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Louis Joseph de Bourbon, prince de Condé


Louis Joseph de Bourbon, prince de Condé

Louis Joseph
Prince of Condé
Reign 27 January 1740 – 13 May 1818
Predecessor Louis Henri
Successor Louis Henri
Full name
Louis Joseph de Bourbon
Father Louis Henri, Duke of Bourbon
Mother Caroline of Hesse-Rotenburg
Born (1736-08-09)9 August 1736
Hôtel de Condé, Paris, France
Died 13 May 1818(1818-05-13) (aged 81)
Palais Bourbon, Paris, France
Burial Basilica of Saint Denis
Religion Roman Catholicism

Louis Joseph de Bourbon (9 August 1736 – 13 May 1818) was Prince of Condé from 1740 to his death. A member of the House of Bourbon, he held the prestigious rank of Prince du Sang.


de Bourbon was the only son of Louis Henri de Bourbon, Duke of Bourbon (1692–1740) and Landgravine Caroline of Hesse-Rotenburg (1714–41). As a junior member of the reigning House of Bourbon, he was a Prince du Sang. His father Louis Henri, was the eldest son of Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Condé (known as Monsieur le Duc) and his wife Louise Françoise de Bourbon, daughter of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan.

During his father's lifetime, the infant Louis Joseph was known as the Duke of Enghien, (duc d'Enghien). He was placed under the care of his paternal uncle, Louis, Count of Clermont, his father's youngest brother after his father died in 1740 and his mother died in 1741 when Louis Joseph was four.

He had an older half sister, Henriette de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Verneuil (1725–1780) who was in turn the half sister of the Mailly sisters, future mistresses of Louis XV and descendants of Hortense Mancini.

Through his mother, he was a first cousin of Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia, Princess Eleonora of Savoy and Princess Maria Luisa of Savoy (both rejected brides of Louis XV) as well as the princesse de Lamballe. His paternal cousins included the Duchess of Orléans (mother of Philippe Égalité) and sister of the Prince of Conti. Viktoria of Hesse-Rotenburg, the Princess of Soubise was another first cousin.

As a young man, he married Charlotte Élisabeth Godefride de Rohan (1737–1760), the daughter of King Louis XV's friend, the Prince de Soubise. Charlottes mother Anne Marie Louise de La Tour d'Auvergne was a daughter of the Duke of Bouillon. The couple were married at Versailles on 3 May 1753.

Together, they had three children (a daughter who died young); a son, Louis Henri Joseph, and a daughter, Louis Adélaide. In 1764, he renovated and expanded the Palais Bourbon[1] and decided to leave the Hôtel de Condé[2] where he was born. The latter residence was bought by Louis XV in 1770 only to later end up as the site of the Odéon Theatre.

In 1770, his son married Bathilde d'Orléans, daughter of Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans and sister of Philippe Égalité. The marriage was supposed to heal relations between the Condé line and the Orléans which were both descended from illegitimate daughters of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan.[3]

Main article: Château d'Enghien (Chantilly)

Among many other estates, Louis Joseph inherited the famous Château de Chantilly, the main seat of the Condé line. At Chantilly, the prince conducted a number of improvements and embellishments in the years before the French Revolution. He decided to build the Château d'Enghien on the grounds of the estate. Designed to house guests when entertaining at Chantilly, the Chateau d'Enghien was constructed in 1769 by the architect Jean François Leroy. It was later renamed the Château d'Enghien in honour of his grandson Louis Antoine, Duke of Enghien[4] who was born at Chantilly in 1772. He also commissioned a large garden in the English style as well as a Hameau much like the contemporary Marie Antoinette had created at Versailles and the Petit Trianon.

In 1765, named the heir of his paternal aunt Élisabeth Alexandrine de Bourbon, he received generous pensions which Élisabeth Alexandrine had in turn acquired from her cousin Mademoiselle du Maine.

Louis Joseph occupied an important place at court. During both the reigns of Louis XV and Louis XVI, he held the position of Grand Maître de France in the king's royal household, the Maison du Roi.

He served in the Seven Years' War with some distinction serving alongside his father in law the Prince of Soubise. He was also Governor of Burgundy and a general in the French army.

After the fall of the Bastille in 1789, Louis Joseph decided to leave France with his son and grandson. This decision proved fortunate, since during the Reign of Terror that followed many of the Bourbons still living in France were arrested, put on trial and guillotined: King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette and the Duke of Orleans (Philippe Égalité) were executed in 1793, and the king's sister, Madame Élisabeth, was beheaded in 1794.

Army of Condé

During the French Revolution, the prince was a dedicated supporter of the monarchy and one of the principal leaders of the counter-revolutionary movement. He established himself at Coblenz in 1791, where he helped to organize and lead a large counter-revolutionary army of émigrés. In addition to containing the prince's grandson, the Duke of Enghien, and the two sons of his cousin, the late king's brother, the Comte d'Artois, the corps included many young aristocrats who eventually became leaders during the Bourbon Restoration years later.

This group included the Duke of Richelieu, the Duke of Blacas and Chateaubriand.

The Army of Condé initially fought in conjunction with the Austrians. Later, due to differences with the Austrian plan of attack, however, the Prince de Condé entered with his corps into English pay in 1795. In 1796, the army fought in Swabia. In 1797, Austria signed the Treaty of Campo Formio with the First French Republic, formally ending its hostilities against the French. With the loss of its closest allies, the army transferred into the service of the Russian tsar, Paul I and was stationed in Poland, returning in 1799 to the Rhine under Alexander Suvorov. In 1800 when Russia left the Allied coalition, the army re-entered English service and fought in Bavaria.

The army was disbanded in 1801 without having achieved its principal ambition, restoring Bourbon rule in France. After the dissolution of the corps, the prince spent his exile in England, where he lived with his second wife, Maria Caterina Brignole, the divorced wife of Honoré III, Prince of Monaco, whom he had married in 1798. She died in 1813.

With the defeat of Napoleon, Louis Joseph returned to Paris, where he resumed his courtly duties as grand maître in the royal household of Louis XVIII. He died in 1818 and was succeeded by his son, Louis Henri. His daughter, Louise Adélaïde de Bourbon, who was a nun and had become the abbess of Remiremont Abbey, survived until 1824. He was buried at the Basilica of St Denis.


  1. Marie de Bourbon, Mademoiselle de Bourbon (16 February 1755 - 22 June 1759) died in infancy.
  2. Louis Henri Joseph de Bourbon, Prince of Condé, Duke of Bourbon (13 April 1756 - 30 August 1830) married Bathilde d'Orléans and had issue.
  3. Louise Adélaïde de Bourbon (5 October 1757 - 10 March 1824) died unmarried.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 9 August 1736 – 27 January 1740 His Serene Highness the Duke of Enghien
  • 27 January 1740 – 13 May 1818 His Serene Highness the Prince of Condé

References and notes


Louis Joseph, Prince of Condé
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 9 August 1736 Died: 13 May 1818
French nobility
Preceded by
Louis Henri de Bourbon
Prince of Condé
27 January 1740 – 13 May 1818
Succeeded by
Louis Henri de Bourbon

See also

Biography portal
Europe portal

External links

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