Prince Ferdinand-Philippe of France

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Ferdinand-Philippe
The Duchess Helene Louise
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The Duchess Helene Louise

Prince Ferdinand-Philippe (September 3, 1810 - July 13, 1842) was Prince Royal of France.

Born Ferdinand Philippe Louis Charles Henri Joseph d'Orléans in Palermo, Italy, he was the eldest son of the then exiled future king Louis-Philippe of France and Princess Marie Amalie of Bourbon-Sicilies.

Heir to the throne of France, on birth he was given the title of Duke of Chartres and in 1830, the additional title of Duke of Orléans. His marriage was arranged to the Duchess Helene Louise Elizabeth of Mecklenburg-Schwerin who was born on January 24, 1814 at Ludwigslust, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Germany. With their marriage, she became Duchess Helen Louise of Orleans and future Queen consort.

They had two children:

The photo on the right is of a painting of Helene Louise with her infant son, Prince Louis Philippe Albert.

Unlike the vast majority of arranged marriages between the Royal households of Europe, Duchess Helen Louise adored her husband but tragically, Prince Ferdinand-Philippe was only 32 years of age when he died in a carriage accident in Sablonville in the Hauts-de-Seine département.

The Prince was interred in an elaborate tomb in the Chapelle Royale, in Dreux, Eure-et-Loir but because his wife was Protestant, the Roman Catholic Church would not allow any space to be made next to him for her later interment.

Nearly 16 years later, the still grieving Princess Helen Louise died, on May 18, 1858 in Richmond, Surrey, England where members of the French royal family had been forced to flee after the revolt against King Louis-Philippe and the election of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte as President of France.

On their death, the government of France allowed these ex-royals to be returned to France for interment. So, for Duchess Helen Louise, a room with a separate entrance was built attached to the Chapelle Royale and a window was opened between her tomb and her husband's. The sculpture of the Protestant Princess rests atop her tomb, reaching through the opening to the tomb of her beloved Catholic Prince.

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