The knight of Lorraine, the damned soul of Monsieur

Philippe of Lorraine, the damned soul of Monsieur, of beautiful appearance and by his status of Favorite, will schem all his life to obtain all the favors and work so that Monsieur does not trust anyone, let alone his two wives. Certainly a good warrior, he had trouble with Henrietta of England and was accused of her death; he then attacks the Princess Palatine; to make matters worse, he initiated the King's son into Italian vice until he lost all his possessions obtained and died one day of apoplexy.

His portrait by Monsieur

Philippe de Lorraine Armagnac, who bears the small name of "Chevalier de Lorraine", was born in 1643. Son of the Count of Harcourt Henri de Lorraine, he met Philippe d'Orléans, Monsieur, brother of Louis XIV, in 1650. From 1658, he became her favorite, then her lover, and remained until the end of his life, a faithful friend of debauchery. Monsieur lodged him at the Palais Royal ten years later, in a magnificent apartment.

He is beautiful in appearance as described by Monsieur "So you want me to tell you more specifically about this dear knight. Is ! He is a meticulous and impetuous man, my faith. Just like me, he likes the social events of the Court, the various pleasures. He is very caring and loving. His lineage and name are, like any self-respecting noble, things that are close to his heart. You ask me to describe him to you like a painting .... He is tall, has protruding muscles and perfectly cut. He wears brown hair that is lightly wavy and often tousled in fancy. His eyes are clear and limpid. His gaze is deep. He dresses very elegantly. I hope this brief sketch will give you a better image of him ”.

The "Henrietta of England" case

In 1670, Louis XIV entrusted his sister-in-law with a diplomatic mission with a view to an alliance between England and France. On her return, she is feted as it should be; but pushed by the Chevalier de Lorraine, Monsieur gets angry, not having been made aware of these negotiations. For her peace, Henriette asks Louis XIV to imprison and exile the Chevalier who will take revenge.

Captive in the Château d'If, then left for Rome, he meets Marie Mancini, becomes her lover, and obtains poison. Guy Breton tells us “The knight of Lorraine, installed in Rome, became the lover of Marie Mancini, had such a hold on Philippe, detesting Henriette so much, had obtained poison in Italy. He tried to send it to France, but in a discreet way: he needed a person unknown to the Court: a certain Antoine Morel. This Antoine Morel, back in Paris, arranged a meeting with the Marquis d'Effiat, gave him the poison and disappeared. So it's up to Effiat to act ”.

And the Correspondence of the Princess Palatine explains to us that “while the rascals stopped the project to poison the poor Madame, they were deliberating whether it was necessary to inform Monsieur or not. The Chevalier de Lorraine said: "No, let's not tell him, he can't keep it up." If he doesn't talk about it the first year, he'll have us hanged ten years later ”.

So how did Henriette get poisoned? According to Princess Palatine "it was not Madame's chicory water that Effiat had poisoned, but the cup, which was a refinement of invention, for others could taste this water while no one was drinking. in our cup. A valet who had been near Madame and I had then told me that in the morning, while Monsieur and Madame were at mass, d'Effiat went to the buffet and having taken the cup, he rubbed the inside with paper. “Sir,” the valet asked him, “what are you doing in our cupboard and why are you touching Madame's cup? He replied: "I'm dying of thirst. I was looking for a drink and, seeing the dirty cup, I cleaned it with paper ”. Afternoon Madame asked for chicory water. As soon as she had drunk it, she cried out that she was poisoned; those present drank of the same water, but not of that which was in the cup. They had to carry Madame to bed, her illness worsened, and two hours after midnight she died. The cup was gone when asked for. She did not find herself until later. It had to be put under fire to clean it ”.

After Henriette's death, Louis XIV wanted to remarry Monsieur, but the latter would only accept on the condition of the return to favor of the Chevalier de Lorraine.

Monsieur's feelings

Philippe was deeply in love with the Chevalier, but it is not obvious that the converse was true. It is certain that the knight manipulated Monsieur during his life. Many things have been said: "Monsieur liked to dance the minuet with his friend Philippe de Lorraine or that after the Flanders campaign, on his return to St Cloud, we meet them entwined in the corridors, the gardens, the thickets, and many people saw them caress their faces, shoulders or knees with a happy air ... ”.

The Knight's Fortune

The Memoirs of Saint Simon are explicit “the Chevalier de Lorraine and Châtillon had made a great fortune there by their face, which Monsieur was more stubborn than not another. The last, who had neither bread, nor sense, nor spirit, rose up there, and acquired good there. The other took the thing in guisard which does not blush of nothing as long as it happens, and led Monsieur le stick high all his life, was showered with money and profits, did for his house what he wanted, remained always publicly the master at Monsieur. In addition to the profits that Monsieur had given him, the manual money that he drew from them as much as he wanted, the bribes that he taxed and that he took with authority on all the markets that were made at Monsieur's, he had a pension of ten thousand crowns, and the finest accommodation in the Palais-Royal and Saint-Cloud ”.

Let’s not be just slanderous! Philippe de Lorraine was noticed in the army: in 1658 he was at the siege of Torino in Italy, then went to Hungary to help the emperor against the Turks, he distinguished himself in Raab in August 1664, two years later we find him in the naval army of the Dutch against the English. In 1667, he fought vigorously at the sieges of Bergues, Lille, Douai and Oudenaarde. He accompanied the king in his war against Holland and was noticed in Orfoy, Zutphen in 1672, Maëstricht in 1673, Besançon and Dôle in 1674. He was wounded in the battle of Montcassel, then took part again in that of St Omer in 1677 He was made a Knight of the King's Orders and then took the name of Prince of Lorraine. We will still see him at the sieges of Mons in 1691 and Namur in 1692.

The King uses the Knight

But along the way, Philippe de Lorraine got involved in the life of the young Louis de Bourbon, Count of Vermandois, son of the King, whom he initiated into the Italian vice, told by François Louis de Condé and all the young people. is the fun of the family. Very early orphan, he is under the protective wing of his uncle the Grand Condé. Accustomed to Chantilly, he rubs shoulders with his cousins ​​Condé who are the same age. Notorious homosexual, he was part of a debauched club. It included among others, the count of Vermandois and the duke of Orleans as well as the knight of Lorraine. We met in the catacombs. When the young Count de Vermandois, legitimate son of Louis XIV, was introduced into this circle in 1682 (at the age of 13), he had to sign a declaration according to which he swore obedience to the rules of the brotherhood. There is no doubt that François-Louis did the same. Opposite the text of the declaration. When signing the prince asks for ink. "No ink, Monseigneur," said the Chevalier de Lorraine to him. My blood, then? But no! Your seed, Monsignor! Come on, you have to manualize ”. And as announced, the knight takes the young prince, who once the first pain is over swoons with pleasure. The young Vermandois changes, he is believed to be in love and the king, curious, forwards him ... The rose pot is discovered. Women were hated there and they found themselves in brothels where they sodomized girls and inflicted sadistic practices on them. When the king learned of the existence of these practices, his anger was immense. Confused, Vermandois must confess and give the names. All these beautiful people soon find themselves in exile. The party only lasted a few months. "

Louis XIV is certainly very angry but will relent because he takes advantage of the influence of the Knight with Monsieur, in the marriage between Philippe II future regent and Mademoiselle de Blois, daughter of the king.

A sad end of life

Slightly calmed down and in front of the lack of financial means, he tries to remain in the graces of the Duke of Orleans, makes peace with the princess Palatine some time before the death of Monsieur. Yet at the end of his life, he had lost a large part of his furniture at the Royal Palace as well as that of his country residence, his four abbeys and his money. The handsome Philippe died of a stroke in December 1702.


- La Grande Mademoiselle: the Memoirs of Mademoiselle de Montpensier. Mercure de France, 2001.
- The Duke of Orleans, by Christian Bouyer. Pygmalion, 2003.
- The Princess Palatine, by Dirk Van der Cruysse. Pygmalion, 2005.

Video: Monsieur and Chevalier Part 21 (October 2021).