Princess Hélène of Orléans
|Duchess of Aosta|
|Spouse||Emanuele Filiberto, 2nd Duke of Aosta
Colonel Otto Campini
|Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta
Aimone, 4th Duke of Aosta
|French: Hélène Louise Henriette d'Orléans|
|House||House of Orléans
House of Savoy
|Father||Prince Philippe, Count of Paris|
|Mother||Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans|
13 June 1871|
York House, Twickenham
|Died||21 January 1951
Castellammare di Stabia, Italy
|Burial||Basilica dell'Incoronata Madre del Buon Consiglio, Naples, Italy|
Princess Hélène of Orléans (French: Princesse Hélène Louise Henriette d'Orléans; 13 June 1871, York House, Twickenham – 21 January 1951, Castellammare di Stabia, Italy) was a member of the Orléans royal family and by marriage Duchess of Aosta.
She was the third of eight children born to Prince Philippe, Count of Paris, and Infanta Maria Isabel of Spain. Hélène was a sister of Amélie, Queen of Portugal, Isabelle d'Orléans, duchesse de Guise, and Ferdinand, Duke of Montpensier, among others.
Her father was a grandson of Louis Philippe I, King of the French, and had been his heir-apparent from 1842 to 1848.
Hélène's parents had great hopes that she would marry an heir to a throne. Her other siblings all married well; they included Queen Amélie of Portugal and Isabelle, Duchess of Guise. There were rampant rumors of various suitors leading up to her eventual marriage in 1895.
Her suitors were no doubt encouraged by the fact that Hélène was considered a great beauty for her day. One contemporary source stated that she was "the personification of womanly health and beauty, distinguished as a graceful athlete and charming linguist".
Relationship with the Duke of Clarence
She was in love with Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (eldest son of Edward VII, and grandson of then reigning monarch Queen Victoria), but they were forced to end their relationship due to the disapproval of various parties involved.
At first, Queen Victoria opposed any engagement because Hélène was Roman Catholic. Victoria wrote to her grandson suggesting Princess Margaret of Prussia, another of her grandchildren, as a suitable alternative, but nothing came of her suggestion. Once the couple confided their love to her, the Queen relented and supported the marriage. Hélène offered to convert, and Albert Victor offered to abdicate his succession rights to marry her, writing to his brother "You have no idea how I love this sweet girl now, and I feel I could never be happy without her". His mother the Princess of Wales sympathized with their predicament and approved the match. To the couple's disappointment, her father refused to countenance the marriage and was adamant she could not convert. Hélène traveled personally to intercede with Pope Leo XIII, but he confirmed her father's verdict and the affair ended.
Albert Victor never got over his feelings for Hélène; their relationship is commemorated at his tomb at Windsor Castle by a bead wreath with the single word "HELENE" upon it. An engagement to Princess Mary of Teck was later arranged, but he died before their marriage could take place.
Tsarevich Nicholas of Russia
She was the first choice of bride by the Emperor and Empress of Russia for their eldest son, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Russia (later Emperor Nicholas II). The relationship did not progress beyond friendship and Nicholas went on to marry Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt in late 1894.
The Prince of Naples
There were great hopes that Hélène would marry the eldest son and heir of Umberto I of Italy, the Prince of Naples. A few years before her marriage to the Duke of Aosta, Hélène traveled to Naples with the hope of attracting the King and Queen's attention. No match was made, however, and Victor Emmanuel became engaged to Princess Elena of Montenegro in 1896. There were also hopes that she would marry Infante Afonso, Duke of Porto, who was brother of her sister's Amélie husband. The rumours proved to be false as he showed no interest in Hélène.
Marriage and children
On 25 June 1895, at the Church of St. Raphael in Kingston upon Thames, Hélène married Prince Emanuele Filiberto Vittorio Eugenio Alberto Genova Giuseppe Maria, 2nd Duke of Aosta (1869–1931). He was a much lower match than her parents had desired, but was also first in line to the Italian throne should the main branch die off. The wedding was attended by many important royal figures, including Crown Prince Victor Emmanuel of Italy (the former possible match for her hand) and the Duke and Duchess of Connaught.
The couple had two sons:
- Prince Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta (21 October 1898 - 3 March 1942)
- Prince Aimone, 4th Duke of Aosta who briefly ruled as King Tomislav II of Croatia. (9 March 1900 - 29 January 1948)
Widowed in 1931, Princess Helene was married for a second time in 1936 to Colonel Otto Campini (1872–1951) (born Oddone Maria Campini).
- "Royal Houses United", The Washington Post (London), 26 June 1895
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 196.
- "Duke D'Aosta's Bride", The Washington Post, 17 March 1895
- Pope-Hennessy, pp. 196-197.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 198.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 197.
- Pope-Hennessy, p. 199.
- The Peerage
- Pope-Hennessy, James (1959). Queen Mary 1867–1953. London: George Allen and Unwin Unlimited. ISBN 0-04-923025-5.
Princess Hélène of Orléans
Cadet branch of the House of BourbonBorn: 13 June 1871 Died: 21 January 1951
Maria Letizia Bonaparte
|Duchess of Aosta||Succeeded by