Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Ferdinand Philippe
Prince Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans by Ingres, 1832.jpg
Duke of Orléans
Predecessor Louis Philippe I
Successor Prince Philippe
Born (1810-09-03)3 September 1810
Royal Palace, Palermo, Sicily
Died 13 July 1842(1842-07-13) (aged 31)
Sablonville, France
Burial (1842-07-16)16 July 1842
Royal Chapel, Dreux, France
Spouse Helene of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Issue Prince Philippe, Count of Paris
Prince Robert, Duke of Chartres
Full name
Ferdinand Philippe Louis Charles Henri Joseph d'Orléans
House Orléans
Father Louis Philippe I
Mother Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily
Religion Roman Catholicism

Prince Ferdinand Philippe of Orléans (3 September 1810 – 13 July 1842) was the eldest son of Louis Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans and future King Louis Philippe I. Born in exile in his mother's native Sicily, he was their heir to the House of Orléans from birth. Following his father's succession as King of the French in 1830, he became the Prince Royal and subsequently Duke of Orléans (French: Duc d'Orléans), the title by which he is best known. Dying in 1842, he never succeeded his father nor saw the collapse of the July Monarchy and subsequent exile of his family to England.

Early life

Born in Palermo in September, 1810, during his parents' exile and he was given the title Duke of Chartres always being known as Chartres within the family circle. He was baptised with the names Ferdinand Philippe Louis Charles Henri Joseph, his forenames in honour of Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Philippe Égalité, his grandfathers. Though born in exile, he and his family held the ranks of princes and princesses of the blood and the title of "Serene Highness". As the eldest son, he was the heir to the title of Duke of Orléans, head of the House of Orléans which was a cadet branch of the Bourbons of France descended from the only brother of Louis XIV.

The young prince first visited France in 1814 during the First Restoration and settled there in 1817. In 1819 his father put him in the care of a tutor, M. de Boismilon, then in the collège Henri-IV. He wished him to receive a liberal education on a foundation of complete equality with his fellow students. He was highly successful in his studies and took courses at the École polytechnique. After a trip to Great Britain (visiting both England and Scotland) in 1819, he went to Lunéville to join the 1er régiment de hussards, of which he was made colonel by Charles X (1824). In September 1824, King Charles X granted the style of Royal Highness, a style which Ferdinand Philippe maintained at his father's accession to the throne six years later.

July Revolution

Ferdinand Philippe with his mother in 1819. His mother's coat of arms can be seen on the column. Painting by Louis Joseph Noyal

In 1830, the young Duke of Chartres was on garrison duty at Joigny during the July Revolution. He made his regiment wear the tricolor cockade and quickly led them to aid the uprising in Paris. He was temporarily stopped at Montrouge and entered Paris on 3 August at the head of his regiment. When his father was offered the French throne by the Chamber of Deputies, Prince Ferdinand Philippe received the title of Duke of Orléans, Prince of Orléans, and also became Prince Royal, the heir apparent to the throne. His father made him enter the Conseil; there his temper led him to criticise the time lost by ministers' prevarications and to have frequent skirmishes with the doctrinaires, to whom he wished to interpret the sentiments of revolutionary youth. Casimir Perier, on being made President of the Conseil in March 1831, made Ferdinand Philippe's exclusion from the Conseil a condition of his taking the post.

In November 1831, the young new Duke of Orléans and Maréchal d'Empire Le Duc de Dalmatie were sent to repress the Canut revolts. He acquitted himself in this difficult task without violence and managed to rapidly appease opponents of the July Monarchy. The new Prince Royal even gained a certain popularity. During the cholera outbreak in 1831, he did not hesitate to take real risks in visiting the sickest cases in the Hôtel-Dieu de Paris, accompanied by Casimir Perier (who caught the disease and died). In the eyes of the people and the press he passed for a generous prince, sincerely preoccupied with the plight of the poor, and he became a sort of icon for the dynastic opposition of Odilon Barrot, who saw in him the only prince capable of reconciling modern France's democratic aspirations with the heritage of its monarchical past. On 2 March 1832 he was granted an annual income of 1 million francs under his father's new Civil List.

Military career

In 1831 Ferdinand Philippe and his young brother Prince Louis, Duke of Nemours, set out on their first campaign, under Maréchal Count Gérard. When the princes entered Belgium in 1831, they eagerly visited the plain of Jemmapes, where their father had fought in 1792. The following year, Ferdinand Philippe returned to Belgium in command of the vanguard brigade of the armée du Nord. On 20 November 1832 he was before the citadel of Antwerp, commanding the trenches during the night of 29/30 November. In the attack on the Saint-Laurent lunette, he launched himself onto the parapet amidst a hail of projectiles to lead the action and arouse his soldiers' courage.

In 1835, when Maréchal Count Clauzel was sent to Algeria as Governor General, the young Prince Royal asked his father to allow him to go as well, so he could fight the Emir Abd El-Kader. He participated with Clauzel's army in the Battle of Habrah, where he was wounded, and in the capture of Mascara in December 1835. He then participated in the taking of Tlemcen in January 1836. He returned to Paris with an aura of military glory, before returning to Algeria in autumn 1839 to take possession of the country's interior (from Constantine to Algiers) for France alongside Maréchal Count Valée. He left Constantine on 16 October, three days after the second anniversary of the town's capture, and reached Algiers on 2 November via Sétif and the Iron Gates pass. Abd-el-Kader saw this as a violation of the treaty of Tafna and unleashed jihad upon the French. This led to an escalation in tension and finally Algeria's wholesale occupation by France. Ferdinand Philippe set out for Algeria a third time in March 1840, taking with him his young brother The Duke of Aumale, tutoring him in his first military experience. Present at the battles of Affroun, Oued'Ger and bois des Oliviers, he was put in charge of directing the attackers in the capture of Teniah de Mouzaïa. After this campaign he was recalled to France for good.

This brilliant military career increased his popularity and prestige. He also devoted himself to the improvement of the troops' living conditions and morale. At Saint-Omer he organised the chasseurs de Vincennes, who became the chasseurs d'Orléans in 1836, and re-formed the chasseurs de Vincennes à pied. He laid the foundations for a Histoire des Régiments, commissioned by order of the Minister of War, and began work writing the regimental histories of the two regiments he had commanded himself.

Marriage negotiations

Ferdinand Philippe's marriage had long been one of the July Monarchy's major political affairs. Had it not been for the 1830 Revolution he would have married the sister of Henri, Count of Chambord, Mademoiselle (1819–1864). Her family scuttled the marriage plans when Ferdinand Philippe's branch of the family 'usurped' the throne. From 1835, after an assassination attempt by Giuseppe Fieschi and his co-conspirators, Ferdinand Philippe's father was obsessed with the marital prospects of his son, by then 25. Blanche-Joséphine Le Bascle d'Argenteuil noted, in her Souvenirs, that if the Prince Royal died young after having fathered a male heir, the July Monarchy would be faced with the prospect and political uncertainty of a regency – for her the wisest course consisted of first marrying off the King's third son, then the fourth, then the fifth, and thus guarantee him descendants, all the while leaving several men around the throne who could take over from him if he died suddenly.

At this time the July Monarchy was searching for new allies in Continental Europe so they would not to have to depend solely on the United Kingdom. Talleyrand, fresh from renouncing his embassy to London and close to the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Palmerston, pointed in this direction. The King at first envisaged a rapprochement with Russia via Württemberg. King Wilhelm I, widower of Grand Duchess Catherine Pavlovna of Russia, had two daughters of marriageable age, Princesses Marie (born 1816) and Sophie (born 1818). Wilhelm I's sister Catharina had already made an inauspicious French marriage alliance to Jérôme Bonaparte and so Wilhelm declined the proposition as humiliating. He later was to accept Marie's even more humiliating marriage to Alfred Graf Neipperg in 1840. Queen Louise wrote to her parents on Marie's marriage that "We see singular things. It was not at all probable that this daughter, who the king of Württemberg did not wish to give to Chartres for fear of his ending his days [in exile] in America, should end up marrying a miserable little Austrian officers without illustriousness and of very ordinary birth."[1]

Louis Philippe next envisaged an alliance with Austria via marrying his son to Archduchess Maria Theresa (born 1816), daughter of Archduke Karl, Duke of Teschen (German: Herzog von Teschen). Queen Marie Amélie was highly favourable to such a match as she was herself a daughter of an Austrian archduchess (Maria Carolina of Austria), and Archduke Karl was not opposed to it. However, Karl faced determined opponents to it on two sides – Prince Metternich, who did not want to repeat his error in marrying Marie Louise to Napoléon I, and Archduchess Sophie, a Bavarian princess and sister-in-law of the new Kaiser Ferdinand I, who dominated the Vienna court with her strong personality, who was awaiting her son Franz-Josef's ascent to the imperial throne. France's ambassador to Vienna, the Count of Sainte-Aulaire, who had been put in charge of preparing the ground for an Austrian match, felt the possibility was difficult if not completely impossible. The new President of the Conseil, Adolphe Thiers, dreamed of concluding such a match and becoming a new Duke of Choiseul as the maker of a spectacular reversal in the alliances of Europe.

Ferdinand Philippe and his younger brother, the Prince Louis, Duke of Nemours, set out on a European tour on 2 May 1836. Ferdinand Philippe and Queen Marie-Amélie got off to a bad start when the young French Prince Royal refused to shave off the proud beard that had set a fashion among French youth. He wrote back to Queen Louise complaining that "there was a lack of tact there and of sentiments of convenience that afflicted me. [...] I believe that Leopold I can say to him that a goatee beard on the face of a prince royal is contrary to all German manners. Here, [such a beard] is neither handsome nor fortunate, there it can be fatal."[2] The two French princes were a great success in Berlin and Vienna, staying at the latter from 29 May to 11 June. However, the Marquis de Sémonville commented that "everyone has shaken their hand, but no one was close to them".[2] Even if the young Prince Royal decidedly liked Archduke Karl and his daughter, Prince Metternich and the Archduchess Sophie put up a major barrage of problems and news of Thiers (impatient to conclude the match) being on his way was enough to convince Louis Philippe to make a marriage proposal. He was refused, though to play to French susceptibilities the official version was that the refusal was because of the "feelings" of Archduchess Marie-Thérèse. Queen Louise wrote to her mother on 14 June 1836: "I am upset to see that you have thrown your all behind the cause of Austria [...] I have always thought that Chartres was of too high birth to marry she who seems to him the most minor princess in Germany; and I avow that I would better like to see him marry a princess from Lippe or Waldeck who was good and pretty and of robust health, rather than an archduchess of Austria who would bring us all sorts of evils in her dowry. [...] Napoleon, in this situation, was able to make sacrifices to ally himself with Austria; and we all saw what profit he got from it. But we are not upstarts, and have no need of ennobling ourselves by uniting with the house of Lorraine".[2]

The two young princes returned to France via Italy. At Trent they were received by Her Imperial Majesty Marie Louise, the former Empress Consort of the French, who could not refrain from tears at the similarity between the Prince Royal and her son, the late Duke of Reichstadt. At Milan they stayed with Archduke Rainer Joseph of Austria, Viceroy of Lombardy-Venetia, where they heard the news of Alibaud's assassination attempt on King Louis Philippe on 25 June. After the Austrians' refusal of the match, only two potential Catholic princesses remained (Louis-Philippe confided to one of his familiars "I would prefer her to be a Catholic. You believe it is nothing, the Carlists believe it is everything; and I myself believe that it is neither here nor there"[3]), and these were both very young for marriage (born in 1821): Princess Januaria of Brazil, daughter of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil, and the Infanta Isabella of Spain, daughter of the Infante Francisco de Paula, younger brother of King Ferdinand VII. The former was excluded by her remoteness, and the latter due to her family's unfortunate history (her mother Princess Luisa Carlotta of the Two Sicilies, niece of Queen Marie-Amélie, was monstrously obese) and her physical appearance (she was red and thin; Queen Louise wrote to Queen Marie-Amélie on 21 November 1836 that "I send you her portrait, that Leopold found hideous. Her hair especially is frightening in terms of the children she will have. If all her family are ginger, this will afflict them [too]".[4]


Some possibilities were also seen among the Protestant German princesses. Via his great-niece the Duchess of Dino, Talleyrand suggested Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel (born 1817 to a cousin of the Elector of Hesse and his wife, a Danish princess), whilst Queen Louise suggested Princess Marie of Saxe-Altenburg (born 1818 to the Duke of Saxe-Altenburg and Princess Amelia of Wurtemberg, and who finally ended up marrying King Georg V of Hanover in 1843), and Princess Victoria of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (daughter of an elder brother of King Leopold I of the Belgians; she was actually raised a Catholic and married the Prince Royal's younger brother, the Duke of Nemours, in 1840).

The Duchess of Orléans holding her son, Philippe, Count of Paris. Portrait by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1839. Château de Versailles.

However, the negotiators' choice finally came to rest on Duchess Helene Luise Elisabeth of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (known as Hélène, 1814–1858), daughter of the late hereditary prince Frederick Louis, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and his wife Princess Caroline Louise of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (died 1816). For Ferdinand Philippe, it was a convenient alliance but one without much attraction; Metternich quipped that she was "petite but of a good house".[3] She was the niece of King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia, whose wife was born Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (this did not avoid difficulties for the marriage in Berlin, which the French ambassador there, the Count Bresson, succeeded in resolving). Nicholas I of Russia, for his part, affected disdain as to the marriage, proclaiming that such a minor marriage was not worth the trouble to prevent.

The Duke of Broglie was sent to Germany as ambassador extraordinary with the aim of presenting the official marriage request and bringing the princess back to France. An anonymous but virulent libel against the House of Orléans was published by a prince of the House of Mecklenburg. That House avoided the marriage, so that Duchess Hélène was only accompanied to France by her father's third widow, Augusta of Hesse-Homburg. The marriage was celebrated on 30 May 1837 at the Château de Fontainebleau, since Hyacinthe-Louis de Quélen, the Archbishop of Paris, had used the pretext of religious differences to forbid it from taking place in Notre Dame de Paris. The civil ceremony occurred in the galerie Henri II on 30 May 1837, presided over by the Baron Pasquier, who the King rewarded on 27 May by making him Lord Chancellor of France. The Catholic ceremony was presided over by Romain-Frédéric Gallard, Bishop of Meaux, in the chapel of Henri IV, whilst the Lutheran one was celebrated by Pastor Cuvier in the salon Louis Philippe. As his witnesses, Ferdinand Philippe had the four vice-presidents of the Chambre des Pairs (Chamber of Peers): the Baron Séguier, the Count Portalis, the Duke of Broglie, and the Count de Bastard; the president and four vice presidents of the Chambre des Députés (Chamber of Deputies): Dupin, Calmon, Delessert, Jacqueminot, Cunin-Gridaine; three marshals: Maréchal d'Empire The Duke of Dalmatie, Maréchal The Count of Lobau, Maréchal The Count Gérard; the Prince of Talleyrand, the Duke of Choiseul, and the Count Bresson, France's minister to Berlin.

The ceremony was well attended, but there was a notable lack of foreign ambassadors, except the Baron de Werther (Prussia), the Count Le Hon (Belgium), and the chargé d'affaires of Mecklembourg. The reception was brilliant; the Duchesse de Maillé observed:

The marriage was very happy and produced two children: Prince Philippe, Count of Paris (1838–1894), who was Prince Royal, and Prince Robert, Duke of Chartres (1840–1910).

Patron of the arts

Ferdinand Philippe loved literature, music, and the fine arts, and had a pronounced taste for collecting, "making his choice slowly, like a true lover [of the arts]".[7] Each year he spent 100,000 to 150,000 francs from his civil list allowance on art purchases or cultural patronage. In his vast apartments in the palais des Tuileries he gathered medieval and Renaissance objects, ceramics by Bernard Palissy, Hispano-Moorish majolica and ceramics, Chinese and Japanese porcelain, and furniture by Caffieri, Oeben, Riesener, and Jacob.

"The fatherland in danger"
Lithograph by Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orléans (1830)

He was passionate about modern painters, buying several canvasses from Ary Scheffer and Newton Fielding, both of whom had taught Ferdinand Philippe landscape painting from 1822 to 1830. He possessed works by Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix (The Prisoner of Chillon, The Assassination of the bishop of Liège, Hamlet and Horatio in the Graveyard), Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps (The Defeat of the Cimbri), Eugène Lami, Ernest Meissonnier, and Paul Delaroche. He loved landscapes by painters of the Barbizon school, notably Camille Corot, Paul Huet, and Théodore Rousseau. He commissioned Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres to paint Antiochus and Stratonice (1833), bought his Œdipus and the sphinx in 1839, and commissioned his portrait from him in 1840.

Talented as a draughtsman himself, Ferdinand Philippe made amateur engravings – twelve etchings and lithographs by him are known,[8] including a satire showing the sleeping Gulliver with Lilliputians all round him on foot and on horseback and a sign referring to the alarmist proclamation of 11 July 1792 by the Legislative Assembly that declared the fatherland to be in danger.


Bust by Pradier, after his death mask, 1842, Louvre

Returning from Plombières, where he was going to his wife, the Duke was about to leave for Saint-Omer to review part of the army on operations on the Marne, of which he had been made the commander. He went to Neuilly-sur-Seine on 13 July 1842 to say goodbye to his family. The horses of his carriage ran out of control at Sablonville in the Hauts-de-Seine département; he jumped from the carriage and broke his head on the pavement. A few hours later he was dead at the age of 32. Alfred de Musset evoked the accident in his poem Le Treize Juillet (in the collection Poésies nouvelles). His funeral service was held in Notre Dame and, when there was not enough black textile to cover the church, the architect Visconti had the idea of using black paper. He was interred in an elaborate tomb in the Chapelle Royale, in Dreux, Eure-et-Loir.

Deprived of the popular support his eldest son had had, his father Louis Philippe and his régime fell six years later. He, his family, and Ferdinand Philippe's widow Princess Hélène went into exile in Great Britain. There Hélène, Duchess of Orléans, died nearly 16 years after her husband, on 18 May 1858, in Richmond, Surrey. Because Hélène was a Protestant, she could not be buried in the Catholic Chapelle Royale at Dreux. Instead, a room with a separate entrance was built attached to the chapel and a window was opened between her tomb and her husband's. The sculpture of the Protestant princess rests atop her tomb, depicting her reaching through the opening to the tomb of her beloved Catholic prince.


  1. Prince Philippe, Count of Paris (1838–1894), Prince Royal, married Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans, Infanta of Spain (1848–1919), and had issue.
  2. Prince Robert, Duke of Chartres (1840–1910), married Princess Françoise of Orléans (1844–1925) and had issue.


Titles and styles

  • 3 September 1810 - 21 September 1824 His [Most] Serene Highness The Duke of Chartres
  • 21 September 1824 – 3 August 1830 His Royal Highness The Duke of Chartres
  • 3 August 1830 – 9 August 1830 His Royal Highness The Prince Royal, Prince of Orléans
  • 9 August 1830 – 13 July 1842 His Royal Highness The Duke of Orléans, Prince Royal, Prince of Orléans

In fiction

  • Ferdinand-Philippe was used by Hanns Heinz Ewers as a character in his novella "Die Herzen der Könige" (The Hearts of the Kings).


  1. cited by Guy Antonetti, Op. cit., p. 756)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Cited by Guy Antonetti, Op. cit., p. 757
  3. 3.0 3.1 Cited by Guy Antonetti, Op. cit., p. 782
  4. cited by Guy Antonetti, Op. cit., p. 781)
  5. Comparing the event to Princess Marie Adélaïde of Savoy's marriage to Louis of France, Duke of Burgundy and later Dauphin
  6. Cited by Guy Antonetti, Op. cit., p. 783
  7. Anonyme, L'Artiste, 1836, vol. II, p. 164
  8. Henri Béraldi, Les Graveurs du XIXe siècle, vol X, 1890, p. 234-236.


  • (French) Guy Antonetti, Louis-Philippe, Paris, Librairie Arthème Fayard, 2002 ISBN 2-213-59222-5
  • (French)
  • "Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans" in Charles Mullié, Biographie des célébrités militaires des armées de terre et de mer de 1789 à 1850, 1852
  • (French) Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orléans, duc d'Orléans, Souvenirs 1810–1830, texte établi, annoté et présenté par Hervé Robert, Genève, Librairie Droz S.A., 1993
  • (French) Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orléans, duc d'Orléans, Lettres 1825–1842, publiées par ses fils le comte de Paris et le duc de Chartres, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1889


Media related to Prince Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans at Wikimedia Commons

Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 3 September 1810 Died: 13 July 1842
French royalty
Preceded by
Louis Philippe
later became King Louis Philippe I
Heir to the Throne
as Heir apparent
9 August 1830 – 13 July 1842
Succeeded by
Prince Philippe, Count of Paris
Preceded by
Louis Philippe
later became King Louis Philippe I
Duke of Orléans
9 August 1830 – 13 July 1842
Title next held by
Prince Philippe