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  9. 1630 The Day of the Dupes

    10 NOVEMBER 1630

    The Day of the Dupes was a political and diplomatic turning-point in the reign of Louis XIII, and the first major event in the history of France in Versailles. On this day, Marie de Médicis opposed Richelieu but against all odds, Richelieu won over the king’s trust.

    The day began in Paris in the Luxembourg palace of Marie de Médicis and ended in the small Château de Versailles where Louis XIII was in residence. In September 1630, the queen-mother took advantage of the serious illness that nearly killed her to demand from her son the head of her rival, Cardinal de Richelieu. The queen could no longer bear to witness the great influence of the minister on the king in the administration of the country. She waited for the favourable moment to remind him of his promise.

    Backed up by the party opposed to the cardinal, notably to his foreign policy − this was during the Thirty Years War − the queen opened the hostilities on the morning of November 10th. Ready to give in to the appeals of his mother, Louis XIII then found himself embarrassed by the sudden appearance of Richelieu. The queen loudly denounced the minister whom she detested, and demanded that the king, pale and dumb with shock, choose between her or him. Marie, sure of having made a deep impression on her son, believed she had defeated Richelieu, who thought he had to resign. But Louis XIII could not do without him. He knew just how much he owed him until then.

    On the same evening, the king summoned the cardinal to Versailles. After a two-hour conversation, the king decided to renew his trust in Richelieu and to sacrifice his mother. She was ordered to leave Paris for Compiègne: Louis XIII was never to see her again. She sent in exile but continued to plot against him. All the opposition to Richelieu was decapitated. The cardinal was made a duke and peer of the realm. His triumph was total. The day marked the true beginning of his ministry which ended with his death in 1642.

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