France and America have had a special friendship ever since France bankrupted itself helping America win the Revolutionary War, triggering a violent and tumultuous upheaval in which millions perished. Now let’s celebrate the centuries of mutual affection between our two countries by ogling some hot French monarchs! (Or, as we like to call them, “Freedom monarchs.”)
Charlemagne, King of the Franks (768-814)
People like to talk smack about the city of Rome. But St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the best places in the world to pretend that Charlemagne is your boyfriend and you’re riding a horse together.
Bertha of Holland, Queen Consort of the Franks (1072-1092)
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (unless you’re reading this in France), Bertha of Holland’s husband King Philip I divorced her. He was excommunicated for this, despite making the compelling theological argument that Bertha had gotten fat. He married his mistress, who apparently looked exactly like Bertha, and who also happened to be the wife of one of his noblemen. They lived happily ever after, and also he gained so much weight he was unable to ride a horse. The end.
Isabella of Hainault, Queen of France (1180-1190)
Isabella of Hainult looks pretty tall! And if you’re wondering how tall, you’re in luck, because in 1854 she was exhumed from her tomb and measured. 5’9”. That’s pretty tall!
Philip IV the Fair, King of France and of Navarre (1285-1314)
—What is everybody looking at?
—Well, your highness, I’m afraid that you’ve mistakenly sat on a pair of monkeys.
—I’m afraid so.
—Ugh, this is the third time today.
—Actually, it’s the fourth time, your highness. Do you remember, right after lunch?
—Hah! Oh man, now I remember.
Mary Tudor, Queen of France (1514-1515)
Did you know that Henry VIII’s sister was once queen of France? She was, but only for a few months, because her husband, the king, died of gout. Did you know you could die of gout? Sorry, this is a lot of information coming at you at once. You are probably still processing that thing about Henry VIII’s sister.
Henry III, King of France (1574-1589)
I’m not going to tell you anything about Henry III, because I don’t want to spoil Reign for you. And if you’re not watching Reign, then I have nothing to say to you that isn’t about how you should start watching Reign.
Louis XIII the Just, King of France (1610-1643)
Louis XIII had two rows of teeth, which is one more row than is typically necessary. He also started a trend for long curly wigs that lasted for 200 years.
Got that? Extra teeth, and wigs. Now you’re ready to ace your AP European History exam. Or, have a memorable date night!
Louis XIV the Sun King, King of France (1643-1715)
Louis XIV knew that sex sells.
Louis XV the Beloved, King of France (1715-1774)
Louis XV got to be king because he was the only member of his immediate family to survive smallpox. He was also the only member of his family whose smallpox wasn’t treated with bloodletting. But this is just anecdotal evidence, and we’re not ready to rule out bloodletting as a cure for smallpox just yet.
Marie Antoinette, Queen Consort of France (1774-1792)
Here is an interesting fact about Marie Antoinette: This whole list is just an excuse to promote our new Marie Antoinette-Scented Candle.
Napoleon I, Emperor of the French (1804-1814, March-June 1815)
Ponder, for a moment, that this is where the French Revolution led.
Marie Louise, Empress Consort of the French (1810-1814)
If you’re wondering, “Why does this baby sleep in a copper kettle?” then you have a lot to learn about babies.
Adam Albert von Neipperg, Whatever You Want Him to Be
When Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba after his defeat by the combined armies of Russia, Prussia, and the United Kingdom, his wife Marie Louise wanted to go with him. But her dad (the Emperor of Austria) didn’t want her living in exile, so he sent this guy to stop her. And it worked, because Marie Louise fell madly in love with him, even though he was missing a very important body part. Can you guess which one? (It was his eye!)
He was never a monarch, but we figured you would want to see him anyhow, for obvious reasons.
Marie Josephine, Titular Queen of France (1795-1810)
“We do not wish you to address ourselves. We wish you to address the bust.”
Napoleon III, Emperor of the French (1852-1870)
Don’t cut yourself on that mustache! If you’re at French court and you have a mustache-shaped cut, everyone is going to know how you got it.
Eugénie de Montijo, Empress Consort of the French (1853-1870)
Eugénie was the last female monarch of France. Or at least, the last one until you! Here is a simple 5 step plan for becoming the Queen of France.
1. Be a woman.
2. Go to Paris and find Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou. He is first in line to the French throne, if you agree with the “Legitimist” faction of French monarchists (don’t ask). If it’s helpful, here’s his Facebook page.
3. Break up his marriage so he can marry his true love (you).
4. Restore the House of Bourbon. The last time this happened was the 1815 “Second Bourbon Restoration” after Napoleon was defeated at the battle of Waterloo. So, see if you can arrange something like that.
5. Voilà! You are the Queen of France. We recommend watching Reign for tips on being the Queen of France.