Robert of Clermont, sixth son of Louis IX of France, married (1272) Beatrice, heiress of Bourbon, and is considered the founder of the line. Robert's son, Louis, was created (1327) 1st duc de Bourbon. The ducal title remained with the descendants of his eldest son until 1527, when Charles, duc de Bourbon, died without issue. Because of his treason, his extensive fiefs were seized by the crown and the ducal title was discontinued.
A younger son of Louis, 1st duc de Bourbon, gave issue to the line of Bourbon-Vendôme. The marriage (1548) of Antoine de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme, with Jeanne d'Albret added vast territories in S France (see Albret) and the title king of Navarre to his other fiefs (Vendôme, Périgord, Rouergue). From Antoine's brother, Louis I de Condé, the houses of Condé and Conti were issued.
Antoine's son became (1589) the first Bourbon king of France as Henry IV, the older branches of Louis IX's issue having become extinct (see Valois). Henry IV was succeeded by his son, Louis XIII, and his grandson, Louis XIV. Louis XIV's descendants ruled France (except during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era, 1792-1814) until the deposition (1830) of Charles X (see France). With the death (1883) of Henri, comte de Chambord, grandson of Charles X, the senior French branch of Bourbon came to an end. From Louis XIV's brother Philip the cadet branch of Bourbon-Orléans (see Orléans, family) is issued; it furnished one king, Louis Philippe (1830-48), and inherited the claim to the French crown in 1883.
The line of Bourbon-Spain, or Borbón, began with the accession (1700) of Philip V, a grandson of Louis XIV, to the Spanish throne. He was succeeded by Ferdinand VI, Charles III, Charles IV, and Ferdinand VII. Ferdinand VII set aside the Salic law of succession, introduced into Spain by Philip V, in favor of his daughter, Isabella II. Her succession was contested by supporters (see Carlists) and descendants of Don Carlos, second son of Charles IV.
Relative order was reestablished after Isabella's son was proclaimed (1874) king as Alfonso XII. His son, Alfonso XIII, was deposed in 1931 and died in exile in 1941. His marriage (1906) with Victoria of Battenberg introduced hemophilia into his family. His first and fourth sons both died. His second son, Jaime, renounced his right of succession, which fell to Alfonso's third son, Don Juan, who was free from the disease. His son Juan Carlos, who married Princess Sophia of Greece, was chosen by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco as his successor. Juan Carlos became king of Spain in 1975 and established a constitutional monarchy and a liberal democracy.
The line of Bourbon-Sicily came out of the Spanish line. It was founded by Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies, who succeeded (1759) his father as king of Naples and of Sicily when the latter became king of Spain as Charles III. His great-grandson, Francis II, was deposed in 1860.
The house of Bourbon-Parma was established (1748) in the duchy of Parma and Piacenza by Philip, a younger son of Philip V of Spain and Elizabeth Farnese of Parma. Robert, fifth duke of the line, was deposed in 1859. Among his numerous children were Empress Zita of Austria, Sixtus of Bourbon-Parma, and Prince René, who married Princess Margaret of Denmark. René's and Margaret's daughter, Anne, married (1948) Michael of Romania.
See biography by C. Hare (1911).