Levée en masse (French). A patriotic rising of a whole nation to defend their country from invasion.
The Queen's Levée.
It was customary for the queens of France to receive at the hour of their levé —i.e.
while making their toilet- the visits of certain noblemen. This custom was afterwards demanded as a right by the court physicians, messengers from the king, the queen's secretary, and some few other gentlemen, so that ten or more persons were often in the dressing-room while the queen was making her toilet and sipping her coffee. The word is now used to express that concourse of gentlemen who wait on the queen on mornings appointed. No ladies except those attached to the court are present on these occasions.
Kings and some nobles have their levées sometimes of an evening.
“When I was very young (said Lord Eldon to Mrs. Forster) Lord Mansfield used to hold levées on Sunday evenings.” —Twiss: Lord Eldon, vol. i. chap. v. p. 68.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894