Louis Philippe d'Orléans



Clearly the best solution to avoid both the excesses of absolutism and a republic! Louis-Philippe is a prince and not any upstart with delusion of grandeur and no idea how a monarch ought to behave!
Adolphe Thiers

Table of Contents

Children

Childhood

 
Louis-Philippe was born on the 6th of October 1773 in Paris. His grandfather was the Duke of Orléans and first prince of the blood, his father was Louis Philippe Joseph d'Orléans, Duke of Chartres (1747-1793) and his mother Louise Marie-Adélaïde de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Penthièvre. Louis-Philippe is given the title of Duke of Valois at his birth. When his grandfather died, his father became Duke of Orléans and Louis-Philippe became Duke of Chartres.   Louis-Philippe was educated by different governesses. The last one, the Countess of Genlis, was a partisan of the idea of Rousseau, one of the major figures of the Enlightenment. It was because of this influence that, during the financial and social crisis of 1789 that preceded the revolution, Louis-Philippe entered in the political club of the Jacobains and supported the formation of the Constitution civile du clergé.


Louis XVI, after having accepted the duties of kingship and sworn to defend the constitution, has deserted the post entrusted to him, has protested against this constitution by a declaration written and signed by his own hand, has sought to paralyse the executive power by his flight and orders, and to overthrow the constitution by his complicity with the men today accused of attacking it.   That his betrayal, his desertion, protestation (to say nothing of all the other criminal acts preceding, accompanying, and following these) entail a formal abdication of the constitutional crown entrusted to him.   Considering that it would be as contrary to the majesty of the outraged nation as to its interests to entrust the reins of the empire to a perfidious, traitorous fugitive, this meeting formally and expressly demands that the National Assembly accept, in the nation’s name, Louis XVI’s abdication on June 21st of the crown delegated to him, and provide for his replacement by all constitutional means.

— Excerpt from the petition published by the Club of the Jacobains in 1792



Revolution

 

Louis-Philippe started his military career in 1791 with the rank of colonel commending a regiment of dragons. In 1792 he is promoted to Marechal, then Lieutenant-general and he played an important role in several battles of the revolutionary wars. He saw one of those battles turn into a defeat because of the bad orders coming from the revolutionary government that created disorganisation and insubordination in the army.   Following this event, Louis-Philippe and his superior, General Dumouriez decide to overthrow the government. This was a bold move as Louis-Philippe was well regarded and respected by that very government despite his status of prince of the blood.   All the Orléans were well respected and their reputation of liberals was even strengthened when Louis-Philippe's father, an important member of the new National Assembly under the name Philippe Égalité, voted in favour of his cousin Louis XVI's execution. This created a deep division and even hatred in the House of Bourbon between the main branch and the branch of the Orléans that is still ongoing, something the revolutionary appreciated.

This is the worst betrayal possible! Against their king, their cousins, their very own blood! The regicides will never be forgotten nor forgiven!
— Duchess of Berry, mother of Henri, the second heir to the throne


This attempt failed, but Louis-Philippe and Dumouriez managed to flee to Belgium. Unfortunately for them, this made the revolutionaries arrest the entire Orléans family. Worse, Philippe Égalité was judged and guillotined.

This is the proof no Bourbon ever should be trusted! Traitors to the nation, all of them! To the guillotine!
— An enthusiastic member of the National Assembly



Exile

 

From Belgium, Louis-Philippe went to Switzerland. He hid under the name Chabaud-Latour and taught at the College of Reichenau until he was unmasked and forced to emigrate again. He then went to Scandinavia and joined an expedition going to Lapland.  
I am a pioneer, the first French to ever go to the North Cape. This proves that I can lead men by example as well as by words.
— Louis-Philippe d'Orléans
  In 1796, King Carnot finally free Louis-Philippe two younger brothers from the prison in which they had been sent after the death of their father, on the condition that all of them go to the Americas and the European trading posts that have been allowed to be established on the coast. Fact extremely rare for Europeans, the brothers were invited inside the continent and got to sojourn with several of the Native populations in North America, then South America.   In 1800 after Napoléon became king, the brother went back to Europe and settled in England so as to be able to observe a lot more closely what was going on in France. Twice, Louis-Philippe attempted to take arms against Napoléon and to lead armies in Spain, but Louis XVIII refused to allow him to participate.  
My cousin hurt me so with his lack of trust. Surely, whatever past arguments we have had are behind us as we stand united against the Ogre.
— Louis-Philippe d'Orléans
  During that time, Louis-Philippe was also attempting to marry the English king's daughter, Elisabeth of Hanover, but in front of the endless difficulties of the project, he gave up and instead in 1809 he went to Sicilia and married Marie-Amélie de Bourbon, the daughter of King Ferdinand of the Two-Siciles who is Queen Marie-Antoinette's niece and Queen Marie-Louise's and the Duchess of Berry's aunt. By 1815 they already had 4 children.

All of those revolutions are just gigantic family quarrels! We need some new blood on the throne—and we will get it no matter how much of the old one we have to spill!
— Some very annoyed member of the National Assembly



Restauration

 

After Napoléon's death, with the English "encouragement" the French National Assembly voted for Louis XVIII of the "legitimate" House of Bourbon to become their king. Louis-Philippe came back to France and reconciled with his cousins. He was then officially given the title of Duke of Orléans and first prince of the blood, and the Palais-Royal was returned to him.   Moreover, in 1814 Louis XVIII gave back to Louis-Philippe all the goods and lands belonging to his family before the revolution and that were not sold or claimed during it. Even more, Charles X passed a law giving a compensation to the individuals who were financially hurt by the revolution, called "the emigrants' billion", and Louis-Philippe was the main beneficiary of it. All of this made him one of the richest persons in France.   During this period, Louis-Philippe behaved very modestly, even sending his sons to the lycée Henri-IV rather than having them educated by private tutors as was the custom in the nobility. This, his support of the revolution of 1789, as well as the fact that he left before the horrors of the Terror contributed to make Louis-Philippe extremely popular. The high conservatism of Louis XVIII and Charles X's reign only increased the appeal of the Orléanist alternative.   Always knowing how to promote himself best, Louis-Phillippe even order several paintings representing the battles of the revolutionary wars to which he participated such as Valmy.




This entire act is simply ridiculous. This is the first prince of the blood, not some good bourgeois! It is obvious he possesses the 'pride of his race' and is infatuated with his birth. He is not going to trick us so easily into giving him the crown!
— Some very annoyed member of the National Assembly



Failure to become king

 

The revolution of 1830

Charles X did not like the results of the last election of the deputies of the National Assembly and so he took the ordonnances de Saint-Cloud on the 25th July 1830. With those, he stopped press freedom, dissolve the assembly and change who would be included in the voters for the new upcoming election. This proved so unpopular that it led to the revolution known as the "Trois Glorieuses" as it lasted three days the 27, 28 and 29 July 1830.

Those Bourbons think they can get one over us? That because those damned English carried them to the throne, they can do what they want and nobody will react? Revolution!
— The average Parisian


The Parisian crowd made barricades in Paris and fought against the army, with Polytechnique students leading some of the fights and some soldiers also changing side in the middle of the battles. By the end of 29th July, the Parisians were master of the city. Under the danger and remembering the revolution of 1789, on the 2nd of August Charles X abdicated in favour of his son, Louis XIX, before forcing him to abdicate in favour of Henri V Duke of Bordeaux aged 9, grandson of Charles X through his second son. Louis-Philippe was named regent, in the hope that his liberal reputation would be enough to satisfy the Parisians.

This period shall henceforth been known in History as the Summer of the Fourth Kings!

— Newspaper clipping



The vote

As soon as the revolt was finished, the Assembly of Lords and Ladies gathered to elect the new King of France. Several possibilities were raised:

  • Henri, Duke of Bordeaux. He was of the "legitimate" line, but his young age would leave the control of the government to his family.

  • Louis-Philippe for the Orléans branch. He was still a member of the royal family, but he had proven his liberal tendencies, and so his choice would be the perfect compromise between the different political factions.

  • François Bonaparte, Napoléon's son and heir. He was a choice extremely popular with French people who loved Napoléon only slightly less than they love his legend. However, his son was raised in Austria and there was no knowing how he had been educated and what ideas had been put in his head.

  • Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. He was a hero of the French revolution and the American wars, also popular. However, he was the main choice of the republicans and he was considered to be perfectly capable of sacrificing the monarchy to create a republic just so that he could glorify himself as the saviour of France.   A republic is, of course, the most horrifying prospect for everyone who is not a republican. In addition, Lafayette ordered the National guard to fire on the Parisian crowd during the Champ de Mars massacre in 1791, and so not everyone was very enthusiastic about him...

  • Lucien Esselin, another extremely popular candidate. He was presented as "Napoléon's true heir" as he was a general in the French army who had highly distinguished himself. He had the benefit of being well known in Paris and through France, not being under the influence of any foreign country and not having any disagreeable family connection.


For a moment, Louis-Philippe's victory appeared certain. Adolphe Thiers was the most fervent partisans of Louis-Philippe and a very prominent journalist and would-be politician. Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, undoubtedly the most influential politician of his time and the maker and unmaker of all the kings since the revolution of 1789, was even a friend of Louis-Philippe. He has also always wished for an alliance between France and England, and Louis-Philippe was the favourite candidate of the English.


I am so obviously the best choice even if it would not do to proclaim it too overtly... Modesty and restraint are the key to victory.
— Louis-Philippe d'Orléans
  And yet, Talleyrand chose to support Lucien Esselin and so all was decided.   Louis-Philippe stayed discreet during this time, certain of his victory but not wanting to appear arrogant. He wanted to make himself desired. To be called to reign over France and to pretend that he was reluctant but was making the sacrifice for the good of the country. This all turned against him spectacularly.


What is this betrayal? Pretending to be my friends for so many years—decades even! Agreeing with all my thoughts and ideas, only to join cause with this parvenu at the last minute! Such treachery will not be forgotten...
— Louis-Philippe d'Orléans

Adolphe Thiers by Bibliothèque National de France - Gallica on Wikimedia Commons

King sacre
King Lucien by AmélieIS, Guérin and Artbreeder



New schemes

 
Understanding the precariousness of his position after losing the election by such a thin margin, Louis-Philippe chose another voluntary exile in England, presenting it as a noble sacrifice for the stability of the new regime. In reality, as soon as he arrived on English soil, he started plotting again. He had wished to lead army against France once, he was certainly not going to hesitate to do so again. However, he has to be subtle if he does not want to alienate all French people and spoil his chances of ever becoming king.   Coincidentally, the Scottish King James IV of England and IX of Scotland chose just this time to attempt to reconquer his English throne, distracting England for pushing its full might at the side of Austria and Prussia against France. This has led Louis-Philippe to turn to alternative means. He is currently funnelling enormous amount of money to all of King Lucien's political opponents, would-be revolutionaries and outright terrorists. So long as he is not directly implicated, only the results count...


Cover image: Some of the characters in the Empire of the Covenant by AmélieIS with Artbreeder
Character Portrait image: Louis-Philippe by Wikimedia Commons

Comments

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25 Jul, 2021 01:13

Amazing, a whole history of one person. This inspires me to do the same :D

~ Eliora Yona ~
Eternal Sage AmélieIS
Amélie I. S. Debruyne
25 Jul, 2021 10:05

Thanks :D I have some help because it's a historical character and all the info has been gathered for me :p

To see what I am up to:WE pledge and article list.
25 Jul, 2021 20:15

Oh, of course! Still, this does help - we all need it some way or another. ;)

~ Eliora Yona ~
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