The topics of this blog are Armand-Jean du Plessis, Cardinal Duke of Richelieu, and the IDEAL CITY built on his command next to his magnificent CHÂTEAU on the borders of Touraine, Anjou and Poitou, in France.

Monday 7 September 2009

the eight dukes

A bit like Wikipedia, we have tried to draw up the genealogy of the 8 aristocratic dukes of Richelieu.  Can anyone find any errors? - the list was surprisingly difficult to create, especially when the line transfers.
A list of the eight dukes of Richelieu
1629-1642 : Armand Jean du Plessis de Richelieu (1585-1642), cardinal, 1st duke* of Richelieu, first minister for 18 years under Louis XIII. A celebate priest without direct issue.
1642-1657 A 15-year gap without a duc de Richelieu when Anne of Austria was Regent with the little Louis XIV. Cardinal Jules Mazarin (cardinal Richelieu's appointment) was First Minister.
1657-1715 : Armand Jean de Vignerot du Plessis de Pont-Courlay (1629-1715), 2nd duke* of Richelieu, great-nephew of the former. Grandson of cardinal Armand-Jean’s elder sister Françoise (d. 1615), who had married in 1603 René Vignerot, seigneur de Pont-Courlay (d. 1625), of minor nobility in Poitou. Their only son was François, marquis de Pontcourlay (d. 1646), and their only daughter was Marie-Madeleine (d. 1675), Duchesse d’Aiguillon (cardinal’s favourite and his executor at his death). The 2nd duke's life and career was a generally a disappointment, card-player and debtor.  13 years old at the death of the cardinal and 28 when he adopted the ducal title. Nephew of the Duchesse d’Aiguillon.
1715-1788 : Louis François Armand de Vignerot du Plessis (1696-1788), 3rd duke* of Richelieu, marshal of France, son of the former.  Libertine, seducer extraordinary, lecher, bawd, and soldier.  First Gentleman of the Bedchamber of Louis XV, procurer of Madame du Barry, the King’s last official mistress. He was 19 years old at the death of 2nd duke.
1788-1791 : Louis Antoine Sophie de Vignerot du Plessis (1736-1791), 4th duke* of Richelieu, son of the former. 52 years old at the death of 3rd duke. First Gentleman of the Bedchamber. Maréchal de Camp and-lieutenant general.
1791-1822 : Armand-Emmanuel Sophie Septemanie de Vignerot du Plessis (1766-1822), 5th duke* of Richelieu, président du Conseil and Foreign Minister, 1815-18, son of the former. 25 years old at the death of 4th duke. Lived through the Revolution and its aftermath. Escaped the Terror by living in St Petersburg. No issue.  Founder of the city of Odessa in the Crimea (contemporary Ukraine) for Catherine the Great.
1822-1879 : Armand François Odet de La Chapelle de Saint-Jean de Jumilhac (1804-1879), 6th duke of Richelieu, great-nephew of the former, by 5th duke’s half-sister Simplicie and Antoine-Pierre Chapelle de Jumilhac. 18 years old at the death of 5th duke. No issue.
1879-1880 : Marie Odet Richard Armand de La Chapelle de Saint-Jean de Jumilhac (1847-1880), 7th duke of Richelieu, nephew of the former.  31 years old at the death of the 6th duke.  Died at the age of 32, one year later.  Had married American heiress Alice Heine of New Orleans USA, god-child of Empress Eugénie and Napoleon III. The Berlin/Paris/New Orleans banker family Heine restored the parc and château de Richelieu.  Beautiful rich widow Alice subsequently re-married into the Grimaldi family of Monaco to become Princesse de Monaco as well as dowager Duchess of Richelieu.
1880-1952 : Marie Odet Jean Armand de La Chapelle de Saint-Jean de Jumilhac (1875-1952), 8th and last duke of Richelieu, son of the former. 5 years old at the death of the 7th duke.  Married Elinor Douglas Wise of Baltimore USA. No issue.  Benefactor of the parc de Richelieu to the Sorbonne in 1930.
The line finally ended in republican 1952 as there was no French monarchy or aristocracy to allow the title to be formally transferred (as in 1657 and 1822).
These dukes also had the title duc de Fronsac. This subsidiary title - originally awarded to the cardinal himself - was used by the first son of a duke until the decease of his father and his accession to the full ducal title de Richelieu.  They used the title of Comte de Chinon, another of the cardinal's subsidiary titles from his ducal estate, for the grandson in his minority (e.g. the 5th duke).

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