Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Philip I, Duke of Orléans
He was born at St Germain-en-Laye. In 1661, he was made Duke of Orléans, and married Henrietta Anne Stuart, sister of Charles II of England. Their marriage was not a happy one, largely because of Philippe's homosexual affair with the Chevalier de Lorraine. The death of the Duchess in 1670 was initially attributed to poison, but this was later disproved. Subsequently he married Charlotte Elizabeth (Liselotte), daughter of Charles Louis , elector palatine of the Rhine.
In an era when the infant mortality rate was 50%, it was considered wise for a royal family to have (as the saying went) an heir and a spare. Politically speaking, as long as the heir (Louis) remained healthy, the spare (Philippe) was at best unimportant. Generally younger sons were not given a lot of responsibility, and Philippe was no exception to this rule. Philippe had a naturally feminine disposition, and this was encouraged by his mother, to wear dresses, makeup, and to enjoy feminine pursuits. This was simple pragmaticism on the part of Anne. Until Louis XIII's elder son was born, his younger brother Gaston, Duke of Orléans was the heir presumative. Gaston wanted to be king, and some feared that he would assassinate Louis XIII in order to assume the throne. The birth of Louis XIV all but cut Gaston out of the line of succession to the throne.
As an adult, Philippe, now usually referred to as Monsieur continued to enjoy wearing women's clothing and trying on different scents. However, he also was a natural born captain or commander. He fought with distinction in the battle of Flanders but returned to Paris almost immediately after the victory was assured. The ostensible reason for this abrupt exit was his wife's health. Pregnant before the Battle of Flanders, Henrietta Anne miscarried because of the battle. Monsieur, as Philippe was generally called, returned to military life in 1672, and in 1677 gained a great victory at Cassel and took St Omer. Louis XIV, it was said, was jealous of his brother's success, therefore Philippe never commanded an army again.
There was more to Philippe than met the eye: He was an art collector and perhaps also a shrewd investor (as Nancy Nichols Barker suggests in her book Brother to the Sun King). Given a chance, he might have made a fine king—which was just why his mother went to such lengths to keep him in his place.
He died at Saint-Cloud.
- Marie Louise (March 27 1662 – 1689), wife of Charles II of Spain. She died before her father.
- Philippe Charles, Duke of Valois (July 16 1664 – 1666)
- daughter (born July 9 1665)
- Anne Marie (August 27 1669 – 1728), first wife of Victor Amadeus II of Savoy, whom she married in 1679
- Alexandre Louis, Duke of Valois. (b.1673-d.1676)
- Philip, the regent Orléans (August 2 1674 – 1723)
- Elizabeth Charlotte (September 13 1676 – 1744), wife of Leopold, Duke of Lorraine
- their son became Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor (1708 – 1765) — father of Marie Antoinette (1755 – 1793)
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