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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 Francemarker, 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 Royalmarker in Parismarker to Louis Philippe Joseph, Duke of Chartres (later Duke of Orléans and, later still, known as Philippe Egalité) and Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre. As a member of the reigning House of Bourbon, he was a Prince du Sang. He was the first of three sons and a daughter to the Orléans family, a family that was to have erratic fortunes for the next court years.

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.

Education

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-Michelmarker, during a visit there with the Countess of Genlis. From October 1788 to October 1789, the Palais-Royalmarker, 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 Boussumarker and Quaragnon and a few days later fought at Quiévrainmarker near Jemappesmarker, 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.

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 Valmymarker 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 Austrianmarker-Prussian army, short of supplies, was forced back across the Rhinemarker 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 Belgiummarker. Louis-Philippe again commanded a division. Dumouriez chose to attack an Austrianmarker force in a strong position on the heights of Cuesmes and Jemappes to the west of Monsmarker. 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 Republicmarker. 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-Jeanmarker 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 Switzerlandmarker under an assumed name, and met up with the Countess of Genlis and his sister Adélaïde at Schaffhausenmarker. From there they went to Zürichmarker, where the Swissmarker authorities decreed that to protect Swiss neutrality, Louis-Philippe would have to leave the city. They went to Zugmarker, 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 Baselmarker, 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.

Travels

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 Milanmarker 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 Bavariamarker and Hungarymarker and, finally, to her mother who was exiled in Spainmarker.

Louis-Philippe travelled extensively. He visited Scandinavia in 1795 and then moved on to Finlandmarker. For about a year, he stayed in Muoniomarker (in valley of Tornio river), a remote village at the northern end of the Gulf of Bothniamarker, 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 Statesmarker for four years, staying in Philadelphiamarker (where his brothers Antoine Philippe and Louis-Charles were in exile), New York Citymarker (where he most likely stayed at the Somerindyck family estate on Broadway and 75th Street with other exiled princes), and Bostonmarker. In Boston, he taught French for a time and lived in lodgings over what is now the Union Oyster Housemarker, 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 Codmarker 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 Nashvillemarker and as far north as Mainemarker. 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, Massachusettsmarker, 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 Orleansmarker, planning to sail to Havanamarker and thence to Spain. This however was a troubled journey, as Spain and Great Britainmarker were then at war.

They sailed for Havana in an American corvette, but the ship was stopped in the Gulf of Mexicomarker 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 Bahamasmarker to Nova Scotiamarker 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.

Marriage

In 1809, Louis-Philippe married Princess Marie Amalie, daughter of King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies and Marie Caroline of Austria. They had the following ten children:
  1. Ferdinand-Philippe d'Orléans (3 September 1810–1842) married Helena of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  2. Louise-Marie 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 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 d'Orléans, 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)

Silver five-franc coin featuring Louis-Philippe from 1834.
The French inscription is LOUIS PHILIPPE I ROI DES FRANÇAIS, in English, "Louis Philippe I, King of the French."


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)

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 Great Britainmarker. 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 accession, Louis-Philippe assumed the title of King of the French - a title already employed 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 his ordinance of 13 August 1830, soon after his accession to the throne, it was decided that the king's sister and his children would continue to bear the arms of Orléans, that Louis Philippe's eldest son, as Prince Royal, would bear the title Duke of Orléans, that the younger sons would continue to have their previous titles, and that the sister and daughters of the king would only be styled Princesses of Orléans, not of France.

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

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

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

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 Englandmarker. According to The Times of 6 March 1848, the King and Queen were received at Newhaven, East Sussexmarker 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 Claremontmarker, Surreymarker. He died on 26 August 1850. He is buried with his wife Marie-Amélie at the Chapelle royale de Dreuxmarker, the Orléans family necropolis his mother had built in 1816, in Dreuxmarker, 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.

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