A Letter of Advice from Louis XIV to His Grandson, Felipe V of Spain
Having been declared King of Spain on 16 November 1700, Felipe V, formerly Philippe d’Anjou, left Versailles for Spain on 4 December. He didn’t reach Madrid until 22 January 1701. Along the way, he would have had plenty of time to read and ponder the letter handed to him by his grandfather on his departure.
Louis XIV had composed a 33-point letter of advice for his teenaged grandson, bringing to bear the experience of his then nearly 6 decades on the French throne, 4 of them as sole ruler. Some of his advice is in the spirit of ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ It also reveals some of the Sun King’s notions of kingship.