The Exchange of Princesses

Written by Chantal Thomas; John Cullen (translator)
Written by Chantal Thomas
Translated by John Cullen

The Other Press, July 2015

Philippe d’Orléans, the regent of France, has a gangrenous heart—the result of a life of debauchery, alcohol, power, and flattery. One morning in 1721, he decides to marry eleven-year-old Louis XV to the daughter of Philippe V of Spain, who is only four. Orléans hopes this will tie his kingdom to Spain. But were Louis to die without begetting an heir—the likeliness of which is greatly increased by having a child bride—Orléans himself would finally be king. Orléans tosses his own daughter into the bargain, the twelve-year-old Mlle de Montpensier, who will marry the Prince of Asturias, the heir to the Spanish throne.

The Spanish court enthusiastically agrees and arrangements are made. The two nations trade their princesses in a grand ceremony in 1722, making bonds that should end the historical conflict. Nothing turns out as planned.

About the Author

Chantal Thomas is a noted philosopher and writer. She has taught at a number of American universities and is the author of twenty-five works, including novels, histories, short stories, plays, and essays. Her internationally acclaimed novel Farewell, My Queen, a fictional account of Marie Antoinette’s final days in Versailles, won the Prix Femina in 2002 and was made into an award-winning film by Benoit Jacquot, and starred Diane Kruger. A film adaptation of The Exchange of Princesses, to be directed by Marc Dugain, is currently in the works.

Praise for The Exchange of Princesses!

“[Readers will] devour this story like a fairy tale.” — Elle (France)

“A meticulous and vivid chronicle.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A fascinating novel . . .terrifying at times where the finery of fiction enhance historical rigor.” — L’Express


The Exchange of Princesses was a 2014 grantee of the French Voices Award, which  honors both translators and American publishers for their work on high quality French titles.

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