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Gaston d'Orléans in 1634
Gaston Jean-Baptiste de France, duc d'Orléans, (25 April 1608 – 2 February 1660, Bloismarker), was the third son of the king of France Henry IV and of his wife Marie de' Medici.

As a son of the king, he was a Fils de France. As the eldest surviving brother of King Louis XIII, he was known at court by the traditional honorific of Monsieur.

Early life

Gaston d'Orléans was born at the château de Fontainebleaumarker and was given at birth the title of duc d'Anjou. In 1626, at the time of his marriage to the young duchesse de Montpensier, he received in appanage (with their respective titles) the dukedoms of Orléans and Chartres, and the county of Blois. He had nominal command of the army which besieged La Rochellemarker in 1628, having already entered upon that course of political intrigue which would occupy the remainder of his life.

On two occasions he had to leave France for conspiring against the government of his mother and of Cardinal Richelieu; and after waging an unsuccessful war in Languedoc, he took refuge in Flanders.

Reconciled with his brother Louis XIII, he plotted against Richelieu in 1635, fled from the country, and then submitted to the king and the cardinal.

Soon afterwards the same process repeated itself. Orléans stirred up Cinq-Mars to attempt Richelieu's murder, and then deserted his unfortunate accomplice (1642). In 1643, on the death of Louis XIII, Gaston became lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and fought against Spainmarker on the northern frontiers of France; he was created duc d'Alençon in 1646.However, during the wars of the Fronde (1648–1653), he passed with great facility from one side to the other.


Gaston first married on 6 August 1626, at Nantesmarker, Marie de Bourbon, duchesse de Montpensier (1605-1627), daughter and heiress of Henri de Bourbon, Duke of Montpensier. One daughter was born to the couple nine months after the marriage and a few days later, Marie died. Their daughter was:

Gaston's second marriage on 3 January 1632, at Nancymarker, was to Marguerite, sister of Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine.The couple had four daughters and one son:

Gaston had an illegitimate daughter by Marie Porcher:
  • Marie bâtarde d'Orléans 1 January 1631, Paris.

He also had an illegitimate son by Louise-Roger de La Marbelière:
  • Jean Louis bâtard d'Orléans, comte de Charny, (1638, Tours-1692, Spain).

Later life

After the death of his brother Louis XIII in 1643, Gaston's nephew became Monsieur. To differentiate the older "Monsieur" from the younger, Gaston, the uncle, was called Le Grand Monsieur and Philippe, duc d'Anjou, his nephew and brother of the new king Louis XIV, was called Le Petit Monsieur.

After the Fronde, Gaston was exiled by Mazarin to Blois in 1652, and remained there until his death. On his death, all his Orléans titles went to Le Petit Monsieur, the new and only Monsieur, and duc d'Orléans.


Gaston's ancestors in three generations
Gaston, Duke of Orléans Father:

Henry IV of France
Paternal Grandfather:

Antoine of Navarre
Paternal Great-grandfather:

Charles de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme
Paternal Great-grandmother:

Françoise d'Alençon
Paternal Grandmother:

Jeanne III of Navarre
Paternal Great-grandfather:

Henry II of Navarre
Paternal Great-grandmother:

Marguerite de Navarre

Marie de' Medici
Maternal Grandfather:

Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Maternal Great-grandfather:

Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Maternal Great-grandmother:

Eleonora di Toledo
Maternal Grandmother:

Johanna of Austria
Maternal Great-grandfather:

Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maternal Great-grandmother:

Anna of Bohemia and Hungary


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