There was, however, a certain distance between parents and their children.
Too much parental attention was regarded as overindulgent. Many parents
experienced the loss of one or more of their offspring in their minority. Louis
XIV lost five of the six children he had with his wife Queen Marie-Therese, three of the four children he had with Louise
de La Valliere, one of the seven children he had with Madame de Montespan and the only one he had with the Marie-Angelique
de Fontanges. Louis XV lost three of the ten children he had with Marie
Lesckinska, and Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette had already lost two children by the time of the French Revolution.
It was considered best to turn your baby over to a wet nurse, usually a peasant woman in a nearby village,
to care for and feed the baby until it was old enough to be received by a governess within your household to continue its
rearing. Until age seven the care of boys and girls was supervised by a governess. At age seven boys were transferred from this exclusively female environment into the
care of a governor, where their upbringing was continued by a male establishment. Up
until then, boys wore dresses the same as girls, in the same style as the adults wore.
Many girls were sent to convents to continue their education, and importantly, to safeguard their reputation. A mother would drive out occasionally to visit her daughter, but there was in general
not a lot of interaction until the girl was older and married.
A son would most likely continue to be educated at home by a tutor, and work to gain military experience,
possibly as head of a regiment purchased for his command.
For the royal children, who each headed their own household, the positions of governess and governor were
filled by members of the best noble families. They were not sent off anywhere,
but remained in the palace to be educated. In fact, they were generally not allowed
much freedom as their very existence was crucial to dynastic continuity and as a currency in cementing international relations.