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Montmorenci, the French Family

Montmorenci, the French Family

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Published by Larry Feldhaus
An overview of the French family Montmorenci.
An overview of the French family Montmorenci.

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Published by: Larry Feldhaus on Feb 07, 2013
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09/05/2013

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Montmorenci Duke of Luxembourg
Montmorenci the name of one of the oldest and most distinguished families in France, derived from Montmorency, now inthe department of Seine-et-Oise, in the immediate neighbourhood of Enghien and St Denis, and about 9 miles N.N.W. of Paris. The family, since its first appearance in history in the person of Bouchard I, sire de Montmorency I in the 10thcentury, has furnished six constables and twelve marshals of France, several admirals and cardinals, numerous grandofficers of the Crown and grand masters of various knightly orders, and was declared by Henry IV. to be, after that of theBourbons, the first house in Europe.The history of the great house of Montmorenci is that of France, and few pages of the annals of that kingdom can be foundwhich do not tell of their services to King and country and of their blood shed on battle-field or scaffold. In 1627 Francois deMontmorenci, Comte de Bouteville, and his friend and second, Comte des Chappelles, lost their heads for the infraction of the recent edicts against duelling in the celebrated combat with the Marquis de Beuvron of three on each side, when theMarquis de Bussy d'Amboise was left dead on the field.The posthumous son of the unhappy Bouteville was Francois Henri de Montmorenci, who commenced his illustrious career as Aide-de-Camp to his kinsman, the famous Prince of Conde, and died in 1695, a Duke and a Marshal of France. FrancisHenry de Montmorenci, Duke of Luxembourg, a very celebrated general and marshal of France, was a posthumous son of the famous Bouteville, who was beheaded under the reign of Louis XIII for fighting a duel. He was born in 1628, waspresent at the battle of Rocroi in 1643, and served under the great Conde, whose pupil he was, and whom he followed in allhis fortunes. He also resembled that great general in many of his eminent qualities, in acuteness of perception, thirst for knowledge, promptness of action, and ardour of genius. These qualities he displayed in the conquest of Franche-Comte in1668, where he served as lieutenant general. In the Dutch campaign he also had his share; in 1672, he took many townsand gained some trophies. A branch of the Montmorencies, who attained the rank of one of the first marshals of France, and executed many importantcommands, married Madeleine Charlotte Bonne Therese de Clermont, daughter of Marguerite Charlotte de Luxemburg,duchesse de Piney, the heiress of the Dukes of Luxemburg, whose peerage was a male fief, created in 1581. A firstmarriage had given birth to a son and a daughter, who were the inheritors of the peerage, both of whom were still living.The son was, however, an idiot, had been declared incapable of attending to his affairs, and was shut up in Saint Lazare, atParis. The daughter had taken the veil, and was mistress of the novices at the Abbayeaux-Bois. The peerage had thus, itmight almost be said, become extinct, for it was vested in an idiot, who could not marry (to prevent him doing so, he hadbeen made a deacon, and he was bound in consequence to remain single), and in a nun, who was equally bound by her vows to the same state of celibacy.When M. de Bouteville, for that was his only title then, married, he took the arms and the name of Luxembourg. He didmore. By powerful influence, - notably that of his patron the Prince de Condi, he released the idiot deacon from his asylum,and the nun from her convent, and induced them both to surrender to him their possessions and their titles. This done, hecommenced proceedings at once in order to obtain legal recognition of his right to the dignities he had thus got possessionof. He claimed to be acknowledged Duc de Piney, with all the privileges attached to that title as a creation of 1581.Foremost among these privileges was that of taking precedence of all dukes whose title did not go back so far as that year.Before any decision was given either for or against this claim, he was made Duc de Piney by new letters patent, dating from1662, with a clause which left his pretensions to the title of 1581 by no means affected by this new creation. M. deLuxembourg, however, seemed satisfied with what he had obtained, and was apparently disposed to pursue his claim nofurther.The marshal obtained a new creation; but not content with that, entered a process, and used all his interest at court, whichwas considerable, to obtain the precedence of the old dukedom. Peerages were always strictly entailed on the male heirs of the body of the grantee, so that when they became extinct, and the female heir carried the pretensions of the blood intoanother house, which obtained a grant of a revival of the honour, it was too gross an encroachment to claim the precedenceof the old creation, as in the case of the dukedom of Piney-Luxembourg, which was long carried on with great earnestnessby Marshal Montmorency-Luxembourg.
Page 1 of 2Montmorenci Duke of Luxembourg2/7/2013http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/europe/fr-noblesse-luxembourg-montmorenci....

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