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Louis
Duke of Burgundy
Dauphin of France
Louis, "duc de Bourgogne"
Spouse Princess Maria Adelaide of Savoy
Issue
Louis, Duke of Brittany
Louis XV of France
Full name
Louis de France
Royal House of Bourbon
Father Louis, le Grand Dauphin
Mother Duchess Maria Anna of Bavaria
Born 16 August 1682(1682-08-16)
Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
Died 18 February 1712 (aged 29)
Château de Marly, Marly, France
Burial Basilica of St Denis

Louis de France[1], Son of France, Duke of Burgundy (duc de Bourgogne), and later Dauphin of France (16 August 1682 – 18 February 1712) was the eldest son of Louis, Dauphin of France, known as le Grand Dauphin. He was himself sometimes known as le Petit Dauphin, having become Dauphin of France upon his father's death in 1711.

Contents

Biography

Louis de France was born in the Palace of Versailles, the eldest son of Louis, le Grand Dauphin, and his wife Duchess Maria Anna of Bavaria. At birth, he received the title of Duke of Burgundy "duc de Bourgogne". As the son of the Dauphin, he was second in the line of succession to his grandfather, King Louis XIV of France.

He was a Son of France which allowed him the predicates of Royal Highness (rarely used in France at the time except in relations with foreign powers) and of Most High and Powerful Prince (the one more commonly used). This also made him one of the most important men in the kingdom.

Louis grew up with his younger brothers; Philippe (1683-1746) known as the Duke of Anjou and later King of Spain; and the youngest, Charles who was titled the Duke of Berry at birth (1686–1714). When Louis was 8, his mother died. His father, though very popular with the people of France, would never play a major role in politics preferring to live with his mistress at the Château de Meudon.

The Duke of Burgundy was reputed to be a difficult child who respected no one, but under the influence of his tutor François Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambrai, he grew into a very pious and religious man. Fénelon's thoughts and beliefs would continue to influence the young prince throughout his life.

At the age of 17 he married his second cousin, Princess Maria Adelaide of Savoy. Maria Adelaide was the daughter of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy and Anne Marie d'Orléans. Anne Marie was the daughter of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans and his first wife Princess Henrietta Anne of England.

The marriage of Marie-Adélaïde to the Duke of Burgundy, took place on 7 December 1697 at the Palace of Versailles. The two were in love with one another, a rarity at the court of Versailles.

This match was decided as part of the Treaty of Turin, which ended Franco-Savoyard conflicts during the Nine Years' War. Marie-Adélaïde was sent to Versailles in order to learn her role as the future Dauphine and eventual Queen. Louis XIV declared that she was to be the First Lady of Versailles, and he loved his granddaughter-in-law dearly. In France she was known as Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie.

In 1702, at the age of twenty, the Duke of Burgundy was admitted by Louis XIV to the Conseil d'en haut (High Council), which was in charge of state secrets regarding religion, diplomacy and war. This greatly delighted him because his father had only been admitted to the High Council at the age of thirty.

In 1708, during the War of the Spanish Succession, he was given command, of the army in Flanders, with the experienced soldier Louis Joseph de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme theoretically serving under him. The uncertainty as to which of the two should truly command the army led to delays and the need to refer decisions to Louis XIV. Continued indecision led to French inactivity as messages travelled between the front and Versailles; the Allies were then able to take the initiative. The culmination of this was the Battle of Oudenarde where the Duke of Bourgogne's mistaken choices and reluctance to support Vendôme led to a decisive defeat for the French. In the aftermath of the defeat, his hesitation to relieve the Siege of Lille doomed the city and allowed the Allies to make their first incursions onto French soil.

The Duke of Burgundy was influenced by the dévots and was surrounded by a circle of people known as the Faction de Bourgogne (Burgundy's faction), which was most notably made up of his old tutor Fénelon, his old governor Paul de Beauvilliers, Duke of Saint-Aignan and his brother-in-law Charles Honoré d'Albert, Duke of Chevreuse, as well as the renowned memorialist, Louis de Rouvroy, Duke of Saint-Simon.

These high-ranking aristocrats sought a return to a monarchy less absolute and less centralised, with vast powers granted to the individual provinces. They perceived that government should work through councils and intermediary organs between the king and the people. These intermediary councils were to be made up not by commoners from the bourgeoisie (as the ministers appointed by Louis XIV) but by aristocrats who perceived themselves as the representatives of the people and would assist the king in governance and the exercise of power. Had the Duke of Burgundy succeeded to the throne, he may have applied this concept of monarchy.

After his father's death in 1711, the Duke of Burgundy succeeded him as Dauphin. In February 1712, his wife Marie-Adélaïde contracted measles and died on the 12th of that month.

The Duke of Burgundy, who dearly loved his wife, and who had stayed by her side throughout the fatal illness, contracted the disease. He died six days later, on 18 February. He died at the Château de Marly aged just 29. Both of his children also became infected, and their elder surviving son, Louis, Duke of Brittany, the latest in a series of Dauphins, succumbed to it within the month. However, the younger son, the Duke of Anjou, then only two years of age, survived the disease and would later succeed as Louis XV upon the death of his great-grandfather, Louis XIV, in 1715.

The premature death of the Duke of Burgundy precipitated a possible succession crisis as he left as the heir to his seventy-four-year-old grandfather his frail infant son whose chances of survival were thought minimal. It also ruined the hopes of the Faction de Bourgogne, whose members would soon die of natural deaths.

Nonetheless, some of their ideas were put into practice when, Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, as Regent during Louis XV's minority, created a form of government known as polysynody, where each ministry was replaced by a council composed of aristocrats. However, the absenteeism, ineptitude and conflicts of the aristocrats caused this system of governance to fail, and it was soon abandoned in 1718 in favour of a return to the preceding style of rule.

Issue

Ancestry

Titles, styles, honours and arms

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Titles and styles

Notes

  1. ^ Achaintre, Nicolas Louis, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de Bourbon, Vol. 2, (Publisher Mansut Fils, 4 Rue de l'École de Médecine, Paris, 1825), 128.

References

  • Achaintre, Nicolas Louis, Histoire généalogique et chronologique de la maison royale de Bourbon, Vol. 2, Publisher Mansut Fils, 4 Rue de l'École de Médecine, Paris, 1825.
  • Antoine, Michel, Louis XV, Fayard, Paris, 1989 (French).
  • Dufresne, Claude, les Orléans, CRITERION, Paris, 1991 (French).
  • Erlanger, Philippe, Louis XIV, translated from the French by Stephen Cox, Praeger Publisher, New York & Washington, 1970. (First published in French by Fayard in 1965).

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