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Henri d'Orléans: The Story behind the Duke of Aumale

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Henri d'Orléans: The Story behind the Duke of Aumale

He was a man who had everything to be king. His goal-driven personality, his flair for knowledge, and his military achievements could have led him to the French throne at any time; however, he was forced into exile from a very early age and could only put his grand vision into other developments.

Born at the Palais Royal in Paris, Henri Eugène Philippe Louis d’Orléans — also known as the Duke of Aumale — was brought up by his parents with simplicity and was educated at the college of Henri IV. He was the fifth son of King Louis-Philippe I of France, and at the tender age of 8, inherited the Domaine de Chantilly from the last prince of Condé and a fortune of 66 million livres, approximately 500 million dollars today.

When he was 15 years old, the Duke of Aumale joined the French army with the rank of a captain of infantry, where he distinguished himself during the French invasion of Algeria and eventually was appointed Governor-General of Algeria, a position he held from September of 1847 to February of 1848.

Following the French Revolution of 1848, Henri d'Orleans travelled to England, where he dedicated himself to studies. He and all members of families that had reigned in France were subject to persecution, first deprived of any military and political position and then in 1886 expelled from French territory.

When that law was promulgated, the Duke retired to Zucco, in Sicily, Italy. There he bought a wine state and made one of the most famous wines ever produced in the country. At the same time, he also dedicated time to renew the Chateau of Chantilly, which had been destroyed during the French Revolution. In rebuilding, he designed the chateau to house the artwork, lavish furnishings, and rare books and manuscripts that he was so fond of acquiring.

The Duke of Aumale is also known for having one of the biggest art collections in the world, considered second only to the Louvre, and which includes works by Raphaël, Poussin, Ingres, Watteau, Delacroix, and others. Such an extravagant and dazzling collection is now open to the public at the Chateau of Chantilly.


Return to Zucco, the Wine of the Son of the French King

 
  

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