Monday, March 28, 2016

Pneumonia fells Duke of Orleans

March 28, 1926

Prince Philippe, Duke of Orléans, pretender to the French throne, died today at 2:05 p.m., of pneumonia at his villa in Palermo, Sicily.  According to the New York Times,  the duke had contracted the illness only five days ago.   At his bedside was his sister, Queen Amelie of Portugal, a few intimate friends, and a priest who gave him the last rites.   He was 56 years old.

Another sister, the Duchess of Aosta is expected to arrive tomorrow, and a third sister, Princess Isabelle is expected to "follow shortly."

Prince Jean, the Duke of Guise, is now on a train heading to "his dead cousin's side."  He is now the head of the House of France.  He has one son, Prince Henri, who is 18 years old, and three daughters, Isabelle, the wife of Count Bruno d'Harcourt, Francoise, and Anne.  The Duke and his family will now have to leave their French residences,  due to the French law of 1888, which forbids members of the former ruling family to live in France.

The late Duke of Orléans visited France only once, "when men of his age were conscripted."  He was sentenced to two years in prison, but after a brief sentence, he was pardoned and escorted to the border.    His cousin, the Duke of Guise, was allowed to live in France, but could not serve in the army.  He went to Denmark for his military training as his sister, Princess Marie, was married to Prince Waldemar of Denmark.

In 1914, he tried to enlist in the French army but was rebuffed.  He was sent on a special mission to the Court of Bulgaria, where his cousin was the King.  Jean did return to France where he managed a soldier's canteen "under fire for a year and a half."

The Duke of Guise has "abstained from all politics," but French royalists are now looking toward him as an "energetic and promising candidate for the throne."  He has a son, and that "makes him particularly desirable" for France's monarchist parties.

The Duke of Guise, like the Duke of Orléans, is a great-grandson of King Louis Philippe I.

Prince Louis Philippe Robert was born on February 6, 1889, at York House,  Twickenham, in England, the son of Prince Philippe, Count of Paris, and his wife, Princess Isabelle of Orléans.  His parents were first cousins.

In 1896, he married Archduchess Maria Dorothea of Austria.  The marriage proved unhappy, and by 1914,  Maria Dorothea was able to obtain a legal separation.  He was ordered to pay her $11,000 a year, and to return "certain moneys she had entrusted to him."  They had no children.

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