House of Orléans  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Orléans is the name used by several branches of the Royal House of France, all descended in the legitimate male line from the dynasty's founder, Hugh Capet. It became a tradition during France's ancien régime for the duchy of Orléans to be granted as an appanage to a younger (usually the second surviving) son of the king. While each of the Orléans branches thus descended from a junior prince, they were always among the king's nearest relations in the male line, sometimes aspiring and sometimes succeeding to the throne itself.

The last cadet branch to hold the ducal title descended from Henri de Bourbon, duc de Vendôme (Henry IV of France), who became king (nominally) in 1589, and is sometimes known as the "House of Bourbon-Orléans" (Maison de Bourbon-Orléans). From 1709 until the French Revolution the Orléans dukes were next in the order of succession to the French throne after members of the seniormost branch of the House of Bourbon, descended from Louis XIV. Louis XIII's younger brother and younger son were granted the dukedom successively in 1626 and 1660, and since they had contemporaneous living descendants, there were actually two Bourbon-Orléans branches at court during the reign of Louis XIV.

The elder of these branches consisted of Gaston, duc d'Orléans, younger son of Henry IV, and the four daughters of his two marriages. The junior and final House of Orléans descended from Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, Louis XIV's younger brother (who, as such, was known at court simply as Monsieur). Although Louis XIV's direct descendants retained the throne, his brother Philippe's descendants flourished until the end of the French monarchy, held the crown from 1830 to 1848, and are still extant as pretenders.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "House of Orléans" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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