Louis-Jean-Marie was born on 16 November 1725 to the legitimized son of Louis XIV, Louis Alexandre de Bourbon, and Mairie-Victoire de Noailles - as such he was a grand-son of the Sun King. His connections certainly helped him on his way in life. At the age of just 9 years old he was named Admiral; at 11 years he was lieutenant general.
The young boy was not only connected to Louis XIV but also to Louis XV. His mother had been appointed one of the ladies who were charged with the upbringing of Louis XV; thus the two would see a lot of each other. Louis-Jean-Marie saw his first battle in 1743 when he partook in the battle of Dettingen - and distinguished himself marvelously.
His connections alone were enough to make him a very attractive match but there was another great aspect: his wealth. The Ducs de Penthièvre had one of the largest fortunes in France and Louis-Jean-Marie was now in charge of it. That, and he was only in his twenties. The match was finally settled upon and the bride chosen was Marie Thérèse Félicité de Modène; the couple married in 1744. Interestingly, Marie Thérèse was also a descendant of Madame de Montespan.
In 1750 the couple travelled to Turin where they visited the ducal family - a relation of theirs. It was also here that Louis-Jean-Marie would meet the very young future Princesse de Lamballe.
The couple was granted a spacious apartment at Versailles - actually, it was the one that La Montespan herself had occupied during her time there. The couple grew quite close and by all accounts came to be very fond of each other.
They had seven children: five boys and two girls but only two would survive childhood. Tragically, the Duchesse de Penthièvre did not survive her last childbirth. The loss of his wife devastated Louis-Jean-Marie. He would never remarry.
Apparently, the apartment at Versailles reminded him too much of his late wife, because Louis-Jean-Marie chose to spend an increasing amount of time away from court. Bouncing from one estate to another, he spent several years at the Château de Rambouillet (where he was born) and the Château de Sceaux. Here, he could indulge in his great hobby: watches.
|Louis-Jean-Marie in armour|
While away from court he spent a part of his fortune on charity - however, it was so considerable that it did not set him particularly back. It did, however, make him quite popular with the people.
This love from the people turned out to be beneficial when the revolution came. Still living at Sceaux, he was never bothered by the revolutionary fury that decapitated many of his peers. But he suffered the loss of his daughter-in-law, the Princesse de Lamballe, who was brutally butchered in the streets of Paris.
Louis-Jean-Marie himself died on 4 March 1793. His body was initially taken to the family crypt which was desecrated during the following years.