June's almanac - Duke of Anjou declared King of Spain, 1701
June's almanac shows the moment when Louis XIV declared his grandson, the Duke of Anjou, as Philip V, King of Spain in 1701.
The Spanish ambassador kneels before the new king and kisses his hand. This controversial union of France and Spain provoked the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-15), in which France’s dominance was challenged by the Grand Alliance of England, the Dutch Republic, Austria and the Holy Roman Empire, all of whom supported the competing Hapsburg claim to the Spanish throne.
The scene is elegantly played out in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, with the members of the royal family individually portrayed and luxuriously dressed. There is artistic invention with the addition of the exiled king James II, who was not actually present at the time. The extra monarch was intended to add weight to the Bourbon claim to the Spanish throne.
By Rachel Jacobs, curator.