Alternative History
Philip VII
Philippe VII
Coat of Arms of France & Navarre.svg
King of France and Navarre
Reign 1 September 17159 July 1746
Coronation 2 October 1715
Predecessor Louis XIV
Successor Philip VIII
King of Spain (more...)
Reign 1 November 1700 28 July 1712
Predecessor Charles II
Successor Philip VI
Dauphin of France
Tenure 10 March 1712 1 September 1715
Predecessor Louis, Duke of Anjou
Successor Louis, Duke of Burgundy
Born 19 December 1683
Château de Versailles, France
Died 9 July 1746 (aged 62)
Château de Versailles, France
Burial Basilica of Saint Denis, France
Spouse Maria Luisa of Savoy
(m. 1701; died 1714)

(m.; )

Issue Charles X, Philip VIII
and others
Full name
Philippe de France
House Bourbon
Father Louis, Grand Dauphin
Mother Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria
Religion Roman Catholicism

Philip VII (French: Philippe; 19 December 1683 – 9 July 1746) known as Philip the Brave (French: Philippe le Brave) or Philip the Desired (French: Philippe le Désirée) – King of Spain (as Philip V) from 1700 to 1712 and King of France from 1715 until his death. Second son of Louis, Dauphin of France and grandson Louis XIV. Through his paternal grandmother, Maria Theresa, he was the great-grandson of King Philip IV of Spain.

Philip's name is associated with major events of the first half of the XVIIIth century, particularly wars; the most notable of which are the War of the Spanish Succession and the War of the Austrian Succession. King of Spain for 12 years where he introduced French absolutism, it was as king of France that he was most significant, where he maintained the system of government of his grandfather and predecessor Louis XIV. Finally, his reign also marks the reversal of European alliances, which sees France getting closer to Austria, a long-time enemy, against the maritime hegemony of Great Britain.

Duke of Anjou

Philip was born on 19 December 1683 at the Palace of Versailles in France as the second son of Louis, Grand Dauphin, the heir apparent to the throne of France, and his wife Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria, known as the Dauphine Victoire. He was a younger brother of Louis, Duke of Burgundy, and great brother of Charles, Duke of Berry all three were baptized at the same time on 18 January 1687 by Bishop of Orléans Pierre du Cambout de Coislin. His godfather is Monsieur Philip I, Duke of Orleans, brother of the king, and his godmother is Mademoiselle Élisabeth Charlotte d'Orléans, future Duchess of Lorraine and Bar. At birth, Philip was created Duke of Anjou, a traditional title for second sons in the French royal family.

Duke of Anjou (on the ground), with his parents and brothers

In 1689, Philip was entrusted like his brothers, to the Duke of Saint-Aignan as governor, and the Archbishop of Cambrai François de Salignac de La Mothe-Fénelon. The education was designed for him and Charles in an accessible, even attractive way, with a life of the great outdoors in order to ensure them a good physical resistance since the cadets were theoretically to serve in the commands of the armies, the religious education was serious, but not burdensome or formalistic. School life for boys was confined to one wing of the Palace of Versailles with the simple exception of attending a few music concerts or theatrical performances. Fenelon tried everything to instill in the Duke of Anjou the proscription of luxury and the placing of the arts under supervision by refusing the excess of the sumptuary arts. However, this is a failure, because the future king was already sensitive and already integrated the monarchical art of his grandfather simply by partially admiring the example of Versailles.

Although Philip's education was going very well, it was marred from the start by the death in 1690 of the mother of the Children of France[1] (French: Enfants de France) – Dauphine Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria. This loss was very hard for the Duke of Anjou as for his brothers because they are already abandoned by their father. The Dauphin Louis of France, was totally absent during their childhood, showed no particular affectionate link, being more interested in his mistresses that he already maintained during his marriage with Maria Anna.

Spanish inheritance issues

At the end of the 1690s, the problem of the Spanish succession became acute: Charles II of Spain, nicknamed The Bewitched (Spanish: el Hechizado), was sickly and counterfeit, of very delicate health and without posterity. Even before his death, the great European powers tried to come to an agreement to share his kingdom, not being satisfied that the integrity of the Spanish heritage was preserved.

Charles II of Spain – last representative of the Spanish Habsburgs

Although great-grandson of Anne of Austria and grandson of Maria Theresa, Infantes of Spain, the problem of Philippe's participation in the Spanish succession does not arise at first, because his father and her older brother would have more rights there than he, if the validity of Maria Theresa's renunciation of her rights to the Spanish crown when she had married Louis XIV were called into question. Moreover, the latter and the other European monarchs had agreed to declare that the heir to the throne of Spain would be, in the case of the death without heir of Charles II, Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria.

A first Treaty of Partition, confirmed at The Hague in 1698, granted Joseph-Ferdinand the kingdoms of the Spanish peninsula (except Guipuscoa), Sardinia, the Spanish Netherlands and the American territories; to France returned Guipuscoa, Naples and Sicily; to Austria, the Duchy of Milan. On the death of Joseph Ferdinand in 1699, a new Treaty of Partition was concluded in London in 1700 without the consent of Spain. France, Holland and England recognized as king the Archduke Charles of Austria, to whom devolved the kingdoms of the peninsula, the Spanish Netherlands and the West Indies; the Duke of Lorraine, Leopold I (Monsieur's son-in-law), received Milan on condition of ceding Lorraine and Barrois to the Dauphin, who also received Naples, Sicily and Tuscany. But Archduke Charles protested, claiming all of the Spanish heritage.

However, pressed by his main adviser, Cardinal Portocarrero, and after having sought the opinion of Pope Innocent XII, Charles II chose the French solution. On 2 October 1700, he made the young Duke of Anjou, aged 16, the second grandson of Louis XIV, his legatee universeld. Charles II's hope was that Louis XIV would know how to avoid the break-up of the Spanish Empire for his own grandson. He died shortly after, on 1 November 1700.

King of Spain

News of Charles II's death reached Versailles on 9 November. On 16 November 1700, Louis XIV announced to the court that he accepted the will of his “cousin, brother-in-law and nephew”. He then introduced his grandson, aged 17, to court, with these words: “Gentlemen, here is the King of Spain”. Then he declares to his grandson: “Be a good Spaniard, this is currently your first duty; but remember that you were born French to maintain the union between our two nations; it is the means of making them happy and of preserving the peace of Europe." The Marquis de Castel dos Rios, Ambassador of Spain, would have added that "there are no more Pyrenees ".

Philip V — King of Spain, Sardinia, Naples and Sicily; Duke of Milan, Lothier, Brabant, Limburg and Luxemburg; Count of Flanders, Hainaut and Namur

Arrival in Spain

As a result of the event, all European monarchies except the Empire recognize the new king. He left Versailles on 4 December, provided with Instructions in 33 articles, written by Louis XIV and summarizing his conception of power. He arrived in Madrid on 22 January 1701. But after a few months, the reasons for tensions with Emperor Leopold I, on 1 February 1701, the Parliament of Paris recalled by letters patent that Philip V kept his rights to the crown from France, still in February, Louis XIV, at the request of the Spanish Regency Council, sent troops to occupy Dutch garrisons on the border of the Spanish Netherlands, garrisons installed by virtue of a bilateral treaty signed in 1698 and finally French settled in important posts in Madrid and Brussels and gave new direction to Spanish politics.

Therefore, even if the risk of reuniting the French and Spanish crowns seems minimal, the European monarchies fear that Spain will become a French protectorate. England and Holland (both under the domination of William of Orange), Austria, then Portugal formed the Grand Alliance and declare war on France and Spain allied to Bavaria and Cologne since March 1701.

King under influence

In Spain, Philip is in a country that is completely unknown to him, not speaking a word of Spanish. Thus from June 1701 until 1708, the Spanish monarchy was de facto ruled by Louis XIV, who sent advisers and ambassadors to Madrid, after noting the weaknesses of Philip V. He had a very close correspondence with his grandfather, Lous XIV assigned his grandson and his wife – Maria Luisa of Savoy – a Camarera mayor of Palacio[2], Marie Anne de La Trémoille, Princess of the Ursins friends of Madame de Maintenon, maintained a relationship important between the two courses. The latter is also the soul of the government of Madrid with an absolute influence on the royal couple.

The French influence is also felt in the courtyard. She dresses in the French style with wigs, breeches and colorful clothes, the king rarely dressing in Spanish. Several ceremonies are also regulated by French etiquette: meals, waking up or even childbirth. Nobles are admitted to the royal apartments on various occasions. The role of public representation is set up, under the watchful eye of Louis XIV, who had decreed in his instructions the abolition of the old Spanish label, support of the hidden king: in the absolutist system, the legitimation of royal power includes an essential domestic dimension. Thus, the power and the fame of the image of Versailles are such that the Spanish king copies a system of appearance, and pageantry, glorious, as other princes will do afterwards.

Vendôme (left) presents the standards to Philip V of Spain (right) at Villaviciosa

However, Philip managed to impose himself thanks to his military qualities, because if the War of Succession is an international conflict between European powers it is also a serious civil war. If the crowns of Castile and Navarre remain faithful to the candidate Bourbon, the major part of the crown of Aragon gives its support to the Austrian candidate – Charles of Habsburg called by his partisans; Charles III. The fighting in Spain is favorable to the "Philippist" troops, sometimes at the cost of massacres and destruction, as in Xàtiva, burnt down in 1707. Philip V saves his throne thanks to the victories of Almansa by Marshal Berwick in 1707, and Villaviciosa and Brihuega by General de Vendôme in 1710.

However, qualities are emphasized by his instructors, in particular Beauvillier, who saw him as a thoughtful, sensible man, physically strong. These qualities are found during his reign, in his military campaigns and in the royalty that he set up. By certain facts, his capacity to accommodate, to reconcile and to submit were able to allow him to secure an important support in Spain, nobles and populations. He succeeded in passing from the status of foreign king to Spanish king quite quickly, even before the end of the war of Spanish succession, since he ceded to part of the Castilian nobility their prerogatives such as the survival of the Council of Castile where sat the peers. He earns respect by being a victorious and intelligent military leader who was not afraid to directly command his troops in the field. By securing military support, he asserted himself as King of Spain, especially since the importance of the military body in modern royalty. Thus in 1711, Philip V with the decisive support of the French armies pushes the Portuguese troops back to the west and takes the advantage over the "Carlists" who lack logistical and popular support and ended up entering Aragon. In April 1711, Archduke Charles was forced to leave Spain to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor after the death of his brother Joseph I.

Abdication of Philip

With the election on 12 October 1711 of now Emperor Charles VI and his coronation on 22 December 1711, Philip V and Louis XIV believed that the war would soon end. Indeed, the initial fear of a theoretical unification of the French and Spanish crowns is replaced by a real fear of the resurgence of the Habsburg Empire if Charles were to become King of Spain, moreover all the belligerents suffered the full negatives effects of the war, ceasefire offers appear and in October 1711, the preliminaries of peace were signed in London. However a few months after the coronation of Charles, a drama touched the court of France, already on 14 April 1711, Louis, Dauphin of France, father of Philip V, died of smallpox, his first son Louis, Duke of Burgundy became the new Dauphin. But at the end of winter 1712, a measles epidemic hit Paris and spread to Versailles, Marie Adélaïde, new Dauphine of France suffering from this disease dies on 12 February 1712, the Dauphin madly in love with his wife and remaining in his bedside was contaminated and died a few days later on 18 February. Thus, less than a year after his father, Louis died and passed his title on to his 6-year-old son Louis, Duke of Brittany, but he also suffered from the same disease and would disappear on 8 March, passing the function to his last brother Louis, Duke of Anjou, but fate persisting he also contracted measles and died in infancy at 2-years-old, on 12 March. As a result, the title was transferred to the closest male relative of the late Duke of Anjou, the former Duke of Anjou and King of Spain Philip V.

The Five Dauphins (1711 – 1712)

Thus, after the Peace Congress in Utrecht was opened in January 1712, all parties quickly agreed that neither of the two contenders for the throne could be recognized as king, without deeply unbalancing Europe. However neither of the two candidates is ready to give up, Charles VI participated in the congress as long as he considered it non-binding and Philip V could not participate because he was still not recognized as king, effectively blocking the negotiations. The situation improved when in July 1712, Congress working on guarantees to be given by France and Spain that their crowns would be separated, recognized Philip V as king in exchange for his abdication in favor of his brother Charles, Duke of Berry and a renunciation of the Spanish throne. However, if the sovereign thanks the allied powers for this recognition, he does not accept these conditions, it is after an incendiary exchange of letter from Louis XIV to his grandson, requests and pressures from Queen Maria Luisa and of the Philipist supporters, which Philip eventually accepted and signed the abdication and waiver – mutual waiver of Philip over Spain and Charles over France. On the other hand, he succeeded in being appointed Regent, the time that his future Charles III made his trip from Versailles to Madrid, between July–September 1712.

Congress of Utrecht

Despite his abdication, Philip did not leave Spain immediately. At the request of his grandfather, he sent his family to Versailles but stayed a few months to advise his brother as the new king of Spain. But instead of advising, Philippe takes more and more place of a king, which annoyed the princess of the Ursins, comarera mayor of the new queen Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans, who reported these acts to Louis XIV who recalled the new Dauphin at the royal court in December 1712. Philip advised Charles III to be tougher in the peace negotiations with the Allies, seeking to retain the Spanish possessions in Italy, he pushed for the modification of the Spanish law of succession for a semi-Salic law to retain the crown of Spanish to the Bourbons (man and woman) who will nevertheless be rejected in May 1713 by the Cortes and push to continue the administrative and economic reforms he had initiated.

Personal qualities

The personality of Philipp VII is one of the most complex in French history and is the subject of significant debate among historians. A king with a complex personality alternating between weakness and power, influence and own decision-making power. In many ways a weak and indecisive man, brought up like a younger son whose destiny would be constant submission to his elder who would be brought to reign. Philip received the bare minimum of education in the art of politics and literature to make him an honest man subject to his older brother. But upon his appointment as King of Spain, Philip entered another dimension with a royal education heightened hastily for an extremely short period of time. In a short time he was to understand the workings of absolute mechanisms, whether in administration, in ceremonial or in the arts. In addition, Philip suffered from neurasthenia an illness, psychosomatic, which forces him to alternate moments of euphoria and well-being with moments of loneliness, weakness and during these long crises obliged to live at night.

He is also described as serious, sad, perpetually afraid, nostalgic for his condition as a cadet, a man subject to the forces which surround him, who must think long and hard and consult his entourage to make decisions and of a sincere religious devotion and which will guide the whole of his life. This devotion which comes neither from his education, nor from his entourage comes surely from his environment which could push him to be so pious. Child of the country of very Christian kings especially since the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1692 by the Sun King, combined by the fact that he was the king of the nation of the Catholic Monarchs and from the beginning of his reign in France deciding the question of Jansenism could also have favored this excessive piety.

Dauphin Philip with Louis XIV

Louis XIV, with the Dauphin (at his left) and Louis, Duke of Burgundy (at his right), receives the embassy of the Shah of Persia

However, beyond these mental faults, Philip counterbalanced by his love of hunting, the great outdoors, walks, physical effort testifying to a certain liveliness. However, beyond these faults, Philip counterbalanced by his love of hunting, of the great outdoors, of walks, of physical effort testifying to a certain liveliness. An outstanding negotiator knowing how to highlight his strengths and successes, loving sumptuary, classic art where the king exercises absolute control.

Dauphin of France

On 12 January 1713, Philippe returned to Versailles after a 12-year absence. The meeting between the two parents was described as "warm", Louis XIV said when Philip came; "My son, your homeland desires you, it has called you, you have answered present". The king recognizes Philip as his Dauphin and returns the title of Duke of Anjou to his grandson. This reunion was short-lived, however, because, at the king's proposal, Philip left in March 1713 for eastern France to command the French armies to fight the imperial armies – Austria and the Holy Empire refused to sign the Treaty of Utrecht. The Sun King wanted to offer the former King of Spain a way to regain prestige by fighting and at the same time offering him a sort of revenge against the troops of Emperor Charles VI who claimed the Spanish crown.

The campaign began in May, Philip alongside the famous Marshal Villars crossed the Rhine in June. Landau in the Palatinate was besieged on 6 June, a siege in which Philip participated and proved his courage. Courage that almost cost him his life because, approaching too much of the fighting, a cannon ball fired from the city almost won, only mowing down the soldiers who surrounded him. This action made itself famous but also caused a lot of fear in Versailles. After the fall of Landau on 26 August, the Dauphin participated under the direction of Marshal Villars in the siege of Freiburg on 20 September. The city surrendered on 15 October and the castle on 17 November. Dauphin Philippe of France, Marshal Villars and Prince Eugene of Savoy – commander of Imperial troops – met in the city of Rastatt in Baden-Baden and started a series of complex negotiations which lasted until 7 March 1714, when the Treaty of Rastatt was signed. This marks the end of the War of the Spanish Succession.

Around the Dauphin is formed a circle of people, known as the faction of Anjou, made up of his menin and friend the Marquis de Louville, the Duke-Bishop of Laon César d'Estrées, his former governor the Duke of Beauvillier and Abbot Giulio Alberoni. Relations between Louis XIV and the Dauphin were in good shape, the grandfather and the grandson sharing the same conception of the absolute power of the monarchy. Thus after his military campaigns, Philip participated in the Council of State, interested in the political affairs of the kingdom despite its shortcomings. Thus after the war, Philip appears alongside the king in official ceremonies; he was by his side on 19 February 1715 during the reception of the Persian ambassador, Mohammad Reza Beg, in the Hall of Mirrors, in artistic performances of theater and music and especially in April 1715, the grandson participated with the grandfather at the Last Supper ceremony on Maundy Thursday and participates in the washing of the feet.

Philip VII — King of France and Navarre

King of France and Navarre

The 72-year-old king suddenly fell ill in August 1715. Throughout the month his condition worsened, doctors thinking of sciatica ended too late in diagnosing grangrene in the leg against which they were powerless. The king wants amputation but he understands that it is too late. From then on, the monarch stages his death. Confessing with great pomp, then parading the court in front of his bed, his last political act is addressed to the Dauphin. His last advice is not to imitate him in his taste for buildings, to relieve the misery of his people, and to avoid wars. On his deathbed, he also declares: "I am going away but the State will always remain". On 1 September 1715, Louis XIV died of an acute ischemia, the Count of Auvergne, Grand Chamberlain of France then shouted the famous formula: "The king is dead, long live the king!". Philip is then proclaimed king of France and Navarre under the name of Philip VII.

Internal Policy

Question of Jansenism

Economic reforms

Foreign Policy

War of the Quadruple Alliance

Main article: War of the Quadruple Alliance

War of the Austrian Succession

Main article: War of the Austrian Succession

The last years


First mariage

Maria Luisa Gabriella of Savoy

King of Spain in November 1700, Philip V needed a wife quickly for a war on Spanish succession that was emerging. His first wife was Maria Luisa Gabriella of Savoy daughter of Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy – Louis, Duke of Burgundy was already married to Marie Adélaide, elder-sister of Maria Luisa. These two marriages decided by Louis XIV aimed primarily at binding Savoy, France and Spain against the Holy Roman Empire, however this objective failed. This will not spoil the union between Philip and Maria Luisa. Married by proxy on 2 November 1701. Philip was deeply in love with his wife from the start: as would be the case of his next consort, he was sexually dependent on her because his religious scruples prevented him from exercising any sexual life outside of marriage. Maria Luisa had a lot of influence on her husband, see totally dominate, which was frowned upon by Louis XIV.

Maria Luisa Gabriella is described as remarkably mature for her age, politically savvy, articulate and hardworking. So much so that when her husband left to campaign in Italy, he entrusted the regency to her, when she was only 14 years old. Acting scrupulously and working hours, she managed to win the love of the people of Madrid, who nicknamed her "La Savoyana". Partisan of peace, she was among the one who pushed her husband to abdicate the throne of Spain. Her transition from Queen of Spain to Dauphine of France went very well and she was able to embellish the end of Louis XIV's life like his sister Maria Adelaide. From this union were born 4 children:

  • Louis Philip (25 August 1707 — 31 August 1724) — Prince of Asturia, then Duke of Burgundy and later Dauphin of France, dies of smallpox.
  • Philip Peter (2 July 1709 — 18 July 1709) — died in infancy.
  • Philip Peter Gabriel (7 June 1712 — 29 December 1719) — Duke of Anjou, died in childhood.
  • Philip VIII (23 September 1713 — 10 August 1759) — King of France and Navarre

Mariage plan

Second mariage


to be continued...


  1. Title given to the children of the Dauphin
  2. In English; First Lady of the Bedchamber, who was in charge of the person and the rooms of the Queen of Spain.