Friday 26 October 2012

The Duchy of Valentinois

Valence is a commune in southeastern France, the capital of the Drôme department, situated on the left bank of the Rhône, c. 100 km south of Lyon on the railway to Marseilles. Its inhabitants are called Valentinois.

Diane ancestors were among the Comte de Valentinois:

  • ·      Guillaume de Poitiers (-1187)
  • ·      Aymar I de Poitiers (1187-1251)
  • ·      Aymar II de Poitiers (d1251-1277)
  • ·      Aymar III de Poitiers (1277-1329)
  • ·      Aymar IV de Poitiers (1329-1339)
  • ·      Louis I de Poitiers (1339-1345)

When Louis I de Poitiers died in 1345, Louis II, the son of his brother Aymar de Poitiers, became Comte de Valentinois.  Another of Louis’ brothers was Charles de Poitiers, Diane’s great grandfather.

With the permission of Charles de Poitiers, Louis II de Poitiers (d1445) instituted the Dauphin (the future Charles VII of France) as heir to Valentinois, to settle a debt of 50,000 crowns.  From my research, it appears that he expected it to be returned, but that was not the case.  King Louis XII raised Valentinois to a duchy, and on August 17, 1498, Cesare Borgia (d1507) became the first Duke of Valentinois.  His only legitimate child was a daughter, and the title became extinct.

In 1548, the year after he became King, Henri restored the title and lands to Diane, creating her the Duchesse de Valentinois for her life. This was much more than a gift; he was restoring to her the title which should have still been in her family. Upon Diane’s death in 1566 the title again was extinct, as she had no sons.

King Louis XIII of France re-created the title in 1642 for Honoré II, Prince of Monaco. On his death it passed to his son, and then to his grandson, Antoine. Since the title's inheritance was restricted to male heirs, and because Antoine had only daughters, it was due to pass his brother, François-Honoré Grimaldi, but became extinct yet again 1715, when François-Honoré forfeited his right to succeed Antoine. Antoine's eldest daughter and heiress, Louise-Hippolyte, married Jacques-François de Goyon-Matignon, who had signed a contract by which he was obliged to take the surname Grimaldi. Louis XV recreated the title of Valentinois for Jacques, who was to succeed his father-in-law Antoine as Prince Jacques I. After Jacques's abdication in 1733, the title passed uninterrupted for several generations from Prince to Prince --  from Jacques to Honoré III, Honoré IV, Honoré V, Florestan I, Charles III, Albert I. In 1919 Albert bestowed the title of Duchess of Valentinois upon his adopted granddaughter Charlotte, thenceforth known as Princess Charlotte, Duchess of Valentinois. In 1920, shortly after Charlotte's marriage to Pierre de Polignac, he took the title of Duke of Valentinois, having already changed his surname to Grimaldi.

Albert's son, Louis II never held the title of Valentinois himself, although he retained the right to succession. When Louis without a male heir in 1949, it became extinct. However, his successor, Rainier III, still claimed it and upon his death in 2005 the title passed to his son, now Albert II of Monaco.

  • ·      Honoré II, Prince of Monaco (1642–1662)
  • ·      Louis I (1662–1701)
  • ·      Antoine (1701–1715)
  • ·      Jacques I (1716–1733)
  • ·      Honoré III (1733–1793)
  • ·      Honoré IV (1814–1819)
  • ·      Honoré V (1819–1841)
  • ·      Florestan I (1841–1856)
  • ·      Charles III (1856–1889)
  • ·      Albert I (1889–1922)
  • ·      Princess Charlotte (1919–1977)
  • ·      Rainier III (1977–2005)
  • ·      Albert II (2005–Present)

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