Louis Philippe I d'Orléans, roi des Français

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King Louis Philippe de Bourbon (Capétiens, Bourbon), Duc d'Orléans, Roi des Français

Also Known As: "Last king of France", "duke of Orleans", "Rei dos Franceses", "o Rei Burguês"
Birthdate: (76)
Birthplace: 25 Rue de Valois, Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Death: August 26, 1850 (76)
Claremont House, Surrey, England, UK
Place of Burial: Dreux, Centre, France
Immediate Family:

Son of Louis Philippe, duc d'Orléans; Duke Louis Philippe Orleans, II; Luísa Maria Adelaide de Bourbon and Louise-Marie Adelaide Bourbon
Husband of Maria Amalia di Borbone-Napoli
Partner of Beata Catharina Wahlbom
Father of Princess Louise d'Orléans, Queen consort of the Belgians; Eric Kolström; Ferdinand Philippe, duc d'Orleans; Princess Marie Christine of Orléans, Duchess of Württemberg; Louis Charles Philippe Raphaël d'Orléans, duc de Nemours and 6 others
Brother of Stillborn de Bourbon, princesse d' Orléans; Louis Antoine Philippe Bourbon-Orléans; Louise Marie Adélaïde Eugénie de Bourbon-Orleans; Louis Charles d'Orléans; Adelaide d'Orlâeans and 1 other
Half brother of Fortunée Elisabeth Hermine Brûlart de Sillery; Pamela Brûlart de Sillery and Victor Leclerc de Buffon, le "chevallier de Saint-Paul"

Occupation: King of France 1830-1848, King of the French
Managed by: Ofir Friedman
Last Updated:

About Louis Philippe I d'Orléans, roi des Français

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Predecessor: Charles X (as King of France and of Navarre) Successor: Title abolished


Louis Philippe I (6 October 1773 – 26 August 1850) was King of the French from 1830 to 1848 in what was known as the July Monarchy. His father was a duke who supported the Revolution of 1789 but was nevertheless guillotined during the Reign of Terror. Louis Philippe fled France as a young man and spent 21 years in exile. He was proclaimed king in 1830 after Charles X was forced to abdicate. Louis Philippe himself was forced to abdicate in 1848 and lived out his life in exile in the United Kingdom. He was the last king to rule France,

Children: Prince Ferdinand d'Orléans Married Duchess Helene of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Louise d'Orléans Married Leopold I of Belgium Princess Marie d'Orléans Married Duke Alexander of Württemberg Prince Louis d'Orléans Married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Princess Françoise Louise Caroline d'Orléans Princess Clémentine d'Orléans Married Prince August of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Prince François d'Orléans Married Princess Francisca of Brazil Prince Charles d'Orléans Prince Henri d'Orléans Married Princess Maria Carolina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies Prince Antoine d'Orléans Married Infanta Luisa Fernanda, Duchess of Montpensier


Louis Philippe I was King of the French from 1830 to 1848 as the leader of the Orléanist party. As a member of the cadet branch of the Royal House of France and a cousin of King Louis XVI of France by reason of his descent from their common ancestors Louis XIII and Louis XIV, he had earlier found it necessary to flee France during the period of the French Revolution in order to avoid imprisonment and execution, a fate that actually befell his father Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans. He spent 21 years in exile after he left France in 1793. He was proclaimed king in 1830 after his cousin Charles X was forced to abdicate in the wake of the events of the July Revolution of that year. His government, known as the July Monarchy, was dominated by members of a wealthy French elite and numerous former Napoleonic officials. He followed conservative policies, especially under the influence of the French statesman François Guizot during the period 1840–48. He also promoted friendship with Britain and sponsored colonial expansion, notably the conquest of Algeria. His popularity faded as economic conditions in France deteriorated in 1847, and he was forced to abdicate after the outbreak of the French Revolution of 1848. He lived out his life in exile in Great Britain.

Louis Philippe was born in the Palais Royal, the residence of the Orléans family in Paris, to Louis Philippe, Duke of Chartres (who would become Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, upon the death of his father Louis Philippe I), and Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon. As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, he was a Prince of the Blood, which entitled him the use of the style "Serene Highness". His mother was an extremely wealthy heiress who was descended from Louis XIV of France through a legitimized line.

Louis Philippe was the eldest of three sons and a daughter, a family that was to have erratic fortunes from the beginning of the French Revolution to the Bourbon Restoration.

The elder branch of the House of Bourbon, to which the kings of France belonged, deeply distrusted the intentions of the cadet branch, which would succeed to the throne of France should the senior branch die out. Louis Philippe's father was exiled from the royal court, and the Orléans confined themselves to studies of the literature and sciences emerging from the Enlightenment.

Louis Philippe was tutored by the Countess of Genlis, beginning in 1782. She instilled in him a fondness for liberal thought; it is probably during this period that Louis Philippe picked up his slightly Voltairean[clarification needed] brand of Catholicism. When Louis Philippe's grandfather died in 1785, his father succeeded him as Duke of Orléans and Louis Philippe succeeded his father as Duke of Chartres.

In 1788, with the Revolution looming, the young Louis Philippe showed his liberal sympathies when he helped break down the door of a prison cell in Mont Saint-Michel, during a visit there with the Countess of Genlis. From October 1788 to October 1789, the Palais Royal was a meeting-place for the revolutionaries.

Louis Philippe grew up in a period that changed Europe as a whole and, following his father's strong support for the Revolution, he involved himself completely in those changes. In his diary, he reports that he himself took the initiative to join the Jacobin Club, a move that his father supported.

The duke of Chartres (dismounted) and his brother, the Duke of Montpensier (on horseback), in dragoon uniform at the Battle of Valmy (1792) In June 1791, Louis Philippe got his first opportunity to become involved in the affairs of France. In 1785, he had been given the hereditary appointment of Colonel of the 14th Regiment of Dragoons.

With war on the horizon in 1791, all proprietary colonels were ordered to join their regiments. Louis Philippe showed himself to be a model officer, and he demonstrated his personal bravery in two famous instances. First, three days after Louis XVI's flight to Varennes, a quarrel between two local priests and one of the new constitutional vicars became heated, and a crowd surrounded the inn where the priests were staying, demanding blood. The young colonel broke through the crowd and extricated the two priests, who then fled. At a river crossing on the same day, another crowd threatened to harm the priests. Louis Philippe put himself between a peasant armed with a carbine and the priests, saving their lives. The next day, Louis Philippe dove into a river to save a drowning local engineer. For this action, he received a civic crown from the local municipality. His regiment was moved north to Flanders at the end of 1791 after the Declaration of Pillnitz.

Louis Philippe served under his father's crony, Armand Louis de Gontaut the Duke of Biron, along with several officers who later gained distinction in Napoleon's empire and afterwards. These included Colonel Berthier and Lieutenant Colonel Alexandre de Beauharnais (husband of the future Empress Joséphine). Louis Philippe saw the first exchanges of fire of the Revolutionary Wars at Boussu and Quaragnon and a few days later fought at Quiévrain near Jemappes, where he was instrumental in rallying a unit of retreating soldiers. Biron wrote to War Minister de Grave, praising the young colonel, who was then promoted to brigadier, commanding a brigade of cavalry in Lückner's Army of the North.

In the Army of the North, Louis Philippe served with four future Marshals of France: Macdonald, Mortier (who would later be killed in an assassination attempt on Louis Philippe), Davout and Oudinot. Dumouriez was appointed to command the Army of the North in August 1792. Louis Philippe commanded a division under him in the Valmy campaign.

At Valmy, Louis Philippe was ordered to place a battery of artillery on the crest of the hill of Valmy. The battle of Valmy was inconclusive, but the Austrian-Prussian army, short of supplies, was forced back across the Rhine. Once again, Louis Philippe was praised in a letter by Dumouriez after the battle. Louis Philippe was then recalled to Paris to give an account of the Battle at Valmy to the French government. There he had a rather trying interview with Danton, Minister of Justice, which he later fondly re-told to his children.

While in Paris, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general. In October he returned to the Army of the North, where Dumouriez had begun a march into Belgium. Louis Philippe again commanded a division. Dumouriez chose to attack an Austrian force in a strong position on the heights of Cuesmes and Jemappes to the west of Mons. Louis Philippe's division sustained heavy casualties as it attacked through a wood, retreating in disorder. Louis Philippe rallied a group of units, dubbing them "the battalion of Mons" and pushed forward along with other French units, finally overwhelming the outnumbered Austrians.

Events in Paris undermined the budding military career of Louis Philippe. The incompetence of Jean-Nicolas Pache, the new Girondist appointee, left the Army of the North almost without supplies. Soon thousands of troops were deserting the army. Louis Philippe was alienated by the more radical policies of the Republic. After the National Convention decided to put the deposed King to death, Louis Philippe's father – by then known as Philippe Égalité – voted in favour of that act, Louis Philippe began to consider leaving France.

Louis Philippe was willing to stay in France to fulfill his duties in the army, but he was implicated in the plot Dumouriez had planned to ally with the Austrians, march his army on Paris, and restore the Constitution of 1791. Dumouriez had met with Louis Philippe on 22 March 1793 and urged his subordinate to join in the attempt.

With the French government falling into the Reign of Terror, he decided to leave France to save his life. On 4 April, Dumouriez and Louis Philippe left for the Austrian camp. They were intercepted by Lieutenant-Colonel Louis Nicolas Davout, who had served at Jemappes with Louis Philippe. As Dumouriez ordered the Colonel back to the camp, some of his soldiers cried out against the General, now declared a traitor by the National Convention. Shots rang out as they fled towards the Austrian camp. The next day, Dumouriez again tried to rally soldiers against the Convention; however, he found that the artillery had declared for the Republic, leaving him and Louis Philippe with no choice but to go into exile.

At the age of nineteen, Louis Philippe left France; it was some twenty-one years before he again set foot on French soil.

The reaction in Paris to Louis Philippe's involvement in Dumouriez's treason inevitably resulted in misfortunes for the Orléans family. Philippe Égalité spoke in the National Convention, condemning his son for his actions, asserting that he would not spare his son, much akin to the Roman consul Brutus and his sons. However, letters from Louis Philippe to his father were discovered in transit and were read out to the Convention. Philippe Égalité was then put under continuous surveillance. Shortly thereafter, the Girondists moved to arrest him and the two younger brothers of Louis Philippe, Louis-Charles and Antoine Philippe; the latter had been serving in the Army of Italy. The three were interned in Fort Saint-Jean in Marseille.

Meanwhile, Louis Philippe was forced to live in the shadows, avoiding both pro-Republican revolutionaries and Legitimist French émigré centres in various parts of Europe and also in the Austrian army. He first moved to Switzerland under an assumed name, and met up with the Countess of Genlis and his sister Adélaïde at Schaffhausen. From there they went to Zürich, where the Swiss authorities decreed that to protect Swiss neutrality, Louis Philippe would have to leave the city. They went to Zug, where Louis Philippe was discovered by a group of émigrés.

It became quite apparent that for the ladies to settle peacefully anywhere, they would have to separate from Louis Philippe. He then left with his faithful valet Baudouin for the heights of the Alps, and then to Basel, where he sold all but one of his horses. Now moving from town to town throughout Switzerland, he and Baudouin found themselves very much exposed to all the distresses of extended travelling. They were refused entry to a monastery by monks who believed them to be young vagabonds. Another time, he woke up after spending a night in a barn to find himself at the far end of a musket, confronted by a man attempting to keep away thieves.

Throughout this period, he never stayed in one place more than 48 hours. Finally, in October 1793, Louis Philippe was appointed a teacher of geography, history, mathematics and modern languages, at a boys' boarding school. The school, owned by a Monsieur Jost, was in Reichenau, a village on the upper Rhine, across from Switzerland. His salary was 1,400 francs and he taught under the name Monsieur Chabos. He had been at the school for a month when he heard the news from Paris: his father had been guillotined on 6 November 1793 after a trial before the Revolutionary Tribunal.

After Louis Philippe left Reichenau, he separated the now sixteen-year-old Adélaïde from the Countess of Genlis, who had fallen out with Louis Philippe. Adélaïde went to live with her great-aunt the Princess of Conti at Fribourg, then to Bavaria and Hungary and, finally, to her mother who was exiled in Spain.

Louis Philippe travelled extensively. He visited Scandinavia in 1795 and then moved on to Finland. For about a year, he stayed in Muonio, a remote village in the valley of the Tornio river in Lapland. He lived in the rectory under the name Müller, as a guest of the local Lutheran vicar. While visiting Muonio, he supposedly got a child with Beata Caisa Wahlborn (1766-1830) called Erik Kolstrøm (1796-1879).

Louis Philippe also visited the United States for four years, staying in Philadelphia (where his brothers Antoine and Louis Charles were in exile), New York City (where he most likely stayed at the Somerindyck family estate on Broadway and 75th Street with other exiled princes), and Boston. In Boston, he taught French for a time and lived in lodgings over what is now the Union Oyster House, Boston's oldest restaurant. During his time in the United States, Louis Philippe met with American politicians and people of high society, including George Clinton, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and George Washington.

His visit to Cape Cod in 1797 coincided with the division of the town of Eastham into two towns, one of which took the name of Orleans, possibly in his honour. During their sojourn, the Orléans princes travelled throughout the country, as far south as Nashville and as far north as Maine. The brothers were even held in Philadelphia briefly during an outbreak of yellow fever. Louis Philippe is also thought to have met Isaac Snow of Orleans, Massachusetts, who had escaped to France from a British prison hulk during the American Revolutionary War. In 1839, while reflecting on his visit to the United States, Louis Philippe explained in a letter to Guizot that his three years there had a large influence on his political beliefs and judgments when he became king.

In Boston, Louis Philippe learned of the coup of 18 Fructidor (4 September 1797) and of the exile of his mother to Spain. He and his brothers then decided to return to Europe. They went to New Orleans, planning to sail to Havana and thence to Spain. This, however, was a troubled journey, as Spain and Great Britain were then at war. While in colonial Louisiana in 1798, they were entertained by Julien Poydras in the town of Pointe Coupée,[2] as well as by the Marigny de Mandeville family in New Orleans.

They sailed for Havana in an American corvette, but the ship was stopped in the Gulf of Mexico by a British warship. The British seized the three brothers, but took them to Havana anyway. Unable to find passage to Europe, the three brothers spent a year in Cuba, until they were unexpectedly expelled by the Spanish authorities. They sailed via the Bahamas to Nova Scotia where they were received by the Duke of Kent, son of King George III and (later) father of Queen Victoria. Louis Philippe struck up a lasting friendship with the British royal. Eventually, the brothers sailed back to New York, and in January 1800, they arrived in England, where they stayed for the next fifteen years.

In 1796, Louis Philippe supposedly fathered a child with Beata Caisa Wahlborn (1766-1830) named Erik Kolstrøm (1796-1879).

In 1808, Louis Philippe proposed to Princess Elizabeth, daughter of King George III of the United Kingdom. His Catholicism and the opposition of her mother Queen Charlotte meant the Princess reluctantly declined the offer.

In 1809, Louis Philippe married Princess Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily, daughter of King Ferdinand IV of Naples and Maria Carolina of Austria. They had the following ten children:

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Louis Philippe I d'Orléans, roi des Français's Timeline

1773
October 6, 1773
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
October 6, 1773
- November 18, 1785
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
November 10, 1773
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
1773
Bourbon - house of France
1785
November 18, 1785
- November 6, 1793
Age 12
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
1788
May 12, 1788
Age 14
Chateau de Versailles, Seine-Et-Oise, France
1793
November 6, 1793
- September 21, 1824
Age 20
Paris, Paris, Île-de-France, France
1796
1796
Age 22
Muonionniska fs, Lappi, Suomi
1810
September 3, 1810
Age 36
Palermo, Sicilia, Italia