Louis d'Orléans, Prince of Condé

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Louis d'Orléans
Prince of Condé
Louis d'Orléans, Prince of Condé in an anonymous photo in circa 1863.png
Louis d'Orléans, Prince of Condé around 1863
Born 15 November 1845
Saint-Cloud, France
Died 24 May 1866(1866-05-24) (aged 20)
Sydney, Australia
Burial Chapelle royale de Dreux
Full name
Louis Philippe Marie Léopold d’Orléans
House Orléans
Father Henri d'Orleans, Duke of Aumale
Mother Princess Maria Carolina Augusta of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Religion Roman Catholic
Signature Louis d'Orléans's signature

Louis Philippe Marie Léopold d’Orléans (15 November 1845 – 24 May 1866) was a member of the House of Orléans and held the title of Prince of Condé. He was the first member of a royal house to visit the Australian continent.


Louis d’Orléans with his mother, Maria Carolina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (Victor Mottez, 1851)

Exile in England[edit]

Louis d’Orléans was born on 15 November 1845 in Saint-Cloud, the eldest son of Henri d'Orleans, Duke of Aumale and his wife, Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. He was given the title Prince of Condé, originally borne by the House of Bourbon-Condé, however on the death of Louis Henri, Prince of Condé, it died out. With reference to the most renowned bearer of the title, le Grand Condé, the young Louis d’Orléans was given the nickname "le petit Condé".[1]

Following the outbreak of the French Revolution of 1848, he and his family went into exile in England. Later he attended the Royal High School in Edinburgh, where he was taught by Leonhard Schmitz.[1]

Journey to Australia[edit]

When Louis d’Orléans was 20 years old, his father arranged an 18-month world tour for him. In the view of his father, a journey through climes beyond the borders of Europe would improve his ailing health. Together with his doctor, Paul Gingeot, and his cousin, Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Alençon, Louis d’Orléans began his journey on 4 February 1866 in Southampton on the Mongolia, a passenger ship owned by British shipping line, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O). The itinerary was to take him to Egypt, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand, Java, China, Japan and India. Louis d’Orléans was especially interested in Australia; he was fascinated by its exotic nature.[1]

Because the Suez Canal was still not completed in 1866, after his arrival in Alexandria he travelled by train via Cairo to Suez and then took a smaller ship to join up eventually with the Bengal, another P&O passenger ship, on which Louis d’Orléans and Gingeot continued their journey. Ferdinand d’Orléans, Duke of Alençon, had left the group in Egypt in order to go on to Manila. After a short stay in Ceylon, they continued their travels on the P&O liner, Bombay.[1]

On 8 April the Bombay reached King George Sound, a bay on the southwest coast of Western Australia. Louis d’Orléans went ashore at Albany, accompanied by a wealthy businessman from Queensland, and met there, amongst others, the Chief Magistrate of Albany, Sir Alexander Campbell.[1]

On 13 April the Bombay entered the port at Melbourne. Louis d’Orléans, who wanted to get to Sydney as soon as possible, decided to visit the city on his return journey. The Bombay continued along past the colonies of South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, past Cape Howe and the Australian Alps.[1]

On 16 April 1866 the Bombay tied up at Port Jackson. d’Orléans was very impressed by the town and compared it to old towns around the world.[1]

Petty's Hotel, the last residence of the Prince of Condé

Although several people, including the Governor of New South Wales, Sir John Young, offered d’Orléans and his travelling companions better accommodation, he decided to stay at Petty's Hotel on Church Hill near St. Philip’s. Over the next five weeks, d’Orléans, whose health had markedly improved, went to various social occasions, visited the University of Sydney, the Australian Museum, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Sydney Hospital, during the course of which he met local dignitaries like Edward Deas Thomson, the Chancellor of the University of Sydney, and Charles Moore, the Director of the Botanic Gardens. Other excursions took him to Parramatta, Windsor and Kurrajong.[1]

Death and burial[edit]

On 12 May 1866 he received news of the death of his grandmother, Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily, which affected him badly and this, together with a cold, that he had picked up during his trip to Manly, caused his health to noticeably worsen. Dr. Gingeot ordered him to rest, but d’Orléans ignored him.[1]

After a short-lived improvement, his health deteriorated rapidly, so that Dr. Gingeot sought the opinion of a second doctor. On the evening of 24 May, Louis d’Orléans died in Sydney in the presence of Dr. Gingeot, his valet and archdeacon McEnroe, who administered the last rites. On his death, the title of Prince of Condé died out for a second, and final, time.[1]

Over the next few days, various public figures visited Petty's Hotel, including Governor John Young, Chief Justice Alfred Stephen, the Premier of New South Wales James Martin, Commodore Sir William Wiseman and the Consuls of the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium and Brazil, in order to pay their last respects to d’Orléans. Louis Sentis, the French consul, unlike his peers, went as a private individual, because the French government did not recognise the claims of the House of Orléans to the French throne.[1]

Portrait by Charles Jalabert

The funeral took place on 29 May 1866. A long procession, led by Bishop Aloys Elloy and about 20 clerics, accompanied the coffin from Petty's Hotel to Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Amongst the coffin bearers were the Governor, the Chief Justice, the Premier, Commodore Sir William Wiseman and the Belgian consul. Many businesses in Sydney closed during the funeral and the consulates lowered their flags to half mast.[1]

Two thousand attended the requiem mass in Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Because Archbishop John Bede Polding was in Rome at the time, he was represented at the service by Aloys Elloy. After the end of the service the coffin and the silver container that held the heart of Louis d’Orléans were taken on board the Sea Star which was anchored at Circular Quay. On 2 June 1866 the Sea Star set sail for London with d’Orléans' remains. Also on board were Dr. Gingeot and the prince's retinue. The Sea Star arrived in London on 11 September 1866.[1]

After the end of the Second French Empire and the Paris Commune the family of Louis d’Orléans returned to France in 1871 from their exile in England. In 1885, the urn that contained the hearts of the Princes of Condé was placed in the chapel of Château de Chantilly. Here, too, is the final resting place of Louis d’Orléans' heart.[1]

His mortal remains are in Chapelle Royale Saint-Louis in Dreux.[1]


Louis d’Orléans is primarily remembered for his visit to Australia. He was the first member of a royal house to visit the Australian continent.[2] The first visit by a member of the British Royal Family was in 1867 by Prince Alfred, who reached Australia in October that year and stayed there for five months.[3]


Further reading[edit]

  • Jirí Louda, Michael MacLagan: Lines of Succession: Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe. 2nd edition, Little, Brown and Company, London, 1999, Plate 70.
  • Paul Gingeot: Un voyage en Australie (1867; pdf; 9.3 MB)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Barko, Ivan (December 2003). "'Le petit Condé: the death in Sydney in 1866 of Australia's first royal visitor". Explorations - Journal of French-Australian Connections (35): 26–32. Archived from the original on 2013-04-24. 
  2. ^ Ramsland, Marie (2010). "Impressions of a young French gentleman's 1866 visit to the Australian Colonies". Australian Studies. 2: 7. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.  Citing the obituary in the llustrated Sydney News.
  3. ^ Royal visits to Australia – The early visits: consolidating distant sympathies, Internet page of the Australian government

External links[edit]

Media related to Prince Louis, Prince of Condé at Wikimedia Commons