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Useful Notes / Louis XIII

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Louis XIII (27 September 1601 – 14 May 1643) was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who ruled as King of France from 1610 to 1643 and King of Navarre (as Louis II) from 1610 to 1620, when the crown of Navarre was merged to the French crown.

Louis succeeded his assassinated father Henry IV as king of France and Navarre a few months before his ninth birthday. His mother, Marie de' Medici, acted as regent during Louis's minority. Mismanagement of the kingdom and ceaseless political intrigues by Marie de' Medici and her Italian favourites led the young king to take power in 1617 by exiling his mother and executing her followers, including Concino Concini, the most influential Italian at the French court.

Louis XIII, taciturn and suspicious, relied heavily on his chief minister Cardinal Richelieu to govern the kingdom of France. King and cardinal are remembered for the establishment of the Académie Française and for putting an end to the revolt of the French nobility. The reign of Louis "the Just" was also marked by the struggles against Huguenots and Habsburg Spain.


France's greatest victory in the conflicts against the Habsburg Empire during the period 1635-59 came at the Battle of Rocroi (1643), five days after Louis's death from apparent complications of intestinal tuberculosis. This battle marked the end of Spain's military ascendancy in Europe and foreshadowed French dominance in Europe under Louis XIV, his son and successor.

Tropes as portrayed in fiction:

  • Demoted to Extra: As most of his depictions appear in adaptations of The Three Musketeers where he has a very small role, he's almost always overshadowed by Richelieu and even Queen Anne of Austria.


Appears in the following works:

  • The Marie de' Medici Cycle stylistically chronicles his mother Louis's life and depicts her conflict with Louis.
  • Appears in the 1826 novel Cinq Mars by Alfred de Vigny, about a conspiracy to topple Richelieu.
  • The Three Musketeers (1844) and its countless faithful-to-loose adaptations. His depiction, including his age regardless of accuracy, varies a lot Depending on the Writer.
    • Jean-Pierre Cassel played him in the first two films of Richard Lester's Three Musketeers trilogy as a bit eccentric, as for instance he plays chess games with costumed little people as the pieces.
    • He is both a Royal Brat and a Manchild in the animated series Albert the Fifth Musketeer, which is loosely based on The Three Musketeers.
    • The Musketeers, where he's played by Ryan Gage, also portrays him as a Manchild who throws tantrums when things don't go his way and blames the Musketeers for his own mistakes.
    • He's long since dead in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998) but his depiction is still unflattering, as D'Artagnan says the Musketeers have long dreamed of serving "a king worthy of the throne" which to date has not happened.
    • Contrasting greatly is his depiction in The Three Musketeers (1993) where he's essentially a nice guy who loves his Queen but is manipulated by Richelieu, and he essentially becomes a Distressed Dude at the end along with the Queen.
    • The Musketeer (2001) made him an Upper-Class Twit and a bit of a sexist who demeans the Queen and thinks he can stop a riot just by telling the rioters to stop.
    • The Three Musketeers (2011) made him a Camp Straight guy who despite appearances just wants to get closer to the Queen, and even looks to D'Artagnan for relationship advice.
  • Appears as a teen and target of conspiracy in 1960's Le Capitan. Played by Christian Fourcade.
  • Played by Philippe Noiret in the 1964 film Cyrano & D'Artagnan.
  • Ken Russell's The Devils, a rather controversial film and a fairly unflattering depiction (though Louis XIII gets a better deal than Richelieu).
  • In Louis, the Child King, he is a ghost who talks to his eleven year old son Louis XIV. Voiced by Marcel Bozonnet.