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.
FAQ Passport History
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1. What are the earliest known examples of passports, and how have they evolved?
The word "passport" came up only in the mid 15th Century. Before that, such documents were safe conducts, recommendations or protection letters. On a practical aspect, the earliest passport I have seen was from the mid 16th Century. Read more...
2. Are there any notable historical figures or personalities whose passports are highly sought after by collectors?
Every collector is doing well to define his collection focus, and yes, there are collectors looking for Celebrity passports and travel documents of historical figures like Winston Churchill, Brothers Grimm, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Read more...
3. How did passport designs and security features change throughout different periods in history, and what impact did these changes have on forgery prevention?
"Passports" before the 18th Century had a pure functional character. Security features were, in the best case, a watermark and a wax seal. Forgery, back then, was not an issue like it is nowadays. Only from the 1980s on, security features became a thing. A state-of-the-art passport nowadays has dozens of security features - visible and invisible. Some are known only by the security document printer itself. Read more...
4. What are some of the rarest and most valuable historical passports that have ever been sold or auctioned?
Lou Gehrig, Victor Tsoi, Marilyn Monroe, James Joyce, and Albert Einstein when it comes to the most expensive ones. Read more...
5. How do diplomatic passports differ from regular passports, and what makes them significant to collectors?
Such documents were often held by officials in high ranks, like ambassadors, consuls or special envoys. Furthermore, these travel documents are often frequently traveled. Hence, they hold a tapestry of stamps or visas. Partly from unusual places.
6. Can you provide insights into the stories behind specific historical passports that offer unique insights into past travel and migration trends?
7. What role did passports play during significant historical events, such as wartime travel restrictions or international treaties?
During war, a passport could have been a matter of life or death. Especially, when we are looking into WWII and the Holocaust. And yes, during that time, passports and similar documents were often forged to escape and save lives. Example...
8. How has the emergence of digital passports and biometric identification impacted the world of passport collecting?
Current modern passports having now often a sparkling, flashy design. This has mainly two reasons. 1. Improved security and 2. Displaying a countries' heritage, icons, and important figures or achievements. I can fully understand that those modern documents are wanted, especially by younger collectors.
9. Are there any specialized collections of passports, such as those from a specific country, era, or distinguished individuals?
Yes, the University of Western Sidney Library has e.g. a passport collection of the former prime minister Hon Edward Gough Whitlam and his wife Margaret. They are all diplomatic passports and I had the pleasure to apprise them. I hold e.g. a collection of almost all types of the German Empire passports (only 2 types are still missing). Also, my East German passport collection is quite extensive with pretty rare passport types.
10. Where can passport collectors find reliable resources and reputable sellers to expand their collection and learn more about passport history?
A good start is eBay, Delcampe, flea markets, garage or estate sales. The more significant travel documents you probably find at the classic auction houses. Sometimes I also offer documents from my archive/collection. See offers... As you are already here, you surely found a great source on the topic 😉
11. Is vintage passport collecting legal? What are the regulations and considerations collectors should know when acquiring historical passports?
First, it's important to stress that each country has its own laws when it comes to passports. Collecting old vintage passports for historical or educational reasons is safe and legal, or at least tolerated. More details on the legal aspects are here...
Does this article spark your curiosity about passport collecting and the history of passports? With this valuable information, you have a good basis to start your own passport collection.
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