Louis, Count of Clermont

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The comte de Clermont in his later years

Louis de Bourbon (15 June 1709 – 16 June 1771)[1][2] was a member of the cadet Bourbon-Condé branch of the French royal house. He is known for leading French forces in Germany during the Seven Years' War where he took command in 1758 following the failed French Invasion of Hanover. He was unable to break through Ferdinand of Brunswick's Anglo-German army and captured Hanover. He was Count of Clermont from birth.


A prince of the blood, he was the third and youngest son of Louis (III) de Bourbon, prince de Condé (1668–1710) and Louise Françoise de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Nantes (1673–1743), a legitimated daughter of King Louis XIV of France and his maîtresse-en-titre Madame de Montespan.

He was also the great-grandson of Louis de Bourbon, le Grand Condé, who died in 1687.

A possible bride was his first cousin, Mademoiselle du Maine, but a union never materialised.

From 1730, he was a lover of Louise Henriette Françoise de Lorraine, wife of the Duke of Bouillon, mother of the Princess of Beauvau.

His eldest brother, Louis Henri, Duke of Bourbon, was the head of Condé family from 1710 until his death in 1740, and was Louis XV's Premier Ministre (prime minister) from 1723 to 1726. He raised his nephew Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé who was an orphan from 1741.

"He was a curious character: prince of the blood, abbé [of Saint-Germain-des-Prés], military officer, libertine, man of letters (or at least a member of the Academy), anti-Parlement, religious during his final years, he was one of the most striking examples (and one of the most amusing on certain days) and also one of the most shocking (although not at all odious), of the abuses and disparities pushed to scandal, under the Old Order, of pleasure and privilege." (Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve).[3]

The comte de Clermont is perhaps best known to history as the fifth Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France, the supreme Masonic authority in France, which existed from 1728/29 to c.1773.[4]

According to some sources, the comte was elected and installed in that office in 1743 and retained the position until his death, and was succeeded by his cousin, Louis Philippe d'Orléans, known as the duc de Chartres, afterwards Duke of Orléans.[5] But another source claims he was designated Grand Master in 1744 "but soon left the organization, abandoning his title to Lacorne, his dancing master."[6] Both the Cousin biography and the Académie française biography omit all reference to his Masonic activities.


Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 15 June 1709 – 16 June 1771 His Serene Highness the Count of Clermont


  1. ^ Jules Cousin, Le Comte de Clermont: Sa Cour et Ses Maitresses, Paris: Académie des Bibliophiles, 1867.
  2. ^ Willis, Daniel, The Descendants of Louis XIII, Clearfield Co., Inc., Baltimore, Maryland, 1999, ISBN 0-8063-4942-5. p. 74.
  3. ^ C. A. Saint-Beuve, Le Comte de Clermont et sa Cour: Etude historique et critique, Paris, 1868, p. 2.
  4. ^ Bernheim, Allain; "A Brief History of French Freemasonry;" 1997, The Plumbline, Vol. 6, No. 1, Scottish Rite Research Society
  5. ^ Coil, Henry Wilson; Coil's Masonic Encyclopedia; 1961, rev. 1996; Macoy Publishing Co., Richmond, Virginia.
  6. ^ Dictionnaire de biographie française, eds. Prevost & d'Amat, Paris: Letouzey, 1959, vol. 8, p. 1491