Not a great deal is known about the childhood of Henri IV’s other children.
During the illness of one of his daughters, Christine or Chretienne, doctors had been called from Paris. They were unable to agree on the nature of her illness or on the treatment to prescribe and were sent away.
Marie de Medicis was displeased that Chretienne was so often on horseback. She felt that, as her daughter was so young, this exercise could spoil her figure.
More delicate and frailer than Chretienne and Elisabeth (who married the future Philippe IV of Spain) Henriette was, according to Malherbe, “one of the kindest princesses in the world”. Louis XIII cherished her even more because she was weaker, and he advised Mme de Montglat to watch over her as she would over himself.
Louis only had a marked aversion for his illegitimate brothers and sisters. He was still a very young child when he answered his governess, who was rebuking him for having mistreated Mr de Vendome, one of the royal bastards: “Oh well! But he isn’t one of Mummy’s sons!”.
Later on, he never forgot that his illegitimate brothers had the same father as himself, and that, because of this, he owed them support and assistance. He did not abandon any of his father’s children.
He was even on friendly terms with one of them. She was a nun at Fontevrault and coadjudicator of the monastery. Her name was Jeanne-Baptiste de Bourbon, daughter of Charlotte des Essarts, Countess of Romorantin.
Louis took care of her health. If an epidemic was declared at Fontevrault, he would advise her to leave that convent for somewhere healthier.
However, he established distinctions. If he showed preferences for some of the bastards, he also knew how to keep them at a respectful distance, and never permitted them to stray from their rank.
In these circumstances, he showed, as he did in many others, that he had a strong will, and that he was, and intended to remain, the King.