The Man in the Iron Mask

The Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned by Louis XIV (r 1661–1715) in the fortress on Île Ste-Marguerite from around 1687 until 1698, when he was transferred to the Bastille in Paris. Only the king knew the identity of the man behind the mask, prompting a rich pageant of myth and legend to be woven around the ill-fated inmate.

More than 60 suggested identities have been showered on the masked prisoner, among them the Duke of Monmouth (actually beheaded under James II), the Comte de Vermandois (son of Louis XIV, said to have died from smallpox in 1683) and the king's brother (a twin or an illegitimate older brother). Some theorists claim the Man in the Iron Mask was actually a woman.