This is an incredibly fascinating book to me. I bought it way back in 2001 as a research aid into the lives of Buckingham (fave of James I Stuart & Charles I Stuart) and Olivares (fave of Felipe IV of Spain) and Richelieu (eventually fave of Louis XIII)
Observers in England, Spain, France and many other European states in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries grew increasingly alarmed by the growing influence of favourites, or minister-favourites. These individuals appeared to be usurping powers and duties normally exercised by monarchs. In this pioneering work, a team of international scholars considers the emergence of favourites in Europe. Probing beyond the well-known life stories of such individual favourites and minister-favourites as the Duke of Buckingham, Cardinal Richelieu and the Count-Duke of Olivares, the contributors enquire into the phenomenon of these powerful figures. Was their appearance on the European scene a matter of chance? How is it to be explained? How did favourites win, and retain, their hold on power? What was their relationship to their royal masters? And why did monarchs increasingly choose to rule without favourites as the seventeenth century drew to a close? This book provides many new insights into the intriguing role of the favourite in Early Modern Europe.
All these people were connected. James and Charles, father and son. Charles married Henriette Marie sister of Louis XIII who, in turn, was married to Anne of Austria, sister of Felipe IV of Spain.
These favourites lived their entire adult lives swinging from power and riches to absolute fear and back again.