As the second Duke of Orleans was born on a 25 April, there was some discussion about whether or not to name him Louis, after Saint Louis, who was also born on 25 April.  Henri IV wanted him named Gaston, in memory of the valorous prince of the House of Foix.  Jean-Baptiste was added to please the Queen, who believed that this would put her third son under the protection of the saint of Florence, her home.

The Queen had also voiced the wish that he receive the title of Prince of Navarre.  But as this title could designate him as presumptive heir to the kingdom of Navarre, and permit someday certain pretensions unfavorable to the State, another title was chosen.

He became the Duke of Anjou, in memory of the famous House whose princes had been Kings of Jerusalem and of Sicily.  It was only on his marriage to Mlle de Bourbon that Gaston exchanged his title of Duke of Anjou for that of Duke of Orleans because the duchy of Orleans was given to him on this occasion.

Marie de Medicis had immediately shown a preference for this son.  She worries about finding a good nurse for this pampered child, insists on finding out if her milk is good, and if she has enough of it, if she likes wine, the quality and condition of her parents, and if there is anything which can be said against her.  She tells those charged with this mission, “if she is as she should be, dress her immediately, so that she is tidy and clean and ready when I send for her”.

The child grows, and like his brothers and sisters, is subject to the diseases of childhood.  Like Louis XIII, he catches smallpox, and his mother shows her anxiety.  She writes to Mme de Montglat:  “Doubtless this illness must follow its course and I have hope that the child will soon be cured”.  She tells her to bring “all the care and assistance which can be brought” to this end.

The patient is installed at Saint-Germain, in the King’s own bedroom.  The windows are opened “so as to ventilate it”, and a “good fire” is lit, on which is put ” juniper wood, so that the room remains without the slighest whiff of bad air”.

When the little prince is completely cured, the Queen is not opposed to him being shown to the people of Paris, so that it sees him “healthy and strong”, but “he mustn’t stop anywhere, because of the bad air and the illnesses which are there”.

So, he was taken out twice in Paris, but the second time, he started a temperature on his way back in the evening.  It was for this reason that he was left at the Louvre.

The Queen then came from Fontainebleau to see the Duke of Anjou, whom she found less ill than she had feared.  However, he refused to take the medicines presented to him.

The Queen wanted him to take an enema in her presence.  This was a drama.

To bring the child around to it, his mother told him that she had come to Paris to take him back with her to Fontainebleau, and that he needed to be strong to undertake the trip.  There was nothing better to contribute to this than his taking “a little broth”.  He agreed to take it.

“The Queen then told him that he had to take it from behind, and that , if he took it, she would give him a little silver pendant, which she showed him.  He immediately recognized what the Queen meant and said to her:  “I well see what it is, your broth to be taken from behind.  It’s an enema in disguise.  I don’t want it.  I don’t care about Fontainebleau or pendants.””

Surprised by this resistance, Marie de Medicis threatened him with the whip.  “These threats had no effect, force was necessary.  She therefore had him held down by three or four people, rendering him immobile.  Seeing the position he was in, he decided to accept what she wanted.”

After that, he was given “a little syrup”, and soon afterwards, he was found “running and playing, in the best mood that anyone could wish”.

Later, he had other indispositions.  There were worms and stones, “three grains like pin-heads, joined together, not smooth, but rough”.

He had adenoid growths, like his brother Louis XIII.  His mouth was constantly open, he had a dazed expression, with his lower lip hanging down.

He also had facial tics, which showed him to be “in a perpetual state of anxiety”.

Seventh and last part tomorrow.

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