Happy Veterans Day!
Ok, that probably isn’t the right tone, but you get the idea. For any non-Americans reading this blog, Armistice day in the US gradually morphed into Veterans day by 1954; the 11th hour of the 11th day… and all that. But this isn’t a blog about MEMH, much less MAMH, so why don’t we go all early modern European on its a$$, and show what veterans in our period could look forward to?
In 1670 Louis XIV ordered the creation of Les Invalides, a home for war veterans in Paris. It’s well-known, with many interesting features for EMEMHians that I’ll mention in later posts. But for now, a couple of photos from my latest visit there.
Approaching the main entrance:
Since we’re talking about Louis XIV, it couldn’t be just about the vets, as the tympanum above the main gate reminds visitors:
Royal minds think alike, so Charles II of England later (1681) had Sir Christopher Wren use Les Invalides as the basis for his own version, the Royal Hospital at Chelsea. Not to be outdone by the Sun King, they moved a 7-foot copper statue of Charles from Whitehall to the central Figure Court in the 1690s. It was rather gaudily gilded in 2002 for Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee.
The apparent lesson: Never let them forget the person who put them there!