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France

AUNT BELLINA

My grandmother, the Duchess of Guise, had a younger brother, Ferdinand of Orleans, Duke of Montpensier, who was charming but somewhat wayward: taking drugs, among other things. His sisters, one of whom was my grandmother, decided to marry him off. They found the rare pearl they were looking for in a wealthy girl of the…

THE DUCHESS AND THE CONSTABLE

Louise Marie Adelaide de Bourbon was the daughter of the duke of Penthievre, only heir out of all the bastards of Louis XIV and Madame de Montespan. She was the richest heiress of all of France. Philippe of Orleans duke of Chartres, future Philipe Egalité, asked for her hand in marriage. Louis XV advised his…

THE ELYSEE

The Elysee Palace, residence to the President of the French Republic, has a long history. It was first built by the marquis de Marigny, brother of the all-powerful mistress of Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour. I do not know by what turn of events but, during the Revolution it belonged to the Princess of Orleans,…

La Reine Victoria Eugénie

AUNT ENA’S EMERALDS

During the days of the Second Empire, Queen Victoria visited France and became friends with Napoleon III, and particularly with his wife, the Empress Eugenie. Although they came from very different backgrounds, cultures and traditions, the two sovereigns formed a close friendship. After the fall of the Second Empire, and the disastrous Franco-Prussian war of…

THE LAST RITES OF QUEEN CATHERINE

Like every good Italian, Queen Catherine de’ Medici was superstitious. She frequently sought to have her fortune told by her personal seer, Nostradamus, and her astrologist, Ruggieri. “When will I die?” “I do not know when you will die, but what I do know is that you will die near Saint Germain.”  It was a…

LOUIS-PHILIPPE’S ACCOUNTANT

Among the employees at the Palais-Royal in Paris, working for the Duke of Orléans, the future King Louis-Philippe, was a young, petty accountant, supposedly in charge of adding up various monthly expenses. In fact, he spent his time writing poetry in secret, which he hoped to one day transform into a stage play. One day,…

THE GRIEVING DUCHESS’S TOMB

Ferdinand of Orleans, the eldest son and heir of Louis-Philippe, died in his prime in an accident. When the horses of his carriage ran out of control, he threw himself to the ground to avoid disaster, but his head struck a stone and he died from a fractured skull.            …

The Sergeant cursed and Nostradamus’s tomb

A few years ago, the mayor of Salon-en-Provence in southern France decided to move an ancient cemetary in order to enable a motorway to be built. A specialist company was entrusted with moving the graves, one by one, to the new location. Finally, just one was left. It belonged to the famous physician and seer,…

19th Century France

Antoine d’Oléans, the Duke of Montpensier, married Maria Louisa Fernanda of Bourbon, the Infanta of Spain, sister of Isabelle II. It was a marriage that provoked intrigue, plots, and revolution. One of their daughters, the Infanta Isabelle, married Philippe, the Count of Paris, head of the House of France. The Montpensiers, after decades of turmoil,…

The Green Boy in the Cave

King Murat had a brother who was made count, Count Murat. His descendants still live in Lot, the ancestral home of the lineage. In the 19th century, one of the most impressive, rich, and vast caves in all of Europe was discovered on their land, the cave of Pech Merle. A distance niece of King…