The family's origins are somewhat obscure; the founding member was Nicolas Neufville but it is not known when he was either born nor died. The same can be said for his son and heir, Richard.
What is known is that the fourth generation served Philippe III de Bourgogne which in turn led to new positions of power including ambassadorships.
Nicolas IV de Neufville de Villeroy was granted the title of Marquis de Villeroy by Louis XIII; his son was further given the marquisate of d'Alincourt.
The family was finally entered in the peerage in 1663 when Nicolas V was made Duc de Villeroy; he was also given the prestigious post of governor to the newly born Louis XIV. Governorship of a future king would be bestowed upon the family again when Louis XV turned seven years old.
The Neufville de Villeroy-family's generations as they were from the time of Louis XIV:
1) Nicolas V de Neufville de Villeroy married Madeleine de Blanchefort de Crèquy
Nicolas was under the protection of Cardinal Jules Mazarin who ensured him the title of Marèchal de France. The favour of the powerful Cardinal further led to the appointment of governorship of Louis XIV as well as the granting of a knighthood of the Saint-Esprit. Louis XIV would later make him head of the royal council of finances. Most importantly he was made a peer of France by the elevation to Duc de Villeroy.
Madeleine de Blanchefort de Crèquy was the daughter of the Prince de Poix
The couple had four children:
- Charles de Neufville de Villeroy - later Marquis d'Alincourt
- François de Neufville de Villeroy - later Duc de Villeroy
- Françoise de Neufville de Villeray - became first the Comtesse de Tournon, then Duchesse de Chaulnes and finally Marquise d'Hauterive
- Catherine de Neufville de Villeroy - became Comtesse d'Armagnac
2) François de Neufville de Villeroy married Marguerite-Marie de Cossé-Brissac
François was a playmate of Louis XIV and Philippe d'Orléans due to his father's governorship. When he reached adulthood he joined the military where he served as colonel of the infantry before being made Marèchal de France. He suffered a humiliating defeat to Prince Eugene who took him as a prisoner of war - eventually he was exchanged for the Count of Wallenstein. When he returned to court he was made head of the council of finance like his father - a position he would maintain during the regency. Louis XIV left him the governorship of Louis XV which the regent agreed to.
The couple had seven children:
- Louis Nicolas de Neufville de Villeroy - Duc de Villeroy
- Camille de Neufville de Villeroy - died young
- François Paul de Neufville de Villeroy - Archbishop of Lyon
- François-Catherine de Neufville de Villeroy - died young
- Madeleine Thérèse de Neufville de Villeroy - became a nun
- Françoise Madeleine de Neufville de Villeroy - Comtesse de Prado
- Catherine Anne de Neufville de Villeroy - became a nun
3) Louis Nicolas de Neufville de Villeroy and Marguerite Le Tellier de Louvois
Like his father he entered the army where he became a Lieutenant General in 1702; later he was granted the knighthood of Saint-Esprit. By 1716 he inherited the title of Duc de Retz upon the death of his cousin who died without an heir.
Marguerite was the daughter of the king's minister, Louvois.
The couple had four children:
- Louis François Anne de Neufville de Villeroy - became Duc de Villeroy
- François Camille de Neufville de Villeroy - became Duc d'Alincourt
- Marguerite Louise Sophie de Neufville de Villeroy - became Duchesse d'Harcourt
- Madeleine Angélique de Neufville de Villeroy - became Duchesse de Boufflers
4) Louis François Anne de Neufville de Villeroy and Marie Renée de Montmorency
Louis became a Marèchal de camp in 1738 and later a Lieutenant General. It was under his patronage that the famous Villeroy-porcelain manufacturer was established in 1748.
Marie Renée was the daughter of the Duc de Piney-Luxembourg.
The couple had no children and the Dukedom of Villeroy went to the son of François Camille
4) Gabriel Louis François de Neufville de Villeroy and Jeanne Louise Constance d'Aumont
Gabriel was captain of the king's guards as well as a knight of the Order of Saint-Esprit in 1773. In 1778 he bought the title of Duc de Retz. Gabriel was guillotined on 28 April 1794.
Jeanne Louise Constance d'Aumont was the daughter of the Duc d'Aumont. She survived the revolution and tried in vain to regain her vast collection of books which had been confiscated.
The couple had no children but Gabriel had daughter by Étiennette Marie Périne Le Marquis.
Interesting facts and notes:
- The family was granted the governorship of Lyonnais
- Marie-Josèphe de Boufflers (wife of François Camille) was a dame du palais to Marie Leszczynska
- Their family's hôtel was built in 1650 by Nicolas IV and still stands
- François de Neufville was ambassador to Venice
|Nicolas V de Neufville de Villeroy, 1st Duc de Villeroy|
|Marguerite-Marie, Duchesse de Villeroy|
|François de Neufville de Villeroy, 2nd Duc de|
|Paul de Neufville de Villeroy, Archbishop of Lyon|
|François Anne de Neufville de Villeroy, 4th Duc de Villeroy|
|Catherine de Neufville de Villeroy|
|Françoise de Neufville de Villeroy, married three times|