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Orléanais (Traditional province, France)

Last modified: 2019-01-14 by ivan sache
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Flag of Orléanais - Image by Pierre Gay,14 July 2003

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History of Orléanais

Orléanais was initially known as the pagus aurelianensis. In 511, in the share of the Kingdom of the Franks among Clovis' sons, Theuderic I received Austrasia; Childebert I, Paris; Chlothar I, Neustria; and Chlodomer I, Orléans. When Chlodomer died in 524, his kingdom was absorbed by his brothers.
In 561, in the second share of the kingdom among Chlothar I's sons, Guntram received Orléans and Burgundy. The Kingdom of Orléans vanished after his death in 592.

In the 10th century, the fief of Orléanais belonged to the Count of Paris. In 1344, King of France Philip of Valois granted Orléanais to his younger son Philip (cadet de France) as its apanage. The first house of Orléans (Orléans-Valois) ended with the death of Philippe of Orléans in 1375.

The second house of Orléans (Orléans-Valois) had for root Louis I (d. 1407), brother of King of France Charles VI. Louis' son was the poet Charles of Orléans (1394-1465), father of King of France Louis XII, who set up his court in Blois.

The third house of Orléans (Orléans-Bourbon) had for unique member the "serial plotter" Gaston of Orléans (1608-1660), brother of King of France Louis XIII, who also retired in Blois.

The fourth house of Orléans (Orléans-Bourbon) started with Philip I (1640-1701), brother of King of France Louis XIV. Philippe married Henrietta of England (1661) and, subsequently, the Palatine Princess Palatine Charlotte-Elisabeth (1671). Their son was Philip II (1674-1723), known as le Régent, was appointed Regent of France in 1715 after the nullification of Louis XIV's testament. Louis-Philippe-Joseph (1747-1793), better known as Philippe-Égalité, Duke of Orléans in 1785, Philippe sit on the General States (1789) and the Convention (1793), where he voted the death of his cousin Louis XVI, before being himself guillotinized. His son Louis-Philippe I (1773-1850) accepted the title of King of the French after the 1830 revolution. In 1848, he abdicated the throne for his grand-son the Count of Paris, who was never crowned, and exiled to England. His daughter Louise-Marie (1812-1850) married Leopold I, King of the Belgians, in 1832.
The members of the Orléans family are buried in the Royal Chapel of Dreux. Duke Henri of Orléans (b. 1933), Count of Paris and Duke of France, is the current head of the house of Orléans and the Orléanist pretender to the throne of France. The members of the Orléans family are buried in the Royal Chapel of Dreux, not far from Versailles.

The Algerian town of Orléansville (later on El-Asnam and today Ech-Cheliff) as well as La Nouvelle-Orléans / New Orleans were named after the Orléans houses.

Ivan Sache, 14 July 2003

Flag of Orlénais

The flag of Orléanais is a banner of the arms, "Azure three fleurs-de-lis or a label of three points argent", assigned to the province by Jacques Meurgey in his Notice historique sur les blasons des anciennes provinces de France (Historical note on the coats of arms of the ancient French provinces, 1941).

The arms are those of the Duke of Orléans. The mark of cadency placed on the arms of France is a label, recalling the ruff bore by the cadet de France.

Ivan Sache, 14 June 2009