Aulica Coll. No 14 - L’ascension du cardinal de Fleury (1653-1726)

Fabrice Malcor, L’ascension du cardinal de Fleury (1653-1726), joint publication Centre de recherche du château de Versailles / Presses universitaires de Rennes (“Histoire” collection, “Aulica. L’Univers de la cour” series), May 2023, 16,5 × 24 cm, 312 pages, index, €26 (ISBN: 978-2-7535-8856-1).


How did the heir of an “average” family of financiers in Languedoc become chief minister of the young Louis XV in 1726? A number of factors lie behind this success story. Firstly, the broader momentum of an entire lineage rooted in merchandise in Lodévois from at least the 17th century. Then the transition to finance – the handling of the king’s money – which came with the cardinal’s grandfather in the early 17th century and more specifically under his uncle Pierre-Moïse, Treasurer of France at the Montpellier bureau of finances. His uncle encouraged the young André-Hercule’s move to Paris, where he embarked on an ecclesiastical career. The factors behind this advancement were subsequently of an individual nature, resting on the favours of patronage, notably that of Cardinal de Bonzi and later Cardinal de Noailles who secured the bishopric of Fréjus (1698) from Louis XIV for his protégé. Taking advantage of his connections at court and his firm support for the bull Unigenitus, while also according no favouritism to the Jesuits, Fleury was appointed by the dying Louis XIV as the preceptor of the future Louis XV. His closeness with the young king positioned him from that moment on as a major figure. The death of Dubois and of Philippe d’Orléans left him the sole rival of the duke of Bourbon (1723), an adversary Monsieur de Fréjus eliminated in just three years. This impressive feat was the final stroke of this complex ascent, forged of collective and structural, individual and circumstantial factors: in short, historic.

Fabrice Malcor is a senior official. This work is taken from his history thesis defended in 2016.

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