During both the reigns of King Louis XV and his grandson, King Louis XVI, Louis Joseph held the position of Grand Maître de France in the King’s royal household, the Maison du Roi. Obtaining the rank of general, he fought in the Seven Years’ War (widely considered to be the first global conflict in history) with some distinction, serving alongside his father-in-law, the Prince of Soubise. He was also Governor of Burgundy. Furthermore, the Prince was the leader of the Condé army of émigrés. He used her great fortune to help finance the exiled French community’s resistance movement. Louis Joseph Prince Conde
Louis Joseph lived with his mistress Maria in France until the French revolution when the couple left for Germany and then Great Britain. In 1795, Prince Honoré of Monaco died, and on 24 October 1798, the Prince of Condé and Maria were married in London. The marriage was kept secret for a decade, the couple reportedly becoming openly known as husband and wife only after 26 December 1808.
During the French Revolution, Louis Joseph was a dedicated supporter of the monarchy and one of the principal leaders of the counter-revolutionary movement. After the storming of the Bastille in 1789, he fled France with his son and grandson, before the Reign of Terror which arrested, tried, and guillotined most of the Bourbons still living in France: Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, and the Duke of Orleans (Philippe Égalité) were executed in 1793, and the king’s sister, Madame Élisabeth, was beheaded in 1794.
Louis Joseph established himself at Coblenz in 1791, where he helped to organize and lead a large counter-revolutionary army of émigrés. This group also included Armand-Emmanuel du Plessis, Duc de Richelieu, Pierre Louis Jean Casimir de Blacas and François-René de Chateaubriand.
The Army of Condé initially fought in conjunction with the Austrians. Later, due to differences with the Austrian plan of attack, however, the Prince de Condé entered with his corps into English pay in 1795. In 1796, the army fought in Swabia. In 1797, Austria signed the Treaty of Campo Formio with the First French Republic, formally ending its hostilities against the French. With the loss of its closest allies, the army transferred into the service of the Russian tsar, Paul I, and was stationed in Poland, returning in 1799 to the Rhine under Alexander Suvorov. In 1800 when Russia left the Allied coalition, the army re-entered English service and fought in Bavaria.
The army was disbanded in 1801 without having achieved its principal ambition, restoring Bourbon rule in France. After the dissolution of the corps, the prince spent his exile in England, where he lived with his second wife, Maria Caterina Brignole, the divorced wife of Honoré III, Prince of Monaco, whom he had married in 1798. She died in 1813.
With the defeat of Napoleon, Louis Joseph returned to Paris, where he resumed his courtly duties as grand maître in the royal household of Louis XVIII. He died in 1818 and was succeeded by his son, Louis Henri. His daughter, Louise Adélaïde de Bourbon, who was a nun and had become the abbess of Remiremont Abbey, survived until 1824. He was buried at the Basilica of St Denis.