Power and reputation at the court of Louis XIII

The career of Charles D'Albert, duc de Luynes (1578-1621)
Kettering, Sharon
Date published: 
April 2008

This book seeks to rehabilitate the reputation of Charles d'Albert, duc de Luynes, the controversial favorite of Louis XIII often maligned by historians. Luynes developed an effective political partnership with the teenage king, and gave him the chance to rule alone by helping to organise the assassination of the Queen Mother's favourite Concini in 1617, thus ending her political dominance. Through a monopoly of the distribution of royal patronage at court, he created a party of great nobles and a provincial power base around Paris that helped in suppressing the Queen Mother's revolt and enabled him to stay in power until his death of scarlet fever in December 1621.

Traditional historical interpretation of Luynes is significantly influenced by the testimony of Richelieu, who subjected Luynes to a devastating character assassination in his memoirs. Kettering argues that Richelieu's malice and the bias in histories based upon his memoirs justify another look at Luynes' career. This book sifts through the historical evidence to offer a new perspective on Luynes, arguing that his contributions to the early years of Louis XIII's government have been insufficiently appreciated, and in the process throwing light upon a dark, unpleasant corner of Richelieu's personality often ignored by historians.

As well as advanced students and historians of early modern France, this book should interest those specialising in the history of the European courts, power politics, patronage and printed pamphlet literature.