|All courtiers were enjoined to obey the rules of Louis XIV's etiquette for Versailles. Precedence was a matter of great importance.|
"Louis XIV himself wrote a book concerning court ceremonial, and all courtiers were enjoined to obey the rules. Precedence was a matter of great importance. It found its way even into the streets, where it became a subject of frequent dispute. The narrowness of the Parisian streets made it impossible for large coaches to pass each other; when two met, therefore, that of the lesser dignitary was obliged to go back to the last crossroad. One can see how this occasioned arguments. Long pedigrees were recited, claims set forth, and strangers called in to settle the matter of precedence.
It is related of Louis XIII that, being on one occasion, obliged to visit Richelieu, who was ill at Tarascon, he lay down on the bed beside him. He was, after all, the sovereign; Richelieu a subject. Therefore it was impossible that Richelieu lie in bed, though ill, while Louis stood or sat beside him. Therefore, he took his place on the bed beside the sick man, and so preserved the royal dignity! Louis XIV visited Maréchal de Villars in the same manner when the Maréchal was lying wounded at Malplaquet." —From Lillian Eichler
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