Louis XIV, "the Sun King," has become synonymous with the concept of absolute monarchy. In his reign of seventy-two years, the longest ever enjoyed by any European monarch, Louis sought to consolidate power in his own hands. He was famously ruthless with any over-mighty subject he considered guilty of lèse-majesté (lessening the well-being or prestige of the king), such as Nicholas Fouquet, his finance minister, who enjoyed enormous success until he displeased the king, whereupon he was imprisoned for the last two decades of his life.
Louis claimed to rule by divine right, meaning that he was appointed by and answerable only to God. He regarded the proper order of society as rigidly feudal, with the king's supremacy unchallenged by any temporal authority. Since he was God's representative on earth, his promotion of the Catholic faith and persecution of those he regarded as heretics went hand-in-hand with his political absolutism.
He regarded the Dutch Republic as an abomination, as well as a strategic threat, and declared war on the Dutch in 1672. This war was so important to Louis that he allied himself with England, a traditional enemy of France, but also a recent antagonist of the Dutch. The English political system seemed little better than a Republic to Louis since, although there was a king, Charles II, he had very little power compared with the King of France, being subject to the authority of the Parliament which had condemned his father to death. France would have to wait more than a hundred years for such an outrage against the divine right of kings.