Duke of Orléans

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The arms of the House of Orléans of the sixth creation

Duke of Orléans (French: Duc d'Orléans) was a title reserved for French royalty, first created during the 14th century. Known as princes of the blood (princes du sang), the title of Duke of Orléans was given, when available, to the oldest brother of the king. Thus, they formed a collateral line of the French royal family, with an eventual right to succeed to the throne should more senior princes of the blood die out.

During the period of the ancien régime the holder of the title often assumed a political role. The Orléans branch of the House of Valois came to the throne with Louis XII (15th century). Louis Philippe II, fifth Duke of Orléans, contributed to the destruction of the ancient regime. At the head of a retrospectively named 'Orleanist' faction centred on the Palais Royal, he contested the authority of his cousin Louis XVI in the adjacent Louvre. His son would eventually ascend the throne in 1830 following the July Revolution as Louis-Philippe I, King of the French. The descendants of the family are the Orléanist pretenders to the French throne, and the title has been used by several members of the House. The holder of the title held the style of Serene Highness.

House of Valois[edit]

First creation (1344)[edit]

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Philip of Valois
1344–1375
Blason Philippe de France (1336-1375) duc d'Orléans.svg July 1, 1336 –
September 1, 1376
Philip VI of France
Joan the Lame

Second creation (1392)[edit]

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Louis I
1392–1407
LouisOrlean ChristinaPisan.jpg March 13, 1372 –
November 23, 1407
Charles V of France
Joanna of Bourbon
Charles I
1407–1465
Charles Ier d'Orléans.jpg November 24, 1394 –
January 5, 1465
Louis I, Duke of Orléans
Valentina Visconti
Louis II
1465–1515
Ludvig XII av Frankrike på målning från 1500-talet.jpg June 27, 1462 –
January 1, 1515
Charles I, Duke of Orléans
Marie of Cleves

Third creation (1519)[edit]

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Henry II
1519–1536
Henry II of France..jpg March 31, 1519 –
July 10, 1559
Francis I of France
Claude of France
Charles II
1536–1545
Charles II de Orleans.jpg January 22, 1522 –
September 9, 1545
Louis III
1549
D2ed0a7b2a.jpg 3 February 1549 –
24 October 1550
Henry II of France
Catherine de' Medici
Charles III Maximilian
1550–1560
François Clouet 005.jpg June 27, 1550 –
May 30, 1574
Henry III
1560–1574
Anjou 1570louvre.jpg September 19, 1551 –
August 2, 1589

House of Bourbon[edit]

Fourth creation (1607)[edit]

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Nicholas Henri
1607–1611
Nicolas de bourbon.jpg 16 April 1607 –
17 November 1611
Henry IV of France
Marie de' Medici

Fifth creation (1626)[edit]

At the death of Nicholas Henri, his younger brother Gaston was given the title of Orléans but was not officially allowed to be styled as the Duke of Orléans till his marriage with the heiress Marie de Bourbon, Duchess de Montpensier in her own right (she had been betrothed to Nicholas at the age of 3). They were the parents of Anne Marie Louise of Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier. At her death in 1693, much of her vast wealth went to her cousin, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans.

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Gaston
1626–1660
Gaston de France 1634.jpg 25 April 1608 –
2 February 1660
Henry IV of France
Marie de' Medici

Sixth creation (1660)[edit]

Upon the death of Gaston of Orléans, the appanage of Orléans reverted to the crown and was given to Philippe de France, the brother of Louis XIV of France. As the king's eldest brother he was known at court as Monsieur.

Philippe and his second wife, the famous court writer Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, founded the modern House of Orléans. Their surviving son Philippe d'Orléans was the regent for the child king Louis XV.

The first two dukes were addressed as Royal Highness (Altesse royale); their successors had the style Serene Highness. After 1709, the dukes of Orléans were the First Princes of the Blood – this meant that they could be addressed as Monsieur le Prince, and were in line to the throne of France after the descendants of Louis XIV.

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Philippe I
1660–1701
Philippe1erOrleans B.jpg September 21, 1640 –
June 8, 1701
Louis XIII of France
Infanta Ana of Spain
Philippe II
1701–1723
Philippe d'Orleans, regent, et Marie Madeleine de la Vieuville, Comtesse de Parabere (Jean-Baptiste Santerre).jpg August 2, 1674 –
December 2, 1723
Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
Louis
1723–1752
Louis-Orleans.jpg August 4, 1703 –
February 4, 1752
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Françoise-Marie de Bourbon
Louis Philippe I
1752–1785
Louis-Philippe1.jpg May 12, 1725 –
November 18, 1785
Louis, Duke of Orléans
Margravine Auguste Marie Johanna of Baden-Baden
Louis Philippe II
1785–1793
Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans.jpg April 13, 1747 –
November 6, 1793
Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
Louise Henriette de Bourbon
Louis Philippe III
1793–1830
Louis-Philippe de Bourbon.jpg 6 October 1773 –
August 26, 1850
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon
Ferdinand Philippe
1830–1842
Ferdinand-P.JPG September 3, 1810 –
July 13, 1842
Louis Philippe III, Duke of Orléans
Princess Maria Amalia Teresa of the Two Sicilies
Philippe
1850–1880
(did not use the title)
Phillipe, Comte de Paris.jpg 24 August 1838 –
8 September 1894
Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Duchess Helen of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Philippe
1880–1926
Felipd'OrleansOrleans.jpg August 24, 1869 –
March 28, 1926
Philippe, Count of Paris
Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans

Other[edit]

  • François Gaston Michel Marie of Orléans, Duke of Orléans (1935–1960) second son of Henri, comte de Paris (posthumous creation)

Current[edit]

  • Legitimists recognize Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris, Head of the House of Orléans, as Duke of Orléans, inheriting the title as the heir male of Philip I, Duke of Orléans.
  • Orleanists recognize Jacques d'Orléans, younger brother of the Count of Paris, as Duke of Orléans. Per Orleanist reckoning, the title has merged with the crown. Jacques is the younger fraternal twin brother of Michel d'Orléans. According to Orleanists, the last of twins to be born is the first-born. Thus, Jacques is considered the eldest younger brother of the Count of Paris, whom they consider the king.

See also[edit]