Angélique and the King, which was first published in English in 1959, is perhaps the book of most interest to students of 17th Century French history as it contains a wealth of historical detail – all meticulously researched and brilliantly woven into the story.
Set mostly around the court of King Louis XIV, the ‘Sun King‘, at Versailles, we have a vivid picture of the palace at the time, as it was recorded in a contemporary painting by in Pierre Patel in 1668 (above), but Anne Golon’s text also offers a rich insight into the period. (Angélique was at court between 1666 and 1670).
For instance, chapter 22 of the book describes how the court would follow the King on his military commands and this is also reflected in Adam Francois Van der Meulen’s 1667 painting, Entrance in Arras of Louis XIV and Marie-Therese, (below). (The King is on the white horse on the right of the picture, while the carriage contains the Queen along with the king’s two mistresses, La Valliere and Montespan!).
As the story opens, Angélique has already known great love, great loss, trauma, poverty and violence, but her heart is still empty.
Through a series of adventures, the King becomes increasingly enamoured of her, but the book is also heavily concerned with the ambivalent relationship between Angélique and Marquis Philippe du Plessis Bellerie.
It eventually leads to Angélique producing an heir.