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Louis, Duke of Burgundy

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Title: Louis, Duke of Burgundy  
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Subject: Anne Marie Louise d'Orléans, Duchess of Montpensier, César, Duke of Vendôme, Princess Marie Adélaïde of France, Marie Leszczyńska, Princess Sophie Hélène Béatrice of France
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Louis, Duke of Burgundy

Louis
Dauphin of France; Duke of Burgundy
Louis by Rigaud
Born (1682-08-16)16 August 1682
Palace of Versailles, France
Died 18 February 1712(1712-02-18) (aged 29)
Château de Marly, Marly, France
Burial 23 February 1712
Basilica of St Denis, France
Spouse Marie Adélaïde of Savoy
Issue
Among others
Louis, Duke of Brittany
Louis XV of France
Full name
Louis de France
House House of Bourbon
Father Louis, Grand Dauphin
Mother Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria
Religion Roman Catholicism
Signature

Louis, Duke of Burgundy and later Dauphin of France (16 August 1682 – 18 February 1712) was the eldest son of Louis, Dauphin of France, and father of Louis XV. Until he became the official Dauphin of France upon his father's death in 1711, he was known as Le Petit Dauphin to distinguish him from his father, who was known as le Grand Dauphin.

Contents

  • Childhood 1
  • Marriage 2
  • Military career and politics 3
  • Death and legacy 4

Childhood

Louis, playing with an arrow, with his parents and brothers in 1687

Louis was born in the Palace of Versailles, the eldest son of Louis, le Grand Dauphin, and his wife Maria Anna Victoria of Bavaria. At birth, he received the title of Duke of Burgundy (duc de Bourgogne). As the son of the Dauphin, he was a fils de France and second in the line of succession to his grandfather, King Louis XIV.

Louis grew up with his younger brothers; Philip, Duke of Anjou, who was to become King Philip V of Spain; and Charles, Duke of Berry. He lost his mother when he was eight. His father never played a major role in politics.

The Duke of Burgundy was reputed to be a difficult child who respected no one, but under the influence of his tutor François Fénelon, Archbishop of Cambrai, he grew into a very pious and religious man. Fénelon's thoughts and beliefs influenced the young prince throughout his life.

Marriage

At the age of 15, he married his second cousin, Princess Marie-Adélaïde of Savoy, the daughter of Victor Amadeus II, Duke of Savoy and Anne Marie d'Orléans. This match had been decided as part of the Treaty of Turin, which ended Franco-Savoyard conflicts during the Nine Years' War. The wedding took place on 7 December 1697 at the Palace of Versailles.

Military career and politics

In 1702, at the age of twenty, the Duke of Burgundy was admitted by Louis XIV to the Conseil d'en haut (High Council), which was in charge of state secrets regarding religion, diplomacy and war. His father had only been admitted to the High Council at the age of thirty.

In 1708, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Louis was given command of the army in Flanders, with the experienced soldier Louis Joseph, Duke of Vendôme, serving under him. The uncertainty as to which of the two should truly command the army led to delays and the need to refer decisions to Louis XIV. Continued indecision led to French inactivity as messages travelled between the front and Versailles; the Allies were then able to take the initiative. The culmination of this was the Battle of Oudenarde, where the Duke of Burgundy's mistaken choices and reluctance to support Vendôme led to a decisive defeat for the French. In the aftermath of the defeat, his hesitation to relieve the Siege of Lille led to the loss of the city and thereby allowed the Allies to make their first incursions onto French soil.

The Duke of Burgundy was influenced by the dévots and was surrounded by a circle of people known as the faction de Bourgogne (Burgundy's faction), which was most notably made up of his old tutor Fénelon, his old governor Paul de Beauvilliers, Duke of Saint-Aignan and his brother-in-law Charles Honoré d'Albert, Duke of Chevreuse, as well as the renowned memorialist, Louis de Rouvroy, Duke of Saint-Simon.

These high-ranking aristocrats sought a return to a monarchy less bourgeoisie (as the ministers appointed by Louis XIV) but by aristocrats who perceived themselves as the representatives of the people and would assist the king in governance and the exercise of power. Had the Duke of Burgundy succeeded to the throne, he may have applied this concept of monarchy.

Death and legacy

Éléments de géométrie, 1713

Louis became Dauphin of France upon the death of his father in 1711. In February 1712, his wife contracted measles and died on February 12. The Duke of Burgundy, who dearly loved his wife and who had stayed by her side throughout the fatal illness, contracted the disease and died on 18 February, six days after her. He died at the Château de Marly at the age of 29. Both of his sons also became infected. The elder, Louis, Duke of Brittany, the latest in a series of Dauphins,

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