Henri, Count of Paris

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Henri of Orléans
Count of Paris
Henri VI , comte de Paris.jpg
Henri d'Orléans.
Orleanist pretender to the French throne
Pretendence 25 August 1940 – 19 June 1999
Predecessor Jean III
Successor Henri VII
Spouse Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza
Issue Isabelle, Countess of Schönborn-Buchheim
Henri, Count of Paris
Hélène, Countess of Limburg-Stirum
Anne, Duchess of Calabria
Diane, Duchess of Württemberg
Michel, Count of Évreux
Jacques, Duke of Orléans
Chantal, Baroness de Sambucy de Sorgue
Thibaut, Count of La Marche
Full name
Henri Robert Ferdinand Marie Louis Philippe
House House of Orléans
Father Jean, Duke of Guise
Mother Isabelle, Duchess of Guise
Born (1908-07-05)5 July 1908
Died 19 June 1999(1999-06-19) (aged 90)
Burial Chapelle royale de Dreux
Religion Roman Catholicism

Henri of Orléans, Count of Paris (Henri Robert Ferdinand Marie Louis Philippe d'Orléans; 5 July 1908 – 19 June 1999), was the Orléanist claimant to the throne of France as Henry VI from 1940 until his death.

Early life[edit]

He was born at the castle of Le Nouvion-en-Thiérache in the Aisne department of France to Jean, Duke of Guise (1874–1940), and his wife, Isabelle of Orléans (1878–1961). He grew up in Morocco and attended the University of Louvain. In 1926, he became the Dauphin of France in pretence after his father became the Orléanist claimant to the throne.


In 1939, after being refused admission to both the French Armed Forces and the British Armed Forces, Henri was allowed to join the French Foreign Legion. In 1950, after the law of exile was rescinded, he returned to France.

Marriage and family life[edit]

On 8 April 1931, he married Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza. The wedding was celebrated in Palermo Cathedral in Sicily, the same church where their mutual ancestors, Louis Philippe of France and his Queen Maria Amalia, married in 1809.[1] Guests at the wedding included official representatives of the Italian, Greek, Belgian, Danish, Spanish, and British Royal Families.[2] The Count and Countess of Paris were the parents of eleven children and separated in 1986.

During his tenure as pretender to the throne, Henri dissipated the majority of his family's great wealth, selling off family jewels, paintings, furniture and properties to support his political cause and large family, as well as establishments in Belgium, North Africa, Brazil, Portugal and France. The family château at Amboise now belongs to a trust he created. Conflict over the division of the family wealth (formerly worth over £40 million) led to court conflicts between him and five of his children, some of whom he unilaterally disinherited.

In 1984, Henri declared that his son, Henri of Orléans, had lost his rights of inheritance because he had divorced his first wife and married a second time, outside of the Roman Catholic Church. Henri gave his son the lesser-valued title comte de Mortain in place of comte de Clermont, and removed him from the line of succession. After a couple of years, Henri reinstated his son with his previous titles, including reestablishing him as heir and gave his new wife, Micaela Cousiño Quinones de Leon, the title "princesse de Joinville".

Henri also disinherited his sons Michel and Thibaut from their rights to the throne, because one married a commoner and the other married non-royal nobility. This decision was later annulled by his son and successor, Henri. Henri's actions over inheritance were never recognised by a number of French royalists who considered it impossible for a head of the royal house to unilaterally disinherit any member of his family, thus in effect these decisions carried little weight.[citation needed]

He died of prostate cancer at Cherisy, near Dreux, France.


Henri, Count of Paris, and his wife Isabelle had eleven children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Isabelle Marie Laure Victoire (1932-04-08) 8 April 1932 (age 82) married Friedrich Karl, Count of Schönborn-Buchheim; has issue.
Henri Philippe Pierre Marie (1933-06-14) 14 June 1933 (age 81) married Duchess Marie Thérèse of Württemberg; has issue.
Hélène Astrid Léopoldine Marie[3] (1934-09-17) 17 September 1934 (age 79)[3] married Count Evrard de Limburg Stirum; has issue.
François Gaston Michel Marie, Duc d'Orléans 15 August 1935 11 October 1960(1960-10-11) (aged 25) died in the Algerian War
Anne Marguerite Brigitte Marie (1938-12-04) 4 December 1938 (age 75)[4] married Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria; has issue.
Diane Françoise Maria da Gloria (1940-03-24) 24 March 1940 (age 74) married Carl, Duke of Württemberg; has issue.
Michel Joseph Benoît Marie (1941-06-25) 25 June 1941 (age 73) married Béatrice Pasquier de Franclieu; has issue.
Jacques Jean Yaroslaw Marie, Duc d'Orléans (1941-06-25) 25 June 1941 (age 73) married Gersende de Sabran-Pontevès; has issue.
Princess Claude Marie Agnès Catherine (1943-12-11) 11 December 1943 (age 70) married Prince Amedeo, Duke of Aosta; has issue.
Jeanne Chantal Alice Clothilde Marie (1946-01-09) 9 January 1946 (age 68) married Baron François Xavier de Sambucy de Sorgue; has issue.
Thibaut Louis Denis Humbert 20 January 1948 23 March 1983(1983-03-23) (aged 35) married Marion Mercedes Gordon-Orr; has issue.


Multiple descent from Louis-Philippe[edit]

Henri's three great-grandfathers (Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans, is a double great-grandfather) were sons of King Louis-Philippe, making Henri a quadruple great-great-grandson of the King, as well as being the grandson of four members of the House of Orléans. Henri's wife, Isabelle, was also a great-great-grandchild of Louis-Philippe (in the male line) and therefore their children are descended from Louis-Philippe five times as great-great-great-grandchildren.



  1. ^ "ITALY: Million-Dollar Nuptials". Time (Time-Warner, Inc.). 20 April 1931. Retrieved 10 July 2011. "Le Roi (who paid for the pageant) is that very rich man, with estates in Belgium, Italy and Morocco, who is better known as Monseigneur le Due de Guise. As the father of the bridegroom, Le Roi fixed his thoughts last week on 1809. In that year, in this same Cathedral of Palermo, his ancestor Louis Philippe (then an exile like the Count of Paris today) married a Bourbon Princess and later became King of France (1830–48)." 
  2. ^ "ITALY: Million-Dollar Nuptials". Time (Time-Warner, Inc.). 20 April 1931. Retrieved 10 July 2011. "Toasts flew merrily among a roster of guests which might have been torn from the program of an operetta: the Duke of Magenta; Prince & Princess Christopher of Greece; Prince Adam Czartoryski of Poland (at whose chateau the couple first met); the Infante Carlos (representing the King of Spain); the Danish sportsmen-princes Aage, Viggo and Erik; Count della Faille de Leverghem (representing Albert, King of the Belgians); ex-Queen Amelie of Portugal; Prince Philippe of Hesse (representing his father-in-law King Vittorio Emanuele of Italy) and Ambassador Sir Ronald William Graham, representing George V." 
  3. ^ a b "Princess Is Christened", The New York Times (Brussels), 16 October 1934 
  4. ^ "Countess Has Daughter", The New York Times (Brussels), 5 December 1938 
  5. ^ Royal Ark


  • Franck Hériot, Laurent Chabrun, La fortune engloutie des Orléans, Plon, 2005. [ISBN 2-259-19843-0]
Henri, Count of Paris
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 5 July 1908 Died: 19 June 1999
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Jean III
King of the French
25 August 1940 – 19 June 1999
Succeeded by
Henri VII