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Louis-Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti – Party like 1660

Louis-Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti

Louis-Armand was born in Paris on 4 April in 1661 to Armand de Bourbon and his wife Anne-Marie Martinozzi, and thus a Prince du Sang.


Louis-Armand de Bourbon, Prince de Conti

His papa, Armand de Bourbon, was the brother of the famous Grand Condé and both brothers mingled in the Fronde. The regain his favour with the King, Armand married Anne-Marie Martinozzi, a niece of Cardinal de Mazarin. Armand lost interest in his charming wife quickly and adopted a devout lifestyle. The couple had three children: a boy born in 1658, who only lived a couple of days. Louis-Armand, born in 1661, and François-Louis, born in 1664.

Louis-Armand was baptised on 28 February in 1662 with Louis XIV and Anne d’Autriche acting as godparents. Like many other children, for which the King acted as godfather, the little boy was named in his honour, hence the Louis in front of the Armand.

Armand de Bourbon died in 1666, as Louis-Armand as five years old. Louis-Armand, until then known as the Prince de La Roche-sur-Yon, inherited the title Prince de Conti from his father and the title Prince de La Roche-sur-Yon went to his younger brother François-Louis. The brothers lost their mother a couple of years later. She died in 1672, as Louis-Armand was eleven years old. The brothers lived with their uncle le Grand Condé afterwards.

The Prince de Condé liked François-Louis a little more than Louis-Armand, who was of small height and slightly hunchbacked, but gave all to secure a good marriage prospect for Louis-Armand. The latter apparently fell in love at first glance with his future wife. It was Marie-Anne de Bourbon, the illegitimate daughter of Louis XIV and Louise de La Vallière. Of course, the whole thing as a scandal. Marie-Anne was a daughter of the King, but only a legitimised one and that legitimised one would become a Princesse du Sang by marriage… an idea that did not appeal to most of the court. (Like the marriage of Armand de Bourbon and the Cardinal niece did.)

Anonymous drawing of Louis Armand de Bourbon (1661-1685) as Prince of Conti.png
Anonymous drawing of Louis-Armand de Bourbon

The marriage took place at Saint-Germain-en-Laye on January 16 in 1680, despite much mumbling and wrinkled noses. The groom was eighteen, the bride tender thirteen and very beautiful. The wedding itself was a grand affair, the wedding night not so much… nobody had told bride and groom what was expected of them. The night ended with the new Princesse de Conti fleeing the marriage bed and the Prince de Conti swearing he would never ever share a bed with a woman again. The couple remained childless.

The story of the disastrous wedding night spread quickly and amused the whole court. Louis-Armand was utterly embarrassed by it all, he was a little shy and quite pious. His wife not so much. One day she even told everyone how incompetent her husband was in bed. In turn, Louis-Armand started to engage in various debaucheries, to a degree that left his royal father-in-law Louis XIV no other chance than to call Louis-Armand to order with a proper kingly scolding.

Louis-Armand fought with great bravery in Flanders in 1683 during the Dutch War and went to fight against the Turks in 1685. On his way back to France, he was informed his wife had fallen ill with smallpox. Despite the not so great relationship between them, Louis-Armand rushed to her side at once to nurse her. The Princesse recovered, but the Prince did not. He contracted the smallpox from his wife and died, aged twenty-four, a few days later on 9 November in 1685. (Dangeau writes about it in his diary of November 1685.)

Armand-Louis was buried at the château de Vallery and since he died without heir, the title of Prince de Conti went to his younger brother François-Louis.