A lady's maid is a female personal attendant who waits on the lady of the house, is a position similar to a gentleman's valet. Traditionally, the lady's maid was not as high-ranking as a lady's companion, a retainer rather than a servant, but the rewards included room and board and somewhat improved social status. In the servants' hall, a lady's maid took precedence akin to that of her mistress. In Britain, a lady's maid would be addressed by her surname by her employer, while she was addressed as "Miss" by junior servants or when visiting another servants' hall. A lady's maid's specific duties included helping her mistress with her appearance, including make-up, clothing and shoes. A lady's maid would remove stains from clothing. However, she would not be expected to dust and clean every small item as, the job of a housemaid. Domestic worker Housekeeper Maid Handmaiden Valet
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was a monarch of the House of Bourbon who reigned as King of France from 1643 until his death in 1715. Starting on 14 May 1643 when Louis was 4 years old, his reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power. Louis began his personal rule of France in 1661, after the death of his chief minister, the Italian Cardinal Mazarin. An adherent of the concept of the divine right of kings, Louis continued his predecessors' work of creating a centralised state governed from the capital, he sought to eliminate the remnants of feudalism persisting in parts of France and, by compelling many members of the nobility to inhabit his lavish Palace of Versailles, succeeded in pacifying the aristocracy, many members of which had participated in the Fronde rebellion during Louis' minority. By these means he became one of the most powerful French monarchs and consolidated a system of absolute monarchical rule in France that endured until the French Revolution.
Louis encouraged and benefited from the work of prominent political and cultural figures such as Mazarin, Louvois, the Grand Condé, Turenne, Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban, André Charles Boulle, Molière, Boileau, La Fontaine, Marais, Le Brun, Bossuet, Le Vau, Charles, Claude Perrault, Le Nôtre. Under his rule, the Edict of Nantes, which granted rights to Huguenots, was abolished; the revocation forced Huguenots to emigrate or convert in a wave of dragonnades, which managed to destroy the French Protestant minority. During Louis' long reign, France was the leading European power, it fought three major wars: the Franco-Dutch War, the War of the League of Augsburg, the War of the Spanish Succession. There were two lesser conflicts: the War of Devolution and the War of the Reunions. Warfare defined the foreign policy of Louis XIV, his personality shaped his approach. Impelled "by a mix of commerce and pique", Louis sensed that warfare was the ideal way to enhance his glory. In peacetime he concentrated on preparing for the next war.
He taught his diplomats that their job was to create tactical and strategic advantages for the French military. Louis XIV was born on 5 September 1638 in the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, to Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, he was named Louis Dieudonné and bore the traditional title of French heirs apparent: Dauphin. At the time of his birth, his parents had been married for 23 years, his mother had experienced four stillbirths between 1619 and 1631. Leading contemporaries thus regarded him as his birth a miracle of God. Sensing imminent death, Louis XIII decided to put his affairs in order in the spring of 1643, when Louis XIV was four years old. In defiance of custom, which would have made Queen Anne the sole Regent of France, the king decreed that a regency council would rule on his son's behalf, his lack of faith in Queen Anne's political abilities was his primary rationale. He did, make the concession of appointing her head of the council. Louis' relationship with his mother was uncommonly affectionate for the time.
Contemporaries and eyewitnesses claimed. Both were interested in food and theatre, it is likely that Louis developed these interests through his close relationship with his mother; this long-lasting and loving relationship can be evidenced by excerpts in Louis' journal entries, such as: "Nature was responsible for the first knots which tied me to my mother. But attachments formed by shared qualities of the spirit are far more difficult to break than those formed by blood." It was his mother who gave Louis his belief in the absolute and divine power of his monarchical rule. During his childhood, he was taken care of by the governesses Françoise de Lansac and Marie-Catherine de Senecey. In 1646, Nicolas V de Villeroy became the young king's tutor. Louis XIV became friends with Villeroy's young children François de Villeroy, divided his time between the Palais-Royal and the nearby Hotel de Villeroy. On 14 May 1643, with Louis XIII dead, Queen Anne had her husband's will annulled by the Parlement de Paris.
This action made Anne sole Regent of France. Anne exiled some of her husband's ministers, she nominated Brienne as her minister of foreign affairs. Anne nominated Saint Vincent de Paul as her spiritual adviser, which helped her deal with religious policy and the Jansenism question. Anne kept the direction of religious policy in her hand until 1661. Anne wanted to give her son a victorious kingdom, her rationales for choosing Mazarin were his ability and his total dependence on her, at least until 1653 when she was no longer regent. Anne protected Mazarin by arresting and exiling her followers who conspired against him in 1643: the Duke of Beaufort and Marie de Rohan, she left the direction of the daily administration of policy to Cardinal Mazarin. The best example of Anne's statesmanship and the partial change in her heart towards her native Spain is seen in her keeping of one of Richelieu's men, the Chancellor of France Pierre Séguier, in his post. Séguier was the pers
In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery; the Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early and Late Middle Ages. Population decline, counterurbanisation, collapse of centralized authority and mass migrations of tribes, which had begun in Late Antiquity, continued in the Early Middle Ages; the large-scale movements of the Migration Period, including various Germanic peoples, formed new kingdoms in what remained of the Western Roman Empire. In the 7th century, North Africa and the Middle East—once part of the Byzantine Empire—came under the rule of the Umayyad Caliphate, an Islamic empire, after conquest by Muhammad's successors. Although there were substantial changes in society and political structures, the break with classical antiquity was not complete.
The still-sizeable Byzantine Empire, Rome's direct continuation, survived in the Eastern Mediterranean and remained a major power. The empire's law code, the Corpus Juris Civilis or "Code of Justinian", was rediscovered in Northern Italy in 1070 and became admired in the Middle Ages. In the West, most kingdoms incorporated the few extant Roman institutions. Monasteries were founded; the Franks, under the Carolingian dynasty established the Carolingian Empire during the 8th and early 9th century. It covered much of Western Europe but succumbed to the pressures of internal civil wars combined with external invasions: Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east, Saracens from the south. During the High Middle Ages, which began after 1000, the population of Europe increased as technological and agricultural innovations allowed trade to flourish and the Medieval Warm Period climate change allowed crop yields to increase. Manorialism, the organisation of peasants into villages that owed rent and labour services to the nobles, feudalism, the political structure whereby knights and lower-status nobles owed military service to their overlords in return for the right to rent from lands and manors, were two of the ways society was organised in the High Middle Ages.
The Crusades, first preached in 1095, were military attempts by Western European Christians to regain control of the Holy Land from Muslims. Kings became the heads of centralised nation-states, reducing crime and violence but making the ideal of a unified Christendom more distant. Intellectual life was marked by scholasticism, a philosophy that emphasised joining faith to reason, by the founding of universities; the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the paintings of Giotto, the poetry of Dante and Chaucer, the travels of Marco Polo, the Gothic architecture of cathedrals such as Chartres are among the outstanding achievements toward the end of this period and into the Late Middle Ages. The Late Middle Ages was marked by difficulties and calamities including famine and war, which diminished the population of Europe. Controversy and the Western Schism within the Catholic Church paralleled the interstate conflict, civil strife, peasant revolts that occurred in the kingdoms. Cultural and technological developments transformed European society, concluding the Late Middle Ages and beginning the early modern period.
The Middle Ages is one of the three major periods in the most enduring scheme for analysing European history: classical civilisation, or Antiquity. The "Middle Ages" first appears in Latin in 1469 as media tempestas or "middle season". In early usage, there were many variants, including medium aevum, or "middle age", first recorded in 1604, media saecula, or "middle ages", first recorded in 1625; the alternative term "medieval" derives from medium aevum. Medieval writers divided history into periods such as the "Six Ages" or the "Four Empires", considered their time to be the last before the end of the world; when referring to their own times, they spoke of them as being "modern". In the 1330s, the humanist and poet Petrarch referred to pre-Christian times as antiqua and to the Christian period as nova. Leonardo Bruni was the first historian to use tripartite periodisation in his History of the Florentine People, with a middle period "between the fall of the Roman Empire and the revival of city life sometime in late eleventh and twelfth centuries".
Tripartite periodisation became standard after the 17th-century German historian Christoph Cellarius divided history into three periods: ancient and modern. The most given starting point for the Middle Ages is around 500, with the date of 476 first used by Bruni. Starting dates are sometimes used in the outer parts of Europe. For Europe as a whole, 1500 is considered to be the end of the Middle Ages, but there is no universally agreed upon end date. Depending on the context, events such as the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492, or the Protestant Reformation in 1517 are sometimes used. English historians use the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485 to mark the end of the period. For Spain, dates used are the death of King Ferdinand II in 1516, the death of Queen Isabella I of Castile in 1504, or the conquest of Granada in 1492. Historians from Romance-speaking countries tend to divide the Middle Ages into two parts: an earlier "High" and late
Batman (1966 film)
Batman is a 1966 American superhero film based on the Batman television series, the first full-length theatrical adaptation of the DC Comics character Batman. Released by 20th Century Fox, the film starred Adam West as Burt Ward as Robin; the film hit theaters two months after the last episode of the first season of the television series. The film includes most members of the original TV cast, with the exception of Lee Meriwether as Catwoman, the character played by Julie Newmar in two episodes of the series' first season; when Batman and Robin get a tip that Commodore Schmidlapp is in danger aboard his yacht, they launch a rescue mission using the Batcopter. As Batman descends on the bat-ladder to land on the yacht, it vanishes beneath him, he rises out of the sea with a shark attacking his leg. After Batman dislodges it with bat-shark repellent, the shark explodes. Batman and Robin head back to Commissioner Gordon's office, where they deduce that the tip was a set-up by the United Underworld, a gathering of four of the most powerful villains in Gotham City: The Joker, The Penguin, The Riddler, Catwoman.
The United Underworld equip themselves with a dehydrator that can turn humans into dust, a submarine made to resemble a penguin, their three pirate henchmen. It is revealed the yacht was a projection; when Batman and Robin return to a buoy concealing a projector, they are trapped on the buoy by a magnet and targeted by torpedoes. They use a radio-detonator to destroy two of the missiles, a porpoise sacrifices itself to intercept the last one. Catwoman, disguised as Soviet journalist "Kitayna Ireyna Tatanya Kerenska Alisoff", helps the group kidnap Bruce Wayne and pretends to be kidnapped with him, as part of a plot to lure Batman and finish him off with another of the Penguin's explosive animals. After Bruce Wayne escapes captivity, the Penguin disguises himself as the Commodore and schemes his way into the Batcave along with five dehydrated henchmen; this plan fails when the henchmen unexpectedly disappear into antimatter once struck: The Penguin mistakenly rehydrated them with heavy water, used to recharge the Batcave's atomic pile.
Batman and Robin are unable to prevent the kidnapping of the dehydrated United World Organization's Security Council. Giving chase in the batboat to retrieve them, Robin uses a sonic charge weapon to disable The Penguin's submarine and force it to surface, where a fist fight ensues. Although Batman and Robin win the fight, Batman is heartbroken to find out that his "true love" Miss Kitka is Catwoman when her mask falls off. Commodore Schmidlapp accidentally breaks the vials containing the powdered Council members, mixing them together. Batman sets constructing an elaborate filter to separate the mingled dust. Robin asks him whether it might be in the world's best interests for them to alter the dust samples, so that humans can no longer harm one another. In response, Batman says that they cannot do so, reminding Robin of the fate of the Penguin's henchmen and their tainted rehydration, can only hope for people in general to learn to live together peacefully on their own. With the world watching, the Security Council is re-hydrated.
All of the members are restored alive and well, but continue to squabble amongst themselves oblivious of their surroundings, but each of them now speaks the language and displays the stereotypical mannerisms of a nation other than their own. Batman expresses his sincere hope to Robin that this "mixing of minds" does more good than it does harm; the duo leave United World Headquarters by climbing out of the window and descending on their batropes. The film includes most members of the original TV cast: the actors for Batman, Alfred, Gordon, O'Hara, Aunt Harriet, the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler all reprised their roles. Though Julie Newmar had at this point played Catwoman in two episodes of season one in the TV series, she had other commitments at that time and was replaced by Lee Meriwether in the film. According to the Biography special Catwoman: Her Many Lives, aired on July 20, 2004, Newmar was unable to reprise her role because of a back injury. Catwoman was nonetheless played by Newmar once again in the following eleven episodes of season two of the series.
In his autobiography, Adam West writes of his asking for more money to do the film and that the producers countered with the fact that another actor would be hired. Batman was Denny's final film appearance. Jack LaLanne has a cameo as a man on a rooftop with bikini-clad women. William Dozier wanted to make a big-screen film to generate interest in his proposed Batman TV series by having the feature in theaters while the first season of the series was rolling before the cameras; the studio, 20th Century Fox, refused because it would have to cover the entire cost of a movie, while it would only have to share the cost of a TV series. The film features many characters from the show, it was directed by Leslie H. Martinson. Martinson had directed a pair of the television series season one episodes: "The Penguin Goes Straight" and "Not Yet, He Ain't". Though it is described as a parody of a popular comic-book character, some commentators believe that its comedy is not so confined, they felt the film's depiction of the Caped Crusader "captured the feel of the contemporary comics perfectly"
Batman Returns is a 1992 American superhero film directed by Tim Burton, based on the DC Comics character Batman. It is a sequel to the 1989 film Batman and the second installment of Warner Bros. initial Batman film series, with Michael Keaton reprising the role of Bruce Wayne / Batman. The film, produced by Denise Di Novi and Burton stars Danny DeVito, Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Walken, Michael Gough, Pat Hingle, Michael Murphy. In Batman Returns, Batman must prevent the Penguin from killing all of Gotham City's firstborn sons while dealing with Catwoman—Selina Kyle, the former secretary of Max Shreck—who seeks vengeance against Shreck for attempting to kill her to hide his own plans to bring the city under his control. Burton did not want to direct another Batman film. Warner Bros. developed a script with Sam Hamm which had the Penguin and Catwoman going after hidden treasure. Burton agreed to return after they granted him more creative control and replaced Hamm with Daniel Waters. After a falling out, Waters was removed from the project and Wesley Strick was chosen to do an uncredited rewrite shortly before filming.
This included normalizing dialogue, fleshing out the Penguin's motivations and master plan and removing scenes due to budget concerns. Strick continued working as the on-set writer all through filming, an early trailer credited Strick as co-screenwriter with Waters having sole story credit but after a dispute from Hamm he received no credit whatsoever. Annette Bening was cast as Catwoman but became pregnant and was replaced with Pfeiffer. Batman Returns was released on June 19, 1992, it received positive reviews. Critics praised its action sequences, Danny Elfman's score and villains, although its dark tone was criticized; the film was nominated for two Academy Awards: Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup, as well as two BAFTA awards. A sequel, Batman Forever, was released with Val Kilmer replacing Keaton as Batman. In the prologue, socialites Tucker and Esther Cobblepot give birth to a deformed baby boy, Oswald. Disgusted by his appearance and wild demeanor, they confine the baby to a cage and throw him into the sewer, where he is discovered by a family of penguins at Gotham Zoo.
Thirty-three years millionaire Max Shreck proposes to build a power plant to supply Gotham City with energy, though he is opposed by the city mayor. During Shreck's speech, Gotham is attacked by a disgraced former circus troupe, the Red Triangle Gang. Despite the efforts of Batman to stop the violence, Shreck is abducted and taken to the sewer, where he meets Oswald Cobblepot, the gang's secret leader now known as the Penguin; the Penguin blackmails Shreck with evidence of his corporate crimes into helping him return to the surface, he accepts. Meanwhile, Shreck's secretary, Selina Kyle, discovers the true purpose of Shreck's power plant to drain Gotham of its energy and bring the city under Shreck's control. Shreck pushes her out of a window to silence her, but she survives the fall and vows revenge, taking up the mantle of Catwoman; the Penguin makes his presence known by "rescuing" the Mayor's baby from a staged kidnapping attempt, requests to be allowed into the Hall of Records to find his parents.
Batman's alter-ego, Bruce Wayne, voices his suspicions about the Penguin's true motives, investigates his background and connection to the Red Triangle Gang. During a meeting with Shreck, Wayne meets the two become attracted to one another. In order to remove his enemies, Shreck pushes for the Penguin to run for mayor and discredit the current mayor by having the Red Triangle Gang wreak havoc on the city. Batman meets Catwoman as she attempts to sabotage one of Shreck's businesses; as Wayne and Kyle begin a romantic relationship, the Penguin abducts Gotham's Ice Princess and kills her, framing Batman for the act, at the same time sabotaging his Batmobile to rampage throughout Gotham, ends his partnership with Catwoman, who didn't anticipate the murder, when she rejects his advances. During the chase, Batman records the Penguin's disparaging remarks about the people of Gotham and plays them during his next speech, destroying his image and forcing him to retreat to the sewer, where he reveals his plan to abduct and kill all of Gotham's firstborn sons as revenge for what his parents did to him.
At a charity ball hosted by Shreck and Kyle meet and discover each other's secret identities. The Penguin appears and reveals his plan, intending to take Shreck's son, with him, but Shreck gives himself up in his son's stead. Batman foils the heads for the Penguin's lair; the Penguin attempts to have his army of penguins bomb the city and kill everyone in Gotham, though Batman and his butler, jam the signal and order the penguins to head back to the sewer. Batman confronts the Penguin. In the ensuing fight, the Penguin falls through a window into the sewer's toxic water. Shreck is confronted by Catwoman, who intends to kill him. Batman pleads for Kyle unmasking himself in the process. Shreck draws a gun and shoots Wayne, shoots Kyle multiple times, but she survives and electrocutes herself and Shreck with a stun gun. Wayne, wearing body armour, finds Shreck's corpse but Kyle is nowhere to be found; the Penguin emerges from the water, but dies from his injuries and from the toxic sewage, his penguin family lay his body to rest in the water
Alfred, most named in full as Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth, is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, most in association with the superhero Batman. Pennyworth is depicted as Bruce Wayne's loyal and tireless butler, legal guardian, best friend, aide-de-camp, surrogate father figure following the murders of Thomas and Martha Wayne; as a classically trained British actor and an ex-Special Operations Executive operative of honor and ethics with connections within the intelligence community, he has been called "Batman's batman". He serves as Bruce's moral anchor while providing comic relief with his sarcastic and cynical attitude which adds humor to dialogue with Batman. A vital part of the Batman mythos, Alfred was nominated for the Wizard Fan Award for Favorite Supporting Male Character in 1994. In non-comics media, the character has been portrayed by noted actors William Austin, Eric Wilton, Michael Gough, Sir Michael Caine, Jeremy Irons on film and by Alan Napier, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. Ian Abercrombie, David McCallum, Sean Pertwee on television.
The character first appeared by writer Don Cameron and artist Bob Kane. Evidence suggests that Alfred was created by the writers of the 1943 Batman serial—Victor McLeod, Leslie Swabacker, Harry Fraser—and that DC Comics asked Don Cameron to write the first Alfred story, published prior to the serial's release. In Alfred's first appearance, he was clean-shaven. DC editors wanted the comic Alfred to resemble his cinematic counterpart, so in Detective Comics #83, Alfred vacationed at a health resort, where he slimmed down and grew a mustache; this look has remained with the character since surviving his apparent "death" and resurrection. Alfred was conceived as a comedic foil for Batman and Robin. In most early tales, he made bungling attempts to be a detective on a par with the young masters, he was given a four-page feature of his own, the feature lasted thirteen issues, skipping Batman #35, with the last story in Batman #36. The stories followed a simple formula, with Alfred solving a crime and catching the culprits by accident.
In years, the comedic aspects of the character were downplayed. The Pre-Crisis comics established Alfred as a retired actor and intelligence agent who followed the deathbed wish of his dying father to carry on the tradition of serving the Wayne family. To that end, Alfred introduced himself to Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson at Wayne Manor and insisted on becoming their valet. Although the pair did not want one since they did not want to jeopardize their secret identities with a servant in the house, they did not have the heart to reject Alfred.. Alfred discovered their identities by accident, he is helpful to the duo, following them to a theatre where they are captured and gagged by a criminal gang, rescues them after Batman attracts his attention by knocking a rope down before the crooks return. This was revised in Batman #110; as it turned out, the wounds were insignificant, but Alfred's care convinced the residents that their butler could be trusted. Since Alfred included the support staff duties of the Dynamic Duo on top of his regular tasks.
Alfred's loyalty would lead him to become a member of Batman's rogue's gallery. While pushing Batman and Robin out of the way of a falling boulder, Alfred was killed in Detective #328, it was revealed in Detective # 356. His attempt at regeneration resulted in a dramatic change: Alfred awoke from his apparent death with pasty white skin with circular markings, superhuman powers, including telekinesis, a desire to destroy Batman and Robin. Calling himself The Outsider, he indirectly battled the Dynamic Duo on a number of occasions, using others as his puppets—the Grasshopper Gang in Detective #334, Zatanna in Detective #336, the Batmobile itself in Detective #340—and only appeared as a mocking voice over the radio, he did not physically appear in the comics until Detective #356, when he is bathed again in the rays of the regeneration machine during a struggle with Batman, returns to normal, with no memory of his time as a supervillain. His time as the Outsider is collected in Showcase Presents: Batman Volumes 1 and 2.
Alfred was reunited with his long-lost daughter, Julia Remarque, though this element was not included in Post-Crisis comics. Her mother was the DC war heroine Mademoiselle Marie, whom Alfred had met while working as an intelligence agent in occupied France during World War II
Alexandre Bontemps was the valet of King Louis XIV and a powerful figure at the court of Versailles and feared for his exceptional access to the King. He was the second of a sequence of five Bontemps to hold the position of Premier valet de la Chambre du Roi in uninterrupted succession between 1643 and 1766, when an early death, leaving no successor, broke the line. There were four head or Premier valets de chambre, of whom Bontemps became the most senior in 1665, thirty-two valets, his father, Jean Baptiste Bontemps, had been surgeon to Louis XIII of France before becoming a Premier Valet in 1643. Alexandre succeeded him on his death in 1659, dying in office in 1701, by which time he was a count and marquis, holding several key offices controlling both the palaces and towns of Versailles and Marly, the Swiss Guard who guarded the King and his palaces, the household of the Dauphin, he was thus a key figure in maintaining the security of the King, managing his household. The Governorships of Versailles and Marly had been given to him in 1665 after the death of Blouin the senior head-valet, passed to Blouin's son in turn when Bontemps died.
He was a member of the Conseil du Roi and held a senior rank in the chivalric Order of Saint Lazarus. He seems to have been an amiable figure devoted to Louis, who in turn trusted him as he did few others, he was twelve years older than the King. He was one of a small handful of witnesses to the secret second marriage of Louis to Madame de Maintenon. Saint-Simon speaks of "royal coaches" and says that "all the secret orders, the private audiences, the sealed letters to and from the King, in fact all the mysteries passed through his hands". Saint-Simon anecdotes have him arranging the marriage to an obscure country nobleman of an illegitimate daughter of Louis who, unlike many, he did not choose to acknowledge and, in Louis's earlier years, leading a minor mistress enveloped in a cloak up the back stairs to the King's study for her assignation, he emerges better than most from the Memoirs of Saint-Simon, whose father had been a friend of Bontemps. Saint-Simon asked him for advice on important issues.
The memoirist Choisy wrote that part of his success with Louis came from never asking him for favours, although Saint-Simon says that he "loved procuring favours for the pleasure of it... great numbers of people, some of them placed, owed their fortunes to him, he was modest to the point of breaking with them if they so much as mentioned it". The two statements are not incompatible, as Bontemps was in a position to ask favours from ministers and other powerbrokers, he says Bontemps was "rough and brusque in manner, yet respectful and always in his place.... His only skill lay in serving his master, he was wholly intent on that... influential for the past fifty years, with the Court at his feet." He once amused Louis, when asked how his wife was, by "replying mechanically with a shrug". He used the Swiss Guards stationed around the Palaces and gardens to report on the behaviour of courtiers, including their church attendance, as well as political and sexual intrigues; as Intendant or Governor of Versailles, his control extended to the whole town outside the palaces, where many courtiers had houses.
The office of head valet dated back to a unwise complaint some generations back by the Gentlemen of the Bedchamber, always great nobles, against the more menial aspects of the role. Once established, the valets expanded in importance, somewhat at the Gentlemen's expense. One of their number was always a few steps from the King wherever he went, the four Premiers, rotating quarterly, were alone able to, did, sleep at the foot of the royal bed. In addition one of the ordinary valets was en poste by the King's bed all day, inside the balustrade that separated it, like an altar communion-rail, from the rest of the room. In the morning Levée and evening Coucher ceremonies, the Grand Chamberlain of France and Premier valet did the work, whilst the First Gentleman of the bedchamber had "the command of the room". However, Saint-Simon explains that if the First Gentleman of the year was absent, the Premier valet of the quarter was en commande of the ceremony, attended daily by about a hundred of the greatest courtiers – a significant point of prestige.
Apart from a large apartment in the palace, a separate house in Versailles, Bontemps had a "hôtel particulier" on the Île Saint-Louis in the centre of Paris, with thirty rooms and a staff of twelve. According to Saint-Simon, he copied his master with a secret second marriage to the mother of La Roche, head-valet to Louis's grandson, Philip V of Spain; the children of his first marriage married well, two generations a Bontemps married an illegitimate son of the last Prince of Conti, a cadet branch of the Royal Family. Others married into the largest banking families in France. There is a portrait of the Comtesse de La Châtre, daughter of Louis XV's Bontemps head valet, by Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, dated 1789, the last year of the Ancien Regime; the City of Versailles has a "Rue Alexandre Bontemps". Bontemps, played by Stuart Bowman, has a large part in Versailles, the 2015 British-Franco-Canadian television series drama set around the construction of the palace.
Bontemps is a leading character in the computer