Episodes – Season 1 Admin_LVL
Season 1 Episodes
Louis XIV is 28 years old. It is a year since the death of his mother. He is now alone in the seat of power. Haunted by the trauma of the nobles’ Fronde revolt, he needs to keep his rebellious aristocrats in check. To this end, he decides to leave Paris for Versailles where he will build the world’s most magnificent palace. His detractors are many, beginning with his younger brother, Philippe who has been humiliated since childhood. Louis is under threat from outside where a war looms, and beneath his own roof, where the Sun King’s power remains fragile.
Louis launches the Grande Enquête to check the legitimacy of the nobles’ titles, the first stage in his strategy to bring rebellious minds to heel. The first victim is the ever-conspiring Montcourt. The entire court now feels vulnerable. But Louis’ political victories are undermined by more intimate dilemmas as his sibling rivalry with Philippe takes even nastier turns. Louis can’t stand the wild escapades of his flamboyant homosexual brother… who, for his part claims his regal prerogative to show his warrior skills on the battlefield.
Louis welcomes the African Prince Annaba to Versailles. To gain access to African territories, Louis plays his trump card, his wife Marie-Therese. Henriette, Philippe’s wife and Louis’ mistress, is constantly harassed by the Chevalier de Lorraine. In the north, the indomitable Duke of Cassel harbours the scheming Moncourt. Cassel openly disdains the new rules Louis seeks to impose on the nobles of France. He is determined to sabotage the Versailles building project at all costs.
Accounts of Philppe’s prowess on the battlefield trouble Louis: what can he do with this brother who basks in military glory while risking his life? In the Court, the Marchioness of Montespan begins to overshadow Louise de Valliere… making her a rival of Henriette, who is determined to maintain her position in the King’s bed. On the country roads to Versailles, Moncourt’s heinous attacks dissuade the nobles from coming to the Court, while within the gilded walls of the Palace, a mysterious conspiracy contaminates the King’s inner circle.
The war over, Philippe returns to the Court and the soldiers to the construction of Versailles. Philippe has won glory but returns from the battlefields a changed man. On the road to Versailles, a hold up leaves one of Cassel’s henchmen dead: the trap is closing around the Duke. Louis decides to organise a spectacular Royal Show in the gardens of Versailles to celebrate the French victory. It is also part of his strategy to impose absolute control over the nobles, particularly the Duke of Cassel. For this, he engages the help of the duplicitous Montespan.
On the Versailles construction site, Louis is confronted with a soldiers-workers strike. They claim the honours and privileges of a victorious Royal army. Philippe seems to be the only one able to persuade them to return to work, a notion unthinkable for Louis! A humiliated Cassel is now forced to live at Versailles. But the conspiracy spreads and influences more and more nobles. Beatrice informs Sophie that they are not after all the blue-blooded aristocrats they claim to be. Henriette again stokes up the rivalry between Louis and Philippe: she is pregnant but knows not by which brother!
Louis is gravely ill. This offers opportunity for the conspiracy to act. Cassel, Montcourt, Beatrice and the Chevalier de Lorraine are now united with the aim: to put Philippe on the throne, with the help of William of Orange, the sworn enemy of the King and General of Holland. But Louis makes a miraculous recovery and the Chevalier is arrested for treason. He is thrown in jail and awaits execution.
Philippe is deeply upset and agitated at the arrest of the Chevalier. Though poisoned by Beatrice, Fabien manages to escape from the Palace and find refuge with Claudine. Louis receives the ambassador of Charles II, King of England, to propose a secret agreement to invade Holland. Charles’ sister, Henriette, is secretly designated to be ambassador of France. The conspirators seize the opportunity and plan Henriette’s assassination. Unknown to Louis, his most dangerous enemy is among his closest friends.
Henriette masterfully leads the negotiations with her brother King Charles II. She returns to France in great honour, though gravely weakened by a mysterious illness. Montespan’s power continues to assert itself, both in the court and in Louis’ heart. The snare tightens around the conspirators: Fabien is determined to take revenge for Beatrice’s treason. Louis’ son comes to visit his father, who wishes to teach his Dauphin the art of kingship. He tasks his best friend, Rohan, to teach the Dauphin to hunt.
Henriette’s health violently deteriorates. The poisoning theory is confirmed. The Palace is locked down and Claudine gives he all to save her patient. Louis is devastated. He wants to save his son from the stuffy atmosphere of the Court and entrusts him to the care of Rohan. After a lengthy agony, Henriette dies, surrounded by the two men of her life, her lover and her husband. Philippe decides to abandon the Court forever. In the forest, conspirators under orders from Rohan kidnap the Dauphin. The King has lost his love, his brother and, now, his son.