Ficquelmont family

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House of Ficquelmont
Armoiries de Ficquelmont.svg
House of Ficquelmont, Coat of Arms[1]
Country Flag of Lorraine.svg Duchy of Lorraine
Banner of the Holy Roman Emperor with haloes (1400-1806).svg Holy Roman Empire
Royal Standard of the King of France.svg Kingdom of France
Flag of the Habsburg Monarchy.svg Austrian Empire
Flag of Austria-Hungary (1869-1918).svg Austro-Hungarian empire
Flag of Russian Empire for private use (1914–1917).svg Russian Empire
Flag of Belgium.svg Kingdom of Belgium
Flag of France.svg French Republic
Founded Flag of Lorraine.svg c. 1030
Founder Gerard de Ficquelmont
Cadet branches

The Ficquelmont family is a European aristocratic dynasty. This nine-century-old[2] comital family originated in the Duchy of Lorraine where the Ficquelmonts have been lords of the name and knights from as far as 1030 and barons from as far as 1277. The family rose to opulent prominence as it became comital in the early 14th century. One of Lorraine's most illustrious lineage, the Ficquelmonts have spread across Europe as the Duchy merged into the Habsburg Empire then into the Kingdom of France and once again after the burst of the French Revolution. As a result of which changes, the family has been divided into several lines which have ranked among the prominent noble families of the Holy Roman Empire, Lorraine, Austria and Hungary, France, Russia, the Netherlands and Belgium. Since 1948, the family has lived on through cognatic lines.


According to the legends, the House of Ficquelmont traces its origin back to the Merovingian times, some authors[3] have listed its members since "Conrad de Ficquelmont, who they say lived in 781".[4] However, the family -comital since the 14th century[5]- is formally known since the early 11th century with the named Gerard de Ficquelmont, knight, in the year 1030 and the complete proven genealogy begins with the descendance of Erard de Ficquelmont, knight, before 1277.[6]

Because it is a Lorrainer family, it owns a dual nobility, both French and German. According to the classes of the French nobility, it is part of both the Noblesse chevaleresque[7] and the Noblesse d'épée (Nobility of the Sword).[8] According to the classes of the German nobility, it is part of the Uradel[9] and Hochadle (with the form of address Hochgeboren then Erlaucht). The family's estates were originally surrounding their ancestral castle set in the ancient locality of Ficquelmont,[10] in the current French region of Lorraine . From there the family has risen within the Lorrainer, Holy Roman, French and Austrian nobilities and eventually spread all across Europe following the French Revolution. Therefore, the ten-century-old[2] high nobility Lorrainer family ranks among the most prominent high nobles of the Holy Roman Empire, Lorraine, Austria and Hungary, France, Russia and Belgium.[11][12][13][14]

Lorraine and the Holy Roman Empire[edit]

Lorrainer Coat of Arms
Dessin de Jean Cayon dans son armorial (1850)
The senior nobility of Lorraine

The House of Ficquelmont "belongs to the very ancient Chivalry of Lorraine, [where] it has long been one of the most prominent noble family due to its antiquity and alliances".[15] Descending from the Capetian Royal dynasty,[16] it is one of the oldest European continuous noble lineage[2] as it has at been referred to as part of the nobility at least since the eve of the Holy Roman Empire.

The family members own numerous titles among which are Counts of Ficquelmont, of Parroy, of Champcourt, of Bathelémont, Counts of the Holy Roman Empire,[17] Barons in Lorraine and Knights of Lotharingia. For centuries, members of the House of Ficquelmont had been some of the most significant Great Officers of the Ducal Court of Lorraine: lords chamberlain, lords master of ceremonies or lords commander of the Dukes. In the 17th and 18th century were:

- Count Leonard de Ficquelmont[18] colonel of Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine, commanding the prestigious Blainville regiment;
- Count Robert de Ficquelmont, Great-chamberlain of Charles III, Duke of Lorraine;
- his grandson, count Jean-François de Ficquelmont,[19] Great-chamberlain and colonel of the guard of Leopold I, Duke of Lorraine, commanding the dukal cavalry;
- his son, Reichsgraf Charles de Ficquelmont Great-chamberlain of Francis I of Lorraine, Holy Roman Emperor, colonel of HIM's cuirassiers commanding the imperial guard's cavalry;
- his son, Reichsgraf Jacques-Charles de Ficquelmont,[19] colonel of the guard and Great-chamberlain of Francis I of Lorraine, Holy Roman Emperor, commanding the cavalry regiment of Kalchreuth then of Thun.

The Ficquelmonts, true to their knightly origin (European noblemen were originally mounted warriors who swore allegiance to their Sovereign and promised to fight for him), took part of the chivalry Orders of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, of the Golden Fleece[20] and of the Dragon. They also often fought as warlords at the service of France, Spain and the Papacy.[21] The perfect illustration being Count Leonard de Ficquelmont,[22] colonel of King Philip V of Spain who died in 1709 during the War of the Spanish Succession in Cataluna.

France and Austria[edit]

After Empress Maria Theresa of Austria had married Emperor Francis of Lorraine, the family entered the Austrian nobility, serving under the rule of the Habsburgs. But, by the Treaty of Vienna, the Duchy of Lorraine became part of the Kingdom of France. As member of the high nobility, the House of Ficquelmont was allowed by Royal decree to choose to serve and live as they pleased either in France or in the Empire.

Some Ficquelmonts who had followed Emperor Francis of Lorraine to the Imperial Court and therefore already established themselves as part of the Austrian nobility, chose to settle in Austrian territory. Of that tight branch are Reichsgraf Charles de Ficquelmont,[19] Great-chamberlain of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, colonel of HIM's cuirassiers commanding the imperial guard's cavalry and his son, Reichsgraf Jacques-Charles de Ficquelmont,[19] colonel of the guard and Great-chamberlain of Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor, commanding the cavalry regiment of Kalchreuth then of Thun. By the end of the 18th century, they had settled in large estates in the then Austrian Netherlands.[23]

However, most of the family had chosen France. Count Charles Henri introduced all of his children to the Sovereign at the Royal Court of Versailles, such presentations were only granted to the members of the most senior noble families[24] and established the Ficquelmonts among their French peers within France's high nobility. They start living between the Royal Court of Versailles and their ancestral estates in Lorraine where they sat as hereditary members of the upper house of the Parlement de Nancy, the ruling institution of French Lorraine that also served as the courts of appeal of the Royal province. During that period, the Ficquelmonts' primary seats were the grand châteaux of Dieuze[25] and Parroy and their Hôtel of Nancy. The Ficquelmonts were also instrumental in founding and funding several Lorrainer religious institutions such as the Holy Cross College of Nancy, the Cathedral of Metz and the abbeys of Remiremont and Flavigny.

But such a life was bringing to a close as the Ancien Régime collapsed. By 1789, the French Revolution has started following the Storming of the Bastille, bringing sorrow to the family. The Ficquelmonts, as aristocrats, were targeted by the Revolution, and several members of the family were beheaded [13] leaving the remaining ones no other choice than fleeing the country, joining fellow aristocrats as émigrés.


As a consequence of the French Revolution, the Ficquelmont family spread across Europe and remained divided into three main lines.[26]

Austrian Empire[edit]

Part of the French Ficquelmonts chose to emigrate to Austria where the family had kept close ties (for instance, Reichsgraf Charles de Ficquelmont (1724–1792), had followed Francis I of Lorraine, Holy Roman Emperor at the Imperial Court of Vienna when he was 12 and had stayed there ever since serving as colonel of the Imperial guard and (from 1764) Great-chamberlain of Emperors Francis I and Joseph II[27]) various estates and strong supports all the way to the Habsburgs themselves (for instance, Archduchess Marie-Christine personally placed count Joseph de Ficquelmont in Emperor Leopold II's care in a letter dated from January 30, 1792[28]).

This branch took part of the counter revolutionary's Army of the Princes and Imperial Austrian Army. It is best represented by:

- Charles Louis, Count de Ficquelmont and of the Holy Roman Empire (Reichsgraf von Ficquelmont), born in the castle of Dieuze on March 23, 1777; he became one of the most powerful Austrian diplomat and statesman of his time and even succeeded Prince Klemens von Metternich as acting Minister-President of the Austrian Empire.

Count Charles-Louis married countess Dorothea von Tiesenhausen, granddaughter of Prince Mikhail Kutuzov, Masrshall of the Russian army and hero of the Napoleonic wars. Dorothea and Charles-Louis only had one child:

- Elizabeth-Alexandrine, countess de Ficquelmont by birth and princess Clary-und-Aldringen by marriage, last countess of the Austrian branch.

Netherlands and Belgium[edit]

The last descendants of the first Austrian branch had settled in what was Austrian Netherlands (nowadays Belgium) prior to the French Revolution. They had fled the country as it was occupied by the French during the French Revolutionary Wars then integrated into the Napoleon's Empire. But, following the fall of the First French Empire, the Austrian Netherlands became part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands that had just been created by the Treaty of Vienna, and the Dutch Ficquelmonts returned to establish themselves as part of the nobility of the newly founded kingdom. This branch had two lines:

- the first one, founded by Count Antoine-Charles de Ficquelmont (1753-1833), was allowed to bear the title count de Ficquelmont (graaf/gravin de Ficquelmont) which was recreated within the Dutch nobility.[14] The Dutch counts de Ficquelmont, now extinct, remained faithful to King William I of the Netherlands following the Belgian Revolution of 1830. That line is extinct since the early 20th century.
-While the other line, founded by Count Florimond Aloïs de Ficquelmont (1763-1818), was allowed to bear the title count de Ficquelmont de Vyle (graaf/gravin de Ficquelmont de Vijle) recreated within the Dutch nobility;[14] his grandson took up Belgium nationality in 1884 and therefore entered the Belgian nobility. That line is extinct in male line since 1948 and in cognatic line since 1991 but the surname has lived on through adoption with Jean d'Albis de Ficquelmont.[29]


Nonetheless, the French branch of the Ficquelmont family has subsisted through the progeny of Henriette Joséphine de Ficquelmont. Married to Mr Joseph Simon Marie, the surname has lasted as Marie de Ficquelmont. This branch descends from those of the counts of Ficquelmont who decided to remain in or return to France despite the Revolution and the subsequent wars: by the time of the Bourbon Restauration, count Charles-Henri and four of his five remaining children were to be found in France (the 5th one being count Charles-Louis de Ficquelmont[30](see above)). To this day this branch of the family has been most prominent in French military, scientific and business fields: each generation has been distinguished by France's highest honor the Legion of Honor[31]- almost a unique case in the Legion's history. From that branch are:

- Clotilde de Vaux (1815–1846), who gave philosopher Auguste Comte the inspiration for the Religion of Humanity entirely organized around the public veneration of Humanity through a Goddess (the Nouveau Grand-Être Suprême or New Supreme Great Being) made after her;[32][33]
- Maximilien Marie de Ficquelmont (1819–1891), famous French mathematician who resolved one of the most difficult problem of equational mathematics by inventing the imaginary number i;[34]
- Armand Marie de Ficquelmont (1909–1998), French physicist whose researches helped discovering heavy water and therefore developing nuclear physics;[35][36][37]
- Eric Marie de Ficquelmont (born 1954), French businessman, historian and author,[38] former managing director of multinational environment conglomerate Veolia.[39]

Marriages and residences[edit]


The family is tied to various European noble families along which are the sovereign families de Vaudémont-Lorraine, de Salm, von Hohenzollern-Hechingen; the princely families von Clary und Aldringen, Kutuzov, Yusupov, Radziwill, de Ligne, Esterházy von Galatha; the dukal families d'Haraucourt, de Choiseul, du Chatelêt, de Joyeuse; the marquesal families de Beauvau, de Custine; the comital families de la Marche, Gournay de Clémery, von Butler of the Holy Roman Empire, von Tiesenhausen, Chotek, Sumarokov, de Baillet-Latour and many others.


There are Ficquelmont palaces in Venice (Palazzo Ficquelmont-Clary), Vienna and St.Petersburg (Ficquelmont Palace). The original family's castle in the locality of Ficquelmont (Thumeréville, current region of Lorraine, France) was burned down in 1877. However, many other estates were properties of the family over the ages including the Lorrainer châteaux of Parroy and Dieuze (those two serving as primary homes and center of administration of the Ficquelmont family during the late 18th century), Mars la Tour, Bathelémont, Moustier[disambiguation needed], Champcourt, Puxe. The Ficquelmonts also owned hotel particuliers in Nancy, Karlsruhe, Strasbourg and Prague.

View of "château de Puxe" (c. 1914)
View of "château de Woippy"
View of "château de Mars-la-Tour"

Titles and Blazon[edit]

House of Ficquelmont, Coat of Arms[1]


[40] The Ficquelmont family is comital since the 14th century[5] and has been raised to Counts of the Holy Roman Empire[41] with the style of address of Erlaucht (Illustrious Highness) in the 18th century by Francis I of Lorraine, Holy Roman Emperor.

Furthermore, the Ficquelmonts have been seigneurs (lords) of Puxe, la Tour en Voivre, Dieuze, Champcourt, Bathelémont, Flin and others estates.

Coat of Arms[edit]

The blazon of this family coat of arms is: Or, gules three enhanced pickets, ensigned with a passant wolf sable.

The family's motto is "Nul ne m'atteint"[45] (modern French translation) (literally: "No one reaches me") meaning both "No family is more noble" and "No one could defeat me" referring to their 10-century-old noble legacy and their warlike origin.


  • Alain Petiot, Au service des Habsburg, 1999
  • Alain Petiot, Les Lorrains et l'Empire, 2005


  1. ^ a b Armorial du Pays de Luxembourg (p. 359), Loutsch, Jean-Claude
  2. ^ a b c See below: references to Gerard de Fiquelmont, knight, in 1030 then to Pierre de Fiquelmont, knight, before 1277/The French Nobility Book by Régis Valette (2001) has traced its continuious proven references to at least 1386.
  3. ^ such as Georges van Santern in Moniteur de la Noblesse Belge (Book of the Belgian nobility), Brussels, 1890
  4. ^ "Conrad de Ficquelmont qu'ils font vivre en 781"Quote from the introduction paragraph (the one listing its mythical origins) of the House of Ficquelmont's article in l'Intermédiaire des chercheurs et des curieux, Volume 47, p.810, Paris, 1903 [1]
  5. ^ a b House of Ficquelmont's article in l'Intermédiaire des chercheurs et des curieux, Volume 47, p.810, Paris, 1903 [2]
  6. ^ [3] in La Belgique héraldique, Charles Poplimont,1866, Brussels
  7. ^ knightly nobility nobility of antique military origin, known before the year 1400
  8. ^ or noblesse de race or noblesse ancienne: the traditional oldest nobility, heir of militaristic traditions
  9. ^ German term referring to nobility tracing back to at least 1400
  10. ^ now Thumeréville
  11. ^ [4] The House of Ficquelmont is one of the oldest, noblest, most honoured family of the ancient Lorrainer Chivalry in La Belgique héraldique, Charles Poplimont,1866, Brussels
  12. ^ [5] (The St.Petersbourg's Ficquelmont Palace) provided the setting of two of the most famous Salons of the period (1830's), reigned over by Ficquelmont's wife (granddaughter of Prince Kutuzov) in Personality and Place in Russian Culture, Essays in Memory of Lindsey Hughes, Simon Dixon, 2010, History
  13. ^ [6] Member of the Association of the French nobility
  14. ^ a b c [7] Member of the Belgian Nobility
  15. ^ La famille de Ficquelmont "appart[ient] a la vieille chevalerie de Lorraine, elle [y fut] l'une des plus distinguée par son ancienneté et ses alliances" Famille de Ficquelmont in l'Intermédiaire des chercheurs et des curieux, Volume 47, p.810, Paris, 1903
  16. ^ File: La Descendance Capétienne — Recensement de tous les descendants d'Hugues Capet dont la filiation est encore représentée en 2009
  17. ^ [8] The Heraldic Belgique, 1866
  18. ^ not to be mistaken for his grandson, count Leonard de Ficquelmont, colonel of King Philip V of Spain who died in 1709 during the War of Spanish (see next paragraph)
  19. ^ a b c d Woelmont, Op. cit., p. 343-344.
  20. ^ Charles-Louis de Ficquelmont, Knight of the Golden Fleece
  21. ^ Count Henri de Ficquelmont, son of count Jean de Ficquelmont was colonel of Popes Clement XI and Innocent XIII
  22. ^ not to be mistaken for his grandfather, count Leonard de Ficquelmont, colonel of Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine (see previous paragraph)
  23. ^ roughly nowadays Belgium
  24. ^ [9] Note: Honour of the Court of France (French)
  25. ^ birthplace of Count Charles-Louis de Ficquelmont (1777-1857)
  26. ^ of which only the French one is still extant
  27. ^ "Charles, comte de Ficquelmont, Lorrain de naissance, n'avait que douze ans lorsque le duc François de Lorraine, plus tard empereur François Ier, l'emmena en Autriche. Après avoir servit comme page a la Cour imperiale, il fut nommé officier de l'armée [...] il fut nommé grand chambellan en 1764" in Florimond Claude Charles de Mercy-Argenteau, Correspondance secrète entre Marie-Thérèse et le Comte de Mercy, Volume 1, 1874, p.185
  28. ^ "Marie-Christine à l'Empereur Leopold II, Ce 30 de l'an 792 (30 janvier 1792) [...] le capitaine Ficquelmont, qui est aux grenadiers de Vienne, vours remettra [cette lettre]. J'ose vous le recommander tout particulièrement comme s'étant distingué dans la guerre turque et pour ce que l'on dit de sa conduite et de son caractère [...]" in Félix Feuillet de Conches, Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette et Madame Élisabeth: lettres et documents inedits Tome V, page 154, Paris, Henri Plon, 1869
  29. ^ Descendant of the Clary family, the titleless surname has been added through a non-plenary adoption by the countess Ghislaine de Ficquelmont de Vyle.
  30. ^ who has founded the Austrian branch
  31. ^ [10]
  32. ^
  33. ^ André Thérive, Clotilde de Vaux ou La déesse morte (Clotilde de Vaux or the dead Goddess), Albin Michel, 1957.
  34. ^ [11] Théorie des fonctions de variables imaginaires, tomes I à III, Gauthier-Villars, 1874-1876, 3 vol.
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ Eric DE FICQUELMONT, Zapping Connection, Timée, Paris, 2011
  39. ^ [12] Mr. Eric Marie de Ficquelmont, Executive Vice-President of the company Veolia Environnement S.A.
  40. ^ Sources: Woelmont de Brumagne, Notices généalogiques, 7e série, p.343-344/Association d'entraide de la noblesse francaise (ANF), June 12, 1954 ANF
  41. ^ in Charles Poplimont, La Belgique héraldique, 1866, Brussels
  42. ^ Honnors of the French Court (Honneurs de la Cour), 1777 and 1789
  43. ^ The title of Reichsgraf was also personally granted to Count Jacques-Charles de Ficquelmont, colonel and Chambellan of the Holy Roman Empereur
  44. ^ See also list of counts of Austria-Hungary
  45. ^ Source: Rietstap


  • Alain Petiot, Au service des Habsburg, 1999
  • Alain Petiot, Les Lorrains et l'Empire, 2005
  • The French Nobility Book: Régis Valette, Catalogue de la noblesse française (Robert Laffont, Paris, 2007)
  • Jougla de Morénas, Grand armorial de France, n° 15355
  • Woelmont de Brumagne, Notices généalogiques, 7e série, p. 340.
  • Poplimont, La Belgique héraldique: recueil historique, chronologique, généalogique et biographique..., t. IV, Paris : 1866.