You all know how much I adore Charles II. Sometimes I may even consider myself his number 1 fan…did I just admit that? I regret nothing whatsoever. And during my reading of Charlie’s life I found myself struck by the close relationship he had with his sister Henrietta, Duchesse d’Orleans, or Minette as he so playfully called her. And so after doing a bit of reading around, finding references to Minette in various biographies of Charles, I decided I wanted to find out a little bit more about this fascinating woman. So I asked around on twitter to get some recommendations, and took myself off to Amazon.
I may have gotten a little bit overexcited when this one fell through my letter box the other day, and I began reading it right away. Though I’ve been trying to take it slowly as I’m trying to work my way through Lucy Worsley’s “Cavalier” at the same time. This has become my before bed book, and as I read I quite often find myself so moved at how tender and loving these two siblings were to each other. They joke with each other, tell each other both bad news and good, talk politics, and always end on the sweetest of sentences.
I won’t go too much into Minette’s life on this post as I want to do a bit more reading about her before I start doing any sort of serious pieces on her. But through reading her letters to her brother I am struck by a bold woman, who loved her brother so much, who was kind, and a woman who always had the best interests of her home country at heart. She may have married into France, but she certainly worked very hard to get that famous alliance between Louis XIV and her brother! Of course Charles’ foreign policy deserves a post all of it’s own.
I must say that reading the letters between these two have opened up so many doors for me in my love of the Seventeenth Century, thanks to reading their own words it is much easier to get a sense of how they would have been feeling when certain events happened, the worry when sickness struck. It is eye opening, and I wish more than anything I could get my hands on the original documents and look at the beautiful handwriting of Charles and his sister. One day, one day. Until then, I am going to read more about the lovely Minette, because she has stolen my heart almost as much as her brother has done. And I need to know more.