Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris

"Duc de France" redirects here. For the early medieval title, see Duke of the Franks.
Henri d'Orléans
Count of Paris, Duke of France
Born (1933-06-14) 14 June 1933
Spouse Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg
(m. 1957; div. 1984)

Micaela Cousiño Quiñones de León
(m. 1984)
Issue Marie Isabelle of Orléans
François of Orléans
Blanche of Orléans
Jean of Orléans
Eudes of Orléans
House Orléans
Father Henri, Count of Paris
Mother Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza
French Royal Family

HRH The Count of Paris
HRH The Countess of Paris

Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris, Duke of France (Henri Philippe Pierre Marie d'Orléans; born 14 June 1933), is a member of the former French ruling dynasty of the House of Bourbon, and one of the current pretenders to the defunct French crown as Henry VII. A descendant of King Louis-Philippe (ruled 1830–1848), he is the current head of the Orléans line of the Bourbon dynasty. As such he is recognized as the legitimate claimant to the throne by those French royalists who adhere to the succession of Louis-Philippe ("Orléanists"), as well as by the "Unionist" faction that rejects Louis-Philippe's title but recognizes his grandson Philippe, Count of Paris (1838–1894), as the heir of the rival claimant Henry, Count of Chambord, the last direct agnatic descendant of King Louis XV. Henri of Orléans is a former military officer as well as an author and painter.

Henri d'Orléans is protector of the Orléans obedience of the Order of Saint Lazarus (statuted 1910).

Early life

He was the first son born to Henri of Orléans, Count of Paris, and his wife Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium, because an 1886 law banned the heirs of formerly reigning French dynasties from entering France. This law was abrogated in 1950, but Henri had already been allowed to enter France by special favour of President Vincent Auriol in 1948.

On 25 August 1940, Henri's grandfather, Jean of Orléans, Duke of Guise, died. His father was recognised by most French royalists as head of the French royal house, and Henri became their dauphin.

He studied at the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po) and then served in the military, notably during the Algerian War.

For his military service he was decorated with the French Legion of Honor, Cross for Military Valour, Combatant Cross and the Colonial Medal.


On 5 July 1957, he married Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg (born 1934). He received the title Count of Clermont. Five children were born from this union.


  1. Princess Marie Isabelle Marguerite Anne Geneviève of Orléans (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 Albert Alfred Petrus of Liechtenstein (born on 1 April 1949 in Vienna, Austria), and has issue.
    1. Princess Léopoldine Eléonore Thérèse Marie of Liechtenstein (born 27 June 1990, Vienna)
    2. Princess Marie Immaculata Elisabeth Rose Adelgunde of Liechtenstein (born 15 Dec 1991, Vienna)
    3. Prince Johann Wenzel Karl Emmeran Bonifatius Maria of Liechtenstein (born 17 Mar 1993, Vienna)
    4. Princess Margarete Franciska Daria Wilhelmine Marie of Liechtenstein (born 10 Jan 1995, Vienna)
    5. Prince Gabriel Karl Bonaventura Alfred Valerian Maria of Liechtenstein (born 6 May 1998, Vienna)
  2. Prince François Henri Louis Marie of Orléans (born 7 February 1961 in Boulogne-sur-Seine), Count of Clermont.
  3. Princess Blanche Elisabeth Rose Marie of Orléans (born 10 September 1963 in Ravensburg, Germany). Her godparents were Duchess Elisabeth of Wurtemberg, and Monsieur Michel Coulages.
  4. Prince Jean Charles Pierre Marie of Orléans (born 19 May 1965, Boulogne-sur-Seine), Duke of Vendôme and Dauphin de Viennois, married civilly in Paris on 19 March 2009 with Philomena de Tornos y Steinhart. The religious ceremony took place at the Senlis Cathedral on 2 May 2009. The couple has four children:
    1. Prince Gaston Louis Antoine Marie of Orléans (born 19 November 2009, Paris)
    2. Princess Antoinette Léopoldine Jeanne Marie of Orléans (born 28 January 2012, Vienna)
    3. Princess Louise-Marguerite Eléonore Marie of Orléans (born 30 July 2014, Poissy)
    4. Prince Joseph Gabriel David Marie of Orléans (born 2 June 2016)
  5. Prince Eudes Thibaut Joseph Marie of Orléans (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 Claude Anne Rolande de Rohan-Chabot (born on 29 June 1969 in Paris), with whom he has two children.
    1. Princess Thérèse Isabelle Marie Éléonore of Orléans (born 23 April 2001, Cannes)
    2. Prince Pierre Jean Marie d'Orléans (born 6 August 2003, Cannes).

Divorce, annulment, and remarriage

The marriage was unhappy. In 1984, Henri and Marie-Thérèse received a civil divorce.

On 31 October of that same year, Henri married Micaëla Anna María Cousiño y Quiñones de León (born on 30 April 1938), daughter of Luis Cousiño y Sebire and his wife Doña Antonia Maria Quiñones de Léon y Bañuelos, 4th Marchioness of San Carlos. As this marriage was not celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church, it was not recognised by a number of French royalists. Henri's father, too, was furious; he disinherited Henri, stripped him of his titles, and gave him the lesser-valued title comte de Mortain (Clermont was once held by the cadet son of Louis IX of France, who became the ancestor of the Bourbon line, Mortain was once held by John Lackland of England, who was regarded as lacking land and appanage). Henri refused all mail addressed to him as "Count of Mortain." Meanwhile, Marie-Thérèse, the former Countess of Clermont, was granted the title "Duchesse de Montpensier" by her father-in-law.

Tensions lessened after several years, and Henri's father reinstated him as heir apparent and gave Micaela the title "Princesse de Joinville". Relations between Henri and his former wife, the Duchesse de Montpensier also improved and became cordial.

Although Henri adopted the title of Count of Paris upon the death of his father, his second wife remained Princesse de Joinville during the life of his mother who remained Countess of Paris. Upon the death of his mother, Micaëla assumed the title of Countess of Paris.

In 2009, Henri, Count of Paris and his former wife, the Duchesse de Montpensier were able to obtain an annulment of their marriage from the Vatican without affecting the status and legitimacy of their children. The Count of Paris was then able to remarry his second wife, Micaëla Countess of Paris and Duchess of France in the Roman Catholic Church, in September 2009.[1]

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 Louis-Alphonse, Duke of Anjou's right to use the undifferenced Royal Arms. 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. Soon after, in 2000 however, bailiffs pursued Henri for US$143,000 back rent after he fled the Villa Boileau, a 17th-century Paris house he had occupied.[2]

Succession rights

On 19 June 1999, Henri's father died and Henri became the new head of the French royal house (according to his supporters). He took the titles Count of Paris and Duke of France. His wife became known as Duchess of France, in order to enable Henri's widowed mother to continue to use the title Countess of Paris. Henri's mother died on 5 July 2003, and Micaela started to use the title Countess of Paris.

He claims the title of Duke of France as heir to Hugh Capet and Hugh's ancestors before they were Kings of France.

After his father's death, Henri annulled his father's decision to disinherit his brothers Michel (Count of Évreux) and Thibaut (the late Count of La Marche) from their rights to the throne because Michel married a noble woman but not a royal one and because Thibaut married a commoner. He also bestowed titles upon his nephews by brother Jacques, Duke of Orléans, Charles-Louis of Orléans, Duke of Chartres (11 July 1972 – ), m. 21/28 Jun 1997 Ileana Manos (22 Sep 1970 – ), and Prince Foulques of 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, with a 'regency' by his middle son, Prince Jean, Duke of Vendôme. Prince Jean had a son in November 2009, Gaston.


Henri has written a number of books:

Other business

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.[3]

He takes part in some European royal events, attending the 2011 marriage of Albert II of Monaco.[4]



Henri, Count of Paris and Duke of France, is an agnatic fifth-generation descendant of Louis-Philippe I, King of the French. He has three further descents from Louis-Philippe through his father and one through his mother, who also descends from Louis-Philippe in the male line, for a total of five descents as a great-great-great-grandson.

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 1,300 years and is one of the oldest in Europe.

See also


  1. Marie Desnos - Parismatch.com. "Paris Match 28 Sept 2009". ParisMatch.com. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.. Archived: 28 July 2012.
  2. Paris hunting down rent-skipping royal, Chicago Sun-Times, 19 Nov 2000
  3. Elliot, Matthew (17 May 2016). "Could restoring a bunch of kings solve Europe's democratic deficit?". New Statesman. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  4. "Paris Match Royal Blog". Parismatch.com. Retrieved 2013-02-15.


External links

Henri d'Orléans, Count of Paris
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 14 June 1933
French nobility
Preceded by
Henri VI
Duke of France
Count of Paris

19 June 1999 – present
François d'Orléans, comte de Clermont
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Henri VI
King of the French
Orléanist pretender to the French throne
19 June 1999 – present
Reason for succession failure:
Orléans monarchy deposed in 1848
Prince Jean, Duke of Vendôme
Preceded by
Christophe, Prince of the Blood
Legitimist line of succession to the French throne
79th position
Succeeded by
François d'Orléans,
comte de Clermont
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