very "politely", moreover, of Anne d ' Austria to withdraw to the Val de Grâce.
Marie de Medici's doctor was taken to the Bastille, the Duke of Bellegarde forced to return to his land, as were the entire Guise clan, including the Princess of Conti, then by ricochet François de Bassompierre Marshal of France who was arrested by his own friends and drove to the Bastille for 12 years! The Duke of Guise discreetly slips away to Italy never to return. Marie de Medici was exiled first in Compiègne, then in the Netherlands. Gaston d'Orléans, the king's brother, was ordered to leave the Court.
Richelieu, become more than ever the Master, made duke and peer of France, thus succeeded in a masterful stroke of political genius.
- Louis XIII - Jean Christian Petitfils
- 1630: the revenge of Richelieu - Jean Michel Priou. Pocket, 2010.
- For my son, for my king - Philippe Alexandre and Béatrix de l'Aulnoit. Pocket, 2010.
- Marshal Bassompierre - Jean Castarède