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Duke of Orléans

Duke of Orléans (French: Duc d'Orléans) was a title reserved for French royalty, first created in 1344 by Philip VI in favor of his son Philip of Valois.[1] Known as princes of the blood (princes du sang), the title of Duke of Orléans was given, when available, to the King of France's eldest brother. Thus, until 1830, they formed a collateral line of the French royal family, with an eventual right to succeed to the throne should more senior princes of the blood die out. In this way, the title of Duke of Orléans may be considered analogous to the Duke of York, which is traditionally granted to the reigning English (and later British) monarch's second son.

Dukedom of Orléans
Coat of arms of the Duke of Orléans with the coronet of a "Son of France" (Order of the Holy Spirit).svg
The arms of the House of Orléans of the ninth creation, surrounded by the collar of the Order of the Holy Spirit.
Creation date1344
PeeragePeerage of France
First holderPhilip of Valois
Last holderFerdinand Philippe of Orléans
Extinction date13 July 1842
Seat(s)Château de Blois
Château de Saint-Cloud

During the period of the ancien régime the holder of the title often assumed a political role. The Orléans branch of the House of Valois came to the throne with Louis XII (15th century). Louis Philippe II, fifth Duke of Orléans, contributed to the destruction of the ancien régime. At the head of a retrospectively named 'Orleanist' faction centred on the Palais Royal, he contested the authority of his cousin Louis XVI in the adjacent Louvre. His son would eventually ascend the throne in 1830 following the July Revolution as Louis-Philippe I, King of the French. The descendants of the family are the Orléanist pretenders to the French throne, and the title has been used by several members of the House. The holder of the title held the style of Serene Highness.


House of ValoisEdit

First creation (1344)Edit

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Philip of Valois
  July 1, 1336 –
September 1, 1376
Philip VI of France
Joan the Lame

Philip died without legitimate issue.[1]

Second creation (1392)Edit

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Louis I
  March 13, 1372 –
November 23, 1407
Charles V of France
Joanna of Bourbon
Charles I
  November 24, 1394 –
January 5, 1465
Louis I, Duke of Orléans
Valentina Visconti
Louis II
  June 27, 1462 –
January 1, 1515
Charles I, Duke of Orléans
Marie of Cleves

Third creation (1519)Edit

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Henry II
  March 31, 1519 –
July 10, 1559
Francis I of France
Claude of France

Fourth creation (1536)Edit

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Charles II
  January 22, 1522 –
September 9, 1545
Francis I of France
Claude of France

Fifth creation (1549)Edit

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Louis III
  February 3, 1549 –
October 24, 1550
Henry II of France
Catherine de' Medici

Sixth creation (1550)Edit

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Charles III Maximilian
  June 27, 1550 –
May 30, 1574
Henry II of France
Catherine de' Medici

Seventh creation (1560)Edit

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Henry III
  September 19, 1551 –
August 2, 1589
Henry II of France
Catherine de' Medici

House of BourbonEdit

Eighth creation (1607)Edit

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Nicholas Henri
  16 April 1607 –
17 November 1611
Henry IV of France
Marie de' Medici

Ninth creation (1626)Edit

At the death of Nicholas Henri, his younger brother Gaston was given the title of Orléans but was not officially allowed to be styled as the Duke of Orléans until his marriage with the heiress Marie de Bourbon, Duchess de Montpensier in her own right (she had been betrothed to Nicholas at the age of 3). They were the parents of Anne Marie Louise of Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier. At her death in 1693, much of her vast wealth went to her cousin, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans.

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
  25 April 1608 –
2 February 1660
Henry IV of France
Marie de' Medici

Tenth creation (1660)Edit

Upon the death of Gaston of Orléans, the appanage of Orléans reverted to the crown and was given to Philippe de France, the brother of Louis XIV of France. As the king's eldest brother he was known at court as Monsieur.

Philippe and his second wife, the famous court writer Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, founded the modern House of Orléans. Their surviving son Philippe d'Orléans was the regent for the child king Louis XV.

The first two dukes were addressed as Royal Highness (Altesse royale); their successors had the style Serene Highness. After 1709, the dukes of Orléans were the First Princes of the Blood – this meant that they could be addressed as Monsieur le Prince, and were in line to the throne of France after the descendants of Louis XIV.

Name Portrait Lifespan Parents
Philippe I
  September 21, 1640 –
June 8, 1701
Louis XIII of France
Infanta Ana of Spain
Philippe II
  August 2, 1674 –
December 2, 1723
Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
Elizabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate
  August 4, 1703 –
February 4, 1752
Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Françoise-Marie de Bourbon
Louis Philippe I
  May 12, 1725 –
November 18, 1785
Louis, Duke of Orléans
Margravine Auguste Marie Johanna of Baden-Baden
Louis Philippe II
  April 13, 1747 –
November 6, 1793
Louis Philippe I, Duke of Orléans
Louise Henriette de Bourbon
Louis Philippe III
  6 October 1773 –
August 26, 1850
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon
Ferdinand Philippe
  September 3, 1810 –
July 13, 1842
Louis Philippe III, Duke of Orléans
Princess Maria Amalia Teresa of the Two Sicilies
(did not use the title)
  24 August 1838 –
8 September 1894
Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Duchess Helen of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
  August 24, 1869 –
March 28, 1926
Philippe, Count of Paris
Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans


  • François Gaston Michel Marie of Orléans, Duke of Orléans (1935–1960) second son of Henri, comte de Paris (posthumous creation)


  • Legitimists recognize Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris, Head of the House of Orléans, as Duke of Orléans, inheriting the title as the heir male of Philip I, Duke of Orléans.
  • Orleanists recognize Jacques d'Orléans, son of the Count of Paris, as Duke of Orléans. Per Orleanist reckoning, the title has merged with the crown. Jacques is the younger fraternal twin brother of Michel d'Orléans. According to Orleanists, the last of twins to be born is the first-born. Thus, Jacques is considered the eldest younger brother of the Count of Paris, whom they consider the king.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b   One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Orleans, Dukes of" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 20 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 282.