Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans

Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans

Infobox Person
name = "Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans"

image_size = 280px
caption = Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
birth_date = birth date|1725|5|12|mf=y
birth_place = Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
death_date = death date and age|1785|11|18|1725|5|12|mf=y
death_place = Château de Sainte-Assise à Seine-Port, France
occupation =
spouse = Louise Henriette de Bourbon-Conti
parents = Louis, Duke of Orléans Auguste Marie Johanna of Baden-Baden
children = Daughter
Louis Philippe II
Bathilde of Orléans.

Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, known as "le Gros" ("the Fat") (May 12, 1725 – November 18, 1785), was a member of a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, the dynasty then ruling France.


Louis Philippe was born at the Palace of Versailles on May 12, 1725. As the only son of Louis, Duke of Orléans and his wife Auguste Marie Johanna of Baden-Baden, he was titled Duke of Chartres at birth.

Louis Philippe was hardly fifteen when he and his young cousin Henriette-Anne of France (1727-1752), the second daughter of King Louis XV, fell in love. After considering the possibility of such a marriage, Louis XV and his chief minister, Cardinal Fleury, decided against it because this union would have brought the House of Orléans too close to the throne. [Michel Antoine, "Louis XV", Librairie Arthème Fayard, Paris, 1989, p. 473.]

First marriage

In 1743, his grandmother Françoise-Marie, Duchess of Orléans, and Louise Élisabeth, Princess of Conti arranged his marriage to his seventeen-year old cousin, Louise Henriette de Bourbon-Conti (1726-1759), a member of the House of Boubon-Conti, another cadet branch of the House of Bourbon. It was hoped this marriage would close a century-old family rift. Louis Philippe's father, "Louis le Pieux", gave his consent, believing the young bride, who had been brought up in a convent, would be a paragon of virtue, the ideal wife for his son.

The couple was married on December 17, 1743 in the chapel of the Palace of Versailles.

After a few months of a passion that surprised everyone at court, the couple started to drift apart as the young Duchess of Chartres began to lead a scandalous life. This caused her father-in-law to refuse to recognise the legitimacy of his grandchildren. [Claude Dufresne, "Les Orléans", Critérion, Paris, 1991, chapter: "Un "bon gros prince", p. 191-196.]

The couple had three children:

*a daughter (born 12 or 13 July 1745 - December 14 1745)
*Louis Philippe II Joseph (1747-1793), later known as "Philippe Égalité" during the French Revolution.
*Louise Marie Thérèse Bathilde of Orléans (1750-1822), who married Louis Henry II, Prince of Condé, later known as "Citoyenne Vérité" during the French Revolution.

Military achievements and sucession as Duke of Orléans

Serving with the French armies in the War of Austrian Succession, he distinguished himself in the campaigns of 1742, 1743 and 1744, and at the battle of Fontenoy in 1745. After the death of his first wife, he retired to his château at Bagnolet, where he occupied his time with theatrical performances and the society of intellectuals.

Upon the death of his father in 1752, Louis Philippe II became Duke of Orléans and head of the House of Orléans. He also became First Prince of the Blood, Duke of Valois, Nemours and Montpensier.

Étiennette Le Marquis

After the death of Louise Henriette on February 9, 1759 at the Palais Royal, the Orléans residence in Paris, Louis Philippe took as his mistress Étiennette Le Marquis, a former dancer who liked to act in comedy plays, and who introduced him into the world of the theater. At that time, the château de Bagnolet, which he had inherited from his father, became his favorite residence. [ib. Claude Dufresne, p. 197-199.] Louis Philippe had three children with Étiennette [http://www.geneall.net/F/per_page.php?id=122130] ; they were raised under the care of the Orléans family:

*Louis Étienne of Orléans, (January 21 1759 - July 24 1825), Count-abbé of Saint-Phar
*Louis Philippe of Orléans, (July 7, 1761 - June 13 1829), Count-abbé of Saint-Albin,
*Marie Étiennette Perrine d'Auvilliers, (July 7, 1761 -clarifyme), who married François-Constantin, Count of Brossard, a dragon regiment officer.

In 1769, Louis Philippe sold Bagnolet and bought the Château du Raincy, located less than ten miles east from the center of Paris. The same year, his son Louis Philippe, married Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon, heiress to the fortune of her father, the Duke of Penthièvre.

econd marriage

In spite of his liaison with Étiennette, Louis Philippe had several other mistresses until in July 1766 he met Charlotte-Jeanne Béraud, Marquise de Montesson, a witty but married twenty-eight year old. After the death of the Marquis de Montesson in 1769, Louis Philippe tried to obtain Louis XV's authorisation to marry the young widow. Finally, in December 1772, the King gave his consent on the condition that the Marquise of Montesson would never become Duchess of Orléans or succeed to any other Orléans titles. In addition, the couple was to live a quiet life away from the court. The morganatic wedding took place on April 23, 1773 "dans la plus stricte intimité" [Claude Dufresne, p. 204.] . As a wedding gift, the Duke of Orléans gave his new wife the "château de Sainte-Assise" at Seine-Port, in today's Seine-et-Marne department of France.

Later life

Louis XV had added to the apanage of the House of Orléans the "hôtel de Grand-Ferrare" in Fontainebleau (1740), the county of Soissons (1751), the seigneuries of La Fère, Marle, Ham, Saint-Gobain, the "Ourcq canal" and the "hôtel Duplessis-Châtillon" in Paris (1766). [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goods_of_the_House_of_Orl%C3%A9ans]

In 1773, Orléans added to his residences a magnificent hôtel built at Chaussée d'Antin, the new elegant quarter of Paris.

In 1780, Louis Philippe gave his son the Palais Royal, a gift that was to mark their reconciliation after the rift provoked by the Duke's second marriage. [Claude Dufresne, p. 209.]

In Sainte-Assise, Le Raincy and Paris, the couple received nobles, intellectuals, playwrights, scientists, such as the Duchess of Lauzun, the Countess of Egmont, the Marquis of Lusignan, the Marquis of Osmond, the mathematician d'Alembert, the German writer Melchior Grimm, the mathematician and astronomer Pierre-Simon de Laplace, the chemist Claude Louis Berthollet, the composer Pierre-Alexandre Monsigny, and the playwright Louis Carrogis Carmontelle. The couple also gave theatrical presentations, some of which were written by the Marquise of Montesson.

In February 1785, upon the insistence of Louis XVI, the Duke of Orléans sold the magnificent château de Saint-Cloud, which had been in the Orléans family's possession since 1658, to Wueen Marie Antoinette, for six million livres.

Surrounded by all the members of his immediate family, even his three children by Etiennette Le Marquis, Louis-Philippe died on November 18, 1785, at Sainte-Assise at the age of sixty [ib. Claude Dufresne, p. 211.] .






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