Monday, 27 July 2015

The Royal Cadet-Branches

Since the House of Bourbon (itself a cadet-branch of the Capetian dynasty) was the reigning house in France it is only natural that there should be several cadet-branches that secured the members of these branches a claim to certain privileges without being considered directly a part of the royal family. Normally, a separate branch began with a younger son.

Of these there was a specific difference between the legitimate and the illegitimate branches - I have only included those branches that existed from the beginning of Louis XIV's reign.

Most of these houses were known at court by their branch-name, such as the House of Orlèans or the House of Montpensier, rather than Bourbon-Orlèans.

The Legitimate Branches

The title of Duc d'Orlèans was given to Philippe, Louis XIV's younger brother at the death of Gaston, Duc d'Orlèans in 1660. This meant that Philippe and his first wife, Elizabeth Charlotte, were the founders of the Orlèans-dynasty that survived till the revolution.

The descendants of Philippe and Elizabeth Charlotte was given the surname of "d'Orlèans" rather than the traditional "de France". The reason for this is that Philippe himself was the son of a King (Louis XIII) whereas his son, grandson etc. were so-called petit-fils de France or grand-children of France and as such could not be granted the same surname.

The Duc d'Orlèans had the right to be known as Monsieur le Prince but none of the Ducs chose to be addressed as such.

Related titles:
Duc de Chartres - the eldest son of the Duc d'Orlèans (courtesy title)
Duc de Valois 

Coat of Arms of the July Monarchy (1830-31).svg
Coat-of-arms of Bourbon-Orlèans

Until 1709 the Princes de Condé were the First Prince of the Blood but it was transferred to the Orlèans-family. After this time, the then-Prince de Condé (Louis III de Bourbon) chose to be known as "de Bourbon" since this was their hereditary peerage. This meant that they could still be addressed as Monsieur le Duc at court rather than Monsieur le Prince.
Unlike most other cadet-branches there was no area tied to the title, no duchy or county.

Related titles:
Duc de Bourbon - preferred title of the eldest male member of the House 
Prince de Condé - still an official title but not used as a part of the name

The title of the eldest male would be (if his name was Louis) Louis de Bourbon, Prince de Condé

The title went extinct in 1866.

Coat-of-arms of Bourbon-Condé

Was a cadet-branch of the House of Condé and as such also of the House of Bourbon which meant that they were Princes of the Blood. The title went extinct in 1614 but was revived for the second son of the Prince de Condé in 1629.

The title finally went extinct in 1814.

Originally the arms of the Bourbon-Soissons but was adopted by Bourbon-Conti after the extinction of the former

Actually, there were two Houses of Bourbon-Vendôme. The first was legitimate and descended from Louis, Comte de Vendôme. From this branch came the first Bourbon-King Henry IV and would continue to rule France.

The second was illegitimate and was given to the legitimised son (César de Bourbon) of Henry IV and his mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrées.

The second house went extinct in 1727 and after that it reverted to the Crown. Since then it was used as a courtesy title of the Comte de Provence, brother of Louis XVI.

Related titles:
Duc de Beaufort - given to the second son of César de Bourbon
Duc d'Étampes - inherited through the maternal side of César de Bourbon

Coat-of-arms of Bourbon-Vendôme

The House was created at the marriage of Marie de Valois, Comtesse de Montpensier and Jean de Bourbon. The House was immensely wealthy and once it went extinct the fortune was divided between the two families mentioned below.

The last member was la Grande Mademoiselle who died in 1693 at which point it went extinct. The land and properties went mainly to the House of Orlèans and the House of Penthièvre. After her death the title become a courtesy title of the Duc d'Orlèans.

Coat-of-arms of the branch of Bourbon-Montpensier

The youngest of the cadet-branches, the House of Soissons was founded by the youngest son of the then-Prince de Condé, Louis I de Bourbon.

The Comte de Soissons was known as Monsieur le Comte at court.

The Illegitimate Branches

Extinct in 1744

Coat-of-arms of Bourbon-Lavedan

Descending from a younger son of Charles I, Duc de Bourbon, this branch was the source of some controversy.

The founder, Louis de Bourbon (son of Charles I), went into clergy which meant that he could not marry. However, he married before he became a priest; to the possibly illegitimate Catharine d'Egmont. But the marriage was never given royal licence which meant that it was as good as illegal. Therefore, the branch was considered illegitimate and the members never played any real part at court.

Related titles:
Baron de Chalus
Baron de Puysagut

Coat-of-arms of the Bourbon-Bousset branch

Founded by Louis-Auguste who was the legitimised son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan; as such the dynasty began when he was legitimised in 1672. The House went extinct in 1775.

The eldest male members held the title of Duc du Maine.

Related titles:
Duc d'Aumale
Prince de Dombes
Comte d'Eu

Founded by the only son of the Comte de Toulouse who himself was the son of the youngest illegitimate son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan. The members of this house were not considered Princes of the Blood but were acknowledged to be the family of the King and as such held quite a high rank at court as well as apartments at Versailles.

The House went extinct in 1793 when the family was murdered during the revolution.

The family of Penthièvre - including Marie Antoinette's
close friend, the Princesse de Lamballe

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