Court Business: Finance and Financiers at Louis XIII’s Court

Rowland Woodward, an English envoy at Louis XIII’s court, reported in September 1624 that the excess and luxury of French treasurers was such, that ‘in bravery, diet and furniture of houses, they exceed the greatest of the Noblesse’. Despite contemporaries’ frequent anxieties about the blurring of noble and financial culture, when historians discuss the royal court, treasurers and financiers rarely come up. Yet Louis XIII’s reign is notable for the striking increase in the prestige of treasurers and growth in their connections with court society. This paper thus explores the ties of Louis XIII’s financiers to the French court, how these ties affected power structures at court and how these bonds were viewed by the crown. In so doing, it seeks to shed new light on the relationship between money and power in Ancien Regime France.