Last updated on February 13th, 2021
Robert Fludd and the House of Orleans
By Tracy R. Twyman
In addition to being one of the Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion, Robert Fludd was known as the John Dee of the 15th century. He was one of the more formative influences on the body of esoteric thought that is now called “Western magic”, including alchemy, cabala and Hermeticism. Although not publicly known to have been a member of the then-developing Rosicrucian brotherhood, he did write that that the “Magia, Cabala and Alchymia of the Brothers of the Rosy Cross” was of the “highest good.” He was a prominent member of the London College of Physicians, and was patronized by both James I and Charles I, from whom he rented land in Suffolk. And perhaps most amazingly, Fludd was on the committee that determined the translation of the King James Bible.
Robert Fludd’s father had been friends with the Priory’s previous Grand Master, Louis de Nevers, and had sent Robert to study at Oxford, which John Dee had attended and there formed a secret society of student occultists. After Oxford, Fludd traveled the continent, and met with a number of influential members of the Rosicrucian movement. Then in 1602, he was commissioned to tutor Henry of Lorraine’s sons, especially Charles, duke of Guise. He continued his relationship with Charles for the next twenty years. By then Charles had married Henriette-Catherine de Joyeuse, whose possessions included Couiza and Arques, right near Rennes-le-Chateau.
It was during Fludd’s Grand Mastership and immediately after this time that the Priory plot to seize the French throne for Merovingian blood took a new turn – with the new claimant to the office issuing from the House of Lorraine. Their candidate was Gaston d’Orleans, Louis XIII’s younger brother, who had married the duke of Lorraine’s sister. Among his supporters was Charles, duke of Guise. Although the attempted deposition of King Louis failed, the monarch confronted another problem, which favored his opposition – his inability to produce a child. But then in 1638, twenty-three years into a childless marriage, his wife, Anne of Austria, suddenly became pregnant. According to both contemporary and subsequent rumors, the true father was also the true power behind the throne, Cardinal Richelieu. Another theory stated that it was Richelieu’s successor, Cardinal Mazarin, and that he and Anne were secretly married after Louis XIII’s death.