Duke of Valentinois
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Duke of Valentinois (French: Duc de Valentinois; Italian: Duca Valentino), formerly Count of Valentinois, is a title of nobility, originally in the French peerage. It is currently one of the many subsidiary titles claimed by the ruling Princes of Monaco despite its extinction in French law in 1949. Though the duchy was originally associated with administrative authority as well as possession of manors in Valence, as noble prerogatives in France's ancien régime were whittled away the dukedom had become purely a hereditary title by the 20th century.
It has been created at least four times: on August 17, 1498, for Cesare Borgia, in 1548 for Diane de Poitiers, in 1642 for Honoré II, Prince of Monaco, and most recently in 1715 for Prince Jacques I of Monaco.
Louis XII created Cesare Borgia Duke of Valentinois in 1498. Both the Italianized form of this title and his previous appointment as Cardinal of Valencia led to his commonly used nickname: "Il Valentino". After Cesare's death, his daughter Louise Borgia became Duchess of Valentinois.
Louis XIII created the title by letters patent, signed in May 1642 and registered on 18 July 1642, converting into a peerage a conglomeration of several estates in the French province of Dauphiné which he had previously given to Honoré II, Prince of Monaco, who became the first recipient of the duché-pairie.
On Honoré's death it passed to his son Louis I, and thence to Louis's son Antoine. However, since the title's inheritance was restricted to male heirs, and because Antoine had only daughters and no sons, it was due to pass to his brother, Honoré Grimaldi (1669 – 1748), but became extinct on 22 July 1715 when Honoré forfeited his right to succeed Antoine, having taken holy orders preparatory to becoming Archbishop of Besançon.
On 20 October 1715, Antoine's eldest daughter and heiress Louise-Hippolyte married Jacques-François de Goyon-Matignon, who had signed a contract on 5 September 1715 by which he was obliged to take the surname Grimaldi. Louis XV thereupon recreated the ducal peerage of Valentinois by letters patent, signed in December 1715 and registered on 2 September 1716, for Jacques, who would also succeed his father-in-law Antoine as Prince Jacques I; like the previous creation, its inheritance was restricted to male heirs.
After Jacques's abdication in 1733, the title passed uninterrupted for several generations from reigning prince to prince: from Jacques to Honoré III, Honoré IV, Honoré V, Florestan I, Charles III and Albert I.
Louis II, who succeeded his father Albert I in 1922, never used the title of Valentinois himself. On 15 November 1911, Albert I had issued a sovereign ordinance approving and confirming Louis' legal declaration of paternity of Charlotte Louvet, designating her therein as "Mademoiselle de Valentinois", and stipulating in article 3 of that decree, "In the event our beloved son, the Hereditary Prince Louis, should die without children born in legitimate marriage, Mademoiselle de Valentinois shall be able to succeed him in all his rights, titles and prerogatives."
On 16 May 1919 Prince Albert I styled his granddaughter Charlotte, "Duchess of Valentinois", on the occasion of her legal adoption that day by his only son Louis, Charlotte's natural father. She was officially recognized by Albert as Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois on 20 May 1919. On 20 March 1920, shortly after Charlotte's marriage to Pierre de Polignac, he, like Jacques-François de Goyon-Matignon, took the title of Duke of Valentinois jure uxoris, having already changed his surname to Grimaldi.
Despite Charlotte's use of the Valentinois title as her father's adopted heiress, by right of succession the French dukedom remained with Louis and his legitimate, agnatic, male descendants. Consequently, on his death without a male heir in 1949, it became extinct in French law.
List of Counts and Dukes of Valentinois
Count of Valentinois:
- 879–912 : Adalelme (or Alleaume)
- 912–943 : Boson, son of Adalalme
- 943–960 : Geilin I
- 960–985 : ?
- 985–10??: Lambert
- 10??–1058: Aimar (or Adhémar)
- 1058–10??: Geilin II
Duke of Valentinois:
- Diane of Poitiers (1548–1566)
- Jacques I (1716–1733)
- Honoré III (1733–1793)
- Honoré IV (1814–1819)
- Honoré V (1819–1841)
- Florestan I (1841–1856)
- Charles III (1856–1889)
- Albert I (1889–1922)
- Louis II (1922–1949)
References and notes
- Delorme, Philippe. "Grimaldi, 700 ans d'une dynastie". Balland. 1997. Page 322. (French).
- "Cesare Borgia". The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. Retrieved May 4, 2005.