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Louis-Philippe I
King of the French
Reign 9 August, 1830 – 24 February, 1848
Predecessor Charles X
Successor De Facto : Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure (Second Republic)
De Jure: Louis Philippe II (Orléanist pretender)
Spouse Maria Amalia of the Two Sicilies
Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Louise, Queen of the Belgians
Marie, Duchess of Württemberg
Louis, Duke of Nemours
Clémentine, Princess of Kohary
François, Prince of Joinville
Charles, Duke of Penthièvre
Henri, Duke of Aumale
Antoine, Duke of Montpensier
Father Philippe d'Orléans
Mother Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon
Born 6 October 1773(1773-10-06)
Palais-Royal, Paris, France
Died 26 August 1850 (aged 76)
Claremont, Surrey, England

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. He was the last king to rule France, although Napoleon III, styled as an emperor, would serve as its last monarch.


Before the Revolution (1773–1789)


Early life

Louis Philippe d'Orléans was born at the Palais-Royal in Paris to Louis Philippe Joseph, Duke of Chartres (later Duke of Orléans and, later still, known as Philippe Egalité) and Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon.

As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, he was a prince du sang. He was the eldest of three sons and a daughter, a family that was to have erratic fortunes for many years after the beginning of the French Revolution.

The elder branch of the House of Bourbon, to which the Kings belonged, deeply distrusted the intentions of the cadet branch, which would succeed to the French throne 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 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, the Parisian residence of the Orléans family, was a meeting-place for the revolutionaries.

Revolution (1789–1793)

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.

Military service

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 (Chartres-Dragons).

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 dived 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, 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.

House of Orléans
Kingdom of France

   Ferdinand-Philippe, Prince Royal
   Louise, Queen of the Belgians
   Marie, Duchess of Württemberg
   Louis, duc de Nemours
   Clémentine, Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
   François, prince de Joinville
   Henri, duc d'Aumale
   Antoine, duc de Montpensier
   Philippe VII, comte de Paris
   Robert, duc de Chartres
   Gaston, comte d'Eu
   Ferdinand, duc d'Alençon
   Marguerite Adelaide, Princess Czartoryska
   Blanche d'Orléans
   Françoise, duchesse de Chartres
   Louis Philippe, prince de Condé
   François Louis, duc de Guise
Great Grandchildren
   Amélie, Queen consort of Portugal
   Philippe, duc d'Orléans
   Hélène, Duchess of Aosta
   Isabelle, duchesse de Guise
   Louise d'Orléans
   Ferdinand, duc de Montpensier
   Marie, Princess of Denmark
   Robert d'Orléans
   Henri d'Orléans
   Marguerite d'Orléans
   Jean III, duc de Guise
   Louise d'Orléans
   Emmanuel, duc de Vendôme
Great Great Grandchildren
   Isabelle, duchesse de Guise
   Françoise, Princess of Greece and Denmark
   Anne, Duchess of Aosta
   Henri VI, comte de Paris
Great Great Great Grandchildren
   Isabella d'Orléans
   Henri VII, comte de Paris
   Hélène d'Orléans
   François, duc d'Orléans
   Anne, Duchess of Calabria
   Diane, Duchess of Württemberg
   Michel, comte d'Evreux
   Jacques, duc d'Orléans
   Claude, Duchess of Aosta
   Chantal d'Orléans
   Thibaut, comte de la Marche
   Marie Louise d'Orléans
   Sophie Joséphine d'Orléans
   Geneviève Marie d'Orléans
   Charles Philippe, duc de Nemours
Great Great Great Great Grandchildren
   Marie d'Orléans
   François, comte de Clermont
   Blanche d'Orléans
   Jean, duc de Vendôme
   Eudes, duc d'Angoulême
   Clothilde d'Orléans
   Adélaïde d'Orléans
   Charles Philippe, duc d'Anjou
   François d'Orléans
   Diane Marie d'Orléans
   Charles-Louis, duc de Chartres
   Foulques, duc d'Aumale

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 river. 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 Dumouriez's plot, who 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 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.

Exile (1793–1815)

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 centers 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.


In early 1794, Louis-Philippe began courting Marianne Banzori, the cook of the Reichenau schoolmaster. In late 1794, Jost discovered that Marianne was pregnant. This ended Louis-Philippe's academic career and Jost sent Marianne to Milan where the child was born in December 1794, and then placed in an orphanage.

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 (in valley of Tornio river), a remote village at the northern end of the Gulf of Bothnia, living in the rectory under the name Müller as a guest of the local Lutheran vicar. Here he met the vicar's wife's sister, Beata Caisa Wahlbom, who was a housekeeper in the rectory. The 22-year-old single sympathetic world-experienced prince charmed the 28-year-old inexperienced girl and she fell in love with him. Not long after Louis-Philippe left Scandinavia, Beata Caisa Wahlbom gave birth to a son, whom she named Erik.

Louis-Philippe also visited the United States for four years, staying in Philadelphia (where his brothers Antoine Philippe 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, visiting 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 Revolution. 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 later 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 Louisiana in 1798, they were entertained by Julian Poydras in the town of Point Coupee. See, Corinne L. Saucier, History of Avoyelles Parish, p. 27 (1943).

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 1809, Louis-Philippe married Princess Marie Amalie, daughter of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Maria Carolina of Austria. They had the following ten children:

  1. Ferdinand Philippe d'Orléans (3 September 1810–1842) married Duchess Helen of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  2. Louise d'Orléans (3 April 1812–1850), who married Leopold I of Belgium
  3. Marie d'Orléans (12 April 1813–1839), who married Duke Alexander of Württemberg (1804–1881)
  4. Louis Charles Philippe Raphael d'Orléans, Duke of Nemours (25 October 1814–1896), who married Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary
  5. Francisca d'Orléans (28 March 1816–1818)
  6. Clémentine d'Orléans (3 June 1817–1907), who married August of Saxe-Coburg-Kohary
  7. François d'Orléans, Prince of Joinville (14 August 1818–1900), who married Francisca of Brazil
  8. Charles, Duke of Penthièvre (1 January 1820–1828)
  9. Henri d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale (16 June 1822–1897), who married Princess Maria Carolina Augusta of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
  10. Antoine d'Orléans, Duke of Montpensier (31 July 1824–1890), married Luisa Fernanda of Spain

Bourbon Restoration (1815–1830)

After the abdication of Napoleon, Louis-Philippe, known as Louis Philippe III, Duke of Orléans, returned to France during the restoration of the monarchy under his cousin King Louis XVIII. Louis-Philippe had reconciled the Orléans family with Louis XVIII in exile, and was once more to be found in the elaborate royal court. However, his resentment at the treatment of his family, the cadet branch of the House of Bourbon under the Ancien Régime, caused friction between him and Louis XVIII. He openly sided with the liberal opposition.

Louis-Philippe was on far friendlier terms with Louis XVIII's successor, Charles X, who acceded to the throne in 1824, and with whom he socialised. However, his opposition to the policies of Villèle and later of Jules de Polignac caused him to be a constant threat to the stability of Charles's government.

King of the French (1830–1848)

Silver Coin of Louis Philippe, Struck 1834
Obverse: (French) LOUIS PHILIPPE I ROI DES FRANÇAIS, in English: "Louis Philippe I, King of the French" Reverse: 5 FRANCS, 1834

In 1830, the July Revolution overthrew Charles X. Charles abdicated in favor of his 10-year-old grandson, Henri, Duke of Bordeaux. Louis-Philippe was charged by Charles X to announce to the popularly elected Chamber of Deputies his desire to have his grandson succeed him. Louis-Philippe did not do this, in order to increase his own chances of succession. As a consequence, because the chamber was aware of Louis-Philippe's liberal policies and of his popularity with the masses, they proclaimed Louis-Philippe, who for eleven days had been acting as the regent for his small cousin, as the new French king, displacing the senior branch of the House of Bourbon.

In anger over this betrayal, Charles X and his family, including his grandson, left for Britain. The grandson, better known as comte de Chambord, later became the pretender to Louis Philippe's throne and was supported by many nobles known as Legitimists.

Arms of Louis-Philippe.

Upon his accession to the throne, Louis-Philippe assumed the title of King of the French - a title already used by Louis XVI in the short-lived Constitution of 1791. Linking the monarchy to a people instead of a territory (as the previous designation King of France and of Navarre) was aimed at undercutting the Legitimist claims of Charles X and his family.

By an ordinance he signed on 13 August 1830, [1], the new king defined the manner in which his children, as well as his beloved sister, would continue to bear the surname "d'Orléans" and the arms of Orléans, declared that his eldest son, as Prince Royal (not Dauphin), would bear the title Duke of Orléans, that the younger sons would continue to have their previous titles, and that his sister and daughters would only be styled Princesses of Orléans, not of France.

In 1832, his daughter, Princess Louise-Marie (1812–1850), married the first ruler of Belgium, Leopold I, King of the Belgians.

In July 1835, Louis Philippe survived an assassination attempt by Giuseppe Mario Fieschi on the boulevard du Temple in Paris.

In 1842, his son and heir, Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans, died in a carriage accident.

The famous 1831 caricature of Louis-Philippe turning into a pear would mirror the deterioration of his popularity. (Honoré Daumier, after Charles Philipon who was jailed for the original.)

Louis-Philippe ruled in an unpretentious fashion, avoiding the pomp and lavish spending of his predecessors. Despite this outward appearance of simplicity, his support came from the wealthy middle classes. At first, he was much loved and called the "Citizen King" and the "bourgeois monarch," but his popularity suffered as his government was perceived as increasingly conservative and monarchical, despite his decision of having Napoleon's remains returned to France. Under his management, the conditions of the working classes deteriorated, and the income gap widened considerably. An economic crisis in 1847 led to the citizens of France revolting against their king again the following year.

Abdication and death (1848–1850)

On 24 February 1848, during the February 1848 Revolution, to the general surprise of the French people, King Louis Philippe abdicated in favor of his nine-year-old grandson, Philippe. Fearful of what had happened to Louis XVI, Louis-Philippe quickly disguised himself and fled Paris. Riding in an ordinary cab under the name of "Mr. Smith", he fled to England. According to The Times of 6 March 1848, the King and Queen were received at Newhaven, East Sussex before travelling by train to London.

The National Assembly initially planned to accept young Philippe as king, but the strong current of public opinion rejected that. On 26 February, the Second Republic was proclaimed. Prince Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was elected President on 10 December of the same year; a few years later he declared himself president for life and then Emperor Napoleon III in 1852.

Louis-Philippe and his family remained in exile in England in Claremont, Surrey. He died on 26 August 1850. He is buried with his wife Marie-Amélie at the Chapelle royale de Dreux, the Orléans family necropolis his mother had built in 1816, in Dreux, and which he had enlarged and embellished after her death.

The clash of the pretenders

The clashes of 1830 and 1848 between the Legitimists and the Orleanists over who was the rightful monarch were resumed in the 1870s. After the fall of the Second Empire, a monarchist-dominated National Assembly offered a throne to the Legitimist pretender, Henri de France, comte de Chambord, as Henri V. As he was childless, his heir was (except to the most extreme Legitimists) Louis Philippe's grandson, Philippe d'Orléans, comte de Paris. Thus the comte de Chambord's death would have united the House of Bourbon and House of Orléans.

However, the comte de Chambord refused to take the throne unless the Tricolor flag of the Revolution was replaced with the fleur-de-lis flag of the Ancien Régime. This the National Assembly was unwilling to do. The Third Republic was established, though many intended for it to be temporary, and replaced by a constitutional monarchy after the death of the comte de Chambord. However, the comte de Chambord lived longer than expected. By the time of his death in 1883, support for the monarchy had declined, and public opinion sided with a continuation of the Third Republic, as the form of government that, according to Adolphe Thiers, "divides us least". Some suggested a monarchical restoration under a later comte de Paris after the fall of the Vichy regime but this did not occur.

Most French monarchists regard the descendants of Louis Philippe's grandson, who hold the title Count of Paris, as the rightful pretenders to the French throne; others, the Legitimists, consider Don Luis-Alfonso de Borbón, Duke of Anjou (to his supporters, "Louis XX") to be the rightful heir. He is descended in the male line from Philippe, Duke of Anjou, the second grandson of the Sun-King, Louis XIV. Philippe (King Philip V of Spain), however, had renounced his rights to the throne of France to prevent the much-feared union of France and Spain.

The two sides challenged each other in the French Republic's law courts in 1897 and again nearly a century later. In the latter case, Henri, Comte de Paris, Duc de France, challenged the right of the Spanish-born "pretender" to use the title Duke of Anjou. The French courts threw out his claim, arguing that the legal system had no jurisdiction over the matter.


See also


  • Howarth, T.E.B. (1962). Citizen-King: The Life of Louis-Philippe, King of the French. Eyre & Spottiswoode. 
  1. '^ Louis-Philippe's 13 August 1830 Ordinance, relative to the surname (nom) and titles of his children and of his sister':
    Ordonnance du roi qui détermine les noms et titres des princes et princesses de la famille royale.
    LOUIS PHILIPPE ROI DES FRANÇAIS, à tous présens et à venir, salut.
    Notre avènement à la couronne ayant rendu nécessaire de déterminer les noms et les titres que devaient porter à l'avenir les princes et princesses nos enfans, ainsi que notre bien-aimée sœur,
    Nous avons ordonné et ordonnons ce qui suit :
    Les princes et princesses nos bien-aimés enfans, ainsi que notre bien-aimée sœur, continueront à porter le nom et les armes d'Orléans.
    Notre bien-aimé fils aîné, le duc de Chartres, portera, comme prince royal, le titre de duc d'Orléans.
    Nos bien-aimés fils puînés conserveront les titres qu'ils ont portés jusqu'à ce jour.
    Nos bien-aimées filles et notre bien-aimée sœur ne porteront d'autre titre que celui de princesses d'Orléans, en se distinguant entre elles par leurs prénoms.
    Il sera fait, en conséquence, sur les registres de l'état civil de la Maison royale, dans les archives de la Chambre des Pairs, toutes les rectifications qui résultent des dispositions ci-dessus [...]

External links


Louis-Philippe I, King of the French
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 6 October 1773 Died: 26 August 1850
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles X
as King of France and Navarre
King of the French
9 August 1830 – 24 February 1848
Monarchy abolished
French royalty
Preceded by
Louis-Antoine, Duke of Angoulême
Heir to the Throne
as Heir presumptive
2 August 1830 – 9 August 1830
Succeeded by
Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans
French nobility
Preceded by
Louis Philippe II
Duke of Orléans
6 November 1793 – 9 August 1830
Succeeded by
Ferdinand Philippe
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles X
as King of France and Navarre
French Head of State
9 August 1830 – 24 February 1848
Succeeded by
Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
King of the French
24 February 1848 – 26 August 1850
Succeeded by
Philippe VII (or Louis-Philippe II)

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LOUIS PHILIPPE I., king of the French (1773-1850), was the eldest son of Louis Philip Joseph, duke of Orleans (known during the Revolution as Philippe Egalite) and of Louise Marie Adelaide de Bourbon, daughter of the duc de Penthievre, and was born at the Palais Royal in Paris on the 6th of October 17 73. On his father's side he was descended from the brother of Louis XIV., on his mother's from the count of Toulouse, "legitimated" son of Louis XIV. and Madame de Montespan. The legend that he was a supposititious child, really the son of an Italian police constable named Chiapponi, is dealt with elsewhere (see Maria Stella, countess of Newborough). The god-parents of the duke of Valois, as he was entitled till 1785, were Louis XVI. and Queen Marie Antoinette; his governess was the famous Madame de Geniis, to whose influence he doubtless owed many of the qualities which later distinguished him: his wide, if superficial knowledge, his orderliness, and perhaps his parsimony. Known since 1785 as the duc de Chartres, he was sixteen at the outbreak of the Revolution, into which - like his father - he threw himself with ardour. In 1790 he joined the Jacobin Club, in which the moderate elements still predominated, and was assiduous in attendance at the debates of the National Assembly. He thus became a persona grata with the party in power; he was already a colonel of dragoons, and in 1792 he was given a command in the army of the North. As a lieutenant-general, at the age of eighteen, he was present at the cannonade of Valmy (Sept. 20) and played a conspicuous part in the victory of Jemappes (Nov. 6).

The republic had meanwhile been proclaimed, and the duc de Chartres, who like his father had taken the name of Egalite, posed as its zealous adherent. Fortunately for him, he was too young to be elected deputy to the Convention, and while his father was voting for the death of Louis XVI. he was serving under Dumouriez in Holland. He shared in the disastrous day of Neerwinden (March 18,1793); was an accomplice of Dumouriez in the plot to march on Paris and overthrow the republic, and on the 5th of April escaped with him from the enraged soldiers into the Austrian lines. He was destined not to return to France for twenty years. He went first, with his sister Madame Adelaide, to Switzerland where he obtained a situation for a few months as professor in the college of Reichenau under an assumed name,' mainly in order to escape from the fury of the emigres. The execution of his father in November 1793 had made him duke of Orleans, and he now became the centre of the intrigues of the Orleanist party. In 1795 he was at Hamburg with Dumouriez, who still hoped to make him king. With characteristic caution Louis Philippe refused to commit himself by any overt pretensions, and announced his intention of going to America; but in the hope that something might happen in France to his advantage, he postponed his departure, travelling instead through the Scandinavian countries as far north as Lapland. But in 1796, the Directory having offered to release his mother and his two brothers, who had been kept in prison since the Terror, on condition that he went to America, he set sail for the United States, and in October settled in Philadelphia, where in February 1 797 he was joined by his brothers the duc de Montpensier and the comte de Beaujolais. Two years were spent by them in travels in New England, the region of the Great Lakes, and of the Mississippi; then the news of the coup d'etat of 18 Brumaire decided them to return to Europe. They returned in 1800, only to find Napoleon Bonaparte's power firmly established. Immediately on his arrival, in February 1800, the duke of Orleans, at the suggestion of Dumouriez, sought an interview with the comte d'Artois, through whose instrumentality he was reconciled with the exiled king Louis XVIII., who bestowed upon his brothers the order of the Saint Esprit. The duke, however, refused to join the army of Conde and to fight against France, an attitude in which he persisted throughout, while maintaining his loyalty to the king. 2 He settled with his brothers at Twickenham, near 1 As M. Chabaud de la Tour. He was examined as to his fitness before being appointed. Gruyer, p. 165.

2 This at least was his own claim and the Orleanist view. The matter became a question of partisan controversy, the legitimists asserting that he frequently offered to serve against France, but that London, where he lived till 1807 - for the most part in studious retirement.

On the 18th of May 1807 the duc de Montpensier died at Christchurch in Hampshire, where he had been taken for change of air, of consumption. The comte de Beaujolais was ill of the same disease and in 1808 the duke took him to Malta, where he died on the 29th of May. The duke now, in response to an invitation from King Ferdinand IV., visited Palermo where, on the 25th of November 1809 he married Princess Maria Amelia, the king's daughter. He remained in Sicily until the news of Napoleon's abdication recalled him to France. He was cordially received by Louis XVIII.; his military rank was confirmed, he was named colonel-general of hussars, and such of the vast Orleans estates as had not been sold were restored to him by royal ordinance. The object may have been, as M. Debidour suggests, to compromise him with the revolutionary parties and to bind him to the throne; but it is more probable that it was no more than an expression of the good will which the king had shown him ever since 'Soo. The immediate effect was to make him enormously rich, his wealth being increased by his natural aptitude for business until, after the death of his mother in 1821, his fortune was reckoned at some 8,000,000.

Meanwhile, in the heated atmosphere of the reaction, his sympathy with the Liberal opposition brought him again under suspicion. His attitude in the House of Peers in the autumn of 1815 cost him a two years' exile to Twickenham; he courted popularity by having his children educated en bourgeois at the public schools; and the Palais Royal became the rendezvous of all the leaders of that middle-class opinion by which he was ultimately to be raised to the throne.

His opportunity came with the revolution of 1830. During the three "July days" the duke kept himself discreetly in the background, retiring first to Neuilly, then to Rainey. Meanwhile, Thiers issued a proclamation pointing out that a Republic would embroil France with all Europe, while the duke of Orleans, who was "a prince devoted to the principles of the Revolution" and had "carried the tricolour under fire" would be a "citizen king" such as the country desired. This view was that of the rump of the chamber still sitting at the Palais Bourbon, and a deputation headed by Thiers and Laffitte waited upon the duke to invite him to place himself at the head of affairs. He returned with them to Paris on the 30th, and was elected by the deputies lieutenant-general of the realm. The next day, wrapped in a tricolour scarf and preceded by a drummer, he went on foot to the Hotel de Ville - the headquarters of the republican party - where he was publicly embraced by Lafayette as a symbol that the republicans acknowledged the impossibility of realizing their own ideals and were prepared to accept a monarchy based on the popular will. Hitherto, in letters to Charles X., he had protested the loyalty of his intentions, 3 and the king now nominated him lieutenant-general and then, abdicating in favour of his grandson the comte de Chambord appointed him regent. On the 7th of August, however, the Chamber by a large majority declared Charles X. deposed, and proclaimed Louis Philippe "King of the French, by the grace of God and the will of the people." The career of Louis Philippe as King of the French is dealt with elsewhere (see France: History). Here it must suffice to note something of his personal attitude towards affairs and the general effects which this produced. For the trappings of authority he cared little. To conciliate the revolutionary his offers were contemptuously refused. A. Debidour in the article "Louis-Philippe" in La Grande Encyclopedie supports the latter view; but see Gruyer, La Jeunesse, and E. Daudet, "Une reconciliation de famille en 1800," in the Revue des Deux Mondes, Sept. 15, 1905, p. 301. M. Daudet gives the account of the interview left by the comte d'Artois, and he also makes it clear that Louis Philippe, while protesting his loyalty to the head of his house, did not disguise his opinion that a Restoration would only be possible if the king accepted the essential changes made by the Revolution.

3 To say that these protestations were hypocritical is to assume too much. Personal ambition doubtless played a part; but he must have soon realized that the French people had wearied of "legitimism" and that a regency in the circumstances was impossible.

passion for equality he was content to veil his kingship for a while under a middle-class disguise. He erased the royal lilies from the panels of his carriages; and the Palais Royal, like the White House at Washington, stood open to all and sundry who cared to come and shake hands with the head of the state. This pose served to keep the democrats of the capital in a good temper, and so leave him free to consolidate the somewhat unstable foundation of his throne and to persuade his European fellow-sovereigns to acknowledge in him not a revolutionary but a conservative force. But when once his position at home and abroad had been established, it became increasingly clear that he possessed all the Bourbon tenaciousness of personal power. When a "party of Resistance" came into office with Casimir-Perier in March 1831, the speech from the throne proclaimed that "France has desired that the monarchy should become national, it does not desire that it should be powerless"; and the migration of the royal family to the Tuileries symbolized the right of the king not only to reign but to rule. Republican and Socialist agitation, culminating in a series of dangerous risings, strengthened the position of the king as defender of middle-class interest; and since the middle classes constituted the pays legal which alone was represented in Parliament, he came to regard his position as unassailable, especially after the suppression of the risings under Blanqui and Barbes in 1839. Little by little his policy, always supported by a majority in a house of representatives elected by a corrupt and narrow franchise, became more reactionary and purely dynastic. His position in France seeming to be unassailable, he sought to strengthen it in Europe by family alliances. The fact that his daughter Louise was the consort of Leopold I., king of the Belgians, had brought him into intimate and cordial relations with the English court, which did much to cement the entente cordiale with Great Britain. Broken in 1840 during the affair of Mehemet Ali the entente was patched up in 1841 by the Straits Convention and re-cemented by visits paid by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to the Château d'Eu in 1843 and 1845 and of Louis Philippe to Windsor in 1844, only to be irretrievably wrecked by the affair of the "Spanish marriages," a deliberate attempt to revive the traditional Bourbon policy of French predominance in Spain. If in this matter Louis Philippe had seemed to sacrifice the international position of France to dynastic interests, his attempt to re-establish it by allying himself with the reactionary monarchies against the Liberals of Switzerland finally alienated from him the French Liberal opinion on which his authority was based. When, in February 1848, Paris rose against him, he found that he was practically isolated in France.

Charles X., after abdicating, had made a dignified exit from France, marching to the coast surrounded by the cavalry, infantry and artillery of his Guard. Louis Philippe was less happily situated. Escaping with the queen from the Tuileries by a back entrance, he made his way with her in disguise to Honfleur, where the royal couple found refuge in a gardener's cottage. They were ultimately smuggled out of the country by the British consul at Havre as Mr and Mrs Smith,' arriving at Newhaven "unprovided with anything but the clothes they wore." They settled at Claremont, placed at their disposal by Queen Victoria, under the incognito of count and countess of Neuilly. Here on the 26th of August 1850, Louis Philippe died.

The character of Louis Philippe is admirably traced by Queen Victoria in a memorandum of May 2, 18J5, in which she compares him with Napoleon III. She speaks of his "vast knowledge upon all and every subject," and "his great activity of mind." He was, unlike Napoleon, "thoroughly French in character, possessing all the liveliness and talkativeness of that people." But she also speaks of the "tricks and over-reachings" practised by him, "who in great as well as in small things took a pleasure in being cleverer and more cunning than others, often when there was no advantage to be gained by it, and which was, 1 There is a vivid account in Mr Featherstonhaugh to Lord Palmerston, Havre, March 3, 1848, in The Letters of Queen Victoria (pop. ed., ii. 156).

unfortunately, strikingly displayed in the transactions connected with the Spanish marriages, which led to the king's downfall, and ruined him in the eyes of all Europe" (Letters, pop. ed., iii. 122).

Louis Philippe had eight children. His eldest son, the popular Ferdinand Philippe, duke of Orleans (b. 1810), who had married Princess Helena of Mecklenburg, was killed in a carriage accident on the 13th of July 1842, leaving two sons, the comte de Paris and the duc de Chartres. The other children were Louise, consort of Leopold I., king of the Belgians; Marie, who married Prince Alexander of Wurttemberg and died in 1839; Louis Charles, duc de Nemours; Clementine, married to the duke of Coburg-Kohary; Francois Ferdinand, prince de Joinville; Henri Eugene, duc d'Aumale; Antoine Philippe, duc de Montpensier, who married the Infanta, younger sister of Queen Isabella of Spain.

Authorities.-F. A. Gruyer, La Jeunesse du roi Louis-Philippe, d'apres les pourtraits et des tableaux (Paris, 1909), edition de luxe, with beautiful reproductions of portraits, miniatures, &c.; Marquis de Flers, Louis-Philippe, vie anecdotique, 1773-1850 (Paris, 1891); E. Daudet, Hist. de l'emigration (3 vols., Paris, 1886-1890). Of general works on Louis Philippe's reign may be mentioned Louis Blanc, Hist. de Dix Ans, 1830-1840 (5 vols., Paris, 1841-1844), from the republican point of view; J. O. d'Haussonville, Hist. de la politique exterieure de la monarchie de juillet, 1830-1848 (2 vols., Paris, 1850); V. de Nouvion, Hist. de Louis-Philippe (4 vols., Paris, 1857-1861); F. Guizot, France under Louis Philippe, 1841-1847 (Eng. trans., 1865); Karl Hillebrand, Geschichte Frankreichs von der Thronbesteigung Louis Philippes,1830-1841 (2 vols., Gotha, 18 771879); V. du Bled, Hist. de la monarchie de juillet (2 vols., Paris, 1887); P. Thureau-Dangin, Hist. de la monarchie de juillet (Paris, 1887, &c.); A. Malet, "La France sous la monarchie de juillet," in Lavisse and Rambaud's Hist. Generale, vol. x. ch. x. (Paris, 1898); G. Weill, La France sous la monarchie de juillet (Paris, 1902); Emile Bourgeois, "The Orleans Monarchy," ch. xv. of vol. x., and "The Fall of Constitutionalism in France," ch. ii. of vol. xi. of the Cambridge Modern History (Cambridge, 1907 and 1909). Further works will be found in the bibliographies attached by M. Bourgeois to his chapters (vol. x. p. 844, vol. xi. p. 874; the latter including works on the revolution of 1848 and the Second Republic). To the list of published correspondence and memoirs there mentioned may be added the Chronique of the duchesse de Dino (Paris, 1909).

Louis Philippe himself published the Journal du duc de Chartres, 1 79 0 - 1 79 1; Mon Journal, eve'nements de 1815 (2 vols., 1 849); Discours, allocutions et reponses de S. M. Louis-Philippe, 1830 - 1846; and after his death was issued his Correspondance, memoire et discours inedits (Paris, 1863). (W. A. P.)

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