Dynasties, Nations, Europe, Princes’ Funerals and the Collective Memory from 16th to 18th century

For the last thirty years, historians have examined issues relating to the birth of the modern state in Europe in the 16th to 18th centuries. The aim of this programme is to consider the part played by the funeral strategies of the ruling families.

Until now, the study of funeral rites has adopted a monographic and descriptive approach. This study compares these processes at a European level and analyses how they function within the social structure of a State and between different European States. The study will focus on three key areas:

  • Development of dynastic funeral “models”, dissemination, influences, competition;
  • Development of the genre itself, how it became more complex, how religion gave way to politics, royal policy on monuments, its evolution from celebration of the person’s life (Bourbon model) to celebration of the deceased (Habsburg model);
  • Participants in the funeral process, those actively involved, those who attended and those excluded. Dissemination of information through connections (ambassadors, press, etc.). Repetition of the ceremonies not only in the Prince’s States but particularly in other European States. The change from a private to a public and collective rite, a process of creating memory, a defining element of political unity.


Project leaders:

>  Gérard Sabatier, Professor Emeritus of Modern History at the Université Pierre Mendès-France – Grenoble II,
>  Juliusz A. Chrościcki, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at the University of Warsaw, Poland,
>  Mark Hengerer, lecturer in History and Sociology at the University of Constance, Germany.

Martine Boiteux, Professeur agrégé of History at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales;

Marcello Fantoni, Professor of Modern History at the University of Terme, Italy;

Birgitte Johannsen, editor at the Nationalmuseet de Copenhagen, Denmark;

Jean-Marie Le Gall, Professor of Modern History at the Université Rennes 2;

Michael Schaich, historian at the German Historical Institute London (GHIL), England;

Marie-Karine Schaub, lecturer in Modern History at the Université Paris-Est Créteil Val-de-Marne;

Ingeborg Schemper-Sparholz, Professor of Modern History at the University of Vienna, Austria.

In collaboration with the Casa de Velázquez and the Fundación Carlos de Amberes in Madrid.


>  Scientific involvement in producing the exhibition catalogue for “The King is Dead!” (Versailles, 27 October 2015 - 21 February 2016).

>  Symposium “Princely Funerals and Public Opinion in Europe (16th to 18th centuries)” in Versailles and Saint-Denis from 26 to 28 November 2009 and publication of the proceedings.

>  Symposium “Funeral Ceremonies in European Royal Households” in Madrid on 27, 28 and 29 November 2008 and publication of the proceedings.

>  Symposium “The Death of the Prince and Committal to the Tomb” in Krakow from 14 to 16 October 2007 and publication of the proceedings.

>  Cumulative bibliography relating to the three volumes published in our “Aulica” Collection (symposium proceedings from Krakow, Madrid and Versailles) (in French):

Website produced with the support of:
Château de Versailles
Conseil général des Yvelines