1902 Encyclopedia > Louis XV of France

Louis XV
King of France

LOUIS XV., great-grandson and successor of the preceding, born at Versailles on February 15, 1710, was the third son of Louis, duke of Burgundy. His father became dauphin in 1711, and died in 1712, and he himself succeeded to the throne of France on September 1, 1715. His majority was declared in February 1723, and on September 5, 1725 (his cousin, to whom he had been engaged since 1721, having been sent back to Spain), his marriage to Maria Leczinski of Poland, his senior by seven years, was solemnized at Fontainebleau. This union continued to subsist after a fashion until the queen's death in 1768; but the successive relations of the king with De Chateauroux, De Pompadour, and Du Barry are elements of much greater interest and importance to the student of his reign. His surname of "Le Bien-aimé" is said to date from August 1744, when he was seized with a dangerous illness at Metz; the people of Paris rushed in crowds to the churches to pray for his recovery, nor could they sleep, eat, or enjoy any amusement until the "well-beloved king" was out of danger. He died of small-pox on May 10, 1774, having been predeceased for some years by his only son Louis. His successor was his grandson Louis XVI. For his reign see FRANCE (vol. ix. pp. 584-593).

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