While reading The Splendid Century, I was struck by the uncanny amount of similarities between two seemingly unrelated kings; Henry III and Louis XIV. Although they had remarkably similar childhoods, their lives took shape as diversely as possible. Both kings were orphaned at a very young age, at a desperate time for their countries. They were needed to fix the problems their predecessors had so foolishly created. Being put under similar circumstances, their kingdoms were ruled as differently as possible. Louis created one of the most powerful empires of the time, while Henry made his fathers failures a reality. I was intrigued. These kings lives began similarly, where did they diverge? My analysis suggests, both these men faced similar circumstances growing up and they were both were born with similar temperaments, yet their lives turned out differently. Perhaps, this is because Louis mastered his nature while Henry allowed his temperament to control himself.
The reason Louis was able to master his nature was because he was able to make sensible choices when need be.
The early life of Henry and Louis shared similar formative experiences. Both became rulers at very young ages. They had to deal with a devastating civil war, neglected by their predecessors "The people of England, who had been despoiled and torn by civil war" (Pg. 7) "The Fronde has been compared with the contemporary civil war in England" (Pg. 5). The responsibilities these kings had to deal with were enormous. Their childhood's were considerably different compared to other kings, not only because they were orphans, but since they had many freedoms other princes did not. Their lives were carefree since there was nobody to reprimand them.
Louis and Henry's individual personalities became apparent during their early adolescence. Louis became very interested in his sexuality, and...