With a reign totaling 72 years and 110 days, King Louis XIV held the throne longer than any monarch in the history of France — or the world, for that matter. The Sun King, as he was known, embraced opulence to a historic degree throughout his reign (from 1643 to 1715). Case in point: His majesty reportedly owned no fewer than 413 beds, which were considered status symbols at the time. Few people had the wealth, let alone space, to afford and display such a vast collection of luxurious furniture, but the French monarch was a uniquely ostentatious individual. The beds — 155 of which were characterized as boasting greater importance than the others — were dispersed throughout France’s various royal palaces for the personal use of Louis and his family. Mind you, these beds weren’t just meager cots, but rather ornately adorned furnishings with features such as fabrics from the far reaches of Persia (modern Iran) and China, as well as gold plating, high pillars, and intricate embroidery.
In 17th-century France, royal bedrooms were often treated like reception areas rather than private quarters. Thus, Louis XIV invited his many guests and dignitaries to stand behind a special railing in his bedroom while he held court. Lavish beds such as the one at the Palace of Versailles were frequently used by Louis for official business, and he would sprawl out atop the gilded linens during these stately meetings. It was considered a true honor for those guests to gaze upon Louis XIV as he dozed, and it was deemed particularly thrilling to watch the king fall asleep or wake up from his deep slumbers.