Characters – Season 2 Admin_LVL
Key Historical Characters
Versailles is the mirror image of Louis. As the king’s power grows, so does the palace. But as the season begins, Louis is still haunted by nightmares. The kidnapping of his son, and the death of Henriette keep him awake and prevent him from finding peace. Yet he should be feeling satisfied: his palace is admired by the entire world, he shares his bed with the most beautiful woman in France, the nobility is behind him, and he is ready to invade Holland… But, much like his new palace, there is still much work to be done behind the beautiful façade. Cracks begin to show. Louis is trapped in the labyrinth of Versailles and is trying to escape from its Minotaur. Consumed by his ego and growing paranoia, the king is losing his way, blinded by his work, and by the eyes of Madame de Montespan… And it is women who will comfort him in his internal battle, even though Montespan appears to be pulling him towards the darkness and hastening his demise.
Madame de Montespan
After winning the king’s affections, Madame de Montespan gets a taste for power and is determined to keep it. She flatters the king, fulfilling his sexual desires, and making him the envy of all. Her influence on Louis grows and spreads to his political decisions. She becomes the de facto “Queen of Versailles”. But no matter how ambitious and calculating she may be, Madame de Montespan is actually a vulnerable and terrified woman. She has seen what happens to favourites the king grows tired of. She knows that if the king’s favour should wane, the court would become a merciless den of predators. She is prepared to do anything to keep the affection of Louis, with whom she is hopelessly in love: even sell her soul to the devil.
Philippe has not forgiven Louis for Henriette’s death, and has decided to remain in Saint-Cloud, far from Versailles and his brother. But it’s a different story for Louis. He needs Philippe close-by, and he must see him married once again: the choice of wife is a major political decision that will enable him to forge new alliances in the war against Holland. So he lures Philippe to Versailles by returning his lover to him, the Chevalier de Lorraine, who he had sent into exile in Italy. Philippe knows that, as is tradition, he has no choice but to accept the woman that Louis will choose for him. A woman who could not be further from the late Henriette: the larger-than-life Liselotte, Princess Palatine. Against all expectations, a bond develops between Philippe and Liselotte. But just as the knight had demonstrated with Henriette, his jealousy knows no bounds.
Marie-Thérèse is forced to suffer daily humiliation inflicted upon her by Montespan, the new “Queen of Versailles” and Louis’ favourite. She cannot bear to see her rival flaunting her rounded belly and catching everyone’s eye, especially that of the king. Nor can she tolerate the decadent atmosphere that has taken over the court and diverted the nobility from the path of morality and religion. In the hope of returning order to the chaos, she calls upon Father Pascal, her confessor and confidante. She also approaches Madame Scarron, who she can sense has a positive influence on the king.
Chevalier de Lorraine
Having returned from a long exile in Italy, the Chevalier de Lorraine is the same as ever: flamboyant and mischievous; an incorrigible party-goer, possessive lover and rival of anyone who gets too close to Philippe. Initially flustered by the freshness and spontaneity of Princess Palatine, he becomes irritated by the bond that she develops with Philippe, and decides to make her pay. He takes cruel pleasure in humiliating her and mocking her “rustic” manners and lack of femininity. To boost his energy, the knight immerses himself in the potions and drugs circulating the court. He spots the opportunity for a lucrative…and destructive business.
Liselotte is a young, 19-year-old German princess, forced to leave her country and loved ones to marry Philippe and seal the alliance between France and the Palatinate. Despite her tender age, she is a force of nature who loves nothing more than riding horses, hunting, and eating. Extremely candid and natural, she has no interest in religion or etiquette. She is a free, iconoclastic spirit, who speaks her mind… But as strong and stubborn as she may be, she remains a young and isolated woman, a stranger in the court, and suffers the indifference of her husband and the repeated humiliation of the Chevalier de Lorraine.
Louis’ faithful servant has a ringside view of Madame de Montespan’s growing influence over the king and the court, and finds himself torn between his desire to protect Louis and his mission to obey him at all times. His friendship with the king will be put in jeopardy…
Guillaume D’Orange /
William of Orange
The young Dutchman, contending for power, remains Louis’ main rival in Europe. Having failed in his attempt to kidnap the Dauphin, he is determined to find other ways to destabilise Louis and thwart his plans for expansion. The counterpart of Louis, Guillaume too dreams of glory and power. But to do this, he must topple De Witt, the man who raised him like a son, but who, he believes, usurped the throne. He has placed trusted contacts very close to the king, including the spy Thomas Beaumont, who has managed to win the role of the king’s historian.
Madame Scarron / Madame Maintenon
A shining beacon in the distance. That is what Madame Scarron, the future Madame de Maintenon is. Welcomed into the court at the request of Madame de Montespan to take care of the child born from her relations with Louis, she is a pious woman, utterly devoted to her task. To begin with, Louis barely notices her: she is older than him, with an austere air, and doesn’t seem to fit in with the atmosphere of the court. But behind the scenes, Madame Scarron is a fine, intelligent and ambitious woman. She possesses a quality that Madame de Montespan lacks: patience. An iron fist within a velvet glove.
Key Fictional Characters
In her home nearby the palace, Madame Agathe receives noble guests, seeking her aid to win back a lover’s heart, rid themselves of an embarrassing husband or unwanted rival. She is an expert in divination and in concocting potions and poisons. She is an elegant, mysterious and very professional woman, especially when it comes to building her business and winning the loyalty of her clients. But she can become terrifying and ice-cold, and is afraid of nothing and no-one.
The playwright’s quill has seduced Louis, who accepts him into his service as his personal historian. He is tasked with chronicling his exploits and recording the “official” history of Versailles. This cover enables him to spy on the king under the instruction of Guillaume d’Orange. He takes advantage of his position to attend highly confidential meetings and approaches important figures in the court to glean information from them.
Fabien uses Sophie to infiltrate the parlours of Versailles. As the poisonings increase, he relies on her to feed back to him private discussions and shameful admissions…Forced, by order of the king, to marry the Duke of Cassel, she discovers, at her own expense, the cruelty of life in the court of Versailles. When Palatine arrives, Sophie takes up the role of companion to Monsieur’s wife. A genuine friendship develops between the two young women: both of whom find themselves trapped in a marriage not of their choosing. But, although Palatine hopes that her marriage may one day blossom, Sophie knows that, for her, there is no hope of that… and decides to free herself, whatever the cost…
Gaston de Foix
HARRY HADDEN PATON
The son of Madeleine de Foix is a scheming and ambitious manipulator. He seeks power, fortune and fame; the perfect example of a venal courtier playing with the codes of the court of Versailles. When he misses out on the position of Minister of Justice, awarded to Cassel, he feels devastated and hopeless; having become the black sheep of the court, he wants to make him pay for the humiliation he has suffered.
Murders and poisonings plague the court, the enemy is everywhere, anonymous, and unstoppable. The king himself begins to doubt the ability of his chief of police to put a stop to the crimes. Fabien sees that the court is rotting from within. He uses Sophie as a spy in the parlours, and concludes, like Bontemps, that Madame de Montespan’s influence on the king is growing. During his enquiry into the poisonings, he approaches Claudine, the king’s doctor.
The Duke of Cassel
To everyone’s surprise, Louis decides to appoint the duke of Cassel as Minister of Justice, a post that has remained vacant after the fatal poisoning of his predecessor. Louis is aware of the danger posed by Cassel, and hopes to control him better by keeping him close-by, even if it means giving him power, and cruelly forcing Sophie to marry him, despite knowing that she is Fabien’s spy. This way, he hopes to keep Cassel under constant surveillance. But Cassel does not change. He continues to be a deceitful, sadistic man…with an unabashed appetite for young women. He will make Sophie his victim. But the predator could become the prey…
It is not just supporters that the king’s doctor holds in the court. As Claudine monitors Madame de Montespan’s pregnancy, the “Queen of Versailles” takes a dislike to her, unable to bear another woman having such direct and personal access to Louis. So she begins a campaign to push her out of Versailles. But Claudine is not a woman who is easily defeated. From the village, she and Fabien continue their investigations into the mystery of the poisons used in the court, and try to find the supplier. But by seeking too many answers, she ends up making increasingly dangerous enemies.
Madeleine de Foix
An old friend of Madame de Montespan’s family, she arrives at court in the hope of finding a position for her son Gaston. But beneath her elegant exterior, Madeleine is determined and dangerous. Utterly devoted to her son, she is prepared to do anything to help him climb the social ladder.
Renowned for his devotion, he arrives at court as personal confessor to the Queen. Marie-Thérèse hopes that he will help her to steer the court of Versailles back to the path of morality and piety, and to convince Louis to end his adulterous relations with Madame de Montespan. But making an enemy of Montespan turns out to be very dangerous…and he would be wrong to underestimate her power.
At first glance, Father Etienne seems the epitome of the benevolent, devoted priest, passing his time in the brothels, taverns and ill-famed districts to take care of those most in-need. He takes particular care of the children of prostitutes, by placing them in orphanages. But Father Étienne is hiding a very dark underbelly.