Mlle de Montpensier d’Orleans and her husband were kept apart because of their ages being too young for co-habitation.  During the first days of their union, the Duke de Saint-Simon had insisted that the two children appear in the same bed in front of the whole court.

At two o’clock, the young newly-weds are therefore led by the King and the Queen into their apartments.  They enter with their officers and the indispensable Saint-Simon, in charge of overseeing the ceremony.  He declares with great satisfaction that everything has gone the way that he wished it.

The crowd of courtiers had been admitted to see the two children, who had just been married, lying in the ceremonial bed, and the curtains had been closed on them in the presence of everyone.  Here is how Secretary Stalpart reports to Cardinal Dubois on the consummation of the marriage of the young King and Queen of Spain.

“The King and the Queen arrived at l’Escurial from Balsain on 18, at 10 o’clock at night.  Mr the Prince of the Asturies and the Princess were waiting for them, impatient to execute what had been permitted.  Firstly, Their Majesties went to their apartments, the King went from there into the Prince’s and made him get undressed in his presence.  The Queen did the same with the Princess and made her lie down, after which, Her Majesty went to find the Prince whom she led by the hand, accompanied by the King, to the bed where the Princess was, and having left them lying together, Their Majesties retired until the next day, when they returned to see the newly-weds.  The Prince seemed gay, the Princess had a flushed face.  They continued sleeping and eating together, and seemed happy.”

But the Duke of Popoli and the Duchess of Montellano were careful to slip inside the curtains and not let the spouses out of their sight for an instant.  Immediately after the departure of the court, the Prince gets up and is led to his own apartment.

This pretence, which is practised in France, shocks the Castillans.  The Prince of the Asturies cries when he is taken from the bed.  What happens later hardly confirms this favourable augur.  The consummation of the marriage will be very late, even when the King is allowed to share the Queen’s bed.  Is this because of timidity on the Prince’s part, or a lack of co-operation from his partner?

Through thinly veiled diplomatic reticence, it is only possible to see very vaguely the reciprocal blame of the spouses.  The Queen has visibly no desire to please, although in “their nocturnal combats”, it isn’t her fault “if there has not yet been any blood spilt”.

Here is the letter written on this subject by Field-Marshal de Tesse to the Duke de Bourbon:  “You do me the honour of writing to me that it is rather difficult to believe that a vigorous boy who has neither mistress nor mignon, sleeps with a young woman without touching her.  I am very willing to believe that Your Serene Highness would be incapable of it, but in Spain any man who does not sleep with his wife every day, “anathema-sit”.  The confessors, the Inquisition, everything is up-in-arms and lost.  As for the rest, I repeat again with certainty that up until the day before yesterday, in their nocturnal combats, there had as yet been no blood spilt.  She is too young to have spilt it before leaving France.  I know that she complains about it and that she is very knowledgeable about what could be and of what is not, but that is not our business.”

Six months after the marriage, the King’s First Doctor confesses that “nothing has yet happened between the King and the Queen”.  While the young Prince appears to again feel a very pronounced attraction to his wife, she, on the other hand, displays an antipathy toward him which is more and more pronounced.

“I don’t know what happens at night,” says the old Field-Marshal.  “I suspect that it is very little or nothing at all;  but, for the daytime, they only see each other at dinner and supper and it doesn’t seem as if they need to be told to abstain… ”  For Tesse, it seems clear that if the spouses share the same bed, it is only through fear of the Inquisition, which is very strict on the subject.

Fourth part tomorrow.

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