PRINCE HENRI D'ORLEANS
The son of the last French king, writing from exile, signs a handwritten
letter informing a friend that his wife was in an accident.
Autograph Letter signed: "H d'Orleans", 2 pages, 4½x7¼, affixed to
irregularly trimmed 7¼x9½ page with typed caption, 2 short, printed biographic
clippings and an ink note in unknown hand). No place, 1867 June 22.
Embossed letterhead bears a crown and the fleur de lis. In French,
loosely translated: "Madam, When I left you abruptly and sadly several
days ago, a new sorrow awaited me at home. My wife had suffered an accident
which destroyed her hopes of the moment, but which happily doesn't appear to
have affected her health. One hopes that her recovery will be prompt and
complete. It remains for me, Madam, to thank you one more time for your warm
welcome and to ask your pardon for the trouble which my domestic sorrow has
caused. I hope that the Colonel is completely re-established. Please give him my
best and write me. Your devoted servant". HENRI EUGENE PHILIPPE LOUIS
d'ORLEANS, DUKE OF AUMALE (1822-1897) was the fifth son of Louis-Philippe,
Duke of Orleans, King of France from 1830 to 1848. A professional soldier
during his father's reign, Prince Henri - more commonly known as the Duke of
Aumale - was forced into exile in 1848, living in England until 1872. While
opposing the rule of Emperor Napoleon III (1848-1871), Henri offered his
military services to France during the disastrous Franco-Prussian War.
Elected to the legislature in 1872, he returned to France and to the French
army, rising to the position of Inspector General in 1879, but France's
republican-dominated legislature banned all members of former French ruling
families from the military in 1883, and banished them from France in 1886.
However, Henri gained much goodwill by bequeathing his Chantilly estate and
his extensive art collection to the Institute of France, and the government
repealed its exile decree against him. He returned to France in 1889 and was
buried in his family chapel. Although monarchism remained a potent political
force in France for the rest of the 19th century, Henri d'Orleans never
sought the throne. His wife Marie-Caroline, daughter of the King of Sicily
whom he had married in 1844, lived until 1869. They had four children, all of
whom died young and without offspring of their own. The affixed, typed caption
states that the letter reports the death of an heir in the accident to Henri's
wife. That is true only if the phrase "destroyed her hopes of the moment" is a
euphemistic reference to a miscarriage. The letter makes no direct reference to
a child. The ALS is in fine condition, but should probably be removed
from the mounting sheet, which is creased and soiled, and bears a printed
biography of a different Prince Henri d'Orleans (1867-1901), a nephew of the
signer of this letter.
For more documents by these signers click the names below:
PRINCE HENRI D'ORLEANS
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