Charles, Count of Charolais
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|Count of Charolais|
19 June 1700|
Château de Chantilly, France
23 July 1760 (aged 60)|
|Burial||Église Collégiale Saint-Martin, Montmorency, France|
|Father||Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé|
|Mother||Louise-Françoise de Bourbon|
The second son of Louis III, Prince of Condé, and Louise-Françoise de Bourbon, Charles de Bourbon-Condé was made governor of Touraine in 1720. He fought in Hungary in the war against the Ottoman Turks and won distinction at the battle of Belgrade. In 1728 he became one of the candidates for the hand of the wealthy heiress Maria Zofia Sieniawska, supported by Louis XV in an attempt to gain a strong position in Poland before the royal election. He was gouverneur of his nephew Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé.
Debauched, violent, wrathful, sadistic, bloodthirsty and occasionally murderous, barely within the bounds of sanity, and incredibly arrogant, not least on account of his rank, which gave him gross impunity as a royal prince, Charles, Count of Charolais, never ceased to appear in the news of his time. Heredity may have played a part, as his father Louis was popularly known as le Singe Vert, or the Green Monkey, to his contemporaries because of his ugliness and depravities. Perhaps unsurprisingly given his rank, overwhelming police reports about Charles de Bourbon were long kept secret. These relate, among other appalling depravities, Charles's kidnap and detainment of women and girls for use in sadistic orgies he arranged with other debauchees. Some historians have seen in him an inspiration for certain characters in the novels of the Marquis de Sade.
In one particular instance, in the street and in front of witnesses, this nobleman, a relative of the king, fired his pistol and killed, coldly and without reason other than his own pleasure, a man who had the misfortune of being within reach of his weapon. The regent Philippe d'Orléans was truly shocked by this heinous crime, and summoned the count to say that, while he could not punish him on account of his rank, he would willingly forgive anyone who took reciprocal action.
Another story tells of how in a drunken rage, he assaulted and badly injured the unfortunate driver of the Spanish ambassador who had parked his carriage in an alley beside the Louvre usually reserved for cars of the princes of the blood.
He secretly married Jeanne de Valois-Saint Remy, a descendent of Henri II via an illegitimate branch; their son Louis Thomas Charles (1718–1799), who was not legitimated by the king, was later exiled to England.
He had two illegitimate children with Marguerite Caron de Rancurel:
- Marie Marguerite de Bourbon-Charolais (1752–1830), who married Denis Nicolas, comte de Puget;
- Charlotte Marguerite Élisabeth de Bourbon-Charolais (1754–1839), who married François Xavier Joseph, comte de Lowendal (son of Marshal de Lowendal).
He was buried at the Église Collégiale Saint-Martin, Montmorency.
Titles and styles
- 19 June 1700 – 23 July 1760 His Serene Highness the Count of Charolais
- "Czartoryska z Sieniawskich Maria Zofia". Polski Słownik Biograficzny (in Polish). Retrieved 2010-09-01.