Charles Philippe, Count of Artois, Duke of Orleans, French Revolution, House of Bourbon, House of Orléans, July Revolution, King Louis Philippe of the French, Louis Philippe II, Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon-Penthièvre, Philippe Égalité, Reign of Terror
Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (April 13, 1747 – November 6, 1793), was a major French noble who supported the French Revolution.
Louis Philippe II was born at the Château de Saint-Cloud to Louis Philippe I, Duke of Chartres, and Louise Henriette de Bourbon. He was titled Duke of Montpensier at birth. Louis Philippe was a member of the House of Orléans, a cadet branch of the French royal family. His mother came from the House of Bourbon-Condé.
When his grandfather Louis, Duke of Orléans, died in 1752, his father became the new Duke of Orléans and Louis Philippe II became Duke of Chartres. When his father died in 1785, he became Duke of Orléans and First Prince of the Blood. He was styled as Serene Highness. This put him in line for the succession to the throne immediately after Charles Philippe, Count of Artois, the youngest brother of Louis XVI.
On June 6, 1769, Louis Philippe married Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon, Duchess of Orléans (1753 –1821), was the daughter of his cousin Louis Jean de Bourbon, Duke of Penthièvre and Princess Maria Teresa d’Este, a Princess of Modena. Her father the The were wed at the chapel of the Palace of Versailles. Her father was one of the richest men in France.
Since it was certain that his wife would become the richest woman in France upon the death of her father, Louis Philippe was able to play a political role in court equal to that of his great-grandfather Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who had been the Regent of France during the minority of Louis XV.
Unlike her husband, Louise Marie Adélaïde the Duchess of Orléans did not support the Revolution. She was a devout Catholic who supported keeping the monarchy in France, as well as following the orders of Pope Pius VI. This was the causes of one of the rifts of the couple, as their first son, Louis Philippe, the future “King of the French”, followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Jacobin faction.
During the first few months of their marriage, the couple appeared devoted to each other, but the Duke went back to the life of libertinage he had led before his marriage. The Duke was a well-known womanizer and, like several of his ancestors, such as Louis XIV and Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, had several illegitimate children.
In 1792, during the Revolution, Louis Philippe II changed his name to Philippe Égalité. He was a cousin of King Louis XVI. He actively supported the Revolution of 1789, and was a strong advocate for the elimination of the present absolute monarchy in favor of a constitutional monarchy.
Louis Philippe voted for the death of Louis XVI. The King was especially shocked by the news, stating:
“It really pains me to see that Monsieur d’Orléans, my kinsman, voted for my death.”
On April 1, 1793, a decree was voted for within the Convention, including Égalité’s vote, that condemned anyone with “strong presumptions of complicity with the enemies of Liberty.”
At the time, Philippe Égalité’s son, Louis Philippe, who was a general in the French army, joined General Dumouriez in a plot to visit the Austrians, who were an enemy of France.
Although there was no evidence that convicted Égalité himself of treason, the simple relationship that his son had with Dumouriez, a traitor in the eyes of the Convention, was enough to get him and Louis Charles, Count of Beaujolais (son of Philippe Égalité and the younger brother of King Louis-Philippe I of the French) arrested on April 4, 1793, and the other members of the Bourbon family still in France on the days after.
Philippe Égalité spent several months incarcerated at Fort Saint-Jean in Marseille until he was sent back to Paris. On November 2, 1793, he was imprisoned at the Conciergerie. Tried by the Revolutionary Tribunal on November 6, he was sentenced to death, and guillotined the same day.
His son, Louis Philippe, became King of the French after the July Revolution of 1830. After Louis Philippe II, the term Orléanist came to be attached to the movement in France that favored a constitutional monarchy.