Duke Philippe of Orleans - brother of Louis 14: biography, family and interesting facts

History 2023

Table of contents:

Duke Philippe of Orleans - brother of Louis 14: biography, family and interesting facts
Duke Philippe of Orleans - brother of Louis 14: biography, family and interesting facts

The Duke Philippe of Orleans (brother of Louis XIV) was one of the most controversial aristocratic figures in French history. Being second in line to the throne, he posed a serious threat to the monarchy, but even in the era of the Fronde and internal upheavals, Monsieur did not oppose the legitimate ruler. Remaining loyal to the crown, the duke led a peculiar way of life. He regularly shocked the public, surrounded himself with many favorites, patronized the arts and, despite his effeminate image, occasionally successfully led military campaigns.

King's brother

On September 21, 1640, the second son, the future Philippe of Orleans, was born to King Louis XIII of France and his wife Anna of Austria. He was born in a residence in the Paris suburb of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. The boy was the younger brother of the monarch Louis XIV, who came to the throne in 1643 after the death of their father.

The relationship between them was a big exception for royal families. There are many examples in history of how brothers (children of some ruler)hated each other and fought each other for power. There were similar examples in France. For example, there is a theory that the penultimate monarch of the Valois dynasty, Charles IX, was poisoned by one of his younger brothers.



The hereditary principle, in which the eldest heir received everything, and the other remained in his shadow, was in many ways unfair. Despite this, Philippe d'Orleans never plotted against Louis. Warm relations have always been maintained between the brothers. This harmony became possible thanks to the efforts of the mother of Anna of Austria, who tried to do everything so that her children lived and were brought up together in a friendly atmosphere.

In addition, the character of Philip himself affected. By nature, he was extravagant and quick-tempered, which, however, could not drown out his good nature and gentleness. Throughout his life, Philip bore the titles "The Only Brother of the King" and "Monsieur", which emphasized his special position not only in the ruling dynasty, but throughout the country.


The news that Anna of Austria gave birth to a second boy was received at court with enthusiasm. The all-powerful Cardinal Richelieu was especially pleased. He understood that Philip of Orleans, the brother of Louis 14, was another legitimate support for the dynasty and its future if something happened to the Dauphin. From early childhood, the boys were invariably brought up together. Together they played, studied and misbehaved, which is why they were both flogged.

At that time the Fronde was raging in France. Princes have been smuggled out of Paris more than onceand hid in distant residences. Philippe d'Orleans, brother of Louis 14, just like the Dauphin, experienced many hardships and hardships. He had to feel fear and defenselessness in front of an angry crowd of rebels. Sometimes the children's pranks of the brothers turned into fights. Although Ludovic was older, he did not always come out victorious in fights.

Like all children, they could quarrel over trifles - plates of porridge, sharing beds in a new room, etc. Philip was temperamental, loved to shock others, but at the same time he had a light character and quickly retreated from resentment. But Louis, on the contrary, was stubborn and could pout at others for a long time.


Relationship with Mazarin

The very fact that Philippe Duke of Orleans was the younger brother of the all-powerful king made inevitable the presence of many ill-wishers who did not love Monsieur. One of his most influential opponents was Mazarin. The cardinal was put in charge of the education of Louis and his younger brother, who had previously been poorly educated. Mazarin did not like Philip because of his fear that he, having matured, would become a threat to the throne. Monsieur could repeat the fate of Gaston - his own uncle, who opposed the monarchy with his claims to power.

Mazarin had many superficial reasons to fear such a development of events. The omnipotent nobleman could not help but notice what an adventurous person Philip of Orleans grew up. The duke's biography in the future showed that a good commander also grew out of him, who could lead armies andachieve victories on the battlefield.



Some biographers, not without reason, noted in their writings that in Philip they could deliberately educate women's habits and instill an interest in homosexuality. If this was really done for ambiguous reasons, then Mazarin could thus count, firstly, that the duke would not have a normal family and heir, and secondly, that Monsieur would be despised at court. However, the cardinal didn't even need to take the initiative.

Women's habits in Philip were brought up by his mother Anna of Austria. She liked the gentle nature of her youngest son much more than the boring habits of Louis. Anna loved to dress up the child as a girl and let him play with the ladies-in-waiting. Today, when Philippe d'Orléans is mentioned, he is often confused with his namesake descendant, but King Louis Philippe d'Orléans, who lived in the 19th century, had little in common with the duke of the 17th century. Their upbringing was markedly different. Suffice it to give an example of how Louis XIV's brother could be jokingly pulled into a ladies' corset.

The maids of honor who lived at court also loved the theater and often gave the child comic roles in their productions. Perhaps it was these impressions that instilled in Philip an interest in the stage. At the same time, the boy was left to himself for a long time. All the forces of his mother and Cardinal Mazarin were spent on Louis, from whom they made the king. What will become of his younger brother, everyone was much less interested. All that was required of him was not to interfere with the throne, not to make claims to power and notrepeat the path of the rebellious Uncle Gaston.



In 1661, the younger brother of Louis XIII Gaston, the Duke of Orleans, died. After his death, the title passed to Philip. Prior to that, he was the Duke of Anjou. In the same year, Philippe d'Orleans married Henrietta Anna Stuart, daughter of Charles I of England.

Interestingly, the first wife Henrietta was supposed to marry Louis XIV himself. However, during their adolescence, the royal power in England was overthrown, and marriage with the daughter of Charles Stuart at Versailles was considered unpromising. Wives were then chosen according to the position and prestige of the dynasty. While the Stuarts under Cromwell remained without a crown, the Bourbons did not want to be related to them. However, everything changed in 1660, when Henrietta's brother Charles II regained his father's throne. The status of the girl became higher, but Louis had already married by that time. Then the princess received an offer to marry the younger brother of the king. The opponent of this marriage was Cardinal Mazarin, but on March 9, 1661 he died, and the last obstacle to the engagement disappeared.

It is not known exactly what the future wife of Philippe d'Orleans sincerely thought about her fiancé. Conflicting rumors reached England about Monsieur's hobbies and favorites. However, Henrietta married him. After the wedding, Louis gave his brother the Palais Royal Palace, which became the city residence of the spouses. Philippe, Duke of Orleans, in his own words, was infatuated with his wife only two weeks after the wedding. Then came the usual routine, and he returned to the company of hisfavorites - minions. The marriage was unhappy. In 1670 Henrietta died and Philip married a second time. This time, Elizabeth Charlotte, daughter of Karl Ludwig, Elector of the Palatinate, became his chosen one. In this marriage, the son Philip II was born - the future regent of France.



Thanks to the surviving correspondence of the second wife, historians have been able to collect a lot of evidence of the duke's homosexuality. Of his lovers, Chevalier Philippe de Lorrain is best known. He was a representative of the old aristocratic and influential family of Guise. Philippe d'Orleans and the Chevalier de Lorrain met at a young age. Later, both wives of the duke tried to remove the favorite from the court. He had a serious influence on Philip, which threatened the family life of the latter. Despite the efforts of Henrietta and Elizabeth, the chevalier continued to remain close to the Duke of Orleans.

In 1670, the king tried to take control of the situation. Louis XIV imprisoned the Chevalier in the famous If prison. However, the stay of the favorite in the dungeon was short-lived. Seeing his brother's grief, Louis retreated and allowed the minion to first move to Rome, and then return to the court of his patron. The connection between Philippe d'Orleans and Philippe de Lorrain continued until the death of the duke in 1701 (the favorite outlived him by only a year). When Louis buried his younger brother, he ordered that all of Philip's correspondence be burned, fearing publicity for his adventures and unsightly lifestyle.


For the first time, Philip showed himself as a military commander induring the War of Devolution in 1667-1668, when France fought with Spain for influence in the Netherlands. In 1677 he returned to the army again. Then the war began against Holland, which was ruled by William III of Orange. The conflict flared up on several fronts. In Flanders, Louis needed another commander, since all his usual commanders were already busy. Then Philip 1 of Orleans went to this region. The duke's biography is an example of a faithful and loyal brother who, without wrangling, carried out the orders of the monarch at the most crucial moment when the fatherland was in danger.

The army under the command of Philip first captured Cambrai, and then proceeded to besiege the city of Saint-Omer. Here the duke learned that from Ypres the main Dutch army, led by King William III of Orange, was coming towards him. Philip left a small part of his army under the walls of the besieged city, while he himself went to intercept the enemy. The armies clashed at the Battle of Kassel on April 11, 1677. The duke led the center of the army, in which the infantry stood. The cavalry was positioned on the flanks. Success was ensured by the rapid attack of the dragoon units, which forced the enemy army to retreat.

The Dutch suffered a crushing defeat. They lost 8 thousand people killed and wounded, and another 3 thousand were taken prisoner. The French captured the enemy camp, its banners, cannons and other equipment. Thanks to the victory, Philip managed to complete the siege of Saint-Omer and take control of the city. The war was a turning point. It was the mostsignificant success of the duke on the battlefield. After his triumph, he was recalled from the army. Louis XIV was clearly jealous and fearful of his brother's further victories. Although the king solemnly welcomed Monsieur and publicly thanked him for defeating the enemy, he no longer gave him troops.


Philip and Art

Thanks to his hobbies, Philippe d'Orleans was remembered by his contemporaries and posterity as the greatest patron of the arts of his era. It was he who made famous the composer Jean-Baptiste Lully, and also supported the writer Molière. The duke had a significant collection of art and jewelry. His particular passion was theater and satire.

Prince Philippe Duke of Orleans not only loved art, but later became the hero of many works himself. His personality has attracted a wide variety of writers, musical creators, directors, etc. For example, one of the most provocative images came from Roland Joffet in his 2000 film Vatel. In this picture, the duke is depicted as an open homosexual and friend of the disgraced Condé. Philip's childhood is shown in another film - "King-Child", where the events of the Fronde unfold. The most famous French writer, Alexandre Dumas, could not pass by the image of the Duke. In his novel The Vicomte de Bragelonne, or Ten Years Later, the author took liberties with historical facts. In the book, Philip is not the only brother of Louis XIV. In addition to him, on the pages of the novel there is a twin of the monarch, who became a prisoner in an iron mask due to political expediency.


Recent years

Thanks to successful marriages, both Philip's daughters became queens. His namesake son had a brilliant military career during the War of the League of Augsburg. In 1692 he took part in the battle of Stenkerk and the siege of Namur. The success of the children was a special pride of Philip, so in his last years he could live peacefully on his estates and rejoice for his descendants.

At the same time, the relationship between the duke and his crowned brother was going through hard times. On June 9, 1701, Prince Philippe d'Orleans died of apoplexy, which overtook him in Saint-Cloud after a long dispute with the king about the fate of his son. Louis tried in every possible way to limit his nephew, fearing the growth of his popularity in the army. This infuriated Philip. Another quarrel became fatal for him. Nervous, he survived the blow, which proved fatal.

The body of 60-year-old Monsieur was buried in the Parisian abbey of Saint-Denis. During the French Revolution, the grave was looted. At court, the death of the duke was most mourned by the former favorite of the king, the Marquis de Montespan.

It is interesting that the King of France, Louis-Philippe d'Orleans, who ruled the country in 1830-1848. and overthrown by the revolution, was a descendant of Monsieur. The ducal title was regularly passed from descendant to descendant of Louis XIV's brother. Louis Philippe was his grandson in several tribes. Although he did not belong to the previously reigning branch of the Bourbons, this did not prevent him from becoming king through a bloodless coup. Louis Philippe d'Orléans, although he was similar in name to his ancestor, actually had little to do with him.general.

Popular topic