The family has noble roots dating back to about 1225 but made few appearances that would draw the notice of the remaining court. In the 16th century Antoine de Noailles was sent to England as ambassador and received the title of Admiral of France as well. It was Antoine's son, Henri, who received the first title to be bestowed on the Noailles family: Comte d'Ayen which was granted in 1593. Henri de Noailles would probably have been proud to know that it was his sons who brought the name of Noailles into the inner circles of power.
The next generation brought the Noailles-name into the much-coveted rank of Dukedom. Anne de Noailles (surprisingly enough, a man) already held the titles of Marquis de Montclar as well as the inherited title of Comte d'Ayen when he was awarded the title of Duc de Noailles in 1663 - at the same occasion he received the title of Marquis de Mouchy.
From the end of the 17th century the family became noted on the battlefield as well which only added to the prestige of the family name. Several members of the family held the title of Marèchal de France which was first awarded the family in 1693. During the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI the titles and honours kept raining down on the Noailles family. All of the Noailles men had been Governors of Roussillon but it would seem that the family had a special talent for war-fare. In 1702 the title of Brigadier was added and as well as the title of Captain of the First Company of Bodyguards. In 1704 the Noailles men could call themselves Field Marshals and two years later Lieutenant General.
Louis de Noailles was a close friend of Louis XV whom he shared a passion for botany. Also, he had a close relationship with Madame de Pompadour who always made a point of inviting him to her salons where he would play a key part in the small theatricals performed there. For those who remembers it was also a Noailles who greeted Marie Antoinette as she arrived on French soil. This woman, Anne Claudine de Noailles, were nicknamed Madame Etiquette.
The family was known for their long life-spans. The third Duc de Noailles, Adrien-Maurice, lived to be 88 years old while his mother reached the staggering age of 92!
Sadly, the family's long life-spans could not save them during the revolution. Louis refused to leave France and he was sentenced to death but - fortunately for him - he died of old age before the execution could be carried out. Not all of the family were that lucky. The Noailles family were especially hard struck during this period. On 27th June 1794 four Noailles family members were executed: Philippe de Noailles, his wife, his niece and his daughter.
Philippe de Noailles was born in 1715, sp he was himself in very old age. When he mounted the scaffold he was met with cries of "Courage, M. Marshal!" to which he replied: "At 15 years of age I mounted an assault for my King, at almost 80 I will mount the scaffold for my God."
|Coat of Arms of the Noailles family|
|The Hôtel de Noailles, built in 1715|
Notable Family Members (notably the Ducs de Noailles):
The name, date of birth/death, son/daughter of, titles, marriages and children - the / marks their spouse
The Ducs de Noailles:
|Anne de Noailles|
Anne de Noailles (?-1678), Duc de Noailles, Governor of Roussillon, Comte d'Ayen, Lieutenant General, Marquis de Montclar and Mouchy, Baron de Chambres and Malemort, Captain of the First Guard and knight of the Saint Esprit Order / Louise Boyer (1632-1697), Duchesse de Noailles, lady-in-waiting to Queen Marie Thérèse, Comtesse d'Ayen. The couple had 6 children.
Anne Jules de Noailles (1650-1708), son of Anne de Noailles and Louise Boyer, Duc de Noailles, Marshal of France, Comte d'Ayen, knight of the Orders of Saint Esprit and Saint-Louis, Governor of Roussillon / Marie Françoise de Bournonville (1657-1748). The couple had 18 children.
|Adrien-Maurice de Noailles|
Adrien-Maurice de Noailles (1678-1766), son of Anne Jules de Noailles and Marie Françoise de Bournonville, Duc de Noailles, Governor of Roussillon, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Controller General of the Finances, knight of the orders Saint Esprit, Saint Louis and the Golden Fleece, Marshal of France, Governor of Berry / Francoise Amable d'Aubigné, niece of Mme. de Maintenon (1684-1739). The couple had six children.
|Louis de Noailles|
Louis de Noailles (1713-1793), son of Adrien-Maurice de Noailles, Duc de Noailles, Comte d'Ayen, Commander of the 15th company of dragoons (called the Noailles-company), Marshal of France, Governor of the Château de Saint-Germain, Governor of Roussillon, knight of the orders of Saint Esprit and Saint-Louis / Catherine Francoise Charlotte de Brissac (1724-1794). The couple had 4 children.
Jean-Louis-Paul-Francois de Noailles (1739-1793) son of Louis de Noailles and Catherine Francoise Charlotte de Brissac, Duc de Noailles, Comte d'Ayen, Lieutenant General, Field Marshal and knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece / Anne Louise Henriette d'Aguesseau (1737-1794). The couple had 7 children.
You might be wondering what happened to some of the daughters born into the Noailles family, so here are some of them:
Marie Christine de Noailles (1672-1748), daughter of Adrien-Maurice de Noailles. She married the Duc de Gramont which made her a Duchesse. Was a great patroness of various charities including a hospital at Vichy
Marie Victoire de Noailles (1688-1766), daughter of Adrien-Maurice de Noailles. She married first the Marquis de Goudrin, later the Comte de Toulouse (bastard son of Louis XIV).