Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans

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Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans
Duke of Orléans
Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orleans.jpg
Born(1747-04-13)13 April 1747
Château de Saint Cloud, Saint-Cloud, France
Died6 November 1793(1793-11-06) (aged 46)
Paris, France
Spouse Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon
Issue Louis Philippe I, King of the French
Antoine Philippe, Duke of Montpensier
Françoise d'Orléans
Adélaïde d'Orléans
Louis Charles, Count of Beaujolais
House House of Orléans
Father Louis Philippe d'Orléans
Mother Louise Henriette de Bourbon
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature Signature of Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orleans, Duke of Chartres (future Philippe Egalite) at the baptism of the Duke of Berry.jpg

Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans (13 April 1747 6 November 1793), 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.).

Château de Saint-Cloud historic palace in France

The Château de Saint-Cloud was a palace in France, built on a site overlooking the Seine at Saint-Cloud in Hauts-de-Seine, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) west of Paris. On the site of the former palace there is currently a large park, the Parc de Saint-Cloud, that is owned by the state.

The French lordship of Montpensier, located in historical Auvergne, became a countship in the 14th century.

Duke of Chartres

Originally, the Duchy of Chartres was the comté de Chartres, a County. The title of comte de Chartres thus became duc de Chartres. This duchy–peerage was given by Louis XIV of France to his nephew, Philippe II d'Orléans, at his birth in 1674. Philippe II was the younger son and heir of the king's brother, Philippe de France, Duke of Orléans.


In 1792, during the French Revolution, he changed his name to Philippe Égalité. Louis Philippe d'Orléans was a cousin of Louis XVI and one of the wealthiest men in France. He actively supported the Revolution of 1789, and was a strong advocate for the elimination of the present absolute monarchy in favor of a constitutional monarchy. He voted for the death of king Louis XVI; however, he was himself guillotined in November 1793 during the Reign of Terror. His son Louis Philippe d'Orléans became King of the French after the July Revolution of 1830. After him, the term Orléanist came to be attached to the movement in France that favored a constitutional monarchy.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Louis XVI of France King of France and Navarre

Louis XVI, born Louis-Auguste, was the last King of France before the fall of the monarchy during the French Revolution. He was referred to as citizen Louis Capet during the four months before he was guillotined. In 1765, at the death of his father, Louis, son and heir apparent of Louis XV, Louis-Auguste became the new Dauphin of France. Upon his grandfather's death on 10 May 1774, he assumed the title "King of France and Navarre", which he used until 4 September 1791, when he received the title of "King of the French" until the monarchy was abolished on 21 September 1792.

Absolute monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the monarch holds supreme autocratic authority, principally not being restricted by written laws, legislature, or customs. These are often hereditary monarchies. In contrast, in constitutional monarchies, the head of state's authority derives from and is legally bounded or restricted by a constitution or legislature.

Early life

Portrait of a young Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orleans, by Louis Tocque. Louis Philippe Joseph, Duc d'Orleans and Duc de Chartres by Louis Tocque.jpg
Portrait of a young Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans, by Louis Tocqué.

Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans was the son of Louis Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Chartres, and Louise Henriette de Bourbon. Philippe was a member of the House of Orléans, a cadet branch of the French royal family. His mother came from the House of Bourbon-Condé.

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.

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.

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".

Philippe was born at the Château de Saint Cloud, one of the residences of the Duke of Orléans, five kilometers west of Paris. His older sister, born in 1745, died when she was six months old. His younger sister, Bathilde d'Orléans, was born in 1750.

Duke of Orléans

Duke of Orléans was a title reserved for French royalty, first created in 1344 by Philip VI in favor of his son Philip of Valois. Known as princes of the blood, the title of Duke of Orléans was given, when available, to the King of France's eldest brother. Thus, until 1830, they formed a collateral line of the French royal family, with an eventual right to succeed to the throne should more senior princes of the blood die out. In this way, the title of Duke of Orléans may be considered analogous to the Duke of York, which is traditionally granted to the reigning English monarch's second son.

Bathilde dOrléans French noblewoman

Bathilde d'Orléans 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.


Philippe's first title, given to him at birth, was that of the Duke of Montpensier. After his grandfather's death in 1752, Philippe inherited the title of Duke of Chartres. After his father's death in 1785, Philippe became the Duke of Orléans, head of the House of Orléans, one of the wealthiest noble families in France. [1] At his father's death, Philippe became the Premier Prince du Sang, First Prince of the Blood, which put him in line for the succession to the throne immediately after the comte d'Artois, the youngest brother of Louis XVI.

Charles X of France King of France and of Navarre

Charles X was King of France from 16 September 1824 until 2 August 1830. For most of his life he was known as the Count of Artois. An uncle of the uncrowned Louis XVII and younger brother to reigning kings Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he supported the latter in exile. After the Bourbon Restoration in 1814, Charles became the leader of the ultra-royalists, a radical monarchist faction within the French court that affirmed rule by divine right and opposed the concessions towards liberals and guarantees of civil liberties granted by the Charter of 1814. Charles gained influence within the French court after the assassination of his son Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, in 1820 and eventually succeeded his brother in 1824.

Personal life


Louise Marie Adelaide as the Duchess of Chartres. Duplessis - Louise Marie Adelaide de Bourbon.jpg
Louise Marie Adélaïde as the Duchess of Chartres.

On 6 June 1769, Louis Philippe married Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon at the chapel of the Palace of Versailles. She was the daughter of his cousin, Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre, one of the richest men in France. Since it was certain that his wife would become the richest woman in France upon the death of her father, Louis Philippe was able to play a political role in court equal to that of his great-grandfather Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who had been the Regent of France during the minority of Louis XV. [2] Louise Marie Adélaïde brought to the already wealthy House of Orléans a considerable dowry of six million livres, an annual income of 240,000 livres (later increased to 400,000 livres), as well as lands, titles, residences and furniture. [3] Unlike her husband, the Duchess of Orléans did not support the Revolution. She was a devout Catholic who supported keeping the monarchy in France, as well as following the orders of Pope Pius VI. This was the causes of one of the rifts of the couple, as their first son, the future "King of the French", followed his father's footsteps and joined the Jacobin faction. [4]

Palace of Versailles French palace on the outskirts of Paris

The Palace of Versailles was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is located in the department of Yvelines, in the region of Île-de-France, about 20 kilometres southwest of the centre of Paris.

Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre French noble

Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon was the son of Louis Alexandre de Bourbon and his wife Marie Victoire de Noailles. He was also a grandson of Louis XIV of France and his mistress, Madame de Montespan. From birth he was known as the Duke of Penthièvre. He also possessed the following titles: Prince of Lamballe ; Prince of Carignano; Duke of Rambouillet; Duke of Aumale (1775); Duke of Gisors; Duke of Châteauvillain; Duke of Arc-en-Barrois; Duke of Amboise; Count of Eu; Count of Guingamp. He was the father in law of Philippe Égalité.

Philippe II, Duke of Orléans member of the royal family of France, Regent of the Kingdom from 1715 to 1723

Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, was a member of the Royal Family of France and served as Regent of the Kingdom from 1715 to 1723. Born at his father's palace at Saint-Cloud, he was known from birth under the title of Duke of Chartres. His father was Louis XIV's younger brother Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, his mother was Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate.


Louis Philippe d'Orleans, as Duke of Chartres, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ca.1779, Chateau de Chantilly Louis Philippe d'Orleans Reynolds Chantilly.jpg
Louis Philippe d'Orléans, as Duke of Chartres, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ca.1779, Château de Chantilly

During the first few months of their marriage, the couple appeared devoted to each other, but the Duke went back to the life of libertinage he had led before his marriage. The Duke was a well-known womanizer and, like several of his ancestors, such as Louis XIV and Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, had several illegitimate children.

During the summer of 1772, the Duke began his secret liaison with one of his wife's ladies-in-waiting, Stéphanie Félicité Ducrest de St-Albin, comtesse de Genlis, the niece of Madame de Montesson, the morganatic wife of Philippe's father. Passionate at first, the liaison cooled within a few months and, by the spring of 1773, was reported to be "dead". After the romantic affair was over, Madame de Genlis remained in the service of Marie-Adélaïde at the Palais-Royal, a trusted friend to both the Duke and the Duchess. They both appreciated her intelligence and, in July 1779, she became the governess of the couple's twin daughters (born in 1777). [5] One of his most known lovers was Grace Elliot.

It was alleged that Lady Edward FitzGerald, born Stephanie Caroline Anne Syms, also known as Pamela, was a natural daughter of the Duke and the Countess of Genlis. He recognized a son he had with Marguerite Françoise Bouvier de la Mothe de Cépoy, comtesse de Buffon, Victor Leclerc de Buffon (6 September 1792 20 April 1812), known as the chevalier de Saint-Paul and chevalier d'Orléans. [4]

Military career

In 18th century France, it was very common for royal princes to receive high positions in the military. From a young age, Philippe d'Orléans displayed his interest in the Marine royale (French Royal Navy), from which he received three years of training. Due to his great relationship with Marine royale officials, the French army entrusted him with the command of a French fleet squadron called the Saint-Esprit in a battle against Great Britain at Ouessant during the American Revolutionary War in 1778. [4] When he did not obey the comte d'Orvilliers's orders to close in on the rear British squadron, the British escaped, leading him to lose this battle. However, this gave a false impression of victory. The next day, the people of Paris greeted him with open arms, calling him a "hero of war." When the news got out that the victory was false, Philippe could never recover. He withdrew from the navy and asked the army if they could give him a position, but it was denied. [6]

Role in the French Revolution

Louis Philippe d'Orleans with the insignia of the grand master of the Grand Orient de France, the governing body of French freemasonry. Philippe d'Orleans en grand-maitre du GOF.jpg
Louis Philippe d'Orléans with the insignia of the grand master of the Grand Orient de France, the governing body of French freemasonry.

Liberal ideology

Philippe d'Orléans was a member of the Jacobin faction, and like most Jacobins during the French Revolution, he strongly adhered to the principles of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and was interested in creating a more moral and democratic form of government in France. [7] As he grew more and more interested in Rousseau's ideas, he began to promote Enlightenment ideas, such as the separation of church and state and limited monarchy. He also advocated and voted against feudalism and slavery. [8]

In addition to being a Jacobin, Philippe was also the Grand Master of the Masonic Grand Orient de France, the most powerful Masonic Obedience in worldwide Continental Freemasonry (which stands opposed to the "Regular" Freemasonry of the United Grand Lodge of England and the majority of lodges in the United States of America), from 1771 to 1793, even though he did not attend a meeting until 1777. He later distanced himself from Freemasonry in a letter dated January 1793, and the Grand Orient vacated his position on 13 December 1793. [9]

Philippe was also a strong admirer of the British constitutional monarchy. [4] He strongly advocated for France's adoption of a constitutional monarchy rather than the absolute monarchy that was present in France at the time.


As the new Duke of Orléans, one of the many estates Philippe inherited from his father was the Palais-Royal, which became known as the Palais-Égalité in 1792 [10] because he opened up its doors to all people of France, regardless of their estate (class). He employed Swiss guards to only refuse entry to "drunkards, women in excessively indecent dress, and those in tatters." [11] He built shops and cafés wherein people could interact, and soon enough it became a hub for social life in Paris. Due to the fact that Parisian police had no authority to enter into the Duke of Orléans's private property, it became a hub for illegal activity, such as the trade of stolen goods, suspicious deals, and the spread of revolutionary ideas. In fact, it was a common place for Jacobins to meet and discuss their plans and ideas. [8] Many members of the National Assembly claimed that the Palais-Royal was the "birthplace of the Revolution." Philippe's goal was to create a place where people could meet, which he argued was a crucial part of democracy and a "physical need for civil life." [11]

Leadership in the Estates-General

Philippe d'Orléans was elected to the Estates-General by three districts: by the nobility of Paris, Villers-Cotterêts, and Crépy-en-Valois. As a noble in the Second Estate, he was the head of the liberal minority under the guidance of Adrien Duport. Although he was a member of the Second Estate, he felt a strong connection to the Third Estate, as they comprised the majority of the members in the Estates-General, yet were the most underrepresented. When the Third Estate decided to take the Tennis Court Oath and break away from the Estates-General to form the National Assembly, Philippe was one of the very first to join them and was a very important figure in the unification of the nobility and the Third Estate. In fact, he led his minority group of 47 nobles to secede from their estate and join the National Assembly. [12] [4]

Women's March on Versailles and Exile

One of the main accusations thrown at Philippe d'Orléans was the initiation of the Women's March on Versailles on 5 October 1789, which people believed was done in order to overthrow the King and gain popularity amongst the people. He was accused of funding the riots, as well as calling the rioters his "friends", who were chanting: "Long live our father, long live King d'Orléans!" The High Court of the Grand Châtelet also accused him of acting as an accomplice to Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, comte de Mirabeau, in an attempt to murder Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, during this period.

The Marquis de Lafayette, who was a strong power in France at the time and a supposed "friend" of d'Orléans, suggested to him to go to the British Isles with the promise that he could potentially become the head of state of Brabant. However, the truth is that Lafayette viewed d'Orléans as a threat to his control of the French Revolution. His goal was simply to get Philippe out of the country.

At first, it was difficult to convince d'Orléans to leave France during these troubling times, but after strong pressure and enticement from Lafayette, he ended up leaving. Throughout his weeks in exile, he wrote several memoirs mentioning his strong desire to return to France. When he did return, he never regained the same power and influence he enjoyed in the years before he left. Those who did not support him, as well as people overseas, labeled him as a coward for fleeing to England as a result of his accusations, calling it a period of "exile." However, he was able to keep his position in the National Assembly until it disbanded on September 30, 1791. [4]

Citoyen Égalité

Due to the liberal ideology that separated Philippe d'Orléans from the rest of his royal family, he always felt uncomfortable with his name.[ citation needed ] He felt that the political connotations associated with his name did not match his democratic and Enlightenment philosophies, thus he requested that the Paris Commune (French Revolution) allow his name to be changed, which was granted. [8] Shortly after the September Massacres in 1792, [13] he changed his surname to Égalité, ("equality" in English). As one of the three words in the motto of the French Revolution (Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité), he felt that this name better represented him as a symbol of the French people and what they were fighting for.[ citation needed ]

Égalité also attributed his new surname to the reputation of generosity that he had among the people of France, especially the poor. He was well known for distributing food and money to the poor, as well as providing shelter for homeless during the severe winter of 1788-1789. [11]

Relationship with King Louis XVI

Although a relative of King Louis XVI, Philippe d'Orléans never maintained a positive relationship with his cousin. Upon inheriting the title of Duke of Orléans, Philippe also became the Premier Prince du Sang - the most important personage of the kingdom after the king's immediate family. Therefore, he would be next in line to the throne should the main Bourbon line die out. [14] For this reason, many [ who? ] supposed that Philippe's goal was to take his cousin's throne. Philippe and the King's wife, Marie Antoinette, also detested each other. Marie Antoinette hated him for what she viewed as treachery, hypocrisy and selfishness, and he, in turn, scorned her for her frivolous and spendthrift lifestyle. [15] The King's reluctance to grant Philippe a position in the army after his loss at the Battle of Ushant is said to be another reason for Philippe's discontent with the King. [6]

One of the most astounding events occurred when Philippe took a vote in favor of King Louis XVI's execution. He had agreed among close friends that he would vote against his execution, but surrounded by the Montagnards, a radical faction in the National Convention, he turned on his word, to the surprise of many. [6] A majority (75 votes) was necessary to indict the King, and an overwhelming amount of 394 votes were collected in favor of his death. The King was especially shocked by the news, stating:

"It really pains me to see that Monsieur d'Orléans, my kinsman, voted for my death." [8]

To this day, the Duke of Orleans is remembered as a traitor not only to his King, but also to his family. The aforementioned talk of liberal ideas is but a flowery way of describing the degenerate mind of the Duke. He criticised the Ancien Régime often, but actually the Parisian palace of Órleans was the only place in Paris, other than Versailles, where the police and other civil authorities had no jurisdiction. As a consequence, pornographic magazines and other brainwashing propaganda was sold and bought there everyday. In his book Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, Professor Simon Schama mentions a particularly nasty drawing of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette eating Marie Antoinette's punani. The drawing read "Res Publica". Ever since then, and especially after the second act of treachery by the House of Órleans, that of Louis Philippe I, the Órleans in France are looked upon as traitors and strongly disliked by remaining Aristocrats and any Catholics with any moral code.

Therefore, due to the disgusting reputation of the House of Órleans, French legitimists claim the throne not for the Count of Paris (only remaining French descendant of direct line of Louis XIV of France), but for the Spanish prince Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou. Presently, many Órleans family members protest this and claim the absolute dynastic rights of the Counts of Paris. They of course are immensely selfish and give themselves ridiculous airs of royalty and greatness, for they fail to realise that it was their own ancestors who brought about that very dynastic quarrel with their treacherous and unpatriotic and immoral actions.


Image of death by guillotine. Guillotine 0332.jpg
Image of death by guillotine.

On 1 April 1793, a decree was voted for within the Convention, including Égalité's vote, that condemned anyone with "strong presumptions of complicity with the enemies of Liberty." At the time, Égalité's son, Louis Philippe, who was a general in the French army, joined General Dumouriez in a plot to visit the Austrians, who were an enemy of France. Although there was no evidence that convicted Égalité himself of treason, the simple relationship that his son had with Dumouriez, a traitor in the eyes of the Convention, was enough to get him and the members of the Bourbon family still in France arrested on 7 April 1793. He spent several months incarcerated at Fort Saint-Jean in Marseille until he was sent back to Paris. On 2 November 1793, he was imprisoned at the Conciergerie. Tried by the Revolutionary Tribunal on 6 November, he was sentenced to death, [8] and guillotined the same day. [16]


The Duke and Duchess of Orléans had six children:


Titles and succession

Styles of
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Arms of Gaston dOrleans.svg
Reference style His Serene Highness
Spoken styleYour Serene Highness

Philippe d'Orléans has been portrayed in several films, such as the 1938 film, Marie Antoinette, in which he was portrayed by Joseph Schildkraut, and the 2001 film The Lady and the Duke by Jean-Claude Dreyfus.

Philippe d'Orléans was an antagonist in the anime "The Rose of Versailles" by Riyoko Ikeda.

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  15. Albert Soboul, Dictionnaire Historique de la Rév. Fr. Paris 1989 (PUF) S. 800
  16. Lewis, Gwynne. "Why Philippe Égalité Died on the Scaffold." TLS, no. 4900, 28 Feb. 1997, p. 30.
  17. Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 90.
  18. http://www.heraldica.org/topics/france/frroyal.htm#sang Style of HSH and further information on Princes of the Blood