Philippe I, Duke of Orléans: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Duke of Orléans
Duke of Anjou
Philippe wearing the Bourbon colours
Spouse Princess Henrietta Anne of England
Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
Marie Louise, Queen of Spain
Philippe Charles, Duke of Valois
Anne Marie, Queen of Sardinia
Alexandre Louis, Duke of Valois
Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Élisabeth Charlotte, Duchess of Lorraine
Full name
Philippe de France
Father Louis XIII of France
Mother Anne of Austria
Born 21 September 1640(1640-09-21)
Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
Died 9 June 1701 (aged 60)
Château de Saint-Cloud, Saint Cloud, France
Burial Royal Basilica of Saint Denis

Philippe de France, fils de France, Duke of Orléans (21 September 1640 – 9 June 1701) was the second surviving son of Louis XIII of France and Anne of Austria, and thus the younger brother of the future Louis XIV of France. As son of a king of France, he was a Fils de France and bore the surname de France. Philippe married twice. With his second wife, as Duke of Orléans, he founded the House of Orléans, a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, and established its wealth, which was confiscated during the French Revolution of 1789. Philippe bore the title of Duke of Anjou before 1660, and that of Duke of Orléans when he was given the appanage of his uncle Gaston d'Orléans upon the latter's death.



Philippe de France was born at the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye on 21 September 1640. At birth, he was titled Duke of Anjou. Philippe was the second and last child of his parents, Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, (his mother had suffered several miscarriages before the birth of her first son, the dauphin Louis Dieudonné, in 1638).

At the death of Louis XIII in 1643, the elder brother succeeded to the throne of France as King Louis XIV. As the brother to the King, Philippe was called Monsieur, but was commonly known as le Petit Monsieur, in order to distinguish him from his uncle, Gaston d'Orléans, who, as the younger brother of the previous monarch, was known as le Grand Monsieur. In his early years, Philippe was very close to his uncle who shared a similar rank.

Like his elder brother, Philippe was educated by the most able of tutors of the time, François de La Mothe Le Vayer and the Abbé de Choisy.[1] He was also educated by the maréchal du Plessis-Praslin.

In order to discourage the type of tempestuous relationship that had developed between Louis XIII and his younger brother Gaston, Anne of Austria and Cardinal Mazarin decided to protect the future king by making sure that Philippe had no part in any political or military office. During his youth, his behavior was closely watched by his mother and her advisor, who made sure Philippe had no meaningful financial freedom from the Crown.[1] His income was to be derived solely from his appanage.

The queen and Mazarin discouraged Philippe from traditional manly pursuits such as arms and politics, and encouraged him to wear dresses, makeup, and to enjoy feminine behaviour. As an adult, he continued to enjoy wearing feminine clothing and fragrances.

His inclination toward homosexuality was not discouraged, with the hope of reducing any threat he may have posed to his older brother. Reportedly, Cardinal Mazarin even arranged for the de-flowering of Philippe at the hands of his own nephew, Philippe Mancini.[2][3]. Even once married, he reportedly carried on open romantic affairs with German noblemen, with no regard to either of his two wives.[4]

During the Fronde, in order to find shelter in an unsafe Paris, Philippe and his older brother were often dragged between various palaces in the capital and châteaux of the Île de France region surrounding Paris. He and his brother often stayed at the Palais-Royal near the Palais du Louvre. Louis XIV thus grew to dislike and distrust the city of Paris and its inhabitants, which resulted in his move to the Château de Versailles shortly after the death of Mazarin in 1661.[5]

From the accession of his brother in 1643, Philippe was the heir presumptive for almost twenty years, until the birth of his nephew Louis de France, in 1661, at which time he became second in line of succession to the throne.

Philippe's uncle Gaston died in 1660 without male issue and, a year later, Philippe was granted the Orléans appanage, receiving the titles: Duke of Orléans, Duke of Valois, Duke of Chartres and lord of Montargis. [6]

Military achievements

Despite being deprived of significant military responsibility, Philippe proved to be an exceptionally brave and competent commander in the field. He fought with distinction in the 1667 promenade militaire against Flanders during the War of Devolution (and hastened back to his life at court immediately after victory was assured).

Philippe resumed military command in 1672. In 1677, he won a great victory against William of Orange at the Battle of Cassel in northern France and took Saint-Omer. Reportedly, Louis XIV was jealous of his brother's success and, as result, Philippe was never again given command of an army.


Henrietta Anne

On 31 March 1661, he married his first cousin, Princess Henrietta Anne of England, daughter of King Charles I of England, in the chapel of the Palais-Royal in Paris. Both were grandchildren of Henry IV of France and Marie de' Medici. She was known at court as Madame, Henriette d'Angleterre (Henrietta of England) or affectionately as Minette.

Philippe and Henriette remained indifferent to one another[1] and went on to seek comfort from others. Philippe openly paraded his male lovers in front of his wife and the whole court. Among them were Armand de Gramont, Count of Guiche, known for his arrogance and good looks, the Marquis de Châtillon and his first lover, Philippe Mancini, Duke of Nevers.[1]

Meanwhile, Henriette proved to be very popular at court as a pretty, good-natured girl, much to Philippe's annoyance. She soon attracted the attention of the King. In order to hide this attraction from the king's mother and wife, Henriette and Louis invented the story that he was constantly in Henriette's company in order to be close to one of her ladies-in-waiting, Louise de La Vallière. In time, Louis indeed fell in love with Louise and made her his mistress.

Reluctant and somewhat bitter, Henriette stepped aside. Later, she seems to have taken one of her husband's earlier conquests, Armand de Gramont as a lover.[1] This caused all sorts of arguments at the Palais Royal, where the Orléans lived.

Despite this marital dissension, several children were born of the union:

  1. Marie Louise d'Orléans (26 March 1662 – 12 February 1689), who married Charles II of Spain.
  2. Philippe Charles, Duke of Valois, (16 July 1664 – 8 December 1666)
  3. a stillborn daughter on 9 July 1665
  4. Louis-Victor Alexandre (23 December 1666 - unknown)
  5. Anne Marie d'Orléans (27 August 1669 – 26 August 1728), who married Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, King of Sardinia, in 1684.

Henriette was known for her fragile and delicate health; she had had four miscarriages in the space of five years.[7]

By the time of the birth of Anne Marie, the couple was notorious for their constant arguing at court and at home in the Palais-Royal.[1]

After joining his brother Louis, the Queen, Mademoiselle, Madame de Montespan and Louise de La Vallière at a military campaign in northern France, the ducal couple returned to Saint-Cloud.

The death of the duchess at the age of twenty-six, on 30 June 1670, at Saint-Cloud, was popularly attributed to poison. There is little evidence and less of an apparent motive on the part of the Duke of Orléans; but, some of his mignons, including the Chevalier de Lorraine, had earned her enmity and she theirs, and they were suspected. After an autopsy was performed, it was reported that Henrietta-Anne had died of peritonitis caused by a perforated ulcer. During his marriage to Henriette-Anne, Philippe was heard to have said that he had loved her for fifteen days[citation needed].

The Chevalier de Lorraine

Philippe's favourites, invariably younger, handsome men, dominated contemporary and historical commentaries about his role at court. Among them one man stands out, Philip of Lorraine-Armagnac, the Chevalier de Lorraine, who has been described as "insinuating, brutal and devoid of scruple". According to Dirk van der Cruysse, he...

...was also the worst enemy of the latter's two wives. As greedy as a vulture, this cadet of the French branch of the House of Lorraine had, by the end of the 1650s, hooked Monsieur like a harpooned whale. The young prince loved him with a passion that worried Madame Henrietta and the court bishop, Cosnac, but it was plain to the King that, thanks to the attractive face and sharp mind of the good-looking cavalier, he would have his way with his brother.[8]

In January 1670, Philippe's wife prevailed upon the King to imprison the chevalier, first near Lyon, then in the Mediterranean island-fortress of Château d'If. Finally, he was banished to Rome. However, by February, the Duke of Orléans' protests and pleas persuaded the King to restore him to his brother's entourage.

Elizabeth Charlotte

Philippe's confidante, Anna Gonzaga, Princess Palatine, arranged his second marriage to her husband's niece, Elisabeth Charlotte, the nineteen year old daughter of Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine. "Liselotte", as she was known, converted to Roman Catholicism, before the marriage ceremony.

The couple was married by proxy, in the cathedral Saint-Étienne at Metz, on 16 November 1671. The maréchal du Plessis-Praslin represented the Duke of Orléans. Philippe and Liselotte first met on the road between the towns of Châlons and Bellay.[9].

Whereas Philippe's first wife had been known for beauty, charm and wit, Liselotte lacked those graces. Some said that this lack explained why she fared better with her husband (who personally took charge of her toilette for public occasions) than did his first wife. She bore him his only surviving son.

Liselotte also became known for her brusque candor, upright character, lack of vanity, and prolific foreign correspondence about the daily routine and frequent scandals of Versailles. Her letters record how willingly she gave up sharing Philippe's bed at his request after their children's births, and how unwillingly she endured the presence of his mignons in their household, which caused the couple to quarrel.

But she frequently acknowledged that Philippe's treatment of her was less offensive than the impertinences his entourage indulged in at her expense, and the lack of protection he afforded her and their children against the hostile intrigues she believed were directed at her by spiteful courtiers, especially Madame de Maintenon.

The couple had three children:

Later life

In 1672, Louis XIV awarded his brother with the title of Duke of Nemours, Count of Dourdan and Romorantin and Marquis of Coucy and Folembray.[10]

Philippe failed to stand up to Louis XIV's insistence on marrying his youngest legitimised daughter, Françoise-Marie de Bourbon, to Philippe's son and heir, Philippe, Duke of Chartres, in February 1692. Philippe succumbed when the king gave him the Palais Royal in Paris and promised him a dowry of two million livres. This palace became the Paris residence of the Dukes of Orléans until 1793.[11]

In 1693, Philippe's wealthy cousin, Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier, died and left him all her wealth. He received the titles of Duke of Montpensier, of Châtellerault , of Saint-Fargeau, of Beaupréau, Prince of Joinville, Baron of Beaujolais and Marquis de Mézières. Philippe also received an allowance for his expenses at court, which he cleverly invested to create a fortune.

To his already rich holdings, Philippe wanted to add the County of Blois, with its château de Chambord, and the governorship of Languedoc, but both were refused him by his brother.[1]


On the evening of 8 June 1701, the two brothers had a terrible argument about the Duke of Chartres who had never received the charges the King had promised him upon his marriage with Mademoiselle de Blois. Philippe pleaded his son's case with such vehemence that a footman felt obliged to enter the King's chamber to warn the royal brothers that their argument was being overheard by the entire court. The Duke of Orléans is the only man known to have raised his voice to the adult Louis XIV.

Royal styles of
Phlippe de France, Duke of Orléans

Blason France moderne.svg

Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Monsieur

After dinner, Philippe went home to Saint-Cloud. That night, he suffered a stroke and fell into a coma. He died the following day, 9 June 1701. The King's former mistress, Madame de Montespan, was said to have wept bitterly at the loss of her one remaining friend. His wife (and very close friend) was also very sad as were his granddaughter, the Duchess of Bourgogne, and his brother.


Philippe enjoyed court life, gambling, chasing young men, and ceremony. Despite the fact that his debts and dalliances often cost the King, the brothers spent much time together. His unabashed effeminacy probably deprived him of some credit, but Louis XIV seems to have fully appreciated their relationship, as he treated his brother, publicly and privately, with respect and leniency. Philippe's loyalty towards his brother was never in question, but there was always a hint of condescension from Louis to Philippe.[12]

Philippe was an art collector, an important early sponsor of the playwright and actor Molière, and also a shrewd investor.[13] He was a leading architectural patron of his day, responsible for the construction of the château de Saint-Cloud and the vast extensions to the Palais Royal. The gallery he built at Saint-Cloud was said to have inspired his brother to build the Galerie des Glaces at the Palace of Versailles.[14] The gardens were designed by André Le Nôtre, the great landscaping architect who also created the gardens at Versailles, among many others.

The Orléans canal, built by Philippe de France, was also a family possession and was used to transport timber from the Orléans forest to the capital where it was sold. The canal was nationalised in 1793, during the Revolution.[15]


During his childhood, Philippe lived at the Palais-Royal, which had been bequeathed to the Crown by the Cardinal Richelieu. During the Fronde, Philippe's mother chose the palace as her main residence due to its relative safety.

After the Fronde, Philippe accompanied his older brother and mother as the court made its annual procession through the royal residences, the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the Palais du Louvre and the Palais Royal. When he was twelve, he followed his brother and mother to the Palais des Tuileries, which was part of the Louvre complex.

As an adult, Philippe resided in two of the most famous palaces in France:

  • In Paris, he lived in the Palais Royal. Philippe and his first and second wives lived there at the pleasure of his brother, the king. In 1692, the king deeded the palace to Philippe at the time of the marriage of his son, the Duke of Chartres, to the king's legitimised daughter, Françoise-Marie de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Blois. The palace was the Parisian residence of the Orléans family until the arrest, on 5 April 1793, of his great-great-grandson, Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, by then known as Philippe Égalité, who had sided with the French Revolution of 1789.
  • In 1658, Philippe bought the château de Saint-Cloud as his main country estate, where he entertained lavishly. His first wife, Henriette-Anne, died there. The château was eventually sold in 1785 by Philippe's descendant, Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, to Queen Marie Antoinette (also his descendant) for six million livres. Occupied by the Prussians during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, it was destroyed by French artillery on 1 October 1870.

In addition, Philippe and his wife had apartments at the Palace of Versailles as did all members of the House of Bourbon.

Portrayals in fiction

Philippe was portrayed by Murray Lachlan Young, in Roland Joffé's 2000 film Vatel. The film depicted him as an open homosexual with a court of male hangers-on. Early in the film, he displeased François Vatel (played by Gérard Depardieu) as he wanted one of the kitchenhands, Colin, to become his pageboy, to which Vatel responded:

I do not get my kitchenhands from him, and I will not supply my kitchenhands to his brothel.

Later on, the Prince proves to be a friend, scuppering a plot by a courtier, the Marquis de Lauzun, to maim Vatel. The film's portrayal acknowledges both his homosexuality and his military skill.

He is also depicted by Christophe Maé in the French Musical Le Roi Soleil also as an open homosexual and friend to his brother, Louis XIV.

The 1998 film The Man in the Iron Mask inaccurately depicts Philippe as the twin of Louis XIV, whom he replaces as king. Not only is the character very different from the historical Philippe, but the description of his generosity as monarch is very different from the historical Louis XIV.

Family portrait

A mural commissioned around 1670 by Philippe himself. It shows the House of Bourbon in around 1670 even though his mother and his wife were already dead. From left to right: Philippe's mother in law, Henrietta Maria, Philippe himself, his first daughter Marie Louise d'Orléans (later Queen of Spain), his first wife Princess Henriette (d. 1670), Anne of Austria (d. 1666), the Orléans daughters of Gaston, Duke of Orléans, Louis XIV, Louis, le Grand Dauphin with his mother Maria Theresa of Spain with her third daughter Marie-Thérèse de France (d. 1672) and her second son Philippe-Charles, Duke of Anjou (d. 1671). Far right is Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier. The picture frame with the two children are the other two daughters of Louis and Maria Theresa who died in 1662 and 1664.


Titles and Styles


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Barker, Nancy Nichols, Brother to the Sun king: Philippe, Duke of Orléans, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.
  2. ^ Erlanger, Philippe, Louis XIV, translated from the French by Stephen Cox, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1970, p. 75 (footnote).
  3. ^ Dufresne, Claude, Les Orléans, CRITERION, Paris, 1991, p. 33 (French).
  4. ^ P. Salazar in Who's who in Gay and Lesbian History, London, 1990 (Ed Wotherspoon and Aldrich).
  5. ^ Freeman-Mitford, Nancy, The Sun King, Penguin Books, 1966.
  6. ^ Anthony, Louisa. Footsteps to history, being an epitome of the histories of England and France, from the fifth to the nineteenth century, p.195. Published 1852.
  7. ^ Royal Genealogy, Information on Stuart, Henrietta Anne
  8. ^ Van der Cruysse, Dirk (1988) (in French). Madame Palatine, princesse européenne. Fayard. pp. 165. ISBN 2213022003. 
  9. ^ Arvède Barine, "Madame, Mère du Régent", in: Revue des deux mondes, LXXVIIe Année, Cinquième période, Tome Quarantième, Paris, 1907, p. 814.
  10. ^ Lane, William Coolidge. "A.L.A. Portrait Index: Index to Portraits Contained in Printed Books", P1099. Published 1906, B. Franklin.
  11. ^ Confiscated in 1793 after Philippe Égalité's arrest during the French Revolution, the Palais-Royal was returned to the Orléans family in 1814. at the time of the Bourbon Restoration.
  12. ^ Farquhar, Michael (2001). A Treasure of Royal Scandals, p.176. Penguin Books, New York. ISBN 0739420259.
  13. ^ ib. Barker, Nancy Nichols, Brother to the Sun King.
  14. ^
  15. ^


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address