Sumptuous period drama depicting the decadent and turbulent early reign of the Sun King. Young Louis XIV seeks to stamp his authority on court and country but faces resistance.
Browse content similar to Episode 1. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
This programme contains some violent scenes, some strong language, and scenes of a sexual nature
'Are you scared?
'Of course you are.'
Your mother is dying,
and the world is on fire.
If history teaches us one thing, it is this...
Terrible things happen to kings.
'You were anointed by God.
'Blessed by the sun.
'But you do not yet possess what really matters...
'Without it, you will perish...
'..and all of France along with you.
'For a king without a castle...
'..is no king at all.
'And now you dream of paradise...
'..but you must build it for yourself...
'..and let all the world know...
'..Louis the Great has arrived.'
I had a vision.
A dream about a palace.
Bring my architect - here in Versailles.
Monsieur le Vau?
Yes, I want to talk to him about mirrors.
How is my queen, Bontemps?
Everyone tells me it's going to be a boy.
-Guard, what business here?
-An attempt on the king's life.
By whom? The Spanish? The Dutch?
We do not yet know. Fabien is moving to quell the threat.
Sire, you must be escorted to the guardroom immediately.
On whose word?
Sire, away from the window! Sire! Away!
I do not know these men.
I am going nowhere and my second son will be born in Versailles here.
While I breathe, I will not show fear. I will not leave!
Philippe? Where is he? Where is my brother?
Bontemps! Where is my brother?
Your Majesty, you must come with us.
God, you are good at that.
KNOCK AT DOOR
'Monsieur? Monsieur? The king summons you!'
-HE PANTS AND GRUNTS
We heard you the first time!
Is the baby born?
'You are to come at once, Monsieur.'
I'll send for a snack.
Couldn't eat another thing.
Have they caught the men?
Fabien Marchal is leading the search.
Tell me what is going on.
Another plot uncovered. This time, they found four men.
In the village, sent to kill you.
We must all leave for Paris at once.
This lodge is not safe.
I decide where I go.
I decide what to do.
Make them go away.
You too, Montcourt.
You had that dream again.
You held her hand when she died.
You could have done the same.
They would not permit me that honour. My own mother....
Who permits the king but the king?
You will never understand. There is something bigger than you!
The king has not given you leave.
My dear Bontemps, I know that look well,
and someone's about to get hurt.
I'd rather it was not me.
They mean to kill me. Let them come!
Let them try!
The power lies with you.
The deer in those woods follow the same tracks as their ancestors...
..going back hundreds of years.
It's instinct. They... They simply follow.
Once in a while, though, one will turn...
..but those who challenge never win, for one good reason.
If you blindfolded me in that wood,
turned me around a hundred times, I would find my way back.
Not a path I do not know.
Not a tree I have not climbed.
This is where I hunt, and this is where we will stay.
We're not going anywhere.
You may leave now.
A fine day for a walk.
Have you lost your way, gentlemen?
HE SPEAKS SPANISH
Since you are clearly lost, perhaps...
..you do not know where you are.
My name is Fabien Marchal.
My work protects the king.
Welcome to Versailles.
And now the taxes for Epernon.
The harvest was poor, Monsieur Colbert.
Secure all the coffers and load the carriages. Four men to each.
We'll deal with it later.
What is the meaning of this, Louvois?
Fabien, did you get them all? Who are they?
Four Spanish mercenaries were found plotting an ambush.
They were prevented from doing so.
We really are out in the wilds here.
Defences are porous, non-existent.
The sooner we've returned to Paris, the better.
I do not believe the king nor his valet
appreciate the full picture of this threat.
In any case, it's not up to him.
The ministers and council, we all must guide the ship.
Do you believe the country's governed by one man?
Bontemps? Is the king informed? What does he say of this?
Where is he?
He said he would be here.
Then we must find him.
Search all the corridors, the kitchen.
I don't care where you look, just find the king.
You cannot find my brother?
You cannot find the King of France?
Protocol demands while the king is lost, you must remain in place.
Oh, he's not lost. I can promise you that.
WOLVES GROWL AND SNARL
GUNSHOT HORSE NEIGHS AND WOLVES WHIMPER
What the hell do you think you're doing?
You could have been killed!
Perhaps? You surpass yourself.
You and I have never been more alone than we are right now.
Brother, we need to go.
We will never get this chance again, so I want you to listen to me.
The wolves will come back and there will be more of them.
I am about to drag this country out of the darkness and into the light.
We must build our own destiny, right here.
A new France will be born, and this palace will be her mother.
Our father's hunting lodge?
Get back on the horse.
With great change, enemies are quick to follow.
I only need to know one thing.
In this moment, no matter what, are you with me, Brother?
Do you have my back?
Where am I now?
'The king! The king!'
It's the king!
This is Masson, your new doctor.
He will attend to you and deliver the boy when it is time.
If I may just say, Majesty, I consider this appointment
to be the very apotheosis of honour, both to myself and to my family.
I think he waits for you.
When do we go home?
The birthing bed is to be prepared. We're not going anywhere.
Wouldn't you agree, Doctor?
Oh, yes, Sire, most certainly.
I'm tired, my king.
You're keeping us all in suspense.
I'm so jealous that you're going to Mass without me.
It is for the welfare of the child,
as well as your own.
Then let us go back to Paris. Confine me there.
At least make them change the tapestries. You promised you would.
I wish you kept more promises.
The bed is very big without you in it.
My proud Spanish Queen.
Sire, important matters of state.
When the time comes, I do not want many people here.
Why on earth not?
I do not feel the same as I did the last time.
All will be well.
Tea. Bring it now.
Si, mi reina.
-The baby is coming!
The baby is coming!
-The baby is coming!
-Stop, stop, stop, stop!
Nabo, you naughty thing. Bed.
PRISONER SOBS AND SHIVERS
You will have been given a name.
Only Calderon knew.
He said we would receive word.
No, I've never seen that before.
No! No! No, please!
Por favor! Por favor!
Only Calderon knew. Por favor! Por favor!
No, please! Please!
No, por favor! No! No!
Please! No! No!
PRISONER GROANS AND SOBS IN PAIN
When I return, the name.
You look frozen.
Quite warm, thank you.
Spring has sprung.
How is your husband?
Please, do not talk about him now.
You made me marry him.
How else was I going to keep you here?
THEY BREATHE DEEPLY
And about your husband, I would have you tell me everything he says
and everything he does.
I thought I might have lost you forever.
I was worried about you.
No, you weren't.
What are you doing?
Packing. You're not seriously considering
staying here another second, are you?
They just tried to kill the king!
If they get to him, who's next?
Actually, now, there's an idea.
You would have me die?
You are so slow sometimes.
The prince, little Louis, he's always seemed a bit sickly,
don't you think?
My point exactly.
Hardly anyone sees him. He's holed up in Paris,
and everybody's constantly terrified he's going to catch a chill.
How many children at court make it to the age of five,
much less their majority?
What chance does this latest one have
of making it out of the royal merkin,
let alone walk into his own coronation?
There's a reason why your brother's always desperate for another boy.
That's why everyone around here
appears to be willing another male child into existence.
But don't you see?
When it all falls down, it all comes to you.
And what would you do on that day...
..with all that power?
What would you be doing right now?
Would you consign us all to linger in the swamp?
You would make Paris the capital of the world
and we would dine and dance there every night.
What kind of king goes off hunting alone and then gets lost?
Your brother's lost all sense of himself.
He's even lost himself.
What a prize idiot!
What's this, now?
You would try to rule me?
You shouldn't talk about my brother like that.
Oh, you know me by now, Mignonette.
I talk in whatever way I choose.
Do not judge a man by his words but by his actions.
And do not worry...
..I will be a merciful king.
It is in my humble opinion that information is power.
That is one of 948 journals,
gathered by our services, detailing every single member of your court.
Their height, weight, hair and eye colour, their daily movements,
from your valet to your cook's assistant, Madeleine Dubois.
You, Sire, are the sun.
And around you circulates not just our celestial court,
but those who seek to harm you.
You have ministers who openly defy you,
nobles who pay no tax yet believe that France is theirs, not yours.
Then beyond our borders,
the Dutch, Spain, the English,
and the Holy Roman Empire.
All who surround you will smile
and they will deal.
But they would all see you destroyed, Sire.
A strong France scares them, as well it should.
You would wish a weak France?
I wish for the power to protect His Majesty.
You have sufficient resources.
Give him what he needs.
At your discretion, of course.
PRIEST DELIVERS MASS
Would they risk moving the queen again at this late stage, I wonder?
Hmm! Perhaps we'll be lucky and they'll leave her on the roof.
-Anyway, a little bird has told me
they've requested a birthing bed,
so I doubt she's going anywhere, even if we are.
Everyone's saying a boy.
Hmm, she is carrying in the front.
I hope it is, for her sake, not to mention the child's.
Boys have all the fun.
Your husband is staring at you.
I must go down for Communion.
I shouldn't be here. It's wrong.
Your piety becomes you, Mademoiselle de la Valliere.
I want you.
I serve Your Majesty as I serve God - with all my heart.
You are very dear to me.
I hope with all my heart it will be a healthy child.
No matter what, your child will be a child of France.
Of that you can be sure.
Oh, chapel, the most pious event of the week.
Yes, the king and his mistress gazing down on us all.
Honestly, I just can't stand it!
Do they realise who we're praying to?
I would wager Fabien Marchal prays for peace, Louvois for war,
and Philippe, well, he prays only to me.
All of them wondering why La Valliere is up there
when we all know she's finished.
I wonder what the king sees in her.
I suppose he sees poise!
Which is more than I can say for some.
I need new shoes, Mother.
No, it's not the shoes. It's the feet inside them.
Eyes up, chin down.
You're either looking or you're being looked at.
Walking is a skill, my dear, like dancing. Go.
Why does the king ignore her
when she's clearly the beauty of the court?
The king cares not so much for beauty as character.
It's no surprise he does not look on her.
-Well, I thank you, Chevalier.
-Don't mention it.
Now, that poor wretch is most interesting.
Young woman, died recently of a stopping of the stomach...
or perhaps a raising of the lights.
The letting of blood through venesection
purges the body of its ills.
It's one of the cornerstones of medical science.
It seems to me that doctors stand before corpses
pronouncing the reasons of death.
Yet I wonder if they omit the most obvious cause of all.
And what would that be?
Perhaps their own incompetence.
Strong as a mule, twice as stubborn!
Father, please listen to me! Doesn't that also demand a question?
If the Lord himself ministered to these children,
would he really drain them of blood?
Claudine, my dear girl, look, I know that you are clever and kind.
But many people will not see you like that.
Many people will see a woman of knowledge...
(who speaks her mind.)
And they would use a very different word.
The word they would use would...
A witch! Say it!
I will not see you burned!
So, we are being robbed.
The tax revenues you outlined. Nantes down 7%, Limousin down 14%,
Anjou down 21% and Epernon down 35%.
They do this because they do not fear the consequences.
What is worse, they steal from the people of France in my name.
A common thief in a brocade shirt.
Sire, the expenses you requested, the royal pension.
Sire, the taxation issue is a tedious mess,
and I would have your royal attention
fixed on weightier matters.
This is an administrative issue that can be solved
once we return to Paris.
The archives are there...
Who's our excise man of Epernon?
Who interrupts our council?
Urgent from your wife, Monsieur Bontemps,
My Lady of Ile de Saint-Louis.
I will, Sire, once our business...
Then I shall. Give it to me.
Go back to your family at once. Take a Swiss with you.
There are bandits on the road.
Find our excise man of Epernon. Educate him.
Let me be clear.
The state of these finances will not pass these doors.
As far as the world is concerned, our cash flow is strong
and the royal purse secure.
Is that understood?
Has he transgressed us before?
For that, Sire, we'd need to consult the archives in Paris.
A good point, Louvois. Bring the archives here.
Only four women have their aunts staying -
Clermont, Montbeliard, Anjou and Poitiers.
Poitiers keeps saying she is pregnant, but she is not.
I must run an errand for the king.
Bring me my book of names from Epernon
and every parish that borders it.
It's the red one.
What are you looking for?
Looking for Monsieur Dupont.
I will return.
What would you like?
I'd like you to get your hands off me!
-After what happened to Fouquet,
I'd have thought you people would've learned something.
Remind me. As a tax collector, you can count, can't you?
-Hmm? Even in Epernon?
Well, for future reference, so can we.
Compliments of the king.
Montcourt, you seem pensive.
The king ordered ALL the archives from Paris?
He's not a boy any more.
When kings becomes men, they get big ideas.
And this, I fear, is as big as they come.
As I mentioned to you before,
the envelope should be completed around the entirety
of the lodge.
Along the full length of the terrace, inside,
a great hall of mirrors which should be reflected in the symmetry.
We will need to buy in most of Venice for that for the glass.
Now, the gardens on this side will extend from here to here.
Very good, Sire. What is this large rectangle here?
You wish to put a lake in this area?
The area IS the lake.
A big lake, yes.
Sire, a lake that size would dwarf any structure
that looks out upon it.
That depends on the structure, does it not, Monsieur le Notre?
But even to feed such a lake, Majesty,
there are not enough rivers in Versailles.
Bring the rivers here.
So, you are my gardener.
How long have you worked for me?
Six months, Sire.
And before that?
What happened to your arm?
I left it on a field in Malines.
How forgetful of you.
What qualifies a soldier for gardening?
I am very skilled at digging, Sire.
Also, Sire, the planning for a garden like this
is not so different from the planning for war.
A war fought for beauty against chaos.
I want you to dig me a lake.
Half a league.
That would take me some time, Sire. I might need a hand.
How many men?
Good day to you.
Good day, Sire.
May the Queen enjoy a healthy childbirth.
May your dreams be full of wonder.
My mother once told me that before a man becomes a father,
he will relive his own childhood.
There are members of this court who are willing to sell
details of your life to the highest bidder,
giving no thought to the implications for your safety.
The Spaniards in your dungeon were confident that the money
they spent would grant them access to your court.
One of them gave me the name of Monsieur Montcourt.
These people you mention would report our business here to others?
And regarding Montcourt, Sire, do you wish me to act?
Sire, they came knowing there would be a friendly face.
They came confident that they would meet someone...
There will come a moment tonight
when our Monsieur Montcourt will wish to leave.
Let him do so.
People think us weak. Let them hear that we are strong.
Say it once, and all shall hear.
'The Greeks knew what glory was.
'Their buildings were temples for their gods to live in.
'We will build a new temple here.'
A royal tabernacle of the sun, a dwelling place of the divine
and of the people,
with a great hall of light that will follow the sunrise and shine out
to all corners of the globe so they might all see the glory of France.
A place of true wonder to remind us all
of the great and ancient past under our feet,
and from whose roots we all now grow.
As a land and as a people who know that true power
comes not just from our army,
but from the inner beauty of our immortal soul.
As our mother, she will cherish us, and as her children,
we will always know her as our home.
From the farthest reaches of the Earth,
men will venture here simply to look upon her.
And those that do...
Will never leave.
..will never forget.
Father, please tell me a story...
about the king.
Which king would that be?
You know which one.
I will tell you a story of the king and his palace.
Once upon a time, there was a great and glorious king
who lived in a beautiful palace in the middle of a forest.
His first valet was an honest man...
..and he served the king with all his heart.
The position came to him by his father...
..just as he will, one day,
pass it on to you.
I will work for the king? What will I do?
You will be the first man the king sees in the morning...
..and the last he will see before bed.
You will anticipate his every need
so he might continue on his course of greatness.
To see things no other man can see
and move towards them
with singular courage and purpose.
You will meet no other man so wise,
You always cheer me up.
You will be the luckiest man in the world, my son.
You will be one of the few
to truly know his most secret mind.
You will live a life you can only dream of...
..and be part of the most important family in the history of the world.
Then, one day, you will tell your own son of your journey...
..and pass these blessings on to him.
Can I come and help you work?
A midwife would not be amiss.
And then, one day, I hope to be just like you.
A woman doctor? There's an idea.
Mother would be proud.
Come and eat!
Father, what good are you to the queen
if you collapse from starvation in the middle of the birth?
You need your strength. Respect your body.
I respect the wishes of the king and he wishes me there.
His power does not lie with the crown, you know?
It lies with the one who holds royal life in his hands.
That is you, Father. And the sooner you realise it, the better.
-If it goes wrong...
..we pack our bags and we leave immediately.
Stop it, Father. You're delivering a child!
Not just any child.
Sire, considering the surroundings,
the best course of action is to lay siege to its people.
If we are to emerge victorious in the Spanish Netherlands,
we must claim our prize with both hands - the north and the east.
Two fronts working together. Here and here.
Two fronts? We discussed the single column.
Sire, you being so preoccupied with other affairs of state,
we thought it best to...
Leave me, all of you.
So good of you to come.
You spent 50,000 on shoes.
Well, you haven't seen the shoes.
When I asked if you had my back, I meant that you would guard it,
not remove it.
You build your palace, I wear my clothes.
As you always say, perception is everything.
Well, I tell you this - if you would only let me go to war,
I would have your back and more.
Besides, my brother, I would bring you such glory.
What do you know of war?
Exposing your flanks, very dangerous.
Given the terrain,
I'd think carefully about thinning out along the supply line.
Take it from me.
A well-timed thrust might just split you in two.
Stay your hand.
I just want to show you.
Put the piece back.
It's glaringly obvious.
Give it to me.
Come and get it.
Put it down.
Too slow, Mister.
Hand it over.
I have your back, but what do I get?
You get money to throw away. Now give it to me.
I knew it!
The minute you get the chance, you belittle me again.
The magic word, what is it?
Do not forget who addresses you.
We will not ask you again.
You never were good at sharing.
There she is.
My beautiful wife.
Do you think your brother will like these flowers?
Bontemps asked me to apply myself to the details.
What do you want?
I think I want a son, just like my brother.
You can say what you like.
It's not going to help you.
Sire, the queen is at work.
The moment is upon us, Sire.
So, should events overtake us,
when the child is born, you will ask me the sex, if you recall.
If it is a male child, I will answer, "I do not yet know, Sire."
If it is a girl child, I shall answer, "I do not know, Sire."
This will give you a moment to compose yourself accordingly...
..should you wish it
THE QUEEN BREATHES HEAVILY
THE QUEEN GRUNTS
Your plans for war have no merit. We cannot expose our flank.
(There's too many people! Too many people!)
Calm yourself, Majesty!
-THE QUEEN SHRIEKS
-Breathe, Your Majesty!
Encircle them all, make for the Rhine, and then north to the sea.
Bring me all of it.
-Sire, we cannot afford it.
-We cannot afford not to.
-THE QUEEN SHRIEKS
Good, Your Majesty! Good!
Push, Majesty! Push!
-Don't forget to breathe!
-Yes! I see the head!
-Yes, Your Majesty!
-Yes, Your Majesty!
Sire, please, everyone must leave, at once!
Everyone must leave at once!
It's the king's words!
Well? What is the meaning of this?
Doctor, what is the sex?
Come, man, speak! Where is your tongue?
The problem is not the sex, Sire.
France, 1667. Proud young Louis XIV seeks to stamp his authority on court and country but faces resistance and betrayal, even from those closest to him. Shifting the seat of power to a luxurious rural 'lodge' that he plans to enlarge only adds to his problems.