{The Dauphin Louis of France and his nursemaid, Dame Longuet de la Giraudière, 1638.}

Dame Longuet may have been Louis’s first nursemaid, but she certainly was not his last. He was born with two teeth, and eight more women tried to fulfill the role, but resigned in defeat.

Observing the future King’s ferocious appetite, the Swedish ambassador advised the neighbors of France to “take precautions.”

Finally, robust Pierrette Dufour persisted. She became the King’s nurse when he was six months old and she nursed him for eighteen months, suffering many bites, which she is said to have healed with the finger of Saint Anne. (Which was … ?)

In recognition of her “good milk,” she was ennobled in 1563. She later became maid to the Queen Mother, Anne of Austria, and then the Queen, Marie-Thérèse.

It was Pierrette Dufour who had the honour of ceremoniously waking the King with a kiss each morning, and even going with him on campaigns.

Note that the baby is swaddled according to 17th century custom. It was believed that the child would thus grow straight and would not remain curved like an animal. Baby Louis wears the cordon bleu of the Holy Spirit which the royal children of France receive at birth.