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Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris

Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris

French noble
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro French noble
Countries France
Occupations Politician Writer
Gender male
Birth 14 June 1933 (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Arrondissement of Brussels-Capital, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium)
Star sign Gemini
Mother: Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza
Father: Henri, Count of Paris
Siblings: Prince JacquesDuke of OrléansPrince MichelCount of ÉvreuxPrince ThibautCount of La MarcheDianeDuchess of WürttembergPrincess Claude of OrléansPrincess AnneDuchess of Calabria
Spouse: Marie Thérèse, Duchess of Montpensier
Children: Princess Marie Isabelle of LiechtensteinPrince François, Count of ClermontPrince Jean, Duke of VendômePrince Eudes, Duke of Angoulême
Education Sciences Po
The details

Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris, Duke of France (Henri Philippe Pierre Marie d'Orléans; born 14 June 1933), is head of the House of Orléans, and one of the current pretenders to the defunct French crown as Henry VII. A descendant in the male-line of France's "Citizen-King" Louis-Philippe d'Orléans (ruled 1830–1848), he is also recognized as the legitimate claimant to the throne by those French royalists, called Unionists, who regard him as the rightful heir of Henri de Bourbon, Count of Chambord, the last patrilineal descendant of King Louis XV. Henri of Orléans is a former military officer as well as an author and painter.

Early life

He was the first son of Henri, Count of Paris (1908–1999), and his wife Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza, and was born in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium because an 1886 law had exiled the heirs of France's formerly reigning dynasties. This law was abrogated in 1950, when Henri was able to repatriate with his parents, but he had already been allowed to visit France by special favour of President Vincent Auriol in 1948.

On 25 August 1940, Henri's grandfather, Jean d'Orléans, Duke of Guise, died. His father became pretender, and Henri was recognised as dauphin in pretence by Orléanists. In 1957 his father conferred upon him, as heir apparent, the titles Count of Clermont.

Henri studied at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po).


From October 1959 to April 1962, Clermont worked at the Secretariat-General for National Defence and Security as a member of the French Foreign Legion. Transferred from there to a garrison in Germany, he took up a new assignment as military instructor at Bonifacio in Corsica, where his wife and children joined him early in 1963.

Returning to civilian life in 1967, Clermont and his family briefly occupied the Blanche Neige pavilion on his father's Manoir du Coeur-Volant estate at Louveciennes before renting an apartment of their own in the XVe arrondissement. In the early 1970s Clermont managed public relations for the Geneva office of a Swiss investment firm while dwelling in Corly.

Henri has written a number of books:

  • À mes fils (1989)
  • Adresse au futur chef d'État (1994)
  • Désolé, Altesse, c’est mon jour de sortie (1994)
  • La France survivra-t-elle à l'an 2000 (1997)
  • Le passeur de miroir (2000)
  • La France à bout de bras (2002)
  • L'histoire en héritage (2003)
  • La Royauté de l'Homme (2016)

Henri is also a painter and has launched his own brand of perfume. In addition, he unsuccessfully contested the 2004 European elections for the Alliance Royale.

Marriages and children

On 5 July 1957, he married Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg (born 1934). Five children were born from this union:

  1. Princess Marie Isabelle Marguerite Anne Geneviève d'Orléans of France (born 3 January 1959 in Boulogne-sur-Seine) married civilly in Dreux, on 22 July 1989, and religiously in Friedrichshafen, on 29 July 1989, to Prince Gundakar of Liechtenstein (born on 1 April 1949 in Vienna), and has issue:
    1. Princess Léopoldine of Liechtenstein (born 27 June 1990, Vienna)
    2. Princess Marie Immaculata of Liechtenstein (born 15 Dec 1991, Vienna)
    3. Prince Johann Wenzel of Liechtenstein (born 17 Mar 1993, Vienna)
    4. Princess Margarete of Liechtenstein (born 10 Jan 1995, Vienna)
    5. Prince Gabriel of Liechtenstein (born 6 May 1998, Vienna)
  2. Prince François, Count of Clermont (7 February 1961 in Boulogne-sur-Seine – December 30, 2017)
  3. Princess Blanche Elisabeth Rose Marie d'Orléans of France (born 10 September 1963 in Ravensburg).
  4. Prince Jean Charles Pierre Marie d'Orléans of France, (born 19 May 1965, Boulogne-sur-Seine), Duke of Vendôme, married civilly in Paris on 19 March 2009 with Philomena de Tornos y Steinhart at the Senlis Cathedral on 2 May 2009. The couple has five children:
    1. Prince Gaston Louis Antoine Marie (born 19 November 2009, Paris)
    2. Princess Antoinette Léopoldine Jeanne Marie (born 28 January 2012, Vienna)
    3. Princess Louise-Marguerite Eléonore Marie (born 30 July 2014, Poissy)
    4. Prince Joseph Gabriel David Marie (born 2 June 2016)
    5. Princess Jacinthe Élisabeth-Charlotte Marie of Orléans (born 9 October 2018)
  5. Prince Eudes Thibaut Joseph Marie d'Orléans of France (born 18 March 1968, Paris), Duke of Angoulême, married civilly in Dreux on 19 June 1999, and religiously in Antrain on 10 July 1999, to Marie-Liesse de Rohan-Chabot (born on 29 June 1969 in Paris), with whom he has two children.
    1. Princess Thérèse Isabelle Marie Éléonore d'Orléans (born 23 April 2001, Cannes)
    2. Prince Pierre Jean Marie d'Orléans (born 6 August 2003, Cannes).

In 1984, Clermont and Marie-Thérèse were divorced. On 31 October 1984 Clermont entered a civil marriage with Micaëla Anna María Cousiño y Quiñones de León (born on 30 April 1938), daughter of Luis Cousiño y Sebire and his wife Antonia Maria Quiñones de Léon y Bañuelos, 4th Marquesa de San Carlos. For remarrying without consent Henri's father initially declared him disinherited, substituting the non-dynastic title Comte de Mortain for his son's Clermont countship (the latter once held in appanage by a son of Louis IX of France, who became ancestor of the Bourbon line). Henri, though, refused all mail addressed to him as Mortain. On 27 February 1984 Marie-Thérèse, the former Countess of Clermont, was granted the title Duchess of Montpensier by her father-in-law.

On 11 February 1989 Clermont was informed, by a hand-delivered letter written by his former wife, of the engagement of their eldest child Marie, to Prince Gundakar of Liechtenstein, a cousin of the ruler of that principality, the wedding date being set for 29 July 1989. Although Clermont acknowledged, in a 12 May 1989 Point de Vue interview, that it had been three years since he had seen Marie, he and his second wife, Micaëla Cousiño, had been welcomed for the first time to the home of his mother, the Countess of Paris, that day: Clermont further acknowledged to the press that, Marie having written to invite him to her wedding, he looked forward to conducting her to the altar, rumours to the contrary notwithstanding. At the engagement party held the next day at the Palais Pallavicini, the Vienna home of the fiancé's parents, photographs were taken, and would later be published, showing Clermont speaking cordially with his daughter, sons, former wife and future son-in-law.

However, it was on this occasion that Clermont learned that he would not be escorting Marie to her bridesgroom during the wedding. Meanwhile, the Duchess of Montpensier had sent out invitations to the wedding in her name alone, omitting not only mention of Marie's father, but also of her grandfather, Monseigneur the Count of Paris who, until then, had largely sided with the Duchess of Montpensier in family matters and had consented to his granddaughter's choice of a spouse. This prompted father and son to join in calling for a familial boycott of the nuptials. Clermont and his father refused to attend the wedding but Marie proceeded to marry civilly at Dreux's city hall on 22 July 1989, and religiously at the castle of her mother's brother in Germany, on 29 July 1989. All but two of Clermont's eight siblings also boycotted the ceremonies, but his sister Diane (wife of Montpensier's brother) hosted, and Clermont's mother, Madame the Countess of Paris, was a guest at the religious wedding.

Tensions lessened after several years, and on 7 March 1991 the Count of Paris reinstated Henri as heir apparent and Count of Clermont, simultaneously giving Micaëla the title "Princesse de Joinville".

Head of house

Until he succeeded his father as royal claimant, Clermont and his second wife occupied an apartment in Paris. On 19 June 1999, Clermont's father died and Henri became the new head of the House of Orléans. He took the traditional title, Count of Paris, adding an ancient one, Duke of France, not borne by his Orléans or Bourbon forebears, but used a thousand years ago by his ancestors before Hugh Capet took the title of king. His wife assumed the title "Duchess of France", deferring to the continued use of "Countess of Paris" by Henri's widowed mother until her death on 5 July 2003, whereupon Micaela started to use the title Countess of Paris.

After his father's death, Henri annulled his father's decision to deprive his brothers Michel (Count of Évreux) and Thibaut (the late Count of La Marche) of their succession rights because Michel married a noblewoman without permission and because Thibaut married a commoner. He also bestowed titles upon the sons of his brother Prince Jacques, Duke of Orléans: Prince Charles-Louis d'Orléans, Duke of Chartres (11 July 1972 – ), m. 21/28 Jun 1997 Ileana Manos (22 Sep 1970 – ), and Prince Foulques d'Orléans, Duke of Aumale (9 Jul 1974 – ) and Count of Eu.

He also recognised his disabled eldest son François as heir, with the title Count of Clermont, declaring that he would exercise his prerogatives as head of the dynasty under a "regency" of his middle son, Prince Jean, Duke of Vendôme. However, with François' death on 30 December 2017, Prince Jean became the Dauphin of France within the family's claim to the throne. Prince Jean had a son in November 2009, Gaston.

In 2009, Henri obtained an annulment of his marriage to Marie-Thérèse of Württemberg from the Holy See. He remarried his second wife, Micaëla Cousiño, in the Catholic Church in September of that year.

As Count of Paris, he takes part in some European royal events attending, for instance, the 2011 marriage of Albert II of Monaco.

Legal cases

In an attempt to establish his legal rights as head of the Royal House of France, Henri launched an unsuccessful court case (1987–1989) in which he challenged his rival cousin Louis-Alphonse, Duke of Anjou's right to use the undifferenced royal arms of France. The French courts denied that they had jurisdiction over the dispute and did not address the merits of the case.

After his father's death, a court-appointed lawyer searched through the late count's effects on behalf of his nine children, to reclaim what remained of the family's dissipated fortune. Jewels, art-work, and an exceptional medieval illustrated manuscript were found. These were auctioned off, raising approximately US$14 million.

In 2000 bailiffs pursued Henri for US$143,000 back rent after he fled the Villa Boileau, a 17th-century Paris house he had occupied.


Patrilineal descent

Henri is a member of the House of Bourbon-Orléans, a sub-branch of the House of Bourbon, itself a branch of the House of Capet and of the Robertians.

Henri's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son. It follows the Dukes of Orléans, the Kings of France, the Dukes and Counts of Vendôme, the Counts of La Marche, the first Duke of Bourbon, a Count of Clermont, and before them, again the Kings of France. The line can be traced back more than 1,200 years and is one of the oldest in Europe.


  •  France: Legion of Honor (for his military service)
  •  France: Cross for Military Valour
  •  France: Combatant Cross
  •  France: Colonial Medal
  • Protector of the Orléans obedience of the Order of Saint Lazarus (statuted 1910)
  • Grand Cross with Gold Star of the Order of Prince Danilo I
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