The fighting season of 1706 had ended very badly for France, with its armies driven out of Flanders and in retreat everywhere else. The Archduke Charles, with an Anglo-Austrian army behind him, had even taken Madrid and been proclaimed king as Carlos III, one of the main objectives of the War of the Spanish Succession. In short, Louis XIV and his allies were beaten to their knees.
So parlous was the state of France that Louis, for the first time in his career, sued for peace. He offered to surrender his Flemish fortresses to the Dutch and to recognize the Archduke Charles as King of Spain on the condition that his grandson Felipe V be allowed to keep Sicily, Naples, and Milan. The Grand Alliance was not impressed, except for the Dutch, whose aims had been achieved for them by Marlborough’s victories. England, Austria and the allied German states, however, scented blood and were determined to bring France low. The war continued.