Palais Royal

Paris, France | C.1639

Photo Credit: Georgianna Lane

From prestigious clergymen, exiled royals and all the way to controversial art instillations, the Palais Royal can count quite a few tenants to its residential roster. Originally built in 1639, the Palais was constructed for a powerful statesman and member of France’s clergy, perhaps its most infamous residents weren’t even French, but rather, a pair of British royals seeking refuge from the English Civil War.

In the 1640s, the Palais Royal became the residence of Henrietta Maria, Queen Consort of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and her daughter, Henrietta Anne Stuart. In England, Queen Henrietta was an outspoken monarch who was heavily involved in the country’s affairs during her husband’s reign. However, when the English Civil War broke out, she escaped to Europe.

Queen Henrietta later settled in Paris, calling the Palais Royal home under the protection of her nephew, King Louis XIV. Many exiled members of her court joined her, but their presence brought further conflicts instead of calm. Rivalries often pervaded the Queen’s court, and she struggled to prevent duels from occurring between her noblemen.

However, for Queen Henrietta’s daughter, the decision to shelter in Paris proved fruitful. She later married Louis’ younger brother Philippe de France, and they were given permission to call the Palais Royal their permanent home.

Today the structure is no longer a royal home, but rather a central location of the Parisian government. It is home to France’s Ministry of Culture, the Council of State, the Constitutional Council, and the Colonnes de Buren – a highly-controversial art installation of candy-striped black & white columns that, if around during the time of the Queen’s court, would have certainly caused its fair share of duels.

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