The Mystery that is Rakoczy
Following the timeline featured in the book 'Angélique and the King' - the exiled Hungarian prince listed in the 'Cast of Characters' must have been Francis I, father of the more famous son, named after him. Francis II. Francis I b. 1645 d. 1673 died at 31 compared to Louis XIV long lived age of 77.
"Francis I Rákóczi was a Hungarian aristocrat, elected prince of Transylvania and father of Hungarian national hero Francis II Rákóczi. Francis I Rákóczi was the son of George II Rákóczi, prince of Transylvania, and Zsófia Báthori. He was elected prince by the Transylvanian Diet in 1652, during his father's life."
"The Hungarian state, founded in 896 AD, became the Christian Kingdom of Hungary from 1000 AD on. It covered the entire area of the Carpathian basin, including uniting with Croatia under the holy crown, until 1920."
I shall try and build up a picture of this character from what little is known of him - except of course, that he was quite a charmer and obviously made an impression on Angélique and Anne Golon, otherwise why would she have given him such a startingly prominent place in her second book. In her heroine's own words little was known of Hungary, Poland and Angélique confesses to not knowing 'what Ukranians were.' Later, Angélique states this of her mysterious friend, after the King once again interferes in her love life - "He has gone back to Hungary. She was shocked. She could no tell whether her attachment to Rakoczy was very deep, but never for a moment had she dreamed that she might not see him again. Now he had returned to that distant land so wild and far away it seemed to be on another planet. The King had abruptly swept him clean out of her life, and she would never see him again. She wanted to scream with rage. She wanted to see Rakoczy again. He was her lover, clean and sincere and ardent. She needed him."
The Hungarian style is distinct and instantly recognisable, the full length portrai on the left is dated 1656 and the one on the right dated 1660 well within the life span of Francis I
The Military style is dictated by the two influences during this period - Transylvanian (left in both cases) followed by Hungarian-Croat (r in both cases) echoing the colourful portraits above.
It cannot be denied, that whatever else he may or may not have been Rakoczy would have been colourful and flamboyant with a wonderful ''joie de vivre'.
Meet the man himself - here he seems anggry and much older than his 31 years even assuming this was painted just before the end of his life. This portraitrature gives him the look of a Scottish clansman.
I have a book of the portraits of Polish Kings and Queens and the style is very similar to this image - I will attempt to discover its provenance.
Existing examples of Military Uniforms from the period courtesy of the The Honvéd, Budapest Military Museum, Hungary
Page refreshed : 14th March 2017