Saturday, 31 March 2018

The Wealth of the Orléans-family

The house of Bourbon-Orléans had the privilege of being one of the wealthiest families in France. When Louis XIII first gave his younger brother, Gaston, the apanage it was a valuable fief but it was to become far greater. Gaston died with only La Grande Mademoiselle as an heir; since Salic law prevents females from inheriting the dukedom reverted to the crown.

But it was not to lay dormant for long. Louis XIV granted it to his brother, Philippe, in 1661. This original apanage consisted not of a single dukedom but of three: those of Orléans, Valois and Chartres. However, the Sun King continued to add to his brother's prestige by showering him with titles and honours - rather than actual power.
From this point on the Orléans possessions simply grew and grew. Over all they can be divided into four parts: the titles, the money, the collections and the estates.

Description de cette image, également commentée ci-après
Philippe I d'Orléans

The Titles

Besides the titles of Duc d'Orléans, Duc de Valois and Duc de Chartres, several other titles belonged to the house. By 1672 Louis XIV gave an entire bunch of new titles to his brother: Duc de Nemours, Comte de Dourdan, Comte de Romorantin, Marquis de Folembray and Marquis de Coucy.

La Grande Mademoiselle's legacy granted a whole new array of titles to the house of Orléans. These included Prince de Joinville, Baron de Beaujolais, Comte de Bar-sur-Seine etc.

The Money

La Grande Mademoiselle had been immensely rich; since she died without a direct heir she named Philippe the sole beneficiary of her will. This massive influx of cash greatly boosted the Orléans-coffers. 
Besides the actual cash the inheritance also included the income from no less than nine different fiefs including the dukedom of Montpensier and the principality of Joinville. 
Naturally, these resources meant that the family could grant their daughters quite substantial dowries. When Louise Élisabeth had been sent to Spain to marry Luis I in 1721 her dowry had been 4 million livres - the same as a royal princess. Her younger sister, Philippine Élisabeth, was also married to a Spanish heir but was given a considerably smaller sum: 40.000 écus by the Regent (her father) and 400.000 écus by Louis XV.

Portrait de la reine Louise-Élisabeth d’Espagne, peinte par Jean Ranc (1724), musée du Prado.
Louise Élisabeth whose dowry matched that
of a princess

Louise Élisabeth became a widow the same year she became queen. Since the enormous dowry had still not been paid in full the 4 million livres were returned to the Orléans-family. Charlotte Aglaé d'Orléans was given a dowry of 1.8 million livres upon her marriage to the Duke of Modena.

The Orléans not only gave large dowries - they received them. When Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon married the Duc de Chartres in 1769 she was the richest heiress in France. She was the only daughter of the Duc de Penthièvre - the richest man in France. Her dowry consisted of no less than 6 million livres as well as an annual income of 240.000 lives which were later increased to 400.000 livres.

The Art Collection

Philippe II d'Orléans had been a great lover and collector of art; it was he who laid the foundation for the Orléans art collection. The Regent had inherited just 15 paintings from his father, Philippe I. By 1723 - when the Regent died - that collection had increased to 1727 paintings. These were just the art work placed in the Palais-Royal where they were open to the public. They were hung in two large galleries that remain largely unaltered today.
That collection was later boosted by the legacy of the Chevalier de Lorraine as well as that of Henriette d'Orléans. Not all the art in the collection were inherited. Some was presented as diplomatic gifts including works by Titian sent by the king of Spain.

The main part actually had some rather tumultuous roots. 123 pieces of art had been looted by Swedish troops during the Thirty Years' War. When Queen Christina - she had come into possession of these stolen works -  died they all went to the Orléans house.  

While the majority of the pieces were from the Italian Renaissance the French artists were also included. Quite a few of the most famous artists were represented; these included Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, da Vinci, Rembrandts, van Dyck, Rubens and Caravaggio. 

Sadly, the collection was seized by the newly formed state during the revolution and the works of art were sold to raise money.

The Estates

The Palais-Royal in Paris had been given as a gift by Louis XIV to his brother as early as 1692; the Hôtels de Grand-Ferrare and Duplessis-Châtillon was added in 1740 and 1766 respectively by Louis XV. 

Philippe I had wanted his own estate away from his brother's ever expanding Versailles and had bought the Château de Saint-Cloud in 1658. The château was likewise expanded and modernized and became the family's main country seat. However, Louis Philippe sold it in 1785 to Louis XVI who in turn gave it to Marie Antoinette.

Billedresultat for chateau de saint cloud
Estate of Saint-Cloud

Philippe II bought the Château de Bagnolet in 1719 and promptly gave it to his wife Françoise Marie de Bourbon. It soon became her favourite retreat and she added her own touch to it. Two new wings and an entirely new garden was created. This, too, was sold by Louis-Philippe and demolished in the 19th century.
Louis-Philippe had a new estate in mind when he sold Bagnolet: the Château de Raincy. This estate had been a masterpiece of André Le Nôtre, Louis le Vau and Charles Le Brun. However, by the time Louis-Philippe acquired the property the stiff formality of baroque gardens had become old-fashioned. To modernize it he hired the Scottish Thomas Blaikie. It is largely gone by now.

Louis-Philippe bought two more châteaux: that of de Saint-Leu and that of Maison-Rouge. The Château de Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne - or rather the ruins of it - was in the possession of the Duc d'Orléans but he granted it to the Ursuline Order in 1715.

The Coiffure à l'Enfant

The elaborate hairstyles of the 1770s took their tolls on the fashionable lady's real hair. Marie Antoinette was not unfamiliar with the struggles of hair which was only added to by the intense stress she was under to produce an heir.
Once Marie Antoinette had given birth to her first child something very unfortunate began to happen: the royal hair began to fall out. At first it was not much but by 1781 it posed a real threat to the royal hair. In an attempt to save the locks Monsieur Léonard cut the queen's hair quite short. Naturally, short hair did not become the public trend since Marie Antoinette would be dressed in wigs while her hair recovered. Nevertheless, the idea spread to other ladies at court who began to imitate her - no doubt that they experienced similar issues as their queen.

Naturally, the queen's friends did not disappoint. Here is both the Princesse de Lamballe and the Duchesse de Polignac in the coiffure à l'enfant: 

Detail from a portrait of Yolande Martine Gabrielle de Polastron, duchesse de Polignac, by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun. 1782.
The Duchesse de Polignac

Princesse de Lamballe, 1782, Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun
The Princesse de Lamballe

The new style was christened "coiffure à l'enfant" which translates roughly to the child's hairdo. It brought with it a new era of style; whereas the hairstyles had hitherto been reaching higher and higher dimensions, the child's coiffure was far more "grounded". It did of course help that by 1776 the tall hair-dos had become the norm and was thus no longer a trend amongst the aristocracy. The new wigs were far more trimmed and could be remarkably relaxed. 

The style meant that the hair would be cut to just beneath the ears; however, the hair at the back would would longer. Thus it was only when seen from the front that the style was dramatically different.
From the side it was clear where the hairstyle was divided between the front and the back since a rather obvious hairline ran vertically down behind the ears. To prevent the front from seeming too flat, Léonard used curlers to slightly coop up the hair - he still had to be careful not to overdo it, though. The curlers would first be slightly heated and applied and then cooled down; to finish off the front the hairdresser would use a comb with wide spaces between the "teeth". The overall result was that the look was much less styled and seemed more natural.

The hair in the back was not left completely to its own devices. Once again the curlers were brought out and heated; the result were wavy curls.

Relateret billede
Élisabeth Louise Vigée le Brun

Another aspect that varied was the use of pomade. The higher hairstyles had depended on the sticky substance to keep everything in tight order but the coiffure à l'enfant favoured a more natural look. Consequently, the pomade was completely taken out of the equation. Given that the hair at the front was loosely combed it would easily have looked very greasy.
Likewise, the use of powder was not as vital as before. Some could still be used but without the pomade to keep it in place it would quickly become a mess.

It was possible to style the coiffure up a bit if so needed. Ribbons and flowers were great favourites when it came to adorn the simple hairstyle. The point was to restrain oneself - otherwise the entire impression of simplicity would be ruined. 

Billedresultat for coiffure à l'enfant

The coiffure represented not only a new fashion trend but a new phase in the queen's life. She was now a mother and had begun to appreciate her privacy at the Petit Trianon more. To a woman such as Marie Antoinette who cherished the natural it must have been a relief to quit the court-demanded fashions of her teenage years for a more mature look. Sadly, although the look was far less extravagant it still caused her to be critiqued. Some simply did not think that a queen of France should wear such simple styles and others were determined to tarnish her name no matter what.

Quite a few of the queen's portraits in the 1780's show her in the new style. These are some examples:

Billedresultat for coiffure à l'enfantBilledresultat for coiffure à l'enfant marie antoinette

Marie-Antoinette wearing the coiffure à l’enfant, by Louise-Elisabeth Vigee-LeBrun, 1783. Wikimedia Commons

From a more modern point of view the style was beneficial in another way. Although it is unlikely that people's awareness of hygiene suddenly became awakened there were certain benefits. For example the previous styles were often filthy and itchy due to the intense amounts of pomade. At least he scalp could breathe more freely now and dust would not stick to one's hair.
It is equally possible that not only the queen but all those who followed the trend experienced stronger hair after a few months. Since the hair was no longer worked on so much it was torn less - although the curlers still did its damage.

Monday, 26 March 2018

The Fashion of Imitation: Cheveux de la Reine

While puce was all the rage for a few seasons it was eventually supplanted by a new colour trend; this new-comer took its origin very close to the royal person herself. When Marie Antoinette became queen having ash-blonde hair was highly fashionable. As a tribute of the newly crowned queen, her brother-in-law, the Comte de Provence had a few locks of her hair dispatched to Gobelins and Lyon to be turned into satin. The request was made in November 1775 and set the tone for what French society was to wear for the following year.

The result was a pale gold colour which instantly became the highest fashion. Dresses and suits were sewn from this delicate hue while others went even further. One man of note was noticed to have had his horse's harness dyed to follow the latest trend.
As with most fashion trends, it was quickly noticed who were keeping up with the times. Sometimes, just a small fashion statement could be enough to showcase this. For example: a Mademoiselle Duthé was noted to have worn satin shoes in the hue of "cheveux de la Reine" while enjoying herself at the opera.

A lock of Marie Antoinette's actual hair. It was
given to the Duchesse de Fitzjames before the
Queen was moved to the Tuileries

One story has it that once the source of the colour became well-known the pages of Fontainebleau were sent to Paris to acquire new drapes and ribbons of the colour. 

The colour did not die out with the monarchy. One politician risked his life in 1791 by broadcasting his support of the monarchy through his choice of dress. He wore a suit in the - by then - famously familiar shade.

As late as 1863 the New Peterson Magazine mentions that the daughter of an American minister in Paris was spotted wearing "a very pretty dress in a fawn-colour, known as the Cheveux de la Reine..." at one of her father's receptions.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

The Exchange of Princesses

That arranged marriages were the norm amongst the nobility can hardly be disputed and when it came to the royal family quite a few of the marriages were concluded with foreign powers. Usually, a treaty or an alliance could be consolidated through marriage which the many conflicts in Europe gave plenty of need for.

Naturally, the exchange of princes and princesses happened both ways; some would leave France other would be sent there. What they did have in common was that most would never see their home country again. Most people have heard of the more famous and more prominent members of this group but few realize exactly how many there were.

Some may wonder at why there are no men listed below. Of course, half of the parties to the contracted marriages were men but they were never sent away to marry. This is due to the fact that a woman was defined by her husband's status - once she married, she would give up her original title and be known as the female equivalent of her husband. For example: Marie Antoinette was born an Archduchess of Austria but relinquished that title upon marrying Louis XVI; she then became Dauphine of France.

Note that I have chosen to name the people below by the French versions of their names but have included their original spellings beneath.

The French:

Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans
Original title: Mademoiselle de Montpensier
Daughter of: Philippe II d'Orléans and Françoise Marie de Bourbon
House: Bourbon-Orléans
Married: Luis I of Spain
Title by marriage: Queen of Spain

Luisa Isabel de Orleans.jpg
Louise Élisabeth

Marie Louise d'Orléans
Original title: Mademoiselle d'Orléans
Daughter of: Philippe I d'Orléans and Henriette of England
House: Bourbon-Orléans
Married: Charles II of Spain
Title by marriage: Queen of Spain

María Luisa de Orleans, reina de España.jpg
Marie Louise

Anne Marie d'Orléans
Daughter of: Philippe I d'Orléans and Henriette of England
House: Bourbon-Orléans
Married: Victor Amadeus II of Savoy
Title by marriage: Duchess of Savoy

Anne Marie d'Orléans, Princess of France and future Duchess of Savoy and Queen of Sardinia.jpg
Anne Marie

Louise Élisabeth de Bourbon
Original title: Madame Prémiere
Daughter of: Louis XV and Marie Leszczynska
House: Bourbon 
Married: Philip of Parma
Title by marriage: Duchess of Parma

Louise Élisabeth

Marie Clothilde de Bourbon
Daughter of: Louis Ferdinand of France and Marie Josèphe of Saxony 
House: Bourbon
Married: Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia
Title by marriage: Queen of Sardinia

Clothilde with guitar.jpg
Marie Clothilde

The Foreigners:

Marie Thérèse of Spain
Original name: Maria Teresa 
Original title: Infanta of Spain
Daughter of: Philip IV of Spain and Élisabeth of France
House: Habsburg
Married: Louis XIV of France
Title by marriage: Queen of France and Navarra
Age when married: 22  
Relation to husband: first cousins

Marie Thérèse

Henriette of England
Original name: Henrietta Maria
Original title: Princess of England
Daughter of: Charles I of England and Henrietta Maria of France
House: Stuart
Married: Philippe I d'Orléans 
Title by marriage: Duchesse d'Orléans
Age when married: 17
Relation to husband: cousins

Princess Henrietta Anne of England, Duchess of Orléans by Pierre Mignard.jpg

Élisabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate 
Original name: Elizabeth Charlotte
Original title: Princess of the Palatinate 
Daughter of: Charles I of the Palatinate and Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel
House: Palatinate-Simmern
Married: Philippe I d'Orléans
Title by marriage: Duchesse d'Orléans
Age when married: 19

Liselotte von der pfalz.jpg
Elizabeth Charlotte

Marie Anne Victoire of Bavaria
Original name: Maria Anna Victoria
Daughter of: Ferdinand Maria of Bavaria and Henriette Adélaide of Savoy
House: Wittelsbach
Married: the Grand Dauphin
Title by marriage: Dauphine of France
Age when married: 20

Duchess Maria Anna Christina Victoria of Bavaria, 'la Grande Dauphine'..jpg
Marie Anne Victoire

Marie Adélaïde of Savoy
Original title: Princess of Savoy
Daughter of: Victor Amadeus II of Savoy and Anne Marie d'Orléans
House: Savoy
Married: Louis de Bourbon, Duc de Bourgogne
Title by marriage: Duchesse de Bourgogne 
Age when married: 12
Relation to husband: second cousins

Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie, duchesse de Bourgogne, l'école française.jpg
Marie Adélaïde

Anne Marie Martinozzi 
Original name: Anna Maria Martinozzi
Daughter of: Girolamo Martinozzi and Laura Margherita Mazzarini
House: Bourbon
Married: Armand de Bourbon-Condé 
Title by marriage: Princesse de Conti
Age when married: 17

Anna Maria Martonozzi, Princess of Conti by an unknown artist (Palace of Versailles).jpg
Anne Marie

Anne Henriette of Bavaria
Original name: Anna Henrietta Julie of Bavaria
Original title: Princess of the Palatinate
Daughter of: Edward of the Palatinate and Anna Gonzaga
House: Palatinate-Simmern
Married: Henri-Jules de Bourbon-Condé
Title by marriage: Princesse de Condé
Age when married: 15

Anne de Bavière par Gobert.jpg
Anne Henriette

Auguste of Baden-Baden
Original name: Auguste Marie Joanne of Baden-Baden
Original title: Margravine of Baden-Baden
Daughter of: Louis William of Baden-Baden and Sybille of Saxe-Lauenburg
House: Zähringen
Married: Louis d'Orléans
Title by marriage: Duchesse d'Orléans
Age when married: 20

Portrait said to be Auguste of Baden-Baden future Duchess of Orléans by an unknown artist.png

Caroline of Hesse-Rotenburg
Original name: Caroline von Hesse-Rheinfels-Rotenburg
Daughter of: Ernest Leopold of Hesse-Rotenburg and Eleonore of Löwenstein-Wertheim
House: Hesse-Kassel
Married: Louis-Henri de Bourbon-Condé
Title by marriage: Princesse de Condé
Age when married: 14


Marie Leszczynska
Original name: Maria Karolina Zofia Felicja Leszczynska
Original title: dethroned Princess of Poland
Daughter of: Stanislaw I of Poland and Catherine Opalinska 
House: Leszczynski 
Married: Louis XV 
Title by marriage: Queen of France and Navarre
Age when married: 22 

Marie Leszczynska

Marie Thérèse Raphaëlle of Spain
Original name: Maria Teresa Rafela of Spain
Original title: Infanta of Spain
Daughter of: Philip V of Spain and Elisabeth Farnese
House: Bourbon
Married: Louis Ferdinand of France
Title by marriage: Dauphine of France 
Age when married: 19
Relation to husband: cousins

Marie Thérèse Raphaëlle

Marie Josèphe of Saxony
Original name: Maria Josepha Karolina Eleonore Franziska Xaviera 
Original title: Princess of Saxony
Daughter of: Augustus III of Poland and Maria Josepha of Austria
House: Wettin
Married: Louis Ferdinand of France
Title by marriage: Dauphine of France
Age when married: 15

Billedresultat for Marie Josèphe of Saxony
Marie Josèphe

Marie Thérèse of Savoy
Original title: Princess of Savoy
Daughter of: Victor Amadeus III and Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain
House: Savoy
Married: Charles Philippe of France
Title by marriage: Comtesse d'Artois
Age when married: 19

Marie Therese de Savoie, comtesse d'Artois.jpg
Marie Thérèse

Marie Antoinette of Austria
Original name: Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna
Original title: Archduchess of Austria
Daughter of: Maria Theresia of Austria and Francis I of Lorraine
House: Hapsburg
Married: Louis XVI
Title by marriage: Queen of France and Navarre
Age when married: 14
Relation to husband: distant cousins

Marie Antoinette

Marie Joséphine of Savoy
Original title: Princess of Savoy
Daughter of: Victor Amadeus III of Savoy and Maria Antonia Fernanda of Spain
House: Savoy
Married: Louis Stanislas of France
Title by marriage: Comtesse de Provence
Age when married: 18

Marie Josephine de Savoie comtesse de Provence.jpg
Marie Joséphine

Marie Thérèse Louise of Savoy
Original title: Princess of Savoy
Daughter of: Louis Victor of Savoy and Christine of Hesse-Rheinfelds-Rotenburg
House: Savoy
Married: Louis Alexandre de Bourbon-Penthièvre
Title by marriage: Princesse de Lamballe
Age when married: 18

Marie Thérèse Louise

Marie Thérèse Félicité d'Este
Original name: Maria Teresa Felicitas d'Este
Original title: Princess of Modena
Daughter of: François III of Modena and Charlotte Aglaé d'Orléans
House: Este
Married: Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon
Title by marriage: Duchesse de Penthièvre
Age when married: 18

Marie-Thérèse-Félicité d'Este  (copie par Rosalie Grossard, déb. XIXe siècle)
Marie Thérèse Félicité

Marie Catherine Brignole
Original name: Maria Caterina Brignole
Daughter of: Giuseppe Brignole and Maria Anna Balbi
House: Brignole
Married: Louis Joseph de Bourbon-Condé
Title by marriage: Princesse de Condé
Age when married: 20

Maria Caterina Brignole de Sale, principessa di Monaco.jpg
Marie Catherine

Marie Fortune d'Este
Original name: Maria Fortunata d'Este
Original title: Princess of Modena
Daughter of: Francesco III of Modena and Charlotte Aglaé d'Orléans
House: Este
Married: Louis François Joseph de Bourbon-Conti
Title by marriage: Princesse de Conti
Age when married: 18

Fortunée d'Este, Countess of La Marche, Princess of Conti, by an unknown artist.png
Marie Fortune

Thursday, 22 March 2018

The Decline of the Orléans Power

Philippe I d'Orléans' birth had been a another blessing to Anne of Austria and Louis XIII; although Louis XIV had been born a few years previously, child mortality meant that having a "spare" was necessary. Throughout the reign of Louis XIV, his brother remained close to the throne - especially since all but one of the legitimate children of the king died young. Had the Grand Dauphin died without leaving an heir the throne would have been inherited by Philippe if Louis had died before him.

Even though the Grand Dauphin managed to produce three sons and thus securing the line of succession the Orléans-cousins were still not far from the throne. A series of disastrous deaths in the early 1710's almost annihilated the immediate royal family. The Grand Dauphin died in 1711 and the following year saw the deaths of his son, the Duc de Bourgogne, his daughter-in-law, the Duchesse de Bourgogne and his grand-son, the Duc de Bretagne.
As if that was not bad enough Charles de Bourbon - third son of the Grand Dauphin - died in 1714 and since Philippe de Bourbon had been sent to Spain as Philip V the line had all but died out - except for one. The little Duc d'Anjou was the last male heir of Louis XIV and his health was only saved due to the interference of his governess Madame de Ventadour. But saved it was and the Duc d'Anjou would grow up to be Louis XV.

Portrait of Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans in armour by Jean-Baptiste Santerre.png
Philippe II d'Orléans, the Regent

However, he was still a child when Louis XIV died in 1715. This meant that someone had to take the regency which paved the way for Philippe II d'Orléans to assume the regency. This would be the epitome of Orléans-power; the closest they would come to having a king. Once Louis XV came of age Philippe II stepped down and let the king take the reins. 

But what happened to the Orléans-family from then on?

Philippe II remained close to power and assisted the still young Louis XV but died suddenly in 1723. Three Ducs d'Orléans would follow: Louis d'Orléans, Louis-Philippe d'Orléans and Louis-Philippe II d'Orléans.

Louis d'Orléans (son of Philippe II) could have stepped into the halls of politics although he was only 20 years old when his father died. But, unlike his father, he never had an interest in politics which would prove fatal to the future power of his house. He was sent to Strasbourg where he was to stand proxy for Louis XV in the proxy wedding ceremony with Marie Leszczynska. 
The following year Louis lost his beloved wife, Joanna of Baden-Baden, which sent him into a deep grief. Over the years he would retire more and more into a deeply religious life. He was even stripped of his rank as colonel-general due to the interference of Cardinal Fleury. He would die in 1752 far removed from court and with a psyche in pieces.

Louis d'Orléans by Alexis Simon Belle, held at Rastatt.jpg
Louis d'Orléans

The family had an opportunity to regain some of its former power when it was suggested that Louis-Philippe marry Madame Henriette (daughter of Louis XV). However, Louis XV eyed the risk of the Orléans-family nearing the power they had had during the regency and refused the match. Instead, Louis-Philippe married the daughter of the Prince de Conti. Even if Louis-Philippe had been more politically aggressive it is doubtful that he would have restored his house to their previous position. As is obvious from the behaviour of Louis XV, the king was determined to keep them out of politics. Instead, Louis-Philippe threw himself into his private interests. These he had plenty of opportunity to pursue since the family were still amongst the very richest in France.

Rioult portrait after van Loo depicting Louis Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans (Versailles).jpg

Louis-Philippe was not awarded with many titular honours during his lifetime. Louis XV only bestowed him with three official honours: the title of Lieutenant General (during the War of the Austrian Succession), the governorship of Dauphiné and a knighthood of the Saint-Esprit. 
He even sold the family's main estate of Saint-Cloud to Marie Antoinette in 1785. Louis-Philippe died the same year.

Portrait of Louis Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans (known as Philippe Égalité) in ceremonial robes of the Order of the Holy Spirit by Antoine François Callet.jpg
Louis-Philippe II

Unfortunately for Louis-Philippe II, he became Duc d'Orléans at a time of political unrest. He did, however, show a keener mind for politics but not in favour of his royal cousins. He proved himself to be sympathetic to the revolutionary cause and became known as Philippe Egalité. Perhaps he saw the revolution as an opportunity to gain more power for himself. What is certain is that he performed the ultimate betrayal when he voted for the execution of Louis XVI. 
It is not unlikely that he considered his chances of gaining political power to be greater with his kingly cousin out of the way. Should the course of events take an unexpected turn (which happened quite often at the time) and the need for a king should arise, Louis-Philippe II would be fourth in line. Before him were the young son of Louis XVI - who died in prison - and the Comtes d'Artois and de Provence.
Whatever hopes he may have had they were quickly dashed. He himself were guillotined on 6 November that same year.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Household of the Grand Dauphin of the 1660's


During the first seven years of his life the Grand Dauphin was entrusted to the care of women. It was only when he reached the age of seven that he would be handed over to a male household.

Age: 0-7 (1661-1668)

First governess
Wages: 3600 livres
Held by: Julie Lucine d'Angennes de Rambouillet, Marquise de Montausier

Duties: She possessed quite significant power in that if the king and queen were absent she would control the access to the dauphin and oversee the assembly of the council of war; should the monarchs be away it would fall to her to give orders to the ushers. She was always to sleep in the dauphin's bedchamber in case he should fall ill during the night.

Julie d'Angennes

Second governess 
Wages: 1200 livres
Held by: Louise de Taverny
Duties: She took over the duties of the first governess when the latter was not available

First wet-nurse
Wages: 1200 livres
Held by: Marguerite de Fleur

Wages: 360 livres

Held by: Marguerite Robert

Duties: her main duty was to assist the wet-nurse and also slept in the dauphin's bedchamber

First lady of the bedchamber
Wages: 360 livres
Held by: Elizabeth du Toc

Three ladies of the chamber
Wages: 200 livres

Held by: Demoiselle Giraude, Demoiselle Marie Flourer and Demoiselle Marguerite Baron
Duties: they, too, slept in the dauphin's bedchamber. The eldest would sleep in the bed with the child.

Housekeeper of the wet-nurse
Wages: 150 livres 

Held by: Toinette Guilloir

Housekeeper of the nurse
Wages: 150 livres

Held by: Françoise Michel

Wages: 400 livres

Held by: Antoine du Bord 

Duties: keeping the dauphin's finances in order which included making sure that everyone - in or providing something for the household - was paid.

Wages: unpaid or unknown

Held by: N. Hocar

Wages: 100 livres

Held by: René Courdemer 

Wages: 60 livres

Held by: Jeanne de Fontainebleau

These were the persons directly connected to the household of the dauphin before his seventh birthday. While he was still under the age of seven he would be served by a lot of the people who equally served his father, the king. For example, the ushers, the doctors and the priests were the same and saw to his needs as well. Also, the guards standing by his door were members of the king's guard.

Billedresultat for grand dauphin child
Louis de Bourbon, le Grand Dauphin

Once he reached that particular age his household was divided in the same manner as his father' although somewhat simplified. The household was divided into one of the bedchamber, one ecclesiastical, one of the wardrobe, one medicinal, one military and one for hunting. The king's grand officers were also in charge of the dauphin's sub-departments at this point. What is interesting is that his previous female household were still attached to his new one. It could be imagined that this was to make the transfer from female to male somewhat easier if he were surrounded by familiar faces.

Age 8 (1668-69)

Held by: Duc de Montausier

Billedresultat for marquis de montausier
The Duc de Montausier

Second governor
Held by: M. Milet

Held by: unknown

Man-servant of gentle birth
Held by: M. de la Chénaye

First valet of the bedchamber
Held by: M. Joyeux

Two boys of the chamber
Held by: Michel Hocar and René Courdemer

Held by: : Daniel Clinet 

Writing teacher
Held by: M. Gilbert

Dancing teacher
Held by: M. Renal

Two boys of the wardrobe
Held by: N. Machinet and N. Bienfait

"Blanchisseuse du corps" 
Held by: Marie du Soustra

Duties: the job was basically to bathe the dauphin

"Empeseur du corps"
Held by: François l'Epine

Duties: oddly enough, there was only one duty attached to this position: drying the dauphin off when he had had a bath

Held by: N. le Poitevin 

Three children of honour 
Held by: Louis Charles de Vitry, Marquis de Châteauvillain (son of the Duc de Vitry), Jean d'Etrée (son of the Marquis de Cœuvres) and Nicolas Duranville, Baron de Bellemare

Duties: they basically acted as playmates to the dauphin and had the added benefit of being highborn themselves

A governor of the children of honour
Held by: M. des Fontaines
Duties: keeping the children of honour under control

Two pages of the bedchamber 
Held by: N. de la Chénaye and N. de Mineur

A governor of the pages
Held by: M. Girardin

Duties: like his counterpart, he was to make sure that the pages fulfilled their duties which could be somewhat troublesome since the two pages were quite young

Six valets
A servant for the use of the pages

The remaining members of his household were technically attached to that of Louis XIV but lend their services to the heir to the throne as well. These included: 

A chaplain 
A clerk 

A butler
A comptroller general
Two manservants 
A combined four chefs: two for the food, one for the drink and one baker.
Two chefs assistants

A squire
An usher
A servant
A washing woman 

Two ushers of the bedchamber
Three valets
A barber
An upholsterer 

A first valet of the wardrobe
Two valet of the wardrobe 
A servant of the wardrobe

First doctor
A surgeon
An apothecary 
An apothecary's assistant

A squire of the stables
Two footmen from the Great Stables (Grand Ecurie)

A Lieutenant 
A company of guards
A brigadier
A second-brigadier 
Twenty French guards
Six Swiss guards
Four guards 
A caretaker
A company of gendarmes 
A cavalry regiment
A regiment of infantry

The Secret Marriage of the Comte de Toulouse

By the early 1720's Victoire Sophie de Noailles had been widowed following her marriage to the Marquis de Gondrin. During her first marriage she had been a close friend of the Grand Dauphin; at court she had held the position of dame du palais to the Duchesse de Bourgogne. However, it was not through her court career that she first met Louis-Alexandre de Bourbon, Comte de Toulouse. Actually, both the Comte de Toulouse and the Marquis de Gondrin were the descendants of Madame de Montespan. The former had been fathered by Louis XIV and then legitimized; the latter was the grandson of Madame de Montespan through her son by her husband.

According to the Duc de Saint-Simon the couple became closer while taking the water at Bourbon. Apparently, the couple fell so much in love with each other that they decided to marry. The marriage was contracted in secret on 24 February 1723. 

Billedresultat for comte de toulouse marie victoire noailles
Victoire Sophie

The marriage was quite controversial. Although the bride was acknowledged to be a beauty and from a very good family, she was nonetheless 35 years old and had already had two children. Every single one of the Comte de Toulouse's siblings had been married into families who held the title of princes of the blood. In comparison, the match was not quite so grand.

However, there were several good points about the Comte's new wife. She had never indulged in any scandal nor had she given birth to illegitimate children. Louis-Alexandre, though, had two children whom he had fathered outside wedlock. 
These considerations made it necessary to hide the marriage for some time. It was finally revealed nine months later. 

Billedresultat for comte de toulouse

Had she still been alive, Madame de Maintenon would have approved of the marriage. She had always favoured Louis-Alexandre and the Duc du Maine but had also shown a keen interest in furthering the ambitions of the Noailles-family. 
Louis XV also approved of Louis-Alexandre's choice. He was a great admirer of Victoire Sophie and often invited her to his private suppers or to hunt at Rambouillet. Despite the king's attention Victoire Sophie remained faithful to her husband. Furthermore, she provided Louis-Alexandre with the one thing that he lacked: a legitimate son. Louis-Jean-Marie de Bourbon was born in November 1725 and would inherit his father's title and wealth.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

House of Pardaillan de Gondrin

Originally from Gascony the house of Pardaillan de Gondrin had already established itself amongst the foremost families of France in the 13th century. They consolidated their allegiance to the crown when the seigneur de Pardaillan and de Gondrin, Bernard, accompanied Louis XI in the siege of Tunis. 

Over the centuries, the family rose in the ranks at court. From vicomte to baron and finally to marquis. Antoine de Pardaillan added the seigneurship of Montespan to the family which would later become the title of the head of the family: marquis de Montespan. Also, the family had the title of marquis d'Antin.

The final peak was reached when the marquisate of Antin was elevated to a dukedom.

1. Antoine Arnoud de Pardaillan de Gondrin and (I) Marie du Maine (II) Paule de Saint-Lary de Bellegarde

Besides fighting in the siege of Tunis, Antoine Arnoud was given the command of the French army in the war against Savoy after the king returned to court. Due to his proven loyalty Antoine Arnoud was raised to the rank of marquise de Montespan in 1612 by Louis XIII.

Marie du Maine was the heiress of Jean d'Escandillac and gave her husband two children:
  • Anne de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Baronne de Miossens
  • Jeanne de Pardaillan de Gondrin, Comtesse de Rabat

When Marie died before giving birth to a son and heir it was apparent that Antoine had to remarry. He remarried to Paule de Saint-Laury de Bellegarde who gave her husband an astonishing 13 children!

  • Hector de Pardaillan de Gondrin - died young
  • Jean Antoine de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis de Montespan
  • Roger Hector de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis d'Antin
  • César-Auguste de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis de Termes 
  • Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin - died young
  • Jean-Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis de Savignac 
  • Anne de Pardaillan de Gondrin - died young
  • Louis-Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin - archbishop of Sens
  • Anne-Paule de Pardaillan de Gondrin - died young
  • Marie-Claire de Pardaillan de Gondrin - vicomtesse d'Aubeterre
  • Louise-Octavie de Pardaillan de Gondrin - never married
  • Anne-Chrysante de Pardaillan de Gondrin - abbess of Notre-Dame-des-Près
  • Angélique de Pardaillan de Gondrin - nun 

2. Jean Antoine de Pardaillan de Gondrin and Marie-Anne de Saint-Lary

Jean Antoine was made grand maître of the king's wardrobe as well as marquis de Montespan. Despite both him and Marie-Anne reaching quite old ages (85 and 94 years respectively) they never had any children. 
Thus, the title of marquis de Montespan went to Jean Antoine's younger brother, Roger Hector.

3. Roger Hector de Pardaillan de Gondrin and Marie-Christine de Zamet

Marie-Christine was the sole heiress of Jean Zamet, Baron de Murat and Jeanne de Goth, dame de Rouillac.

They had four children:
  • Louis Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis de Montespan
  • Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis d'Antin 
  • Just de Pardaillan de Gondrin - died in battle
  • N de Pardaillan de Gondrin - Chevalier de Gondrin

4. Louis Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin and Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart

Probably one of the most famous members of this house by marriage was Madame de Montespan. Her reign as Louis XIV's favourite encapsulated the spirit of the grand siècle but her relationship with her husband could not stand the strain. Louis Henri was not excited at having to share his wife with the king and made no attempt at hiding his displeasure. 
Louis Henri even went so far as to host a mock funeral of his wife while she was still very much alive at Versailles. He went over the line when he started roaming the streets of Paris while degrading the king himself which earned him an exile. 

Madame de Montespan never achieved the title of Duchesse - like her predecessor Louise de La Vallière - since she was married and it would mean that Louis Henri had to be elevated as well. Understandably, the king was not in the mood to reward slander towards himself nor his mistress.

Before Françoise Athénaïs caught the king's eye she had two children by her husband:
  • Marie Christine de Pardaillan de Gondrin - died young
  • Louis Antoine de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis de Montespan

Image illustrative de l'article Louis-Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin (1640-1691)
Louis Henri
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5.  Louis Antoine de Pardaillan de Gondrin and Julie Françoise de Crussol

Julie Françoise was a member of the Grand Dauphin's inner circle and through her Louis Antoine also joined it. Louis Antoine even made friends with his half-brothers, the legitimized Duc du Maine and Comte de Toulouse but never managed to gain the favour of Louis XIV.

However, once Madame de Montespan died the king showed him more favour. It is not unlikely that Madame de Maintenon had prevented him from being too friendly to her rival's son. One major advancement was made when Louis Antoine was appointed as director of the king's buildings which means that he would oversee the continuous building of Versailles. He was finally made Duc d'Antin.

The couple had four children:

  • Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis de Montespan
  • Marie Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin - musketeer 
  • Gabriel François Balthazard de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis de Bellegarde
  • Pierre de Pardaillan de Gondrin - archbishop-Duc de Langres

Louis Antoine de Pardaillan, Duke of Antin wearing the Order of the Holy Spirit by Hyacinthe Rigaud (Versailles).jpg
Louis Antoine

6. Louis de Pardaillan de Gondrin and Victoire Sophie de Noailles

Serving as a brigadier in the king's army, Louis died at the age of just 23 years at Versailles.  As a result he never inherited the title of Duc d'Antin since he was outlived by his father. Nevertheless, the couple managed to have three children before he died.

Victoire Sophie de Noailles was a dame du palais to the Duchesse de Bourgogne; she created quite a scandal when she remarried after her husband's death. Not that remarrying was unusual - especially for a well-connected young woman - but her choice of husband was: the Comte de Toulouse, legitimized son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan.

  • Louis II de Pardaillan de Gondrin - duc d'Antin
  • Antoine François de Pardaillan de Gondrin - marquis d'Antin
  • Charles Hippolyte de Pardaillan de Gondrin - seigneur de Moncontour 

Billedresultat for Victoire Sophie de Noailles
Victoire Sophie

7. Louis II de Pardaillan de Gondrin and Françoise Gillone de Montmorency-Luxembourg

Although being officially the Duc d'Antin, Louis II was known as the Duc d'Epernon at court. 

The couple had four children:
  • Julie Sophie Gilette de Pardaillan de Gondrin - abbess of Fontevraud
  • Louis III de Pardaillan de Gondrin - Duc d'Antin
  • Marie Françoise de Pardaillan de Gondrin - Comtesse de Civrac
  • Julie Magdeleine Victoire de Pardaillan de Gondrin - Duchesse d'Uzès

Billedresultat for Françoise Gillone de Montmorency-Luxembourg
Françoise Gillone

8.  Louis III de Pardaillan de Gondrin

Louis III was the final Duc d'Antin and he died without leaving an heir in Germany.

Interesting facts and anecdotes:
  • Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin died in a duel fought in 1663 which is why the title of marquis d'Antin reversed to his brother, Louis Henri
  • Marie Christine de Pardaillan de Gondrin was claimed to have died of sadness from missing her mother so much after Madame de Montespan went to live at court permanently
  • Sons of Louis Antoine - Marie Louis and Gabriel François Balthazard - were twins
  • The secret marriage of Victoire Sophie de Noailles meant that Louis II was the half-brother of the richest man in France: Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon. He was also the uncle of the Prince de Lamballe

Portrait gallery:

Louis-Henri de Pardaillan (Antoine Masson).jpg
Louis Henri de Pardaillan de Gondrin,
Archbishop-Duc de Langres