Monday, 27 July 2015

House of La Tour d'Auvergne

There were two branches within this family but the eldest died out before Louis XIV was born so I will only deal with the second branch.

Coat-of-arms of the family

The second branch was founded by Bertrand de La Tour d'Auvergne who died in 1329. A descendant of his, Henry de La Tour d'Auvergne, was a Marèchal de France and a fervent supporter of Henry IV's Protestantism. It was through his wife (Charlotte de La Marck) that he inherited the principality of Sedan and the duchy of Bouillon. His second wife was a daughter of Willem of Orange which meant that their eldest son (Frederic Maurice) - and heir to the title - hoped to succeed to the throne of the Netherlands.
This prompted a marriage to a Dutch noblewoman which was against his family's wishes as well as his staying in Dutch service rather than French. He also converted to Catholicism.

Frederic Maurice was implicated in a conspiracy and as such was offered a pardon if he was willing to exchange the strategically important Sedan and Raucourt for the dukedoms of Albret and Château-Thierry.

Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne by Circle of Philippe de Champaigne.jpg
Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne
Frederic Maurice's younger brother was granted the title of Vicomte de Turenne and was one of the most illustrious Generals of the time.

Up until 1678 the dukedom of Albret had been occupied by Spain which meant that it was a rather hollow title. But in that very year it became French again which was a huge improvement in the prestige of the La Tour d'Auvergne family. At the French court they had the title of Foreign Prince which allowed them a great deal of privileges.

Another infamous member of the family is Marie Louise Henriette de La Tour d'Auvergne who was the instigator of the Diamond Necklace-Affair; she was executed in 1793. Her brother brought the House to the brink of ruin by spending an immense amount of money on his mistress (a million in one month!). His son died in an accident which ended the House of La Tour d'Auvergne.

Colson - Portrait du Duc de Bouillon.jpg
Godefroy de La Tour d'Auvergne who nearly ruined the family

Titles in the family:
Duc de Bouillon
Prince de Turenne - given to the heir of the Duc
Comte d'Évreux

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