The real Richelieu
In Alexander Dumas’ The Three Musketeers, Cardinal Richelieu is the manifestation of scheming, megalomaniacal evil, to whom the desired end justifies all kinds of dishonest and unethical means. His story, however, should be painted with a finer brush. For although he certainly did not shy away from measures that today seem rather cruel but were completely acceptable in his day, the era of collaboration between the Cardinal and King Louis XIII, which lasted from 1624 until 1642, can appropriately be called one of the golden ages in French history. By successfully confronting the rebellions of the Huguenots and the aristocracy, the ruler and his minister consolidated the power of the royal court; and, using his brilliant diplomatic skills, Richelieu established France as the most powerful nation in Europe.