Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

The Bourbons of India

No, this is not about rye whiskey distilled in the foothills of the Himalayas or in the valley of the Ganges. It is about a family, and one with a very famous patronymic.
The arms of Robert of Clermont
Image: Wikipedia 

Robert of Clermont 1256-1317, the youngest son of King Louis IX, married the heiress of the county of Bourbon. There is a brief account of him at Robert, Count of ClermontHis eldest son, Louis, was created the first Duke of Bourbon in 1327.  In 1589 their descendant became King Henri IV of France as the next Capetian in line after the extinction of the Valois line of Kings.

The extended family of their descendants are outlined in an article on Wikipedia at House of Bourbon

Bourbons of France, Bourbons of Spain, Bourbons of Sicily, Bourbons of Parma and, through marriage, in the male line of Luxembourg and Brazil, and in the female of Austria-Hungary, Bavaria, Belgium, Portugal and Romania, but Bourbons of India? Nor is it a reference to Pondicherry in the days of overseas empire.

A friend recently drew my attention to the existence of this Indian branch of the family. Their story is quite remarkable and involves a complex history of cross-cultural connections and high politics across several centuries and two continents. It is the stuff of historical romance or, indeed, Bollywood. This story of an emigre soldier of fortune and his high flying descendants is set out on Wikipedia at Bourbons of India

Prince Michael of Greece, whose mother was a Bourbon Orleans, and whose own life reads like a novel as it is set out on Wikipedia at Prince Michael of Greece and Denmark - has written about the Indian Bourbons.

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