Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Court Presentation in France- Part 1

While preparing a more detailed post on the event known to us as Presentation at Court, I came across a publication called "Notice Historique sure les Honneurs de la Cour", and yes, it's in French. I'll try to post a translation online somewhere, when my brain feels up to the task of seven pages.

Here are some very basic things to know about court presentation in France in the 18th century:-
1) It was a much more formal event for a woman than it was for a man. He might make his introduction to the king by way of traveling along on a hunting expedition. The level of careful ettiquette required of a woman was a lot higher.
2) Regardless of gender the person to be presented had to prove first that their family had been of the aristocracy as far back as 1400, and they had to find someone who had already been presented at court who could then present them. (For our heroine, Olympe's mother could not present her because she had never been presented at court herself, but her cousin, Marie-Louise de la Tour d'Auvergne, could.)
3) Typically women presented women, and men presented men. It never hurt to have multiple people of high rank in your party during the presentation, regardless; especially if the person being presented was being launched onto the marriage market.
4) There were exceptions to the rule. People who were not of long-ennobled families could apply to be presented if they had other appropriate credentials, such as serving with distinction in the military or trade, being a foreign diplomat, or just having pleased the monarch in some way.

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