Study Guide

Kings in Exile

by Alphonse Daudet

Kings in Exile Summary

Summary (Essentials of European Literature)

When a revolution broke out in Illyria, King Christian II and Queen Frederique fought bravely against the rebels, and after the story of the siege of Ragusa became known throughout Europe, much was said about the wonderful bravery of the king. In reality, most of the credit for the defense of the city should have gone to Frederique, who was in every way a queen. Christian was a king who had never had any great desire to wear the crown or occupy the throne.

At last, the deposed rulers fled to Paris, where they took some rooms in a hotel. There they were greeted by the Duke of Rosen, his son, and his daughter-in-law. Three years before, the duke, a former Illyrian minister, had been deposed by the king to placate the liberal elements of the country. Now he had come to offer his services to his sovereign once more. They were accepted.

The monarchs thought that their stay in Paris would be brief, that the new republic would soon collapse and the monarchy be restored. Accordingly, Frederique refused to unpack anything. There was an air of the temporary and transitory about their lodgings.

Later it became clear that the republic would last and that the monarchy was doomed. Frederique resigned herself to a long exile from Illyria. The royal family purchased a house and settled down to wait. As time passed, Christian became more and more a frequenter of Parisian theaters and cafes until his activities were known all over the city and were the subject of much conversation and scandal. The Duke of Rosen’s daughter-in-law became his mistress.

Following the recommendations of two priests, the queen had engaged a tutor for the young prince. He was Elysee Meraut, who was supposed to teach the prince all that he would need to know to be a good sovereign. The prince, however, was not particularly intellectual. Furthermore, his father did not encourage the lessons, for he had given up all hope of ever regaining his lost throne; in fact, he was glad to escape the responsibilities of the crown.

Although the Duke of Rosen tried to do his best with the royal finances, the monarchs, in reality, were bankrupt. Elysee discovered that fact when he learned that the king was selling decorations,...

(The entire section is 913 words.)