|Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans|
1 September 1715 –15 February 1723
|Monarch||Louis XV of France|
|Prime Minister||Guillaume Dubois (in 1723)|
The Régence (French pronunciation: [ʁeʒɑ̃s] , Regency) was the period in French history between 1715 and 1723, when King Louis XV was a minor and the country was governed by Philippe d'Orléans, a nephew of Louis XIV of France, as prince regent.
Philippe was able to take power away from the Duke of Maine (illegitimate son of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan) who had been the favourite son of the late king and possessed much influence. From 1715 to 1718 the Polysynody changed the system of government in France, in which each minister (secretary of state) was replaced by a council. The système de Law was also introduced, which transformed the finances of the bankrupted kingdom and its aristocracy. Both Cardinal Dubois and Cardinal Fleury were highly influential during this time.
Contemporary European rulers included Philip V of Spain, John V of Portugal, George I of Great Britain, Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, and Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia, the maternal grandfather of Louis XV.
There were seven parts of the Polysynody all of which had their own ministers for the Regency:
The Régence marks the temporary eclipse of Versailles as centre of policymaking, since the Regent's court was at the Palais Royal in Paris. It marks the rise of Parisian salons as cultural centres, as literary meeting places and nuclei of discreet liberal resistance to some official policies. In the Paris salons aristocrats mingled more easily with the higher Bourgeoisie in a new atmosphere of relaxed decorum, comfort and intimacy.
In the arts, the style of the Régence is marked by early Rococo, characterised by the paintings of Antoine Watteau (1684–1721).
Rococo developed first in the decorative arts and interior design. Louis XIV's succession brought a change in the court artists and general artistic fashion. By the end of the old king's reign, rich Baroque designs were giving way to lighter elements with more curves and natural patterns. These elements are obvious in the architectural designs of Nicolas Pineau. During the Régence, court life moved away from Versailles and this artistic change became well established, first in the royal palace and then throughout French high society. The delicacy and playfulness of Rococo designs is often seen as perfectly in tune with the excesses of Louis XV's regime.
The 1730s represented the height of Rococo development in France. The style had spread beyond architecture and furniture to painting and sculpture, exemplified by the works of Antoine Watteau and François Boucher. Rococo still maintained the Baroque taste for complex forms and intricate patterns, but by this point, it had begun to integrate a variety of diverse characteristics, including a taste for Oriental designs and asymmetric compositions.
The Régence is also the customary French word for the pre-independence regimes in the western North African countries, the so-called Barbary Coast. It was applied to:
French colonial expansion was not limited to the New World, however. In Senegal in West Africa, the French began to establish trading posts along the coast in 1624. In 1664, the French East India Company was established to compete for trade in the east. Colonies were established in India in Chandernagore (1673) and Pondichéry in the south east (1674), and later at Yanam (1723), Mahé (1725), and Karikal (1739) (see French India). Colonies were also founded in the Indian Ocean, on the Île de Bourbon (Réunion, 1664), Isle de France (now Mauritius, 1718), and the Seychelles (1756).
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.
Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, Marquise of Montespan, better known as Madame de Montespan, was the most celebrated maîtresse-en-titre of King Louis XIV of France, by whom she had seven children.
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, 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 Henri de Bourbon, Duke of Bourbon, or Louis Henri I, Prince of Condé, was head of the Bourbon-Condé cadet branch of the France's reigning House of Bourbon from 1710 to his death, and served as prime minister to his kinsman Louis XV from 1723 to 1726.
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 Alexandre de Bourbon, comte de Toulouse (1681), duc de Penthièvre (1697), (1711),, a legitimated prince of the blood royal, was the son of Louis XIV and of his mistress Françoise-Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan. At the age of five, he became grand admiral of France.
Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon was the son of Louis Alexandre de Bourbon and his wife Marie Victoire de Noailles. He was therefore 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.
Louis-Auguste de Bourbon, duc du Maine was an illegitimate son of the French king Louis XIV and his official mistress, Madame de Montespan. The king's favourite son, he was the founder of the semi-royal House of Bourbon-Maine named after his title and his surname.
Louise Élisabeth d'Orléans was Queen of Spain from January to August 1724 as the wife of King Louis I.
Marie Anne de Bourbon, Légitimée de France was the eldest legitimised daughter of King Louis XIV of France and his mistress Louise de La Vallière. At the age of thirteen, she was married to Louis Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti and as such was the Princess of Conti by marriage. Her father's favourite daughter, Marie Anne was widowed in 1685 aged 19. She never married again and had no children. Following her mother's retirement to a convent, Marie Anne continued to reside at her father's court and was later her mother's heiress. She later became the Duchess of La Vallière in her own right.
Françoise Marie de Bourbon, légitimée de France was the youngest illegitimate daughter of Louis XIV of France and his maîtresse-en-titre, Françoise-Athénaïs de Rochechouart, 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, Portugal, Spain, and France.
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 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 Françoise de Bourbon, Duchess of Bourbon was the eldest surviving legitimised daughter of Louis XIV of France and his maîtresse-en-titre, Madame de Montespan. She was said to have been named after her godmother, Louise de La Vallière, the woman that her mother had replaced as the king's mistress. Prior to her marriage, she was known at court as Mademoiselle de Nantes.
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.
Philippine Élisabeth d'Orléans known as Mademoiselle de Beaujolais was the daughter of Philippe d'Orléans, duc d'Orléans and his wife, Françoise-Marie de Bourbon, the youngest legitimised daughter of King Louis XIV and his mistress, Madame de Montespan. As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, and of the House of Orléans, Philippine Élisabeth was a Princesse du Sang. She died of smallpox at the age of nineteen.
The Cellamare conspiracy of 1718 was a conspiracy against the Regent of France, Philippe d'Orléans (1674–1723). Concocted in Spain, the plot was the brainchild of Antonio del Giudice, Prince of Cellamare.
Louise Françoise de Bourbon was a grand daughter of Louis XIV of France and his mistress Françoise Athénaïs de Rochechouart de Mortemart, better known as Madame de Montespan. Louise-Françoise was known as Mademoiselle du Maine and had no children.
Jean Philippe, bâtard d'Orléans, called le chevalier d'Orléans or le Grand Prieur d'Orléans, was an illegitimate son of Philippe d'Orléans, nephew and son-in-law of Louis XIV.