Louis XIV and the English: War, Peace and Fashions
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In 1661 Louis XIV called the English ‘the ancient and irreconcilable enemies’ of the French. The two countries fought two world wars against each other, in 1689-1697 and 1702-1713. The arrival in England of Protestant refugees from Louis’ persecutions helped confirm some English in their view of Louis as a new Genghis Khan. Yet before 1689 the two countries had been allies. In 1711-12 the English government conducted secret peace negotiations with Louis XIV behind its allies’ backs. By the end of his reign Louis XIV called France and England two nations with the same origins, separated only by circumstances. No foreign country bought French fashions and luxuries more enthusiastically, or visited and wrote about Versailles in greater numbers, than the English. Francophilia was as common as Francophobia.
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