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Orleans, Henrietta

ORLEANS, HENRIETTA, Duchess of (1644-1670), third daughter of the English king, Charles I., and his queen, Henrietta Maria, was born during the Civil War at E.xeter on the 16th of June 1644. A few days after her birth her mother left England, and provision for her maintenance having been made by Charles she lived at Exeter under the care of Lady Dalkeith (afterwards countess of Morton) until the surrender of the city to the parhamentarians, when she was taken to Oatlands in Surrey. Then in July 1646 Lady Dalkeith carried the princess in disguise to France, and she rejoined her mother in Paris, where her girlhood was spent and where she was educated as a Roman Catholic. Henrietta was present at the coronation of Louis XIV., and was mentioned as a possible bride for the king, but she was betrothed, not to Louis, but to his only brother Philip. After the restoration of her brother Charles II., she returned to England with her mother, but a few months later she was again in Paris, where she was married to Philip, now duke of Orleans, on the 30th of March 1661. The duchess was very popular at the court of Louis XIV., and was on good terms with the grand monarch himself; she shared in the knowledge of state secrets, but was soon estranged from her husband, and at the best her conduct was very imprudent. In 1670, at the instigation of Louis, she visited England and obtained the signature of Charles II. 's ministers to the treaty of Dover; her success in this matter greatly delighted Louis, but it did not improve her relations with Philip, who had long refused his consent to his wife's visit to England. Shortly after returning to France, Henrietta died at St Cloud on the 30th of June 1670. She was buried at St Denis, her funeral oration being pronounced by her friend Bossuet, and it was asserted that she had been poisoned by order of her husband. She left two daughters, Marie Louise, wife of Charles II. of Spain, and Anne Marie, wife of Victor Amadeus II. of Savoy. According to legitimist principles, the descendants of Henrietta, through her daughter Marie of Savoy, are entitled to wear the British crown.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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