Today we welcome le Gros Louis to the salon, a man as illustrious as he was plump. Louis lived a life of wealth and privilege, but his personal life was somewhat less than perfection.Share
Louis d'Orléans was born in the glittering surroundings of the Palace of Versailles, the son of Louis, Duke of Orléans and his wife, Johanna of Baden-Baden. Immediately upon his birth the infant was given the title Duke of Chartres and he grew up at a somewhat precocious rate, mixing with the royal children of the ruling house of Bourbon.
When Louis Philippe was just fifteen his friendship with his cousin, Princess Henriette, blossomed into something more than playmates and the youngsters declared themselves in love. Representatives of the houses of Bourbon and Orléans met to discuss this proposed match and though the idea was given careful consideration, it was not to be. Cardinal Fleury, the influential and powerful minister employed to advise Louis XV, counselled the king against giving consent for his daughter to wed the young duke. After all, he pointed out, would this not bring the already powerful Orléans dynasty within a whisper of the throne itself? At this, Louis XV's initially positive take on the match soured somewhat; he refused his permission and young Princess never married anyone. (Read more.)