François d'Orléans, Prince of Joinville

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François d'Orléans
Prince of Joinville
1843 portrait of Prince Francois of Orléans, Prince of Joinville by Winterhalter (Versailles).jpg
The Prince of Joinville, 1843
Born(1818-08-14)14 August 1818
Château de Neuilly, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
Died16 June 1900(1900-06-16) (aged 81)
Paris, France
m. 1843⁠–⁠1898)
IssueFrançoise, Duchess of Chartres
Pierre, Duke of Penthièvre
Princess Marie Léopoldine
Full name
François-Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Marie d'Orléans
FatherLouis Philippe I
MotherMaria Amalia of Naples and Sicily
ReligionRoman Catholic
SignatureFrançois d'Orléans's signature

François-Ferdinand-Philippe-Louis-Marie d'Orléans, prince de Joinville (14 August 1818 – 16 June 1900) was the third son of Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans, afterwards king of the French and his wife Marie Amalie of Bourbon-Sicilies. He was an admiral of the French Navy, and a talented artist.

Early life[edit]

He was born at the Château de Neuilly, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France. Educated for the navy, he was commissioned lieutenant in 1836. His first conspicuous service was at the Bombardment of San Juan de Ulua, in November 1838, commanding the corvette Créole, when he headed a landing party and took the Mexican general Mariano Arista prisoner with his own hand at Veracruz.

The prince was promoted to captain of the frigate La Belle Poule, and in 1840 was entrusted with bringing the remains of Napoleon from Saint Helena to France.


He married on 1 May 1843 in Rio de Janeiro, Princess Francisca of Brazil, Princess de Bragança, sister of Pedro II of Brazil. They had a son Pierre duc de Penthièvre (1845–1919), also brought up to the navy, and who, for a time, attended the United States Naval Academy.[1] The prince de Joinville visited the academy and asked for a frank estimation of his son's character, conduct, and aptitude for naval service. His son never married, but fathered two illegitimate children. The couple also had a daughter, Françoise who married her cousin Robert, Duke of Chartres in 1863 and had issue. Through this union, François d'Orléans is an ancestor of the present day Orléans claimant to the French throne, Jean, Count of Paris.


In his early 20s he became increasingly deaf, but surgery to cure his hearing loss was totally unsuccessful.[2] His friend Victor Hugo wrote in his memoirs, "The Prince de Joinville's deafness increases. Sometimes it saddens him, sometimes he makes light of it. One day he said to me: 'Speak louder, I am as deaf as a post'".[3]

Naval operations and service in the American Civil War[edit]

In 1844 he conducted naval operations on the coast of Morocco, bombarding Tangier and occupying Mogador, and was rewarded with the rank of vice-admiral. In the following year he published in the Revue des deux mondes an article on the deficiencies of the French Navy which attracted considerable attention, and by his hostility to the Guizot ministry, as well as by an affectation of ill-will towards the United Kingdom, he gained considerable popularity.[citation needed] The Revolution of 1848 nevertheless swept him away with the other Orléans princes. He hastened to quit Algeria, where he was then serving, and took refuge at Claremont, in Surrey, with the rest of his family.

Being excluded from continuing a career in the Second Empire's navy, in 1851, he announced his candidacy for the French presidential election to be held in 1852,[4] hoping to pave the way for an eventual restoration of the monarchy. The attempt to become a second "Prince-President" was aborted by 2 December 1851 coup by which the first Prince-President, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, effected his own ascension to the throne. In 1861, upon the outbreak of the American Civil War, he proceeded to Washington, D.C., and placed the services of his son and two of his nephews at the disposal of the United States government. President Lincoln appointed him and his nephews to the staff of Major General George B. McClellan.[2] Toward the end of the Peninsula Campaign (June 1862), difficulties between France and the U.S.A. over Mexico caused the prince to withdraw from the Union forces, and he returned to Europe.[2]

Otherwise, he was little heard of until the overthrow of the Second French Empire in 1870, when he re-entered France, only to be promptly expelled by the government of national defence. Returning incognito, he joined the army of general Louis d'Aurelle de Paladines, under the assumed name of "Colonel Lutherod", fought bravely before Orléans, and afterwards, divulging his identity, formally sought permission to serve. Gambetta, however, arrested him and sent him back to England.[citation needed]

Photograph of François

Later life[edit]

In the National Assembly, elected in February 1871, the prince was returned by two départements and elected to sit for the Haute-Marne. By an arrangement with Thiers, however, the prince did not take his seat until the latter had been chosen president of the provisional republic. His deafness prevented him from making any contribution in the Assembly, and he resigned his seat in 1876. In 1886 the provisions of the law against pretenders to the throne deprived him of his rank as vice-admiral, but he continued to live in France, and died in Paris in June 1900.


The prince de Joinville was the author of several essays and pamphlets on naval affairs and other matters of public interest, which were originally published for the most part either unsigned or pseudonymously, and subsequently republished under his own name after the fall of the Empire. They include Essais sur la marine française (1853); Études sur la marine (1859 and 1870); Guerre d'Amérique, campagne du Potomac (1862 and 1872); Encore un mot sur Sadowa (Brussels, 1868); and Vieux souvenirs (1894). Joinville has also some reputation as a painter. He was present at the July Revolution of 1830 when Charles X was replaced by the Orleanist French King Louis-Philippe. In a number of portraits of French national life he depicted several great events in the life of the Bourbon monarchy. As the King's troops marshalled at the Place de la Concorde he depicted them firing on the crowd. As the mob invaded the Palais Royal he painted Charles X, with Louis-Philippe his usurper, standing behind him, and the king waved to the crowds below. In a famous scene, he drew a woman atop some men handing her the Tricolor as they marched on July 31, 1830 Delacroix's image contrasted heavily to the royal motif of Joinville's paintings. But Joinville remained a patriot himself and without contradiction captured the delivery of Napoleon's body on returning from St Helena. In total Joinville painted 35 watercolours.[5]



Francois' son, Pierre (1845–1919), entered the United States Naval Academy on 15 October 1861. He received an honorary appointment as an ensign in the United States Navy on 28 May 1863 and served on the frigate USS John Adams. He was granted a leave of absence from the Navy as of 1 January 1864 and resigned from the Navy on May 30, 1864. He returned to France in June of that year.[6][7]


  1. ^ National Archives, RG 405, M945, George S. Blake to William S. Dana, 15 July 1862
  2. ^ a b c Lang, Harry G. "A Deaf Prince in Art and War: The Prince de Joinville, French exile and military advisor". Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  3. ^ Hugo, Victor. "The Memoirs of Victor Hugo" (PDF). Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  4. ^ "France. Paris, Wednesday Evening, Sept. 3". The New York Times. 18 September 1851. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  5. ^ Mallalieu, pp.98-99
  6. ^ Register of Officers of the United States Navy. 1 January 1864, p. 36.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 July 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]