Friday, 14 November 2014

Princes & Princesses of the Blood

The Prince and Princesse of the Blood was the highest ranking title after the immediate members of the royal family. To be a Prince of the Blood meant that the courtier in question was descended from any male member of the Capetian-dynasty and they were not immediately related to the King.

Since the number of Princes of the Blood was relatively high, the Princes were normally addressed by the ducal title they held. A usual way of addressing a Prince of the Blood would be "Monsieur le Duc de ..." whereas their younger brothers would be known as "Monseigneur le Duc de ..."

Of all the Princes of the Blood there was one who ranked higher than the rest of the herd. The First Prince of the Blood was titled "Monsieur le Prince" but it was far from sure exactly who had the right to the title; occasionally the King was the one who had the final word. Monsieur le Prince was the eldest member of the Capetian-family who were not related to the King or his direct line. One of the greatest privileges of the First Prince of the Blood was that he was allowed to have a household of his own which was paid by the state revenue.
Crown of a Prince of the Blood

Once a man was given the title (First Prince of the Blood), he held it for life. The Bourbon-Condé branch had held the title from 1589 but was deprived of it in 1709 when it passed to the Orlèans branch which held it to the revolution. Where there is a First Prince there must also be a First Princesse who would be his wife. The women who married a First Prince was still referred to Madame la Princesse.

The Princes of the Blood
Louis Philippe II d'Orlèans, Duc d'Orlèans
Louis Antoine Philippe d'Orlèans, Duc de Montpensier
Louis Philippe III d'Orlèans, Duc de Chartres
Louis V Joseph de Bourbon, Prince de Condé
Louis VI Henri de Bourbon, Duc de Bourbon
Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duc d'Enghien
Louis Francois Joseph de Bourbon, Prince de Conti
Louis-Stanislas-Xavier de Bourbon, Comte de Provence
Charles Philippe de Bourbon, Comte d'Artois

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