CHAPTER V. THE PRINCE'S RECEPTION AT PARIS.
So complicated a story as that of the family of Charles can not be related, in all its parts, in the exact order of time; and having now shown under what circumstances the various members of the family made their escape from the dangers which threatened them in England, we return to follow the adventures of Prince Charles during his residence on the Continent, and, more particularly in this chapter, to describe his reception by the royal family of France. He was one of the first of the children that escaped, having arrived in France in 1646. His father was not beheaded until two years afterward.
In order that the reader may understand distinctly the situation in which Charles found himself on his arrival at Paris, we must first describe the condition of the royal family of France at this time. They resided sometimes at Fontainebleau, a splendid palace in the midst of a magnificent park about forty miles from the city. Henrietta, it will be recollected, was the sister of a king of France. This king was Louis XIII. He died, however, not far from the time of Queen Henrietta's arrival in the country, leaving his little son Louis, then five years old, heir to the crown. The little Louis of course became king immediately, in name, as Louis XIV., and in the later periods of his life he attained to so high a degree of prosperity and power, that he has been, ever since his day, considered one of the most renowned of all the French kings. He was, of course, Prince Charles's cousin. At the period of Prince Charles's arrival, however, he was a mere child, being then about eight years old. Of course, he was too young really to exercise any of the powers of the government. His mother, Anne of Austria, was made regent, and authorized to govern the country until the young king should arrive at a suitable age to exercise his hereditary powers in his own name. Anne of Austria had been always very kind to Henrietta, and had always rendered her assistance whenever she had been reduced to any special extremity of distress. It was she who had sent the supplies of money and clothing to Henrietta when she fled, sick and destitute, to Exeter, vainly hoping to find repose and the means of restoration there.
Besides King Louis XIII., who had died, Henrietta had another brother, whose name was Gaston, duke of Orleans. The Duke of Orleans had a daughter, who was styled the Duchess of Montpensier, deriving the title from her mother. She was, of course, also a cousin of Prince Charles. Her father, being brother of the late king, and uncle of the present one, was made lieutenant general of the kingdom, having thus the second place, that is, the place next to the queen, in the management of the affairs of the realm. Thus the little king commenced his reign by having in his court his mother as queen regent, his uncle lieutenant general, and his aunt, an exiled queen from a sister realm, his guest. He had also in his household his brother Philip, younger than himself, his cousin the young Duchess of Montpensier, and his cousin the Prince Charles. The family relationship of all these individuals will be made more clear by being presented in a tabular form, as follows:
ROYAL FAMILY OF FRANCE IN THE TIME OF LOUIS XIV.
Louis XIII. Louis XIV.
Anne of Austria. Philip, 8 years old.
HENRY IV Gaston, duke of Orleans. Duchess of Montpensier Duchess of Montpensier.
Henrietta Maria. Prince Charles, 16.
King Charles I.
In the above table, the first column contains the name of Henry IV., the second those of three of his children, with the persons whom they respectively married, and the third the four grandchildren, who, as cousins, now found themselves domesticated together in the royal palaces of France.