Grand Master of France

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Staff of a grand master, each holder of the title put his own house coat of arms in the middle

The Grand Master of France (French: Grand Maître de France, until around 1380 Souverain Maître d'hôtel du Roi, then until 1388 Grand Maître d'hôtel du Roi) was the Grand Master of the Royal House in France during the Ancien Régime and the Restoration . All officers of the king swore the oath opposite him (see: Grand offices of the Crown of France ).

The Grand Master of France was, like the Connétable , the Marshals , the Grand Jäger Master and others, one of the Grand Officers of the Crown (French: Grands Officiers de la Couronne). His official badge was a gilded silver staff with the Bourbon lilies , similar to the marshal's staff , with a royal crown at the top. The grandmasters added two crossed bars to their coat of arms as a coat of arms decoration.

The Grand maréchal du palais held a comparable office in the First Empire .

Privileges of office

As the successor to the administrators of the palace ( maires du Palais ), the valets and seneschals of France, he is one of the most important figures in the royal family. He directs all services of the royal house, appoints the new officers, they have to take the oath on the king before him and he manages the budget of the king. He is also the chief of the police force of the court and the superintendent of the royal administration, which makes him something of a minister of the interior. The office is often entrusted to very important princes who are close to the king. Thus, Francois I. 's former governor, Arthur Gouffier given this office then his uncle, the great " Bastard of Savoy " then his friend, the Duke of Montmorency. In 1559, following the forced resignation of Montmorency, the office passed into the hands of the House of Lorraine, which took advantage of it to extend its influence over the court to the point that Henry III asked Henry Scarface to restore his prerogatives. In 1594 the office passed to the Princes of Condé , who kept it (except 1654–1656) until the Revolution.

The decree of January 7, 1681 determines the authority, functions and duties of the officers who depend on the Grand Master.

In the ensuing period, most of the actual work is done by the Grand Master's office, not by him personally. His power is therefore more symbolic, even if he personally takes care of ceremonial privileges from time to time.

He paid the annual expenses for the catering of the royal family and had full responsibility for the seven offices of the royal family, which he also filled when they became vacant. The Grand Master received the oath of allegiance to the King from the person in charge of the music at court and the master of the oratorio, the first butler, the ordinary Maitre d'Hotel and the twelve quartermasters; the three grandmasters: baker, cupbearer and meat cutter (écuyeur tranchant); the thirty-six servants; the three masters of the treasury (chambre aux deniers), the four lieutenants of the guards of the palace gate, etc. and the six chaplains of the king, called pastors of St. Roch, of whom three served per semester. The chaplains blessed the food.

Ceremonial duties

He leads the coronation of the king and leads the funeral procession at the burial of the kings. At the king's funeral, all officers break the staff that is the symbol of their office and throw it into the king's tomb to show that they no longer hold office. In contrast, the Grand Master only touches the coffin with the tip of his staff. After the funeral meal, he breaks his staff and offers his services to the new king and officers.

Souverain Maître d'Hôtel du Roi

  • Arnoul III. de Wesemaele († 1291) under King Philippe III. (1270-1285)
  • Mathieu de Trie († around 1306/15), Sire de Vaumain et Fontenay ( House Trie )
  • 1321: Jean de Beaumont († around 1344)
  • 1343: Guy de Ceriz († 1369), seigneur de Ceriz, prince de Ceriz
  • 1347: Robert III. de Beu (1288-1351), cicomte de Beu
  • 1350: Jean I de Châtillon (1283–1363), seigneur de Châtillon
  • 1350: Jean III. de Melun (1318-1382), comte de Tancarville
  • 1350: Pierre de Villiers († 1386), seigneur de L'Isle-Adam
  • 1350: Guy IV. Damas (1288-1351), seigneur de Cousant
  • 1382: Jean Le Mercier († 1397), maître de l'Hôtel du Roi
  • 1388–1408: Jean de Montagu (1363–1409)
  • 1408–1409: Ludwig VII of Bavaria (1368–1447), Duke of Bavaria-Ingolstadt
  • 1409–1413: Guichard Dauphin II, sire de Jaligny, governor du Dauphiné

Grand Master of France

Individual evidence


  • Bernard Barbiche: Les Institutions de la monarchie française à l'époque moderne. XVII e –XVIII e siècles. 2nd Edition. Presses Universitaires de France, Paris 2001, ISBN 2-13-051940-7 .
  • Jean-François Solnon: La Cour de France. 1st edition. Librairie Générale Française, Paris 1996, ISBN 2-253-90439-2 .