Cornelius Lowell-Valois (November 18th, 1624 – October 10th, 1725) was the Vice Minister of State in the Empire of Grandelumiere and the first Governor of its Asian Colony. In 1712, he was granted the title of Duc d'Orleans. At the age of 85, he was oldest courtier in Grandelumiere as of 1710. He lived in Grandelumiere from 1710 until his death in 1725.
Zhu Yunguang was born on the 8th day of the 10th month of the 4th year of the Tianqi Emperor (November 18th, 1624) in Nanjing. He was raised as his status of Prince Fu of the Second Rank following the death of both his parents in 1628. At the age of 3, he was the only surviving son of his family, and was sent to live with his cousin the Prince Zhu Changxun.
By the age of 16, he had passed the Imperial Examinations and was a scholar at court. The Emperor Chongzheng paid him many respects by giving him the title of Prince An of the First Rank, adopting him as an Honorary son for his various political achievements within the area he was charged with.
Fall of the Ming Empire
In 1644, The Manchurian Army stormed the Capital City Beijing and proclaimed a new Empire. As the ministers and Imperial Family members were evacuating the city, Yunguang escaped the turmoil with his family to reach Shanghai by the end of 1645 where they stayed until 1659 when they returned to Nanjing. In 1663, The Kangxi Emperor's regent granted him the status of Marquis of Jiang as Yunguang had renounced his legitimacy to the old throne and was no longer a threat.
On August 2nd, 1680, Yunguang moved his family to Vienna under the name Joseph von Draper. There he became a prominent member of society and worked in the foreign relations office alongside the Emperor Leopold I’s various ministers. In 1704, the aged Joseph changed his name to Cornelius and moved to Saxony where he worked for the Duchess of Dresden. As her assistant, Cornelius worked with the Duchess of Dresden in government meetings and eventually travelled with her to Grandelumiere as she was the first Lady Chancellor. From this point, Cornelius began to learn more of the country he would finally settle in.
On July 18th, 1708, Alexandra, the Duchess of Dresden died suddenly in Chateau l’Hiver of a stroke. Contrary to tradition, she had left her two surviving estates -l’Hiver and Weston-Azalea- to Cornelius and his small surviving family for his loyalty and dedication to assisting in government matters. By April of 1710, Cornelius successfully was granted passage into Grandelumiere as a citizen.
Starting in what remained of the Senate, Cornelius was adopted into the House Lowell-Valois and quickly became a moderately important government official. He was granted the title of Duc d'Orleans in 1712 and by the end of his life, he was the first Governor of the Grandelumiere colonies in East Asia, and the Vice Minister of State, and had previously been the Aide-de-Camp to the Empress, Minister of Justice, and Viceroy of Brittany before its integration into the Empire.
In August of 1723, there was a massive outbreak of smallpox at court, especially in the House Valsoir-Beauford. Cornelius was one of the first to be infected, and it is believed that he himself was one of the causes of the disease’s spread. Against the advice of doctors, he refused to miss government functions and merely wore a mask over his face to help prevent the spread. However, he did not die of the disease itself. In fact, by the time of his death in October, Cornelius had almost fully recovered in health and was even out of quarantine.
Assassination and Legacy
On the morning October 10th, 1725, Lord Cornelius was showing a small group of old friends his estate at Weston-Azalea Hall as well as walking with his two surviving sons and great-grandsons. An intruder, let in by the guards who had mistaken them with a guest expected to arrive later, attacked Cornelius on the path between the Commun and the Main building with a small knife. The wounds were proven fatal, and at 11:54 AM, October 10th, 1725, Cornelius uttered his last words: “If this be the hour, let the sun etch it in stone and let the sky be alight, for I wish not to be in the dark once more." He was pronounced dead at 1:20PM on the floor of the Old Ballroom in the Main Building.
Cornelius Lowell-Valois made various small contributions to Grandelumiere in his tenure. He wrote countless volumes of court intrigue as well as translated innumerable books into various languages. He worked very hard to help ensure the safety of future generations in Grandelumiere and within the future House Lowell-Valois.
Within Grandelumiere, Cornelius and his surviving family members were -re-inducted into the HouseLowell-Valois. However, prior to this, Cornelius had a very large family in China: The House of Zhu. His father specifically, Zhu Youqing, was a descendant of the Yongle Emperor while his Mother, known as Consort Gao, was China's first ambassador from Grandelumiere, Gabriella de Valois the Dame de Harodoncay. She was a relatively close cousin to the Lowell-Valois family, a distant cousin of such. As a child, Cornelius's marriage was arranged in 1632 and he married 9 wives as was custom of the Zhu House. They inlcuded:
- Consort An (1613-1682) had 3 daughters, all of which died in infancy. Consort An died of typhus in Vienna.
- Consort Huang (1631-1664) had 2 sons, one of which (Andreus) survived infancy and had issue. Consort Huang died of childbirth in Nanjing.
- Consort Liu (1618-1643) had 4 daughters, all of which survived to adulthood but died unmarried and childless. Consort Liu died of Mercury poisoning in Beijing.
- Consort Yue (1603-1645) had no heirs. After divorcing Cornelius, Consort Yue was executed for treason by the Shunzhi Emperor.
- Consort Qing (1621-1695) had 4 sons, none of which survived to adulthood. Consort Qing was murdered in Vienna by servants.
- Consort Yao (1616-1701) had 3 sons, all of which were married off to Manchurian nobles and had issue. Consort Yao died of sweating sickness in Vienna after outliving all the other consorts.
- Consort Bai (1622-1641) had no heirs. Consort Bai died in a typhus outbreak in Beijing.
- Consort Zhao (1609-1644) had 3 daughters, all of which lived to be adults but never married. Consort Zhao was drowned in Beijing by public authorities.
- Consort Mei (1623-1699) had one son, Albertus, who had issue. Consort Mei died of plague in Vienna.
In the Qing Empire, his biological family is still prominent as the House of Zhu and Marquis of Extended Grace. While Cornelius had 9 spouses and 20 legitimate children, it is rumored that he also had as many as 130 affairs in his lifetime, having more than 100 illegitimate children. In fact, the exact number of illegitimate children Cornelius is reported to have had is unknown. He only proclaimed to have between 90 and 120, but the exact number is still up for debate. He was also rumoured to have had countless affairs with several pages and even guards, bakers, tailors, various nobles, and it is argued that he may have had a connection with several male diplomats.
Cornelius’s oldest son, Albertus, was a semi-retired courtier who was known as the Count of Sancerre. He played a major role in aiding the escapes of Nobles during the Revolution of 1741. He died as the Duc d'Orleans and Comte du Sancerre in 1744.
Cornelius’s other son, Andreus, goes by the name Andreus Julius Moreau. Although he was reclusive, Andreus worked as an architect for the Imperial Court, having built small projects within the empire until his 1760 death.
Cornelius’s first great-grandchild, Henri Alois (1704-1739) was given the title of Duc d'Orleans. He continued Cornelius’s offices until his death.
Cornelius’s other great-grandchild, Jean-Claude (1709-1742), succeeded his older brother in 1739. He died following a bout of Typhus in Chateau de Saint-Etienne.
Jean-Claude Moreau was the last of Cornelius's descendants to have a Noble Title, as well as his last surviving legitimate child. He was the Duc d'Orleans and Comte du Sancerre until his 1766 death.