Louise Henriette de Bourbon

duchess of Orléans (1726-1759)

Louise Henriette de Bourbon (20 June 1726 – 9 February 1759) was Duchess of Orléans and the mother of Philippe Égalité. By birth and marriage she held the prestigious rank of a Princess of the blood.

Louise Henriette de Bourbon
Duchess of Orléans
Louise Henriette in 1743 by Jean-Marc Nattier
Born(1726-06-20)20 June 1726
Paris, France
Died9 February 1759(1759-02-09) (aged 32)
Palais-Royal, Paris, France
SpouseLouis Philippe d'Orléans
IssuePhilippe, Duke of Orléans
Bathilde, Duchess of Bourbon
Full name
Louise Henriette de Bourbon
HouseHouse of Bourbon
FatherLouis Armand de Bourbon
MotherLouise Élisabeth de Bourbon
SignatureLouise Henriette de Bourbon's signature

Background change

Louise Henriette was born in Paris the only daughter of Louis Armand de Bourbon, Prince of Conti and Louise Élisabeth de Bourbon. In her youth she was known at court as Mademoiselle de Conti and had been bought up in a convent.

Marriage change

One of Louise Henriette's cousins, Louis Jean Marie de Bourbon, grandson of Louis XIV, had proposed marriage to her, but her mother's choice fell upon the Duke of Chartres. As a result on 17 December 1743, aged of seventeen, Louise Henriette married her second cousin Louis Philippe d'Orléans at Versailles.

The Duke of Chartres' father, Louis d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans, known as the Pious, accepted her as she had had a religious upbringing however after a passionate beginning, Louise Henriette's scandalous behaviour caused the couple to break up. She later had an affair with the Count of Melfort after the birth of her son. Her son later said that he was in fact the illegitimate son of the Count of Melfort but this was ignored as he looked so much like his father.

Death change

Louise Henriette died on 9 February 1759 at the age of thirty-two, with her husband and children at her side, at the Palais-Royal, the Orléans residence in Paris. Her premature death was a consequence, it was said, of her debaucheries.

After her death, her husband had several mistresses, ultimately finding the love of his life, the witty but married marquise de Montesson, whom he married after she became a widow.

Children change

  1. A daughter (13 July 1745 – 14 December 1745).
  2. Philippe d'Orléans (13 April 1747, – 6 November 1793) married Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon and had children.
  3. Bathilde d'Orléans (9 July 1750 – 10 January 1822) married Louis Henri, Prince of Condé and had children.

Titles, styles, honours and arms change

Titles and styles change

Arms of Louise Henriette as Duchess of Orléans
  • 20 June 1726 – 17 December 1743 Her Serene Highness Mademoiselle de Conti
  • 17 December 1743 – 4 February 1752 Her Serene Highness The Duchess of Chartres
  • 4 February 1752 – 9 February 1759 Her Serene Highness The Duchess of Orléans