Friday 16 September 2016

A French Connection

[This is a guest post by  Richard Jamesto whom much thanks. There is a minor edit by MS]  

Photo from the Condé Museum in Chantilly. Taken 1858/9.

Sitting on the left playing chess is Prince Louis of Condé (1845-1866), who was living in Orleans House, in Richmond on Thames, at the time. He developed TB and died in Australia. He was a paternal grandson of King Louis Philippe via Duke Henri of Aumâle.

His opponent is Prince Augustus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1845-1907), whose father was a cousin of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert from the Catholic branch of the family. On the maternal side he was a grandson of King Louis Philippe via Princess Clémentine of Orléans.

Watching the game, from left to right:

Prince Pierre, Duke of Penthièvre (1845-1919), a grandson of King Louis Philippe via Prince François of Joinville. Related to the Portuguese royal family and the emperors of Brazil on his mother’s side. “Prince Pierre had a happy childhood as a refugee in England with most of the other members of the House of Orléans, despite the uncertainty of life in exile.” This seems to have been at Claremont, near Esher in Surrey

Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1844-1921), the older brother of Prince Ludwig August (see above). Married his cousin, Princess Louise of the Belgians, who was reported to have played chess against Queen Victoria.

Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Alençon (1844-1910), another grandson of King Louis Philippe via Duke Louis of Nemours.

Prince Gaston Count of Eu (1842-1922), the older brother of Prince Ferdinand (see above). His family fled to England after the overthrow of the monarchy in 1848.

So in this picture we have six French princes, all grandsons of King Louis Philippe of France, who reigned between the July Revolution of 1830 and the February Revolution of 1848. He fled the country under the name of “Mr Smith” [no relation - MS] and sought exile in England, settling at Claremont. It seems likely that this photograph was taken at about the time of the funeral of their aunt Hélène, the widow of the King’s eldest son Ferdinand. She died on 18 May 1858 at her home in Richmond, Camborne House, Petersham Road, close to Richmond Bridge. It was later renamed Northumberland House and demolished in 1969. The funeral took place on Saturday 22 May, the cortège travelling from Richmond to the chapel of St Charles Borromeo in Weybridge. All the Orléans princes were in attendance. At the time four of the princes were living in the area: Prince Louis was living at Orleans House while the Princes Gaston, Ferdinand and Pierre were at Claremont. The Princes Philipp and Augustus were living on the continent, possibly in either Austria or Spain.

So perhaps the most likely location for the photograph is Camborne/Northumberland House.

[With thanks again to Richard James. To follow a French music and chess connection, and notes on many more musical chessers besides, go to his series, starting somewhere else, here.]

Lost in History

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