The Poet's Princess

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Some facts and features (may be passed over)

The Fronde, an economic, social and political upheaval, while Louis XIV was under age and France was governed by Cardinal Mazarin, put in question the very essence of absolute monarchy as conceived by Armand Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Richelieu, Secretary of State and lover of the Queen, Marie de Medicis. The mutiny started when the Parliament of Paris opposed the Government’s financial measures. Influenced by Paul de Gondi and the Counsellor of the Parliament Pierre Broussel, the Fronde tried to restrain the power of the King. The Government put under arrest Broussel together with two other insurgents. Their incarceration lead to an uprising known as the Day of the Barricades. Such was the beginning of the Parliamentary Fronde. The Royal Court took refuge at Saint-Germain. Condé persuaded the Government to sign the “Rueil Peace-Treaty” and besieged Paris. Frustrated not to have obtained Mazarin’s post, he joined the Fronde shortly after. This decision was made easier for him by the fact that nearly all the rebels belonged to his social class being high-ranking noblemen, the “Importants”, such as his brother Armand de Conti, his sister Duchess de Longueville, who brought in her lover Henry de la Tour d’Auvergne and Viscount de Turenne. Following their example, other distinguished noblemen such as Duke de la Rochefoucauld, Gaston d’ Orleans, the “Grande Demoiselle” Anne de Montmorency and many others, affiliated with the Fronde. The Court decided to take measures against Condé and imprisoned him at Vincennes. This raised a general outcry among his friends who succeeded to stir up the whole country against the Court. To top it, Gondi won the support of the Parliament. Mazarin had to release Condé and retreat to the Rhineland. Condé became then the head of the “Fronde of the Princes”. Soon afterwards started the rivalries between Condé and Gondi, as well as between the noblemen and the members of the Parliament. Condé had to leave Paris. He moved to Bordeaux, joined in the Ormée, a revolutionary movement similar to the Fronde, and affiliated himself with Spain. He marched on Paris where he confronted Turenne who, in the meantime, had made peace with the Court. Condé succeeded in entering Paris thanks mainly to the support of the “Grande Demoiselle” who ordered to cannon-fire the Bastille. His victory was short-lived. He was banished from the capital by the bourgeoisie. His departure for Spain marked the end of the Fronde. The Court returned to Paris where they were received in triumph. The royal powers were reinforced by this test of strength.

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