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Princess Hélène d'Orléans

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Title: Princess Hélène d'Orléans  
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Subject: House law, Prince Philippe, Count of Paris, Edward the Seventh, Prince Aimone, Duke of Apulia, List of rose cultivars named after people, Princess Maria Cristina of Savoy-Aosta
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Princess Hélène d'Orléans

Princess Hélène
Duchess of Aosta

Spouse Emanuele Filiberto, 2nd Duke of Aosta
Colonel Otto Campini
Amedeo, 3rd Duke of Aosta
Aimone, 4th Duke of Aosta
Full name
French: Hélène Louise Henriette d'Orléans
House House of Orléans
House of Savoy
Father Prince Philippe, Count of Paris
Mother Princess Marie Isabelle of Orléans
Born (1871-06-13)13 June 1871
York House, Twickenham
Died 21 January 1951(1951-01-21) (aged 79)
Castellammare di Stabia, Italy
Burial Basilica dell'Incoronata Madre del Buon Consiglio, Naples, Italy
Religion Roman Catholicism
House of Orléans
Kingdom of France
Ferdinand-Philippe, Prince Royal
Louise, Queen of the Belgians
Marie, Duchess of Württemberg
Louis, duc de Nemours
Clémentine, Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
François, prince de Joinville
Henri, duc d'Aumale
Antoine, duc de Montpensier
Philippe VII, comte de Paris
Robert, duc de Chartres
Gaston, comte d'Eu
Ferdinand, duc d'Alençon
Marguerite Adelaide, Princess Czartoryska
Blanche d'Orléans
Françoise, duchesse de Chartres
Louis Philippe, prince de Condé
François Louis, duc de Guise
Great Grandchildren
Amélie, Queen consort of Portugal
Philippe, duc d'Orléans
Hélène, Duchess of Aosta
Isabelle, duchesse de Guise
Louise d'Orléans
Ferdinand, duc de Montpensier
Marie, Princess of Denmark
Robert d'Orléans
Henri d'Orléans
Marguerite d'Orléans
Jean III, duc de Guise
Louise d'Orléans
Emmanuel, duc de Vendôme
Great Great Grandchildren
Isabelle, duchesse de Guise
Françoise, Princess of Greece and Denmark
Anne, Duchess of Aosta
Henri VI, comte de Paris
Great Great Great Grandchildren
Isabella d'Orléans
Henri VII, comte de Paris
Hélène d'Orléans
François, duc d'Orléans
Anne, Duchess of Calabria
Diane, Duchess of Württemberg
Michel, comte d'Evreux
Jacques, duc d'Orléans
Claude, Duchess of Aosta
Chantal d'Orléans
Thibaut, comte de la Marche
Marie Louise d'Orléans
Sophie Joséphine d'Orléans
Geneviève Marie d'Orléans
Charles Philippe, duc de Nemours
Great Great Great Great Grandchildren
Marie d'Orléans
François, comte de Clermont
Blanche d'Orléans
Jean, duc de Vendôme
Eudes, duc d'Angoulême
Clothilde d'Orléans
Adélaïde d'Orléans
Charles Philippe, duc d'Anjou
François d'Orléans
Diane Marie d'Orléans
Charles-Louis, duc de Chartres
Foulques, duc d'Aumale

Princess Hélène of Orléans (French: Princesse Hélène Louise Henriette d'Orléans; 13 June 1871, York House, Twickenham – 21 January 1951, Castellammare di Stabia, Italy) was a member of the Orléans royal family and by marriage Duchess of Aosta.


She was the third of eight children born to Prince Philippe, Count of Paris, and Infanta Maria Isabel of Spain. Hélène was a sister of Amélie, Queen of Portugal, Isabelle d'Orléans, duchesse de Guise, and Ferdinand, Duke of Montpensier, among others.

Her father was a grandson of Louis Philippe I, King of the French, and had been his heir-apparent from 1842 to 1848.

Potential matches

Hélène's parents had great hopes that she would marry an heir to a throne. Her other siblings all married well; they included Queen Amélie of Portugal and Isabelle, Duchess of Guise. There were rampant rumors of various suitors leading up to her eventual marriage in 1895.

Her suitors were no doubt encouraged by the fact that Hélène was considered a great beauty for her day. One contemporary source stated that she was "the personification of womanly health and beauty, distinguished as a graceful athlete and charming linguist".[1]

Relationship with the Duke of Clarence

She was in love with Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (eldest son of Edward VII, and grandson of then reigning monarch Queen Victoria), but they were forced to end their relationship due to the disapproval of various parties involved.[2][3]

At first, Queen Victoria opposed any engagement because Hélène was Roman Catholic. Victoria wrote to her grandson suggesting Princess Margaret of Prussia, another of her grandchildren, as a suitable alternative, but nothing came of her suggestion.[4] Once the couple confided their love to her, the Queen relented and supported the marriage. Hélène offered to convert, and Albert Victor offered to abdicate his succession rights to marry her, writing to his brother "You have no idea how I love this sweet girl now, and I feel I could never be happy without her".[5] His mother the Princess of Wales sympathized with their predicament and approved the match.[3][6] To the couple's disappointment, her father refused to countenance the marriage and was adamant she could not convert. Hélène traveled personally to intercede with Pope Leo XIII, but he confirmed her father's verdict and the affair ended.[7]

Albert Victor never got over his feelings for Hélène; their relationship is commemorated at his tomb at Windsor Castle by a bead wreath with the single word "HELENE" upon it.[7] An engagement to Princess Mary of Teck was later arranged, but he died before their marriage could take place.

Tsarevich Nicholas of Russia

She was the first choice of bride by the Emperor and Empress of Russia for their eldest son, Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich of Russia (later Emperor Nicholas II). The relationship did not progress beyond friendship and Nicholas went on to marry Princess Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt in late 1894.

The Prince of Naples

There were great hopes that Hélène would marry the eldest son and heir of Umberto I of Italy, the Prince of Naples. A few years before her marriage to the Duke of Aosta, Hélène traveled to Naples with the hope of attracting the King and Queen's attention.[3] No match was made, however, and Victor Emmanuel became engaged to Princess Elena of Montenegro in 1896. There were also hopes that she would marry Infante Afonso, Duke of Porto, who was brother of her sister's Amélie husband. The rumours proved to be false as he showed no interest in Hélène.

Marriage and children

On 25 June 1895, at the Church of St. Raphael in Kingston upon Thames, Hélène married Prince Emanuele Filiberto Vittorio Eugenio Alberto Genova Giuseppe Maria, 2nd Duke of Aosta (1869–1931).[1] He was a much lower match than her parents had desired, but was also first in line to the Italian throne should the main branch die off. The wedding was attended by many important royal figures, including Crown Prince Victor Emmanuel of Italy (the former possible match for her hand) and the Duke and Duchess of Connaught.[1]

The couple had two sons:

Widowed in 1931, Princess Helene was married for a second time in 1936 to Colonel Otto Campini (1872–1951) (born Oddone Maria Campini).[8]


16. Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans
8. Louis-Philippe I, King of the French
17. Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon
4. Prince Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans
18. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies
9. Maria Amalia of Naples
19. Marie Caroline of Austria
2. Prince Philippe, Count of Paris
20. Frederick Francis I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
10. Frederick Louis, Hereditary Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
21. Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
5. Duchess Helen of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
22. Charles Augustus, Grand Duke of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
11. Princess Karoline Luise of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach
23. Landgravine Louise Auguste of Hesse-Darmstadt
1. Princess Hélène d'Orléans
24. Louis Philippe II, Duke of Orléans (= 16)
12. Louis-Philippe I, King of the French (= 8)
25. Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon (= 17)
6. Prince Antoine, Duke of Montpensier
26. Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies (= 18)
13. Maria Amalia of Naples (= 9)
27. Maria Carolina of Austria (= 19)
3. Princess Marie Isabelle d'Orléans
28. Charles IV of Spain
14. Ferdinand VII of Spain
29. Maria Luisa of Parma
7. Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain
30. Francis I of the Two Sicilies
15. Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies
31. Maria Isabella of Spain



Princess Hélène of Orléans
Cadet branch of the House of Bourbon
Born: 13 June 1871 Died: 21 January 1951
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Maria Letizia Bonaparte
Duchess of Aosta Succeeded by
Anne d'Orléans
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