La Tour d'Auvergne

La Tour d'Auvergne (French: [la tuʁ dovɛʁɲ]) was a noble French dynasty. Its senior branch, extinct in 1501, held two of the last large fiefs acquired by the French crown, the counties of Auvergne and Boulogne, for about half a century. Its cadet branch, extinct in 1802, ruled the duchy of Bouillon in the Southern Netherlands from 1594, and held the dukedoms of Albret and Château-Thierry in the peerage of France since 1660. The name was also borne by Philippe d'Auvergne, an alleged collateral of the original Counts of Auvergne, and was adopted by the famous soldier Théophile Corret de la Tour d'Auvergne, who descended from an illegitimate line of the family.

Senior line: counts of Auvergne and BoulogneEdit

Personal coat of arms of the counts of Auvergne and Boulogne from the House of la Tour d'Auvergne.

Although various La Tours are mentioned in the documents from the 11th and 12th century, the family history remains unclear until the 13th century, when they owned the lordship of la Tour in the county of Auvergne, hence the name.

The medieval family was related through marriages to other notable families of the French south, including Ventadour, La Rochefoucauld, and Levis-Mirepoix.

The la Tours d'Auvergne maintained close ties with the Avignon popes, and many of them became bishops and cardinals, particularly after 1352, when Guy de la Tour married Marthe Rogier of Beaufort, Popes Gregory XI's niece and Clement VI's grand niece. Their son Bertrand IV of la Tour [fr] (1375–1423) married a rich heiress, Marie I, Countess of Auvergne, in 1389, with their son Bertrand V de la Tour [fr] succeeding as Count of Auvergne and Boulogne in 1437.

Bertrand V's grandson Jean III de la Tour d'Auvergne (1467–1501) was the last medieval Count of Auvergne, Boulogne, and Lauraguais. By his marriage to Jeanne of Bourbon-Vendôme, he had two daughters:

John's elder sister, Jeanne de la Tour d'Auvergne, married Aymar de Poitiers. They were the grandparents of Diane de Poitiers, mistress of King Henry II of France.

The cadet line of this family, extinct in 1497, also owned the lordship of Montgascon. Anne de la Tour d'Auvergne, the last of this line and heiress to this lordship, married three times:

Junior line: viscounts of Turenne and princes of SedanEdit

Family de Beaufort-Turenne in the 14th and 15th century.
Coat of arms of viscountcy of Turenne

Bertrand de La Tour d'Auvergne, owner of Olliergues and several other seigneuries, was the author of the junior line of the family.

He died in 1329 and was buried in Clermont-Ferrand. His great grandson William de la Tour became bishop of Rodez and Catholic Patriarch of Antioch. The latter's nephew, Agne IV of Oliergues, married in 1444 his cousin, viscountess Anne of Beaufort, succeeding to the viscounty of Turenne upon her death.

Among his children, the younger, Antony Raymond, lord of Murat, became the ancestor of the obscure line of la Tour-Apchier, which rose to prominence shortly before its extinction in the 19th century.

Henri de la Tour (1555-1623), Marshal of France

Agne IV's fifth and eldest surviving son, Anthony de la Tour, succeeded him as viscount of Turenne and had two children. The youngest, Gilles de la Tour, lord of Limeuil, had issue, including Isabeau of Limeuil, known as the mistress of Louis I de Bourbon, Prince de Condé and mother of his natural children.

Francis II de la Tour d'Auvergne, viscount of Turenne (1497–1532) was the eldest son of Anthony de la Tour and husband of Anne de la Tour de Montgascon (see above). Their grandson, Henry de la Tour d'Auvergne (1555–1623), is remembered as a faithful adherent of Henri IV's Huguenot cause and Marshal of France. His first wife was Charlotte de la Marck, heiress to the principality of Sedan and to the duchy of Bouillon. Upon her death, Henry inherited her titles and dominions and remarried Elisabeth of Orange-Nassau, William the Silent's daughter.

Hoping to succeed the Orange rulers of the Netherlands, their son and heir Frederic Maurice of the Tour d'Auvergne (1605–1652) remained in the Dutch service until his marriage to Eléonore-Catherine-Fébronie de Wassenaar de Berg, which was effected against his family's wishes in 1634 and led to his conversion to Catholicism.

Compromised in the Cinq-Mars conspiracy, he was pardoned on condition that he would exchange his principalities of Sedan, Jametz, and Raucourt - highly important strategically - for the titles of duke of Albret and duke of Château-Thierry in the French peerage. This exchange was formalized in 1651. Although Frederic Maurice was promised to take rank from the original creation of the duchy of Château-Thierry for Robert III of the Marck in 1527, this could never be effected due to vocal opposition of other dukes-peers.

The younger brother of Frédéric Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne, Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, vicomte de Turenne, (1611–1675), is undoubtedly the most illustrious member of the family. Among the most successful generals in French military history. A grateful Louis XIV honored Turenne with burial at the royal necropolis at Saint-Denis and Napoléon considered him to be the greatest military commander of all times.

Later history: Dukes of Bouillon and AlbretEdit

Frederic-Maurice's son, Godefroy Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne (1641–1721), was the first member of his family to become a truly sovereign duke of Bouillon. This happened in 1678 when the Duchy of Bouillon was finally reconquered from the Spaniards by the Marshal de Créquy. Apart from his ducal titles, Godefroy-Maurice also held the title of Count of Évreux. He became the Grand Chamberlain of France in 1658 and governor of Auvergne in 1662. All these titles would remain in the La Tour d'Auvergne family for more than a century.

The family were created Foreign Princes in France in 1651, this entitled them to the style of [Most Serene] Highness at the French court in which they lived.

Louis Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, comte d'Évreux, builder of Élysée Palace. Portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud (ca. 1720), now in the Metropolitan Museum

Godefroy-Maurice's younger brother, Count Frederic Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne (1642–1707), was a prominent general in the service of the Dutch. He married Henrietta von Hohenzollern (1648–1698), heiress to the marquessate of Bergen-op-Zoom, a title which passed to their children. After their line became extinct in 1732, Bergen devolved upon Count Palatine Johann Christian von Sulzbach (1700–1733), who had married an heiress, Marie Henriette Leopoldine de La Tour d'Auvergne, in 1722.

Godefroy-Maurice's wife, Marie Anne Mancini (1649–1714), best remembered for her literary pursuits and for her patronage of La Fontaine, was a niece of Cardinal Mazarin. Their eldest son Louis married the heiress to the dukedom of Ventadour but predeceased his parents. The Duchy of Bouillon and other titles passed to their second son, Emmanuel Théodose (1668–1730), whose fourth wife was Louise Henriette Françoise de Lorraine. Another son, Frédéric-Jules, Prince d'Auvergne (1672–1733), married an Irish adventuress.

Charles Godefroy de La Tour d'Auvergne (1706–1771) was Emmanuel-Théodose's son and the 5th Duke of Bouillon. His wife was his brother's widow, Maria Karolina Sobieska, the granddaughter of King John Sobieski of Poland. Their only daughter, Marie Louise Henriette Jeanne de La Tour, was a famous adventuress and was guillotined in 1793. Although officially married to Jules de Rohan, Duke of Montbazon, she had an illegitimate son who died in infancy by her cousin, Charles Edward Stuart, Jacobite claimant to the thrones of England and Scotland.

Her brother, Godefroy Charles Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne (1728–1792), was the 6th Duke of Bouillon. He married Louise de Lorraine, known prior to marriage as Mademoiselle de Marsan. He served with distinction in the Seven Years' War and was elected to the Royal Academy of Sculpture and Painting in 1777. In just three months, he squandered almost a million livres on his mistress, an opera singer, thus bringing his family to the verge of ruin. Although the 6th duke embraced the French Revolution enthusiastically, the Duchy of Bouillon was annexed by the Republic within three years after his death. His only son, Jacques Léopold Charles Godefroy, incapacitated by a road accident, died in 1802, leaving no issue of his marriage to a Princess of Hesse-Rheinfels. As a consequence, the main line of the La Tour d'Auvergne family became extinct.

Bouillon SuccessionEdit

In 1780, the 6th Duke of Bouillon developed a friendship with Philippe d'Auvergne, a British naval officer imprisoned in France. As a family legend had it, the Dauvergne family represented a collateral branch of the ancient Counts of Auvergne, which had moved to the island of Jersey sometime in the 13th century. In 1787, the 6th Duke recognized this legendary connection and adopted Philippe d'Auvergne, calling on him to succeed his own son in the case the latter were to die without male issue.

In 1809 Napoleon endorsed an arrangement, whereby the La Tour estates and liabilities pertaining to the 1651 exchange devolved upon the French state. The 6th Duke's Château de Navarre and the Hôtel d'Évreux in Paris were bequeathed to the Empress Josephine and her relatives. The Hôtel d'Évreux was subsequently renamed the Élysée Palace and currently serves as the official residence of the President of France. As for the Duchy of Bouillon, its citizens recognized Philippe d'Auvergne as their legitimate ruler and duke.

The Congress of Vienna, however, awarded the sovereignty of the duchy to the King of the Netherlands, whereas the private property holdings of the former dukes were to be redistributed by special arbitration either to Philippe d'Auvergne or to an Austrian claimant, Charles-Alain-Gabriel de Rohan-Guéméné, who was the last duke's closest relative in the female line. The issue was eventually settled in Rohan's favor. Philippe d'Auvergne committed suicide September 16 or 18, 1816, in the Holmes Hotel, a small hotel located at Great Smith Street in Westminster.

In 1817, Rohan was sued by other claimants to the La Tour d'Auvergne estate, including the duc de Bourbon, the duc de La Tremoille, the princesse de Bourbon-Condé and the princesse de Poix. All were related to the 7th duke of Bouillon on his maternal side. Seven years later, their claims were upheld by a court in Liège, and Rohan had to step down as duke.

In the 1820s, the La Tour name and inheritance were disputed between the families of La Tour d'Auvergne d'Apchier, which represented the last known surviving line of the La Tour d'Auvergne before its eventual extinction in 1896, and "La Tour d'Auvergne-Lauraguais", a family whose kinship to the Dukes of Bouillon is unestablished. From the latter family, Prince Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne-Lauraguais (1876–1914) married in 1904 Elisabeth Berthier de Wagram (1885–1960), daughter of the third Prince de Wagram and a descendant, in female line, of the Rothschild dynasty.

Partial family treeEdit

Family tree
Robert IV [fr]
(d. 1194)
Count of Auvergne
Bertrand I[1]
(d. 1208)
Lord of La Tour
Robert de ClermontGuy II [fr]
(d. 1222)
Count of Auvergne
Bernard I
(d. 1253)
Lord of La Tour
Thiebault d'Auvergne[2]
supposed ancestor of the Dauvergnes of Jersey
William X [fr]
(d. 1247)
Count of Auvergne
Bernard II
(d. 1270)
Lord of La Tour
Robert V of Auvergne [fr]
(d. 1277)
Count of Auvergne
Bertrand II
(d. 1296)
Lord of La Tour
Robert VI [fr]
Count of Auvergne
Beatrix of RodezBernard III
(d. 1325)
Lord of La Tour
Bertrand de La Tour
Lord of Oliergues
Robert VII [fr]
(died 1325)
Count of Auvergne
Bertrand III
(d. 1361)
Lord of La Tour
Bernard de La Tour [fr]
(d. 1361)
Agne I de La Tour[3]
(d. 1354)
Lord of Oliergues
Godefroy d'Auvergne
Lord of Montgascon
(d. 1375)
Lord of La Tour
Jean de La Tour [fr]
(d. 1374)
Bertrand de La Tour
(d. 1382)
Bishop of Toul and Puy
Bernard de La Tour
(d. 1394)
Bishop of Langres
Henri de La Tour
(d. 1415)
Bishop of Clermont
Marie I
Countess of Auvergne
Bertrand IV de La Tour [fr]
(d. 1423)
Agne II de La Tour
(d. 1404)
Lord of Oliergues
Bertrand V de La Tour d'Auvergne [fr]
(d. 1461)
Count of Auvergne
Jeanne de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. Béraud III [fr], Dauphin of Auvergne
Agne III de La Tour
(d. 1415)
Lord of Oliergues
Guillaume de La Tour
(d. 1470)
Bishop of Rodez; Patriarch of Antioch
Bertrand II de La Tour
(d. 1450)
Lord of Oliergues
Bertrand VI de La Tour d'Auvergne [fr]
Count of Auvergne
Louise de La Trémoille
Godefroi de La Tour d'Auvergne
(d. 1469)
Lord of Montgascon
Gabrielle de La Tour d'Auvergne
(d. 1486)
m. Louis I, Count of Montpensier
Isabelle de La Tour d'Auvergne
(d. 1488)
m. Guillaume de Châtillon-Blois [fr]
Agne IV de La Tour
(d. 1489)
Viscount of Turenne
Anne de La Tour d'Auvergne
(d. 1512)
m. Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany
Jean I de La Tour d'Auvergne
Count of Auvergne
Jeanne de Bourbon-Vendôme
Godefroi de La Tour d'Auvergne
(d. 1497)
Baron of Montgascon
Gilles de La Tour
Abbot of Vigeois [fr]
Antoine de La Tour
(d. 1527)
Viscount of Turenne
Antoine Raymond de La Tour[4]
(1471–aft. 1524)
Baron of Murat
John Stewart, Duke of Albany
(d. 1536)
Regent of Scotland
Anne de La Tour d'Auvergne
Countess of Auvergne
Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. Lorenzo de' Medici, Duke of Urbino
Anne de La Tour d'Auvergne
(d. 1530)
Lady of Montgascon
François de La Tour
(d. 1532)
Viscount of Turenne
Gilles de La Tour
Lord of Limeuil
Catherine de' Medici
heiress of Auvergne
François de La Tour d'Auvergne
Viscount of Turenne
Eleonore de MontmorencyRenée de La Tour d'Auvergne
(d. 1548)
Abbess of Paraclet
Léonarde de La Tour d'Auvergne
(d. 1560)
Abbess of Paraclet
Isabelle de La Tour
(d. 1609)
m. Scipion Sardini [fr]
Antoinette de La Tour
(d. 1608)
m. Charles Robert de La Marck [fr]
Antoine de La Tour
Lord of Murat
Jean de La Tour
(d. aft. 1593)
Lord of Alagnac
Charlotte de La Marck
Duchess of Bouillon
Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne
Duke of Bouillon
Madeleine de La Tour d'Auvergne
(1556–aft. 1580)
m. Honorat I of Savoy [fr]
Martin de La Tour
(d. aft. 1629)
Baron of Murat
Marie de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. Henri de La Trémoille
Frédéric Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne
Duke of Bouillon
Éléonore de Bergh [fr]
Elisabeth de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. Guy Aldonce de Durfort de Duras [fr]
Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne, Viscount of Turenne
Marshal of France
Charlotte Nompar de Caumont
Henri Corret
illegitimate half-brother of Marshal Turenne
Jacques de La Tour
(d. aft. 1667)
Baron of Murat
Élisabeth de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. Charles III, Duke of Elbeuf
Godefroy Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne[5]
Duke of Bouillon
Marie Anne Mancini
Frédéric-Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne [fr]
Count of Auvergne
Frances of Hohenzollern-Hechingen [fr]
Margravine of Bergen-op-Zoom
Emmanuel-Théodose de La Tour d'Auvergne
Mauricette-Fébronie de La Tour d'Auvergne [fr]
m. Maximilian Philipp Hieronymus, Duke of Bavaria-Leuchtenberg
Mathurin Corret
Lord of Kebauffret
Jean de La Tour
Baron of Murat
James Louis Sobieski
Anne Geneviève de Lévis
Louis-Charles de La Tour d'Auvergne [fr]
Prince of Turenne
Marie Armande de La Trémoille
Emmanuel Théodose de La Tour d'Auvergne
Duke of Bouillon
Louise Henriette Françoise de Lorraine
Louis Henri de La Tour d'Auvergne
Count of Évreux
Marie Anne Crozat
Louise Julie de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. François-Armand de Rohan-Guéméné [fr]
Élisabeth-Éléonore de La Tour d'Auvergne [fr]
Abbess of Torigny [fr]
Louise-Émilie de La Tour d'Auvergne [fr]
Abbess of Montmartre
Henri-Oswald de La Tour d'Auvergne [fr]
Archbishop of Tours and Vienne; Cardinal
François-Egon de La Tour d'Auvergne
Margrave of Bergen-op-Zoom
Marie Anne d'Arenberg
Count of La Tour d'Apchier
Louise Françoise Angélique Le Tellier
Anne Marie Christine de Simiane
Charles Dauvergne[6]
m. Elizabeth Corbet
Maria Clementina Sobieska
m. James Francis Edward Stuart
Armande de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. Louis de Melun, Duke of Joyeuse
Frédéric Maurice Casimir de La Tour d'Auvergne
Prince of Turenne
Maria Karolina Sobieska
Charles Godefroy de La Tour d'Auvergne
Duke of Bouillon
Marie Hortense Victoire de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. Charles Armand René de La Trémoille
Anne Marie Louise de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. Charles de Rohan, Prince of Soubise
Marie Charlotte de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. Charles Juste de Beauvau, Prince of Craon
Maria Henriette de La Tour d'Auvergne
m. John Christian, Count Palatine of Sulzbach
Olivier Louis Corret
Charles Dauvergne
(b. 1724)
Clementina Walkinshaw
Charles Edward Stuart
Count of Albany
Marie Louise de La Tour d'Auvergne
Jules Hercule Mériadec de Rohan
Prince of Guéméné
Louise of Lorraine
Godefroy de La Tour d'Auvergne
Duke of Bouillon
Jean Bretagne Charles de La Trémoille
Duke of La Trémoille
Charlotte de Rohan
m. Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé
Anne Louise Marie de Beauvau[7]
m. Philippe Louis, Prince-Duke of Poix
Louis Claude Maurice de La Tour d'Auvergne
Colonel of the Régiment de La Tour d’Auvergne [fr]
Nicolas François Julie de La Tour d'Auvergne
Colonel of the Régiments de La Tour d'Auvergne and de Boulonnais [fr]
Charlotte Stuart, Duchess of Albany
~ Ferdinand Maximilien Mériadec de Rohan
Charles Godefroi de Rohan
Henri Louis Marie de Rohan
Prince of Guéméné
Hedwig of Hesse-Rotenburg
Jacques Léopold de La Tour d'Auvergne
Duke of Bouillon
Charles Bretagne Marie de La Trémoille[7]
Duke of La Trémoille
Louis Henri Joseph[7]
Prince of Condé
Louise Adélaïde[7]
Princess of Condé
Théophile Corret de La Tour d'Auvergne
First Grenadier of France
Philippe d'Auvergne[7]
Vice-Admiral RN; Duke of Bouillon
Corbet James d'Auvergne [frr]
Captain RN; Lieutenant-Governor of Heligoland
Victoire Adelaide de Rohan
(b. 1779)
Charles Alain de Rohan[7]
Duke of Bouillon
Marie Louise Josephine de Rohan
m. Charles Louis Gaspard de Rohan-Rochefort
Godefroy Maurice Marie Joseph de La Tour d'Auvergne
Colonel of the Régiment de La Tour d'Auvergne [fr]
Berthe de Rohan
Duchess of Bouillon
Louis Victor Mériadec de Rohan [de]
Duke of Bouillon
Camille de Rohan [cs]
Duke of Bouillon
Benjamin de Rohan
Aurélie-Marie-Joséphine-Héloïse de Bossi [fr]
Maurice César de La Tour d'Auvergne
"Duke of Bouillon"
Arthur de Rohan
Alain de Rohan [fr]
Duke of Bouillon
Alain de Rohan [cs]
Duke of Bouillon
Karl Anton Rohan [de]
Karl Rohan
Duke of Bouillon
Albert Rohan
Duke of Bouillon

See alsoEdit


  • Marek, Miroslav. "Genealogy of the House of La Tour d'Auvergne". Genealogy.EU.[self-published source][better source needed]
  • Account of the Duchy of Bouillon, by François Velde
  1. ^ De La Chesnaye-Desbois and Badier, Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, 3rd edition (1876) vol. 19, p. 55.
  2. ^ James Bertrand Payne, An Armorial of Jersey (1859) p. 56.
  3. ^ Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, v. 19, p. 57.
  4. ^ Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, v. 19, p. 62.
  5. ^ Dictionnaire de la Noblesse, v. 19, p. 59.
  6. ^ Armorial of Jersey, p. 59.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "The six claimants to the Duchy of Bouillon". G. R. Balleine, The Tragedy of Philippe d'Auvergne (1973) p. 46.