Author Topic: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses  (Read 11208 times)

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Offline Bernardino

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Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« on: July 05, 2007, 11:11:09 AM »
 Hello

the Imperial House of France, is as we now, a branch of the Corsican family Bonaparte (Buonaparte)...

Those who were made members of the French Imperial House seem to have left behind the family name and all adopted the last name Napoléon (even the Beauharnais, but that stoped when they became Leuchtenberg/Romanowsky)...

They were all French Princes...in the I and in II Empire...

But since the fall of Napoleon III there seems to happen different forms of calling the membres of this family:

HIH the Prince(ss) X/Y

HIH the Prince(ss) X/Y Napoléon

or

HIH the Prince(ss) X/Y Bonaparte...

I am aware of the existance of the Princes Bonaparte (descendants of a non dynast brother of Emperor Napoleon I)...but shouldn´t the members of the Imperial House just be called Princes Napoleon?

Does anyone know their legal name and their courteausy titles?

Thank you

Offline britt.25

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2007, 12:36:32 PM »
I don't know, if I understood you correctly, but we must as you've said make a difference between "just" the Princes Bonaparte (who were - after Napoleon- mostly the Princes Canino (line of Charles-Lucien=oldest son of Lucien Bonaparte, and ended in the male line with the death of the last Prince of Canino Charles Gregoire, and with Marie Bonaparte, daughter of Roland, himself son of Lucien's son Pierre- Napoléon) and the "Princes Napoléon", which is the official title of the heirs of the Bonaparte family, who descend from the line of Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon I. As far as I know it was a decrete of Napoleon III., where it was decided that the line of Jerome should change the name "Bonaparte" into the official title "Prince Napoleón" for the heritage line, to underline the difference to the other lines (which later died out), who are not the official heirs.
The Princes Napoléon are today the only male heirs of the emperors NI and NIII, the Princes Bonaparte have died out, but there are a lot of members and descendants oer the female lines.
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Offline Bernardino

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2007, 04:23:07 PM »
Thank you britt.25...

I was unaware of that Napoleon III decree...I thought it had come with Napoleon I rise to royalty...so it seems errouneous to call the current members of the Imperial House Princes Bonaparte...which is a title never created to those people in line of succession to the French Imperial Throne...

Offline britt.25

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2007, 05:59:12 AM »
I can try to find out further details about that decrete, but the changement to the name (better said title of the heir) Napoléon instead of Bonaparte for the line of Jerome, was indeed born in the time of NIII, because there were no other heirs from NIII and NI directly. Napoleon I created napoleonic nobility and the Princes Bonaparte, to say it very shortly, but the changemet to the "Princes Napoléon" (as official heir title) came much much later.
I can try to find some clearer details on that decision of NIII. The present chief of the family sometimes mentions this changement of the name in his interviews, but not very detailled. Let me search for more... ;)
La vérité est plus importante que l'amour

     Marie Bonaparte (1882-1962)

Offline tecklenburg

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2008, 04:36:35 PM »
I learnt about amusing french titles

"Monseigneur" for the heir of the throne
"Monsieur" used by the first brother of the king
"Madame" for the king's elder daughter or dauphin's elder daughter
"Mademoiselle" for Monsieur's elder daughter
"Monsieur le Prince" for the first prince of the blood
"Monsieur le duc" for the next line prince of the blood
am I right?

so I'll expose my conclusions
in the case of Louis XX, "Madame" would be his daughter Princess Eugenie, "Monsieur" was his uncle Gonzalo from 1972 to his death in 2000
"Monsieur le Prince" HM the king of Spain & "Monsieur le Duc" the duque de Sevilla ? "Mademoiselle" his daughter Olivia?

in case of Henri Count of Paris : "Monseigneur" : son Francois , "Madame" : daughter Blanche, "Monsieur" brother Jacques , "Mademoiselle", Jacques granddaughter Louise ?

woow, now  got some headache :) !!!

Offline REMI

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2008, 12:29:12 PM »
The french titles had been often changed in the course of the history, you know...By example,    Count of Chambord who failed to become King of France in 1873 was simply named "Monsieur le Comte de Chambord". Her sister, Louise Marie was "Mademoiselle" until her marriage to Duke of Parma. The family  name of Count of Chambord changed three or four times. He was born as Henri of Artois, "petit-fils de France" with the title of duke of Bordaux. After the death of his grand-father, King Charles X in 1836, he became "Henri, dauphin  de France" or Henri de France, still duc de Bordeaux. His  grand-father and his uncle who abdicated in behalf of him never called "Henri V"...  In 1844, after the death of his uncle, Duke of Angoulême, "Louis XIX"( count of Marnes after 1836)  he became head of the House of Bourbon (or House of France) and took the title of Count of Chambord. He got married in 1846 at Brück an der Mur (Austria) with this identity: Henri de Bourbon. He always signed "Henri, comte de Chambord" or simply "Henri" as did Kings of France...

REMI

Offline tecklenburg

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2008, 01:27:31 AM »
Oh yes Remi you're right
Henri changed many times of positions in this life. because of french royals lived longer. Charles X was the older king that France ever had. He died at 79 years old so they could see many grandchildren or great-grand-children

Offline CHRISinUSA

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2009, 09:07:16 AM »
While fairly familiar with how the Brits handled royal / noble titles and styles, the French handling is a mystery to me....perhaps someone could enlighten me?

By the end of the Ancien Regime, I believe the head of the House of Orleans no longer held the style Royal Highness because he was too far removed in descent from a reigning monarch?  But as First Prince du Sang, however, he was styled as Monsr. The Duc d'Orleans, correct?  What style did other members of the family hold?  Highness?  Serene Highness?  When the future King Louis-Philippe was born, for example, what was his full title and style? 

Also, I'm used to the British system where a Royal Prince is "elevated" as a Duke upon adulthood or marriage, and his heir (and heir's heir) use subsidiary titles in descending order of rank.  What is the French system?  It seems that sons are given titles in no particular order - a 2nd son might be a Count, a 3rd son a Duke, etc. 

Example, why is Count of Paris used as the principal title of the head of the house instead of Duke of Orleans?  The incumbent Henri, for example, is styled Count of Paris and also uses the title Duke of France.  Henri's brother Jacques (the 8th child of the late Henri, Count of Paris) actually holds the title Duke of Orleans, while his elder brother Michel is merely a Count (of Evreux)?

Can anyone help me understand this?

Offline HSH The Duchess of Bourbon

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2009, 01:24:23 PM »
the house of orléans, as im sure you are aware, was a cadet branch of the ruling house of bourbon; as such the first duke Philippe de France, Monsieur had the right to be styled HRH but did not, he was always known as monsieur;

Monsieur's son, Philippe d'Orléans, was a Grandson of France [male line grandson of Louis XIII] and he did use the style of HRH the Duke of Chartres (1674-1701), then HRH the Duke of Orléans (1701-1715, 1723). While he was regent he was known as HRH Monseigneur le Régent.
At the Regents, death, the Orléans family lost their rank as Grandchildren of France and thus took the style of Serene Highness as they were then known as princes of Blood, which were beneath that of the children and grandchildren of France.

also, it was in 1709 that Louis XIV gave his son in law (future Regent) the rank of First Prince of the Blood, taken from the Prince of Condé (1643-1709), son of le Grand Condé.

During the reign of Charles X, he gave the Princes of the Blood the style of Royal.H

I hope this makes sense lol

as for the title issue, it does seem like you say that titles were just thrown out and about =]

...
HSH The Duchess of Bourbon, Princess of the blood

Offline CHRISinUSA

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2009, 08:04:34 AM »
Thanks to both Prince Lieven (great link, I am not surprised the answer lay somewhere here in the forum), and to duchesse de Chartres (very informative).

I now understand why the current senior Orleans are "princes/princesses of Orleans" rather than "of France" (due to Louis-Philippe's decree during the July Monarchy).  But I'm still a bit confused about the title used by the head of the house.  Since the death of King Louis-Philippe, the title used by the head of the House has been:

1-  His grandson Louis-Phillipe Albert, Count of Paris between 1850-1894
2-  His son Philippe, Duc d'Orleans between 1894-1926
3-  His first cousin Jean, Duc  de'Guise (or Duke d'Montpensier) 1926-1940
4-  His son Henri, Count of Paris (1940-1999)
5-  His son Henri, Count of Paris

Which title is considered "higher rank" - Count of Paris or Duke d'Orleans?  And why didn't the head of the house assume whichever one was highest at each of the above successions?  I seem to be missing the logic behind all this.

Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2009, 05:34:05 PM »
Could it be that it's not the rank (ducal or comital) that decides which title is senior or most prestigeous, but the age? Count of Paris is the most ancient title, because it was the title of Hugh Capet, the first Capetian monarch. Somebody might perhaps also carry a more junior title than one would expect because the more senior title was not available (i.e. it was in use) when they got their title, and these titles are, as I understand it, not strictly hereditary in the sense that the holder's heir gets it when the holder dies, but rather bestowed by the head of the family. But I agree it's a bit confusing.

Offline CHRISinUSA

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2009, 08:12:16 AM »
That's a very good point.  Perhaps I am viewing this issue too much from the strictly hereditary, British-centric perspective.  I suppose once we digest that the French titles are not hereditary, we can better understand why titles which might be considered more "senior" are given so freely to younger sons and grandsons.  Each generation's decisions have little binding effect on future generations.....


Offline Eurohistory

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2009, 10:37:22 AM »
The Children of the Chef de Famille (Head of House) are Princes d'Orléans, Princes of France.

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Naslednik Norvezhskiy

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2010, 07:02:01 PM »
What about the titled nobility?
In addition to "Si madame permet....", do you have to say "Si madame la comtesse permet..." or can you say "Si la comtesse permet...", when adressing her?
« Last Edit: May 09, 2010, 07:04:44 PM by Fyodor Petrovich »

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Titles and Styles in the French Royal and Imperial Houses
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2010, 08:05:06 AM »
I learnt about amusing french titles

"Monseigneur" for the heir of the throne
"Monsieur" used by the first brother of the king
"Madame" for the king's elder daughter or dauphin's elder daughter
"Mademoiselle" for Monsieur's elder daughter
"Monsieur le Prince" for the first prince of the blood
"Monsieur le duc" for the next line prince of the blood
am I right?

so I'll expose my conclusions
in the case of Louis XX, "Madame" would be his daughter Princess Eugenie, "Monsieur" was his uncle Gonzalo from 1972 to his death in 2000
"Monsieur le Prince" HM the king of Spain & "Monsieur le Duc" the duque de Sevilla ? "Mademoiselle" his daughter Olivia?

in case of Henri Count of Paris : "Monseigneur" : son Francois , "Madame" : daughter Blanche, "Monsieur" brother Jacques , "Mademoiselle", Jacques granddaughter Louise ?

woow, now  got some headache :) !!!


These were not really formal titles, but informal designations and mainly related to the court of Louis XIV.  For example, 'Monseigneur' was how Louis XIV spoke of or to his son, and how the courtiers spoke of or to him, but no other Dauphin was referred to in that way.  Saint Simon thought that this was due to Louis XIV's dislike of speaking about a future king of France, but if so it didn't extend to his grandson or his great-grandson, who both became Dauphins in his reign and, as far as I know, neither were referred to as 'Monseigneur', nor did Louis XV refer to his son or eldest grandson who held the title of Dauphin, in this way.

While 'Monsieur' was the King's eldest brother, 'Madame' was usually his wife.  The two most well-known women called 'Madame' were Henrietta of Great Britain and Elisabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate, the successive wives of Louis XIV's brother Philippe, 'Monsieur'.  The eldest brother of Louis XVI, the Comte de Provence, was also 'Monsieur'.  The King's eldest daughter could be called 'Madame' if the more usual 'Madame' title was not being used, but she could also be called 'Madame Royale' or 'Madame Premiere'.

While 'Monsieur le Prince' was indeed the appellation of the senior house of the princes of the blood, the house of Orleans did not use this when it replaced the Princes of Condé as the senior line.  'Monsieur le duc' was the title of the eldest son of the senior prince of the blood, but again it fell into abeyance when the Condés were no longer the senior line and the Orleans did not use these titles.

So the titles didn't quite follow the rules, which isn't surprising as they weren't really titles at all.