That region in Franco of which the city of Orleans was the capital formed successively a viscounty and a county under the Carlovingian and Capctian dynasties. Philip AT. of France erected it in 1344 into a duchy and peerage, and bestowed it as an apanage upon his son Philip, who died in 1375. Besides several princes of the royal family who occasionally bore the title, it was subsequently held by three families or branches: 1, that of Orleans-Valois (1392-1498), consisting of three dukes, Louis I., second son of Charles V. of France; Charles, the poet; and his son Louis II., who ascended the throne as Louis XII.; 2, the first house of Orleans-Bourbon (1626-'60), which had but one duke, Gaston, brother of Louis XIII., who died without male issue; 3, the second house of Orleans-Bourbon (1660-1842), which originated with Philippe, the brother of Louis XIV. and husband of Henrietta Anna of England; it reckons among its members Philippe, the regent under the minority of Louis XV., Louis Philippe Joseph, known as Philippe Egalite during the French revolution, and Xing Louis Philippe, whose eldest son, Ferdinand Philippe, who died in 1842, was the last who held the title of duke of Orleans. - Of the various families of Orleans, the following are the most important members.
Lonis, the head of the family of Orleans-Valois, born in 1371, assassinated Xov. 23, 1407. The second son of King Charles Y. by Jeanne of Bourbon, he was first styled duke of Valois, then of Tou-raine, and finally of Orleans in 1392. He married Valentina Visconti, a Milanese princess, by whom he had several children. When his brother Charles VI. was seized with madness, he tried to share the power with his uncles, and through the influence of Queen Isabella secured a considerable part in the administration. On the death of Philip of Burgundy in 1404, he had for a while the full control of affairs, under the title of lieutenant general of the kingdom, in concert with the queen; but his maladministration soon made him unpopular, and John the Fearless, son of Philip of Burgundy, was hailed as a liberator when he presented himself before the gates of Paris' The rivalry between the two princes foreboded civil war; but the duke of Berry, their uncle, brought about a seeming reconciliation, Nov. 20, 1407. Three days later the duke of Orleans fell a victim to assassins hired by the duke of Burgundy. This murder gave the signal for civil wars between the Burgundians and the Armagnacs, the latter being the adherents of the family of Orleans.
Charles, eldest son of the preceding, born in Paris, May 26, 1391, died in Amboise, Jan. 4, 1465. He was educated under the supervision of his mother, and became familiar with the poems of the French trouveres and of the great Italian writers. On his father's death he showed little executive ability, and when his mother died in 14Q9 he signed with John of Burgundy a treaty of peace, styled the paix fourree by French historians. But his party soon found a more energetic leader in Count Bernard of Armagnac, whose daughter Charles married in 1410, his first wife, the widow of Richard II. of England, having died the previous year. Under direction of Bernard civil war was renewed, but was terminated by the peace of Arras in 1414. Charles joined the French army under the constable d'Albret in 1415, fought bravely at Agincourt, was wounded, taken prisoner, and carried to England, where during his captivity of 25 years he composed a series of miscellaneous poems. He was permitted to return to France in 1440, on condition of paying a ransom of 200,000 gold crowns and not bearing arms against England. He now married Mary of Cleves, who 22 years later bore him a son who was afterward Louis XII. On the death of his uncle Filippo Vis-conti, after a fruitless attempt to take possession of the duchy of Milan, he obtained the county of Asti, his mother's dowry.
Toward the close of his life he became involved in political intrigues against Louis XL, but the monarch treated him with contempt, and the duke is said to have died of grief in consequence. His poems were brought to light in 1734 by the abbe Sallier. The best manuscript copy of them is in the British museum. The English portion of them was printed for the Roxburghe club (4to, London, 1827).
Jean Baptistc Gaston, the youngest son of Henry IV. and brother of Louis XIII, born at Fontainebleau, April 25, 1608, died in Blois, Feb. 2, 1060. He was first known under the title of duke of Anjou, and early showed signs of opposition to his brother's minister Richelieu, shared in all the conspiracies against him, and on every occasion was frightened into submission and the betrayal of his friends. He consented to marry Mlle. de Montpensier, the richest heiress in France, whom he had previously refused; she bore him an only daughter, afterward greatly celebrated under the title of Mademoiselle, and died suddenly. He and his mother, and nearly all the courtiers, were utterly worsted by Richelieu in the imbroglio known as the journée des dupes, October, 1630. The next year, his mother having fled to Brussels, he issued a threatening manifesto against the minister, repaired to the court of Charles III. of Lorraine, whose sister he secretly married notwithstanding the prohibition of his brother, and then, joining his mother, entered into a new plot which ended in open rebellion.
The governor of Languedoc, Henri de Montmorency, was persuaded to take part in it, but was deserted by Gaston at the battle of Castelnaudary, in September, 1632. Gaston submitted to terms dictated by Richelieu, but soon escaped again to Brussels, where he made his marriage known. The minister, taking advantage of this avowal, made the duke of Lorraine pay for his brother-in-law's revolt, and caused his duchy to be forcibly occupied in 1634, the king in person taking the city of Bar-le-duc. Gaston was spared, as "being of the royal blood of France, which must be respected," but received orders to retire to Blois. In 1636 he was privy to, if not an accomplice in, a plan for the assassination of Richelieu. In 1642 he shared in the conspiracy of Cinq-Mars, and negotiated personally with Spain; but the secret having been divulged and Cinq-Mars arrested, he gave evidence which sent his accomplice to the scaffold. He evinced some personal bravery in 1644-'6 at the head of the French army in Flanders; but during the war of the Fronde he served and betrayed by turns the king, the princes, the parliament, and the popular party.
He was finally exiled to Blois. He left Mémoires de ce qui s'est passe de plus remar-quable en France de 1608 a 1635 (Amsterdam, 1683).
Philippe H, regent of France during the minority of Louis XV., born at St. Cloud, Aug. 2, 1674, died in Paris, Dec. 2, 1723. He was the second duke of the second house of Orleans-Bourbon, and the son of Philippe I., brother of Louis XIV., by his second wife, Elisabeth Charlotte of Bavaria. Until his father's death in 1701 he bore the name of duke of Chartres. He was highly gifted and accomplished; but from his sub-preceptor, the abbe Dubois, he learned infidelity and immorality. By his advice he married in 1692 Mlle, de Blois, natural daughter of Louis XIV. by Mme. de Montespan, a union no less distasteful to his parents than to himself. He distinguished himself at the siege of Mons in 1691, and in the taking of Namur in 1692, and was wounded at the battle of Steenkerk. In 1693, at Neer-winden, leading the light cavalry, he displayed such skill and bravery that the jealousy of Louis XIV. obliged him to leave the army. His forced inactivity led him into dissipation, but he devoted a portion of his time to painting and natural philosophy. After the death of Charles II. of Spain, he signed, in conjunction with his father, a protest against the late sovereign's will, which ignored their rights to the Spanish crown in case the elder Bourbon line should become extinct.
In 1706 the king appointed him commander of the French army in Italy, but placed him in fact under the control of Marshal Marsin, who, opposed by Prince Eugene, lost the battle of Turin, Philippe trying in vain by skilful manoeuvres to retrieve the fortune of the day. In 1707 in Spain he subdued the provinces of Valencia, Aragon, and Catalonia, took Lérida, which 60 years before had frustrated the efforts of the great Condé, successfully conducted several expeditions in 1708, and was received with great honors in Madrid. Suspected of aspiring to the crown of Spain, he was recalled to France, was obliged to make a formal renunciation of all his claims or pretensions to the Spanish throne, and forbidden to appear again at Versailles. Once more exiled from active life, he devoted much of his time and money to chemical experiments, and was charged with poisoning the dauphin, the duke and duchess of Burgundy, and their second son, in order to open his way to the throne. He repelled the accusation, and insisted upon a trial, his chemist at the same time offering to surrender himself; but Louis XIV. gave him no opportunity of publicly establishing his innocence, though Philippe vindicated his good name afterward by the paternal care which he bestowed upon the infant king, then the only bar between him and the throne.
After the death of Louis XIV. he persuaded parliament to set aside the royal will, to place the regency exclusively in his hands, and to confide to him the guardianship of young Louis XV. He was regent from Sept, 2, 1715, to Feb. 22, 1723; and during his administration, especially in the early part of it, he had to contend against many adverse circumstances. The state was deeply in debt; provinces had been desolated by protracted wars; commerce was completely paralyzed. After attempting several measures of relief, in 1716 the regent adopted John Law's plan of a national bank, which for a time created a fictitious prosperity, but in 1720 ended in a terrible crash and an increase of the public debt. Some retrenchment and reform however was effected. The regent abandoned altogether the foreign policy of Louis XIV. Yielding to the representations of Dubois, who received a large pension from the English government, he concluded, Jan. 4, 1717, with Great Britain and Holland, the treaty known as the "triple alliance," by which he consented to expel the pretender from France, to discontinue the fortifications at Mardyck, to destroy the port of Dunkirk, and not to increase the French navy, giving up at the same time all right to trade in the South sea.
Meanwhile Alberoni, prime minister of Philip V. of Spain, was devising plans to overthrow the house of Hanover in England and the regent in France, and restore Spain to her former rank as a ruling power in Europe. A conspiracy plotted in Paris by the Spanish ambassador Cellamare, the duchess of Maine, and some discontented noblemen in Brittany, was discovered by Dubois; but the regent contented himself with sending the ambassador back to Spain and the duchess to her chateau at Sceaux, and executing four of the insurgent Bretons. But this plot led to active hostilities with Spain; and Austria having joined the triple alliance in 1718, the English destroyed the Spanish fleet, and Berwick stormed some of the northern strongholds of Spain. Alberoni, whose plans were battled, was expelled from Spain, and by the treaty of Madrid, January, 1720, part of western Europe was remodelled, mainly through the influence of the abbe Dubois, who rose to the rank of cardinal and archbishop. After Louis XV. was declared of age, Dubois continued prime minister for about six months, and on his death the duke of Orleans resumed the reins of government in that capacity; but his constitution had been shattered by debauchery, and before the end of four months he died of apoplexy.
By his marriage with Mlle, de Bloishe had one son, Louis (1703-'52), and six daughters. A natural son, Jean Philippe, known as the chevalier d'Orleans, became high prior of the order of St. John of Jerusalem, and a grandee of Spain.
Louis Philippe Joseph, styled Philippe Egalité, the fifth duke of his house, and great-grandson of the regent, born at St. Cloud, April 13. 1747, guillotined in Paris, Nov. 6, 1793. Under the title of duke of Chartres, which he bore till 1785, he married in 1769 Louise Marie Adelaide of Bourbon-Penthievre, great-granddaughter of Louis XIV. and Mme. de Montespan, who, owing to her brother's death, brought her husband the rich inheritance of her house. He increased his immense fortune by speculation, and constructed three of the rows of buildings around the garden of the Palais Royal. He early showed signs of opposition to the court, and in 1771 signed the protest of the princes against the dissolution of the ancient parliaments. Queen Marie Antoinette felt an instinctive antipathy to him, and he conceived a violent hatred toward her, which occasionally broke out in open hostility. In 1776 he became the head of "the princes' party," in opposition to that of the queen, and charged Marie Antoinette with instigating the wrongs and insults he received from Louis XVI. His claims to the office of grand admiral of France being disallowed, he participated in 1778 as a volunteer in the naval battle of Ushant, when the highest praise, soon followed by ridicule, was bestowed upon his conduct; he was then recalled, and received the empty title of colonel-general of hussars.
After a visit to London, where he was intimate with the prince of Wales, afterward George IV., he devoted himself to pleasure and dissipation. During the famous diamond necklace trial, he denounced Marie Antoinette, and is charged with having encouraged the libellous publications of the countess of Lamotte. In 1787 he appeared in the assembly of notables, and plotted with the most ardent members of the parliamentary opposition. He opposed the financial policy of the government, and was consequently exiled to Villers-Cotterets. The popularity thus acquired was enhanced by his lavish expenditure of money to relieve the sufferings of the people during the severe winter of 1788-'9, and in the succeeding elections for the states general he was chosen at Paris, Villers-Cotterets, and Crespy in Valois. He was among the first nobles who joined the deputies of the third estate, and aided in transforming the states general into a national assembly. The Palais Royal became the headquarters of revolutionary demonstrations, and thence came the signal for the storming of the Bastile. The events of Oct. 5 and 6, 1789, were generally ascribed to the Orleans party; the duke himself was accused by the Châtelet; but the assembly declared there was not sufficient reason to allow one of its members to be arraigned before a tribunal.
Lafayette, however, forced him by threats to go to London, where he remained for nine months. On his return, July 11, 1790, there were some attempts at a reconciliation between him and the court; he had been at last promoted to the admiralship; but the treatment which he received from the courtiers estranged him for ever, and incited him to further revolutionary projects. But his wavering and pusillanimous conduct disheartened his adherents, and Mirabeau, who had favored his aspirations to the throne, turned from him in disgust. On the flight of the king from Paris he permitted the best opportunity for the accomplishment of his plans to escape, without even the show of an attempt. His party, however, continued to foster popular movements, and the duke freely mingled with the Jacobins, the Cordeliers, and the members of the revolutionary commune of Paris. He now dropped his patronymic to assume the surname of Egalité, was elected to the convention, and took his seat among the montagnards. On the trial of Louis XVI., either of his own accord or through compulsion and fear, he voted for the death of his cousin.
But this did not secure him the confidence of the revolutionists, who suspected him of sinister designs; and such suspicions were enhanced by the plot of Dumouriez to reestablish the constitution of 1791 and restore royalty. The committee of general security ordered him to be arrested, April 6, 1793, as well as all the members of his family. He was tried at Marseilles and acquitted; but on the proscription of the Girondists, he was brought back to Paris by order of the convention, Nov. 5, arraigned the next morning before the great revolutionary tribunal, found guilty on several false or frivolous charges, and sentenced to death. On hearing this verdict, he exclaimed: "Since you were determined on my death, you ought at least to have put forth more reasonable grounds for my condemnation! " and he insisted upon being at once taken to the scaffold. He thenceforth evinced remarkable self-possession, firmness, and dignity, and met his fate without the slightest perceptible emotion. His virtuous wife was a prisoner through the revolution, and on her release in 1797 received a pension of 100,000 francs from the government, went to Spain, and thence to Palermo. She returned to France in 1814, and died in 1821. Besides Louis Philippe, she had two sons: Antoine Philippe, duke of Montpensier (1775-1807), who left interesting personal Memoires, contained in Baudouin's and Barriere's collections, and Alphonse Léod-gar, count of Beaujolais (1779-1808); and one daughter, Louise Marie Adelaïde Eugenie (see Adelaide). These children were early separated from their mother and confided to the care of Mme. de Genlis.
Ferdinand Philippe Louis Charles Henri Joseph, the eldest son of King Louis Philippe and grandson of the preceding, born in Palermo, Sept. 3, 1810, died near Paris, July 13, 1842. As duke of Chartres, he was educated in the college of Henry IV. In 1825 he was appointed by Charles X. colonel of the first regiment of hussars. He was in garrison at Joigny at the time of the outbreak of July, 1830, upon which he hastened to Paris at the head of his regiment, and by the election of his father to the throne became duke of Orleans and prince royal. He served in Belgium under Marshal Gérard, led the advanced guard of the French army, and had a share in the siege of Antwerp. In 1835 he fought several battles with the Arabs in Algeria, and was wounded on the banks of the Habrah. He married Helena of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, May 30, 1837. In 1839 he went again to Africa, and led one of the divisions of the army which, under Marshal Valée, forced the defile of Bibans or the Iron Gates. In 1840 he commanded the expedition against the province of Titterv, routed the tribes headed by Ben Salem, forced the pass of Mouzaiah, defended by Abd-el-Ka-der himself, carried M6deah and Milianah, and thus secured to the French the right bank of the middle Shellirr. In 1841 and 1842 he busied himself in France in improving the organization of the army.
He was on his way to Neuilly to visit his parents when his horses became ungovernable, and in jumping from his carriage he fell on the pavement and fractured his skull. He was taken to a neighboring house, where he expired after a few hours. The duke of Orleans was very popular, and his death was universally lamented.
HéLene Lonise Elisa-Heth, wife of the preceding, and daughter of Prince Frederick Louis of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, born at Ludwigslust, Jan. 24, 1814, died in Richmond, England, May 18, 1858. On the death of her husband she devoted herself to the education of her two sons, Louis Philippe Albert, count de Paris, born Aug. 24, 1838, and Robert Philippe Louis Eugene Ferdinand, duke de Chartres, born Nov. 9, 1840. A few months after her husband's death Louis Philippe caused a bill of regency to be presented to the two chambers, by which she was deprived of the rights which belonged to her according to previous usages of the French monarchy. She appeared with both her sons in the chamber of deputies on the eventful Feb. 24, 1848, and was on the point of being proclaimed regent when the hall was invaded by the mob. She was obliged to retreat to the Hotel des Inva-lides in company with her brother-in-law the duke de Nemours, and finally with her sons reached Belgium in safety. She accepted the hospitality extended by her maternal uncle, the grand duke of Weimar, and settled at Eisenach. When the prospects of her son for the throne of France were blasted by the success of Napoleon III., disappointment preyed upon her mind; her health failed, and during a visit to her husband's family in England she died.
A collection of her letters has been published, and a memoir of her life translated by Mrs. Austin from the French (8vo, London, 1859). - The decree of perpetual exile of the Orleans family, passed May 30, 1848, was abrogated by the general assembly at Versailles in June, 1871; and in November, 1872, a bill was passed restoring their immense estates, confiscated by Napoleon III., June 22, 1852. For accounts of other members of the family see Aumale, Cuar-tres (duke de), Joinville, Lous Philippe, Montpensier, Nemours, and Paris (count de).