World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gaston, Duke of Orléans

Article Id: WHEBN0000287076
Reproduction Date:

Title: Gaston, Duke of Orléans  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier, Jean Gaston, Duke of Valois, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, Louis XIV of France, Henry IV of France
Collection: 1608 Births, 1660 Deaths, 17Th-Century French People, Burials at the Basilica of St Denis, Counts of Blois, Dukes of Alençon, Dukes of Anjou, Dukes of Orléans, Dukes of Valois, French People of Austrian Descent, French People of Hungarian Descent, French People of Italian Descent, Heirs Presumptive to the French Throne, House of Bourbon-Montpensier, People from Fontainebleau, Princes of France (Bourbon), Recipients of the Order of the Holy Spirit
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gaston, Duke of Orléans

Gaston of France
Gaston in 1634
Duke of Orléans
Reign 6 August 1626 - 2 February 1660
Born (1608-04-25)25 April 1608
Palace of Fontainebleau, France
Died 2 February 1660(1660-02-02) (aged 51)
Château de Blois, France
Burial Royal Basilica, Saint Denis
Spouse Marie de Bourbon
Marguerite of Lorraine
Anne Marie Louise, Duchess of Montpensier
Marguerite Louise, Grand Duchess of Tuscany
Élisabeth, Duchess of Guise
Françoise Madeleine, Duchess of Savoy
Jean Gaston, Duke of Valois
Marie Anne, Mademoiselle de Chartres
Full name
Gaston Jean Baptiste
House House of Bourbon
Father Henry IV of France
Mother Marie de' Medici
Religion Roman Catholicism
Engraving of Gaston

Gaston, Duke of Orléans (25 April 1608 – 2 February 1660), was the third son of King Henry IV of France and his wife Marie de Medici. As a son of the king, he was born a Fils de France. He later acquired the title Duke of Orléans, by which he was generally known during his adulthood. As the eldest surviving brother of King Louis XIII, he was known at court by the traditional honorific Monsieur.


  • Early life 1
  • Marriages 2
  • Later life 3
  • Ancestors 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6

Early life

Gaston Jean Baptiste was born at the Palace of Fontainebleau on 25 April 1608 and at birth was given the title of Duke of Anjou. In 1626, at the time of his marriage to the young Marie de Bourbon, Duchess of Montpensier, he received in appanage (with their respective titles) the duchies of Orléans[1] and Chartres, and the county of Blois.[2] He had nominal command of the army which besieged La Rochelle in 1628,[3][4] having already entered upon a course of political intrigue that would occupy the remainder of his life. He was the heir presumptive to the throne of France from the death of his brother Nicolas Henri in 1611 until the birth of his elder brother's first son in 1638.

On two occasions, he had to leave France for conspiring against the government of his mother and her Prime Minister Cardinal Richelieu. After waging an unsuccessful war in Languedoc leading to the Battle of Castelnaudary in 1632, he took refuge in Flanders. Reconciled with his brother Louis XIII, he plotted against Richelieu in 1635, fled from the country again, and then submitted to the King and the Cardinal.

Soon afterwards, the same process repeated itself. Orléans conspired with the marquis de Cinq-Mars to attempt Richelieu's assassination, and then deserted his unfortunate accomplice (1642). In 1643, upon the death of Louis XIII, Gaston became Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom, and fought against Spain on the northern frontiers of France. He was created duc d'Alençon in 1646. During the wars of the Fronde (1648–1653), he demonstrated no particular loyalty to the crown and passed with great facility from one side to the other.


Gaston first married on 6 August 1626, at Nantes to Marie de Bourbon, Duchess of Montpensier, daughter and heiress of Henri de Bourbon, Duke of Montpensier.[5] They had a daughter:

Marie de Bourbon died six days after giving birth (4 June 1627), leaving her daughter the last of the line of the Montpensier line of the House of Bourbon.

While taking refuge from the wrath of Cardinal Richelieu in Lorraine, Gaston fell in love at first sight with Marguerite of Lorraine, the sister of Charles IV, Duke of Lorraine.[6] But as France and Lorraine were then enemies, he was refused the king's permission to marry a sister of its duke. Nonetheless, Gaston fled again to Lorraine and, in a secret ceremony in the presence of her family at Nancy during the night of 2 – 3 January 1632, Gaston took the princess Marguerite as his wife.[6] Because he had not obtained the prior permission of his elder brother, the king — one of his many acts of defiance — the couple could not appear at the French court and the marriage was kept secret.

But in November of that year, Meudon, and the Duke and Duchess of Orléans were finally received at court.[6]

By right of her marriage, Marguerite became known as Madame at court. After the death of his mother in 1642, Gaston was bequeathed the Luxembourg Palace, which became the couple's Parisian residence under the name Palais Orléans once they were restored to royal favour. They also sojourned at the Château de Blois, in the Loire Valley, where their first child was born in 1645.

Marguerite and Gaston d'Orléans had five children, of whom three daughters survived into adulthood:

Gaston had an illegitimate daughter by Marie Porcher:

  • Marie bâtarde d'Orléans (1 January 1631, Paris – ?).

He also had an illegitimate son by Louise-Roger de La Marbelière:[8]

  • Louis bâtard d'Orléans, chevalier de Charny, (13 January 1640, Joué les Tours – 1692, Spain), later General under the service of Spain.

Later life

After the death of Gaston's brother Louis XIII in 1643, his nephew Philippe, brother of the new king Louis XIV, became the new Monsieur. To differentiate the older Monsieur from the younger, Gaston, the uncle, was called Le Grand Monsieur and Philippe, the nephew, was called Le Petit Monsieur.

After the Fronde, Gaston was exiled by Cardinal Mazarin to Blois in 1652, and remained there until his death. All of his Orléans titles then went to his nephew, now the only Monsieur.


Gaston's ancestors in three generations
Gaston, Duke of Orléans Father:
Henry IV of France
Paternal Grandfather:
Antoine of Navarre
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Charles de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Françoise d'Alençon
Paternal Grandmother:
Jeanne III of Navarre
Paternal Great-grandfather:
Henry II of Navarre
Paternal Great-grandmother:
Marguerite de Navarre
Marie de' Medici
Maternal Grandfather:
Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Cosimo I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Eleonora di Toledo
Maternal Grandmother:
Johanna of Austria
Maternal Great-grandfather:
Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maternal Great-grandmother:
Anna of Bohemia and Hungary

See also


  1. ^ Moote, A. Lloyd (1991) Louis XIII, The Just p 192. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06485-2
  2. ^ Pitts, Vincent Joseph (2000) La Grande Mademoiselle at the Court of France: 1627-1693 JHU Press p. 3, ISBN 0-8018-6466-6
  3. ^ Patmore, Katherine, The Court of Louis XIII, Methuen & Co, 1909, p. 144.
  4. ^ Chisolm, Hugh, Encyclopædia Britannica, Published 1911, p. 284.
  5. ^ Pitts, Vincent Joseph. La Grande Mademoiselle at the Court of France, p. 2
  6. ^ a b c d e f Velde, François,, Morganatic and Secret Marriages in the French Royal Family, Royal Consent: the case of Gaston d'Orléans, retrieved 27 February 2010
  7. ^ Campagnes de Charles IV, duc de Lorraine et de Bar, en Allemagne, en Lorraine et en Franche-Comté, 1634-1638, d'après des documents inédits, par F. des Robert, Paris, Nancy, 1883, p. 336.
  8. ^ Born in 1619, Louise de La Marbelière, nicknamed la belle Louison met Gaston of Orléans in a ball at the Hotel de la Bourdaisière in 1639. One year later, she gave birth a son, Louis, who was legitimized by his father and entrusted to his oldest half-sister the Grande Mademoiselle, born from Gaston's first marriage. Abandoned, Louise entered in the convent of the Visitation in Tours, where she died in 1711, aged 92.
  • Gaston Jean Baptiste de France Duc d'Orléans
  • Gaston, Duc d'Orléans Accessed February 24, 2008


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.