At age twenty-two Louis XIV already displayed an impressive royal presence, as reported by Madame de Motteville (d. 1689), an experienced observer of the French court:
As the single desire for glory and to fulfill all the duties of a great king occupied his whole heart, by applying himself to toil he began to like it; and the eagerness he had to learn all the things that were necessary to him soon made him full of that knowledge. His great good sense and his good intentions now made visible in him the rudiments of general knowledge which had been hidden from all who did not see him in private…. He was agreeable personally, civil and easy of access to every one; but with a lofty and serious air which impressed the public with respect and awe , though he was familiar and gay with ladies.
As she noted, the young king never laughed in games or at play, and he said of himself that he must be “perfect in all things” and never be found “to fail in anything.”