The Maison militaire du roi and the disintegration of the Old Regime

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This essay reexamines the decline of the French old regime and the disintegration of the alliance between throne and nobility through the controversies and reform efforts surrounding the royal household forces. These units have hitherto lurked in the shadows, all but ignored by military and political historians alike. They were no longer the unquestioned military elite of the army but by 1774 had become militarily discredited and socially resented. They were loathed by committed military reformers, while factional considerations at the royal court also helped to determine the fate of the several units. Inside these units there was also a breakdown in relations between lesser nobles and those grandees who were their senior officers. The royal household forces are thus emblematic of the internal collapse of the French 'establishment' during the reign of Louis XVI, and this article thereby advances our understanding of the onset of the French Revolution.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Crisis of the Absolute Monarchy
Subtitle of host publication From Old Regime to the French Revolution
EditorsJulian Swann, Joël Félix
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherBritish Academy (Oxford University Press)
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-726538-3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


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