Bathilde d'Orléans

Last updated

Bathilde d'Orléans
Princess of Condé
Lepeintre, attributed to - Bathilde d'Orleans - Versailles.jpg
Bathilde d'Orléans, attributed to Charles Lepeintre.
Born(1750-07-09)9 July 1750
Château de Saint-Cloud, France
Died10 January 1822(1822-01-10) (aged 71)
Paris, France
Spouse Louis Henri, Prince of Condé
Issue Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien
Full name
Louise Marie Thérèse Bathilde d'Orléans
House Bourbon
Father Louis Philippe d'Orléans
Mother Louise Henriette de Bourbon
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Signature of the Duchess of Bourbon (L M T B d'Orleans) at the baptism of Marie Therese Charlotte of France, December 1778.png
Arms of Bathilde d'Orleans (known as the Duchess of Bourbon) as Princess of Conde.png

Bathilde d'Orléans (Louise Marie Thérèse Bathilde; 9 July 1750 10 January 1822) was a French princess of the blood of the House of Orléans. She was sister of Philippe Égalité, the mother of the executed Duke of Enghien and aunt of Louis Philippe I, King of the French. Married to the young Duke of Enghien, a distant cousin, she was always known as the Duchess of Bourbon following the birth of her son. She was known as Citoyenne Vérité during the French Revolution.

House of Orléans French noble family

The 4th House of Orléans, sometimes called the House of Bourbon-Orléans to distinguish it, is the fourth holder of a surname previously used by several branches of the Royal House of France, all descended in the legitimate male line from the dynasty's founder, Hugh Capet. The house was founded by Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, younger son of Louis XIII and younger brother of Louis XIV, the "Sun King".

Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans French duke

Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans, most commonly known as Philippe, was born at the Château de Saint-Cloud. He received the title of Duke of Montpensier at birth, then that of Duke of Chartres at the death of his grandfather, Louis d'Orléans, in 1752. At the death of his father, Louis Philippe d'Orléans, in 1785, he inherited the title of Duke of Orléans and also became the Premier prince du sang, title attributed to the Prince of the Blood closest to the throne after the Sons and Grandsons of France. He was addressed as Son Altesse Sérénissime (S.A.S.).

Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien French aristocrat

Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien was a relative of the Bourbon monarchs of France. More famous for his death than for his life, he was executed on charges of aiding Britain and plotting against France. Royalty across Europe were shocked and dismayed at his execution. Tsar Alexander I of Russia was especially alarmed, and decided to curb Napoleon's power.


Balthilde was the Grand Mistress of the French Masonic Lodge of adoption, in parallel to her brother Philippe being the Grand Master of the male Freemasons in France, which also gave them an international position within the Freemasons: on 8 May 1776, she and her brother approved of the creation of a female lodge of adoption in Sweden. [1]


Children of the Duke of Orleans (c.1755); Bathilde holding an angel, with her brother, the young Duke of Chartres, on the far right. Painted by Francois-Hubert Drouais. 1762 oil painting Children of the Duke of Orleans by Francois-Hubert Drouais.jpg
Children of the Duke of Orléans (c.1755); Bathilde holding an angel, with her brother, the young Duke of Chartres, on the far right. Painted by François-Hubert Drouais.

Descended from both Louis XIV of France and his younger brother, Philippe of France, Duke of Orléans, Bathilde was born a princesse du sang and as such was addressed with the style of Serene Highness. The daughter of the Louis Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Chartres and his wife, Louise Henriette de Bourbon, Bathilde was born at the Château de Saint-Cloud, some ten kilometers west of Paris, on 9 July 1750. She was known unofficially at court as Mademoiselle reflecting her rank as the most senior unmarried princess of the blood at the court. Her mother died in 1759 when Bathilde was just eight years old. Her father, pressured by his mistress, Madame de Montesson, sent her to a convent. During her time at the convent, she became a very religious person, a trait that would remain with her all her life.

Louis XIV of France King of France and Navarra, from 1643 to 1715

Louis XIV, known as Louis the Great or the Sun King, was King of France from 14 May 1643 until his death in 1715. His reign of 72 years and 110 days is the longest recorded of any monarch of a sovereign country in European history. In the age of absolutism in Europe, Louis XIV's France was a leader in the growing centralisation of power.

Philippe I, Duke of Orléans French prince

Philippe, Duke of Orléans was the younger son of Louis XIII of France and his wife, Anne of Austria. His older brother was the famous "Sun King", Louis XIV. Styled Duke of Anjou from birth, Philippe became Duke of Orléans upon the death of his uncle Gaston in 1660. In 1661, Philippe also received the dukedoms of Valois and Chartres. Following Philippe's victory in battle in 1671, Louis XIV added the dukedom of Nemours, the marquisates of Coucy and Folembray, and the countships of Dourdan and Romorantin. During the reign of his brother he was known simply as Monsieur, the traditional style at the court of France for the younger brother of the king.

Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans French duke

Louis Philippe d'Orléans known as le Gros, was a French prince, a member of a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, the dynasty then ruling France. The First Prince of the Blood after 1752, he was the most senior male at the French court after the immediate royal family. He was the father of Philippe Égalité. He greatly augmented the already huge wealth of the House of Orléans.


Initially, Bathilde was considered as a possible bride for a distant cousin, Ferdinand, Duke of Parma, the favourite grandson of King Louis XV of France. However, that marriage never materialised. Finally, in 1770, when she was twenty years old, she was allowed to leave the convent and marry her younger cousin, the Duke of Enghien, the son and heir of the Prince of Condé and Charlotte de Rohan. The young duke also held the rank of prince of the blood, however he was descended from a younger branch of the House of Bourbon. The couple married on 20 April 1770 at the palace of Versailles in front of the court. From marriage, she was known as the Duchess of Enghien till the birth of her son two years later.

Ferdinand, Duke of Parma Duke of Parma

Ferdinand was the Duke of Parma, Piacenza and Guastalla from his father's death on 18 July 1765 until he ceded the duchy to France by the Treaty of Aranjuez on 20 March 1801. He was a member of the Spanish House of Bourbon.

Louis XV of France Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and of Navarre 1715–1774

Louis XV, known as Louis the Beloved, was King of France from 1 September 1715 until his death in 1774. He succeeded his great-grandfather Louis XIV at the age of five. Until he reached maturity on 15 February 1723, the kingdom was ruled by Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, as Regent of France. Cardinal Fleury was his chief minister from 1726 until the Cardinal's death in 1743, at which time the king took sole control of the kingdom.

Louis Henri, Prince of Condé French prince

Louis Henri Joseph de Bourbon or Louis Henri II, Prince of Condé was the Prince of Condé from 1818 to his death. He was the brother-in-law of Philippe Égalité and nephew of Victoire de Rohan.

Her husband was only fourteen at the time. Unfortunately, he tired of her rather quickly after only six months. Despite little contact, their periodic rapprochements eventually allowed her to give birth to their only son named Louis Antoine Henri de Bourbon. [2] The scandal of her husband's adultery came out in 1778, and the consequences fell entirely on her shoulders.[ citation needed ] The couple separated in 1780. As a separated spouse, she was never received at court and was forced to reorganise her life in the gilded solitude of the Château de Chantilly. Later, she also lived for a time with her father and his second wife, Madame de Montesson, at their château at Saint-Assise. When her father died, in 1785, her brother Philippe, became the Duke of Orléans. It was around this time that Bathilde bought a house in Paris called the Hôtel de Clermont and the château de Petit-Bourg.

In international relations, a rapprochement, which comes from the French word rapprocher, is a re-establishment of cordial relations between two countries. This may be done due to a mutual enemy, as was the case with Germany for France and the United Kingdom and their signing of the Entente Cordiale. It has also been done, particularly in the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States, in an effort to reduce tensions and the likelihood of war.

Adultery is extramarital sex that is considered objectionable on social, religious, moral, or legal grounds. Although the sexual activities that constitute adultery vary, as well as the social, religious, and legal consequences, the concept exists in many cultures and is similar in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. A single act of sexual intercourse is generally sufficient to constitute adultery, and a more long-term sexual relationship is sometimes referred to as an affair.

In her isolation, she discreetly had an illegitimate daughter (Adelaïde-Victoire) with a young navy officer named Chavalier Alexandre Amable de Roquefeuil.[ citation needed ] Later, she passed the child off as the daughter of her secretary, in order to keep the little girl close to her.

Bathilde as Duchess of Bourbon by an unknown artist Le Beau after Lenoir - Bathilde d'Orleans, Duchess of Bourbon.png
Bathilde as Duchess of Bourbon by an unknown artist
Louis-Antoine Duke of Enghien Louis-Antoine de Bourbon-Conde.png
Louis-Antoine Duke of Enghien

In 1787, she purchased the Élysée Palace from Louis XVI and had a hamlet constructed there; inspired by the Hameau de Chantilly at her Château de Chantilly, it was itself called the "Hameau de Chantilly". She lapsed from Christianity and devoted herself to the occult, studying the supernatural arts of chiromancy, astrology, dream interpretation, and animal magnetism. She spent time raising her son and painting. Her salon was renowned throughout Europe for its liberty of thought and the brilliant wits who frequented it.[ citation needed ]


During the French Revolution, just like her brother Philippe Égalité, Bathilde discovered democracy.[ citation needed ] She fell out with her royalist husband and son, who both chose to leave France after the storming of the Bastille. As the Ancien Régime crumbled, she took the name, Citoyenne Vérité(Citizeness Truth). She offered her wealth to the First French Republic before it could be confiscated. In April 1793, her nephew, the young Duke of Chartres (future Louis Philippe, King of the French), fled France and sought asylum with the Austrians. In retribution, the National Convention decreed the imprisonment of all Bourbons remaining in France.

While other members of the Orléans family still in France were kept under house arrest, Bathilde, Philippe Égalité and his sons were imprisoned in the Fort Saint-Jean in Marseille. Badly rewarded for her fidelity to the democratic ideals of the Revolution, she survived a year and a half in a prison cell. In November of the same year, her brother was guillotined. Miraculously spared during the Reign of Terror, Bathilde was liberated during the Thermidorian Reaction and returned to her Élysée residence in Paris. Poverty-stricken, she was forced to rent out most of the palace. [ citation needed ]

In 1797, the Directoire decided to exile the last of the Bourbons still living in France. With her sister-in-law, Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon, duchesse d'Orléans, Bathilde was made to get into an old coach with all her remaining worldly goods and was sent to Spain with her illegitimate daughter. Despite being forty-seven years old at the time, during the months which this journey took, she had an amorous intrigue with a handsome twenty-seven-year-old police officer under whose responsibility she had been put. The two maintained a correspondence during her exile. Relegated to a home near Barcelona, Spain, Bathilde founded, despite her small means, a pharmacy and dispensary for the poor, and her house became a gathering place for those who needed aid. [ citation needed ]

She became completely republican during this time period, despite her exile. In 1804, she learned that Napoléon I, whom she had admired, had had her son, Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien, kidnapped, and executed by firing squad in the moat of the Château de Vincennes. For ten years, the emperor kept her from setting foot in France. But in 1814, Bathilde got some satisfaction when the people, seeing her as the mother of the "Martyr of Vincennes", cheered her as she travelled the route back to Paris. [ citation needed ]

Return to France

In 1815, at the start of the Bourbon Restoration, Louis XVIII traded with her the Hôtel Matignon for the Élysée Palace. Bathilde promptly installed a community of nuns on the premises and charged them with praying for the souls of the victims of the Revolution. Her family, in the new moral order of the day, wanted to see her rejoin her husband after a separation of thirty-five years, but she refused. Instead, she resumed her affair with the police officer who had escorted her to Spain in 1797. Unfortunately, he was to die of an illness three years later. In 1818, upon the death of her estranged father-in-law, she became the last princesse de Condé .

In 1822, while she was taking part in a march towards the Panthéon, she lost consciousness, and drew her last breath in the home of a law professor who taught at the Sorbonne. After her death, her nephew, Louis-Philippe, wanting to give an air of respectability to her bohemian lifestyle, burned the manuscript of her memoirs and a file on her young police officer located in the war archives. She was buried in the Orléans family chapel her sister-in-law, the Duchess of Orléans, who had died in 1821, had built in Collégiale de Dreux in 1816, as the final resting place for the Orléans family.


  1. Louis Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Enghien (2 August 1772 – 21 March 1804) married Charlotte Louise de Rohan but died without issue.
  2. Adelaide-Victorie de Roquefeuil, married and had issue


Titles, styles, and arms

Arms of Bathilde as Duchess of Bourbon, Princess of Conde Arms of Bathilde d'Orleans (known as the Duchess of Bourbon) as Princess of Conde.png
Arms of Bathilde as Duchess of Bourbon, Princess of Condé

Related Research Articles

Louis, Duke of Orléans (1703–1752) French prince

Louis, Duke of Orléans was a member of the royal family of France, the House of Bourbon, and as such was a prince du sang. At his father's death, he became the First Prince of the Blood. Known as Louis le Pieux and also as Louis le Génovéfain, Louis was a pious, charitable and cultured prince, who took very little part in the politics of the time.

Louise Bénédicte de Bourbon French royal

Louise Bénédicte de Bourbon, was the daughter of Henri Jules de Bourbon, Prince of Condé and Anne Henriette of Bavaria. As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, she was a princesse du sang. Forced to marry the Duke of Maine, legitimised son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan, she revelled in politics and the arts, and held a popular salon at the Hôtel du Maine as well as at the Château de Sceaux.

Louis François Joseph, Prince of Conti Prince of Conti

Louis François Joseph de Bourbon or Louis François II, Prince of Conti, was the last Prince of Conti, scion of a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, whose senior branches ruled France until 1848. His title was honorary and did not carry any territorial jurisdiction.

Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé French noble

Louis Joseph de Bourbon was Prince of Condé from 1740 to his death. A member of the House of Bourbon, he held the prestigious rank of Prince du Sang.

Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon, Duchess of Orléans French duchess and princess

Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre, Duchess of Orléans, was the daughter of Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre and of Princess Maria Theresa Felicitas of Modena. At the death of her brother, Louis Alexandre de Bourbon-Penthièvre, prince de Lamballe, she became the wealthiest heiress in France prior to the French Revolution. She married Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, the "regicide" Philippe Égalité, and was the mother of France's last king, Louis Philippe I, King of the French. She was sister-in-law to the princesse de Lamballe, and was the last member of the Bourbon-Penthièvre family.

Louise Henriette de Bourbon

Louise Henriette de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Conti at birth, was a French princess, who, by marriage, became Duchess of Chartres (1743–1752), then Duchess of Orléans (1752–1759) upon the death of her father-in-law. On 4 February 1752, her husband became the head of the House of Orléans, and the First Prince of the Blood, the most important personage after the immediate members of the royal family.

Françoise Marie de Bourbon French duchess, princess

Françoise Marie de Bourbon, légitimée de France was the youngest illegitimate daughter of Louis XIV of France and his maîtresse-en-titre, Françoise-Athénaïs, Marquise de Montespan. At the age of 14, she was wed to her first cousin Philippe d'Orléans, future Regent of France during the minority of Louis XV. Through four of the eight children she bore him in an unhappy marriage she became the ancestress of several of Europe's Roman Catholic monarchs of the 19th and 20th centuries, notably those of Belgium, Italy, Spain, and France.

<i>Prince du sang</i>

A prince du sang is a person legitimately descended in dynastic line from any of a realm's hereditary monarchs. Historically, the term has been used to refer to men and women descended in the male line from a sovereign, although as absolute primogeniture has become more common in monarchies, those with succession rights through female descent are more likely than in the past to be accorded the princely title.

Louise Diane dOrléans 18th-century French noblewoman

Louise Diane d'Orléans was the sixth daughter and last child of Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans and his wife, Françoise Marie de Bourbon, the youngest legitimised daughter of King Louis XIV of France and his mistress, Madame de Montespan. She was born during the Regency of Philippe d'Orléans, the Regent of Louis XV of France. The Princess of Conti by marriage, she died in childbirth at the age of twenty. Some sources refer to her as Louis Diane.

Louise Élisabeth de Bourbon French princess

Louise Élisabeth de Bourbon was a daughter of Louis III de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, and his wife, Louise Françoise de Bourbon, légitimée de France, a legitimised daughter of King Louis XIV of France and his famous mistress, Madame de Montespan.

Louise Adélaïde dOrléans French abbess

Louise Adélaïde d'Orléans was the third daughter of Philippe d'Orléans, and Françoise Marie de Bourbon, a legitimised daughter of Louis XIV of France and his mistress, Madame de Montespan. She was Abbess of Chelles.

Anne Henriette of Bavaria Duchess of Guise

Anne of the Palatinate known in France as Anne of Bavaria, Princess Palatine was a Princess of the Palatinate and Countess Palatine of Simmern by birth and was the wife of Henri Jules de Bourbon eldest son of Louis, Grand Condé. Following her father-in-law's death, her husband succeeded as Prince of Condé, a purely honorary title, but one of the highest ranking in France. She was also the Princesse of Arches in her own right from 1708.

Louise Adélaïde de Bourbon (1757–1824) French abbess

Louise Adélaïde de Bourbon was a French nun. She was the last Remiremont abbess and founded at the beginning of the Bourbon Restoration, a religious community that became famous among French Catholics under the name of Bénédictines de la rue Monsieur. She constructed the Hôtel de Mademoiselle de Condé, named after her.

Anne Marie de Bourbon French princess

Anne Marie de Bourbon was the daughter of the Prince of Condé and of a Bavarian princess. As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, she was a Princesse du Sang. She never married and died of lung disease.

Jean Marie, Duke of Châteauvillain French nobleman

Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Châteauvillain was a French Duke and nobleman. He died in Paris at the age of 6. He was the duc de Châteauvillain from birth.


  1. Kjell Lekeby (2010). Gustaviansk mystik. Alkemister, kabbalister, magiker, andeskådare, astrologer och skattgrävare i den esoteriska kretsen kring G.A. Reuterholm, hertig Carl och hertiginnan Charlotta 1776-1803. (Gustavian Mysticism. Alchemists, Kabbalists, magicians, visionaries, astrologists and treasure hunters in the esoteric circle of G.A. Reuterholm, Duke Charles and Duchess Charlotte 1776-1803) Sala Södermalm: Vertigo Förlag. page 496 (in Swedish)
  2. Fremont-Barnes, Gregory (2007). Encyclopedia of the Age of Political Revolutions and New Ideologies, 1760-1815: A-L. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 216. ISBN   978-0313334467.

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Bathilde d’Orléans at Wikimedia Commons