250 years ago, Louis-Philippe, our last French king, was born.

6 October 1773 at the Palais-Royal in Paris. A little prince was born. He is the first son of Louis-Philippe d’Orléans, Duke of Chartres, and Marie-Adélaïde de Bourbon. The couple, who already had a dead girl, will then have three more boys and a girl.

This child is named Louis-Philippe, like his father, and has double royal blood. He is a descendant of Louis XIII. through his father, from Louis XIV. (and his favorite Madame de Montespan, who bore him seven children) through his mother. No one knew it at the time of his birth, but he himself would one day rule France, from 1830 to 1848. He is none other than the future King Louis-Philippe of France.

The glory of France, from Clovis to… himself

He will also be the last sovereign to carry out transformations in the Palace of Versailles, and in particular to turn it into a historical museum dedicated to all the glories of France, from Clovis to… himself. A way to strengthen his legitimacy as the successor to all the French monarchs that had preceded him.

The implementation of the monarch’s ambitious project required four years of work and more than 23.5 million gold francs. No less than 4,000 paintings and 2,500 sculptures, depicting significant dates in the history of France and its most famous representatives, come from the funds of former royal, princely, private and institutional collections, supplemented by copies and retrospective works commissioned by artists and contemporaries.

On June 10, 1837, Louis-Philippe inaugurated this new museum, the highlight of which was his “Battle Gallery”. It occupies almost the entire floor of the south wing of the castle and depicts almost fifteen centuries of French military successes, from the victory of Clovis at Tolbiac to the victory of Emperor Napoleon I at Wagram, through huge paintings.

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