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by Pierre Gay
Orléanais was initially known as the pagus Aurelianensis. In 511, the kingdom of the Franks was shared among Clovis' sons. Thierry I received Austrasie; Childebert I, Paris; Clotaire I, Neustrie; and Clodomir I, Orléans. Clodomir died in 524 and his kingdom was absorbed by his brothers.
In 561, there was a second division of the kingdom among Clotaire I' sons. Gontran received Orléans and Burgundy. He died in 592 and the kingdom of Orléans vanished with him.
In the Xth century, the fief of Orléanais belonged to the count of Paris. In 1344, king of France Philippe de Valois granted Orléanais to his younger son Philippe (cadet de France) as its apanage. The first house of Orléans (Orléans-Valois) ended with the death of Philippe d'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 d'Orléans (1394-1465), father of King of France Louis XII, who had his court in Blois.
The third house of Orléans (Orléans-Bourbon) had for unique member the serial plotter Gaston d'Orléans (1608-1660), brother of King of France Louis XIII, who also retired in Blois.
The fourth house of Orléans (Orléans-Bourbon) started with Philippe I (1640-1701), brother of king of France Louis XIV. Philippe married Henriette d'Angleterre (1661) and later princess Palatine Charlotte-Elisabeth (1671). Their son was Philippe II (1674-1723), known as le Régent. Philippe II was appointed Regent of France in 1715 after the nullification of Louis XIV's testament. Louis-Philippe-Joseph (1747-1793), better known as Philippe-Egalité, was 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.
Henri d'Orléans (b. 1903), count of Paris and Orléaniste pretender to the throne of France, passed away in 1999. His son Henri (b. 1933) is the current pretender. The members of the Orléans family are buried in the Royal Chapel of Dreux, not far from Versailles.
The Algerian city 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
The banner of arms of Orléanais is (GASO):
D'azur aux trois fleurs de lys d'or surmontées d'un lambel d'argent
In English (Brian Timms):
Azure three fleurs de lis or a label of three points argent
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 July 2003Red dog casino