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Henri d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale

Henri Eugène Philippe Louis d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale (January 16 1822May 7 1897) was born in Paris. He was the fifth and second youngest son of Louis-Philippe, King of the French and Duc d'Orléans and Marie Amalie of Bourbon-Sicilies. He took the title of Duc d'Aumale. He was a leader for the Orleanist cause of a constitutional monarchy in France.

Early life

Born at the Palais Royal in Paris, he was brought up by his parents with great simplicity, he was educated at the college of Henri IV. At the very young age of 8, he inherited a large fortune of 66 million Livres (equivalent to nearly £200 Million today), the lands and wealth of the last prince de Condé; the last Prince de Condé being his godfather, Louis VI Henri de Bourbon-Condé. He also inherited the famous Château de Chantilly, domaines of Saint-Leu, Taverny, Enghien, Montmorency and Mortefontaine. He also gained the Château d'Écouen. At the age of seventeen he entered the army with the rank of a captain of infantry.

Marriage and Children

On November 25, 1844, he married Princess Maria Carolina Augusta of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, daughter of the Leopold, Prince of Salerno and his wife Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria, in Naples. The couple had four children, two of whom reached adulthood:


He distinguished himself during the French invasion of Algeria and, in 1847, he became lieutenant-general and was appointed Governor-General of Algeria, a position he held from September 27 1847 to February 24 1848.

In this capacity he received the submission of the emir Abdel Kadir, in December 1847. After the Revolution of 1848, he retired to England and busied himself with historical and military studies, replying in 1861 by a Letter upon History of France to the Emperor Napoleon's violent attacks upon the House of Orléans.

On the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War, he volunteered for service in the French army but his offer was declined. Elected deputy for the Oise département, he returned to France, and succeeded to the fauteuil of the comte Montalembert in the French Academy. In March 1872 he resumed his place in the army as general of division and, in 1873, presided over the court-martial which condemned Marshal Bazaine to death.

At this time, having been appointed commander of the VII army corps at Besançon, he retired from political life and, in 1879, became inspector-general of the army. The act of exception, passed in 1883, deprived all members of families that had reigned in France of their military positions. Consequently, the duc d'Aumale was placed on the unemployed supernumerary list.

Subsequently, in 1886, another law was promulgated which expelled from French territory the heads of former reigning families and provided that, henceforward, all members of those families should be disqualified for any public position or function and election to any public body. The duc d'Aumale protested energetically but was nonetheless expelled.


By his will of the June 3 1884, however, he had bequeathed to the Institute of France his Chantilly estate, including the Château de Chantilly, with all the art-collection he had collected there, to become a museum. This generosity led the government to withdraw the decree of exile and the duke returned to France in 1889. He died in Zucco, Sicily and was buried in Dreux, in the chapel of the Orléans.


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