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Research at St Andrews

Versailles: why world leaders should heed warnings from the fall of the French court

Press/Media: Relating to Research

School of History


The 2016 Canal Plus drama on Louis XIV, "Versailles", has once again thrust the Sun King and his great palace into public attention. But what significance does this seat of the old regime French government have for us today? Guy Rowlands looks at why Versailles was created; how it became the greatest centre for influence trading - international and domestic - in the western world by 1700, comparable to Brussels and Washington in the 21st century; and how it became a byword for corrupt and indifferent elites by the time of the Revolution less than a century later. It is a warning from history to policy-makers on what happens when elite centres of power no longer appear to reflect the interests of the wider political community.

Media contributions

TitleThe Conversation
Degree of recognitionInternational
Media name/outletThe Conversation
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited Kingdom
DescriptionThe readership is made up of the broader academic community, journalists, the public, and policy makers.
PersonsGuy Robert Rowlands

ID: 255918944