Louis Xavier (23rd March 1713 - October 3rd 1744) is the third child of Prince Auguste Philippe and Princesse Sophie.
Reign of Louis XI - Comte de Retz
Louis Xavier was born at the Chateau de Saint-Etienne on 23rd March 1713. He was the second delivered of twins, his older twin would be named Louis Claude. Most of the Imperial family were present at this birth, this included Louis XI. He was named; Louis Xavier. The name of Louis, that name so common with the Imperials of Grandelumiere, has it's roots dating back to the 13th-14th centuries. The name Xavier was in reference to Saint Xavier and chosen by his father. In a memorandum to his sister, Madame, he noted in a part humorous and egotistical sentence;
"...Louis Xavier... I can't describe in words the originality and wondrous choice of such a name. I can only predict that our God blessed him. But remember, every rose has its thorns."
He was baptised in the Palace Chapel. His godparents would be Emperor Louis XI and Empress Elisabeth Justine. He was put into the care of the Governess employed by the family, Madame de Montfort. He very much enjoyed time at court with his cousins, displaying from an early age a liking for the young Marie Amelie and Marie Therese.There were rare friendships with young boys of his own age. But he was not effeminate as some expect of one that forms bonds with only the opposite sex. He also recalled how Louis Xavier would sit upon the lap of Louis XI, being told about his trials and tribulations of the previous week; "At that age he couldn't answer me back" was the curt remark of the Emperor.
He was very close to his brother, Alexandre Constantin. They would form a lifelong bond of friendship and a teasing nature of which is most common amongst siblings. His sisters he was not particularly close to for he described them as being "Rather sweet, but uninteresting". Though he favoured Marie Philippine amongst his other sisters for her humour, wit and sensibility in her youth.
His overall attitude and character growing up from infancy to young adulthood was mixed. It was very rare that Louis Xavier was described in a negative tone. Though a writing from the Prince de Condi describes him as;
"...a haughty and arrogant young man with a stuck up posture and nose. Even Julius Caesar would have been offended..."
But these were rare occasions. And when such an occasion was to take place the setting of them would nearly always be during court events. In a positive view, this can be interpreted to display how proud he was about his heritage and family and that these "haughty" expressions and his "arrogant" demeanour could have been misinterpreted from their original meaning, most likely an over exaggerated seriousness and a forceful good behaviour.
At the age of 20 in 1734 he was arranged to marry various daughters of Louis XI. One was his childhood friend Madame Deuxieme. A proposal of marriage was made between the two that summer but nothing came of it for the match was not seen as a fit one by either parties parents for one reason or another. Both were most unhappy for a small and novel romance sprang up between the two and the idea of marriage would have been perfect. The following two years marriages between Marie Elisabeth was discussed and Marie Sophie, respectively too hideous and the other young. But like the proposal of 1734, nothing came of this. Though he did have affections for both Madame Deuxieme and Madame Huitieme.
In late 1738 the smallpox outbreak began in Dijon and its provinces. Many of the Imperial children would pass away from the disease. Louis Xavier was taken to the Chateau de Flavingy for it was a popular retreat during times of trouble due to its isolated location. He would keep in contact with Marie Therese who was taken to the safety of a convent where she would languish for some years to come. His twin brother would die in 1738 making him Monsieur le Duc. But Louis Xavier's family were to face something unexpected when Louis XI became ill, and his mother made Regent.
Regency of Sophie I - Monsieur le Duc
He wasn't as frivolous as his older sister but had a passion for cards and gambling in the early years of his mother regency. This passion lost its interest with him. Around this time he wrote that he began to "discover himself". Many, including his parents, noted a change in his relations towards men, ever desiring their company more. In this, he confided in the Cardinal Lorraine, now his appointed adviser, who reassured him that most men often have these urges and that "There's nothing wrong in exploring them". Wisely he focussed on his wife, not wanting to explore when there was an heir to produce.
He turned more to his intellectual roots, taking a deep interest in history. During the great rebellion of the early 1740's he was forced to flee with his siblings under the orders of his parents. He again made a retreat to the Chateau de Flavingy.
After these events his interest in the sympathetic philosophers like Voltaire waned and his ultra conservatism grew as did his nieces, Princesse de Lamballe. He began reading works and histories on the reigns of Anne, Charles and most notably Louis XI, "When things were done so much better" he would later write.
He was arranged to marry Marie Isabelle of Poland. She was handed over to Grandelumiere in a solemn and allegorical ceremony. He'd confide much in his brother, the Marquis and would talk to him on queries about marital relations. He was kind and attentive to her, respecting her highly in every way. Though love was out of the question.
In September 1742 he was given Parc-aux-Cerfs, a chateau in Brittany. Originally it was built for Louis XI as a gift from his beloved sister, Sophie Antoinette. It was here at Parc-aux-Cerfs that he began a passionate affair with the Cardinal Lorraine. He was in fact manipulating the future Prince for his influence. The Duchesse knew of this and was deeply vexed and saw right through the Cardinal's game.
Louis Xavier married Marie Isabelle on 24th September. Their wedding had an array of guests, so many notables that the poor Madame la Princesse had to strike a guest with her fan when he stepped upon her train, when the man tried to apologise she stopped him and replied:
"You may be sorry Monsieur but the deed is done and your favour is gone"
The wedding went smoothly and all were silent during. Louis was noted to dab his brow before his fiancé walked towards but it was generally noted that he stood in a rather bold and heroic pose. Throughout the ceremony, he gave affectionate looks to the Dauphine and was seen being rather serious and proud when listening attentively to the words of the Cardinal. Once a banquet was over in the palace they then proceeded to Chateau de Saint-Etienne. There they had a marvellous display of fireworks. Afterwards was a five-course banquet in the dining room. The couple were led to the bedchamber by the Regent. Once dressed down before the court the two were helped into the bed and after a blessing the court withdrew.
However, in 1744, on the 1st of October, his wife was brutally murdered by guards of the Cardinal Lorraine, and he himself followed on the 3rd, as a precaution, should he know of the embezzlement the Cardinal was committing.
Titles and Styles.
-23rd March 1713 - 2nd June 1738 His Highness, Comte de Retz
-2nd June 1738 - October 3rd 1744 His Highness, Monsieur le Duc