Alternative History
Ferdinand Philippe I
King of the French
The king in 1842
King of the French
Reign 26 August 1850 - 24 December 1885
Coronation 12 November 1850
Predecessor Louis Philippe I
Successor Louis Philippe II
Prime Minister
  • Adolphe Thiers
  • Jules Armand Dufaure
Duke of Orléans
First Prince of the Blood
tenure 9 August 1830 - 26 august 1850
Predecessor Louis Philippe I
Successor Louis Philippe II
Born 9 March 1810
Palermo,Kingdom of Sicily
Died 24 December 1885
paris,Kingdom of France
Burial 12 january 1886
Chapelle de dreux
Spouse Duchess Helene of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (m. 1837)
  • Louis Philippe II
  • Prince Robert, Duke of Chartres
Full name
Ferdinand Philippe Louis Charles Henri Joseph d'Orléans
House House of Orléans
Father Louis Philippe I
Mother Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily
Religion Roman Catholicism

Ferdinand Philippe I ( 9 March 1810 - 24 December 1885) was king of the French from 26 August 1850 untill his death in 1885 and was the second monarch from the House of Orléans.

He was the eldest of 8 children born to King Louis Philippe I and Queen Amalia. Due to his fathers dealings during the 1790s he was born in exile in his mothers homeland of Sicily. When his father succeded as King of the French In 1830,he was granted the title of Prince Royal and Duke of Orléans(French: Duc d'Orléans) During the Canute revolts which briefly plagued France at the beginning of Louis Philippe I reign,he managed to quell them without violence and gained a lot of supporters from the common people,even including some from the republican party. When the cholera epedemic began to plague France in 1831,the young prince dsiregarded any risks and visited even the most sickly of people. Due to this he was known as the People´s prince.

Following his fathers death in 1850,he succeded as king of the French and took the name of Ferdinand Philippe I. His reign is known as the era of modernization due to his modernization of Paris and the Royal army. Just like his father before him,he followed a unique brand of liberalism and conservatism which he himself called Orléanism. Under the leadership of Adolphe Thiers(1824-1873) and later on Jules Dufaure,the reform party became the dominating party of the era and Ferdinand Philippe was an avid supporter of them. In foreign affairs,his reign saw the birth of the Franco-austrian and Franco-spanish alliances and due to this he participiated in several wars.


In his youth,Ferdinand Philippe I was decribed as a very handsome but short man. His most famous physical attribute was his brown mustache which turned grey in his elder years. This specif style of Mustache came to dominate french male fashion during his reign,leading to his reign being called the Ferdinian era in France. During his reign he was never seen not wearing his military uniform that he had got during his fighting in Algeria.

Early Life

Ferdinand Philippe was born on 3 September in Palermo. His family was at the time in exile and had taken shleter in his mothers native country. When he was born,he was automatically granted the title of Duke of Chartres. Even though he was born in exile he was allowed to use the title of first prince of the blood and his serene highness. His full name was Ferdinand Philippe Louis Charles Henri,but he was known as Ferdinand Philippe in honour of his grandfather Ferdinand of the Two Sicilies and Philippe Égalite. Due to his father being the Duke of Orléans,he was therefore the heir to said title.

Portrait of Louis-Philippe of Orleans with his two eldest sons, the Duke of Chartres (future Duke of Orleans) and the Duke of Nemours by Louis Hersent (1830)

When the first restoration happened in France in 1814,the young prince decided to visit France for the first time,but it was not untill 1817 that he decided to settle in France permanently. In 1819,he was placed unter the tutorship of M. de Boismilon,at the collage Henri IV in Paris. At his fathers request to the collage,he recived a liberal education,just like he himself had. He was a top student of his class and after graduating he decided to travel to the UK. Following his visit there,he returned to France and joined the 1er régiment de hussards.

July Revolution

When the July revolution broke out in 1830,the young Duke was on garrison duty in the town of Joigny. As he was the commander of his regiment,he made them all wear the cookade of France and led them to help the uprising which was happening in Paris. On his way to paris,he was breifly stopped and questioned in the village Montouge before being allowed to continue on to Paris.After his father had accepted to be the new king of France,he was granted the title of Duke of Orléans and Prince Royale.

After some weeks,his father had managed to persuade him to enter the Conseil,but his hot temper and liberal wiews kept him at odds with the conservative ministers. This problem was kept secret from the public and was not solved untill the reform party won the election in 1834. Following This he helped the ministers as often as he could and even persuaded his father to improve the conditions of the poor people.

Military Carear

The Duke of Orléans first experinced fighting in 1831,when he and his younger brother Prince Louis wnt to fight in the Belgian Revolution. During their campaign in Belgium,they visited the town of Jemmapes where their father had fought in 1792. The next year,he returned to campaign in Belgium,but this time being the commander of a brigade in the Armeé du nord. He showed great courage in battle when,during the battle of the Saint lawrence Lunette,he launched himself onto the parapt amidst a furray of projectiles. This lead to him being known as the brave prince,as he often put his life above the call of duty and always tried to prevent as many casulties as he could.

During he french invasion of Algeria,Ferdinand Philippe asked his father for permission to join the campaign which Louis Philippe I accepted. During the campaign,he participiated in the battle of Habrah. It was during this battle that his courage led to him being wounded and sent to recouperate for a month. Following this,he returned to Algeria and was present at the capture of Mascara and Tlemcen. After this he returned to France were he was hailed as a hero of the Kingdom and was warmly welcomed by the people. During the time he spent in paris following his return from Algeria,he persuaded his father and the parliament to pass bills to improve the soldiers condition.


During the reign of his father,the question about who Ferdinand Philippe should marry was one of great political importance for the House of Orléans and the reform party. Back in 1830,there were originally plans for him to marry the sister of the Count of Chambord,Marie Louis. However the marriage was called of by her family following the acession of Louis Philippe as king of the French. After this Louis Philippe I ordered The Count of Paris to begin looking for potenonal brides for his son. The Count of paris first began looking for a bride in Russia via Wurtemburg,However plans for this marriage were abruplty dropped following the nrides death in 1834.

Following this,the count turned his head towards Austria,beliving that an alliance with Austria through a political marriage would be very beneficial for both France and Austria. Preparations were made for a marriage between Ferdinand Philippe and Maria Therese of Austria. However the marriage proposition was rejected due to the princes very libera standpoints by the conservative regent of Austria. After having asked both German and Belgian princesses for marriage,The count of paris finally managed to find someone who both parties agreed on. He proposed that Ferdinand Philippe should marry Duchess Helene Luise Elisabeth of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. She was the daugther of the late duke of Mecklenburg-Scwerin.

According to witnesses, Ferdinand Philippe and Helene became well aquianted with eachother very fast and eventuelly they fell in love,right before the marriage was due to happen. Due to the archbishop of Paris forbidding Notre Dame from being used in the wedding,Louis Philippe therefore made the marriage take place in the Henry II galleri in central Paris. The wedding was a noble but unexpensive as both Ferdinand Philippe and Helene had asked for it. After being proclaimed Husband and Wife,Ferdinand Philippe and Helene embarked on a grand tour of France on his fathers behalf.

The marriage was a happy and loved one and produced two sons: Louis Philippe II,King of the French (1838–1899) and Prince Robert, Duke of Chartres (1840–1910).

Patron of the arts

Ferdinand Philippe I was an avid reader and fan of all kinds of Litterature,music and fine art. In his apartment at the royal palace in Versailes,he had a huge collection of paintings. Artists that were in his collection were: Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix (The Prisoner of Chillon, The Assassination of the Bishop of Liège, Hamlet and Horatio in the Graveyard), Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps (The Defeat of the Cimbri), Eugène Lami, Ernest Meissonnier, and Paul Delaroche.It is estimated that he spent around 100 000 to 150 000 franc each year solely on collecting paintings and books.

King of the French (1850 - 1885)

Following his fathers death on 26 August 1850,Ferdinand Philippe succeded to the throne as Ferdinand Philipe I. During the first months of his reign, France was plagued by a small scale revolt led by the Comte de Chabourd. THis revolt was caused by the percived belief by the leitmists party,that the house of Bourbon belonged on the throne and not the House of Orléans. However the public quickly turned against the legitmists and by the end of 1850,the revolt had been subdued. The trial of the comte de Chambord was the most profilic triala in France since the trial of Louis XVI. The trial ended in the aquittal of the Comte of Chambord following a speech by Ferdinand Philippe I.

The reign of Ferdinand Philippe I is considered by historians to have been one of the greatest of all French monarchs. This is mainly due to his ability to work with the parliament and his steadfast support of the Franco-Austrian-spanish alliance. He was generally said to be a calm and levelheaded monarchy,but on some rare occasions,often when parliament was being obstructive,he could become very furois and lash out at people. However he always apoligized for these sudden outburtsts after he calmed down. During his reign he advocated for universal male suffrage,a thing that he was not fully succesfull in. However he laid the seeds for universal male suffrage,which would ultimatelly be passed by his son in 1889. He continued his fathers policies on the big banks and bussinessman,and instead advocated for more money to be granted to small bussinesses and farmers,espically wine workers.

Crimean Crisis

After having been king for less then three years,Ferdinand Philippe I was involved in the Crimean crisis,a crisis so severe that it nearly caused war between France and Great Brittain. After having been offered a compromise on the issue by the Uk,The Ottoman Empire asked for some slight alterations to be made to the treaty which Russia Objected to. France decided to back Russia in the matter after which The Ottomans accepted the initial treaty. Thecrisis led to a sharp decrease in relations between France and Great Brittain but led to a reapproachment with Russia,which culminated in them joining the French alliance in 1890.

Second Italian War of Independence

In october of 1858,France and Austria singed the Vienna Agreement,an agreement which would see the French intervene in any future Italian-Austro war in exchange for Italian territory in case of an Austrian victory. The following year,The kingdom of Sardinia declared war on the Austrian Empire and the agreement was subsequently revealed. As per the agreement,,France declared war on the Kingdom of Sardina and Ferdinand Philippe I led the army to victories at the battle of Nice and Turin.

After two weeks of bitter fighting by both sides,France and Austria managed to reach the mainland capital of the Kingdom of Sardinia and forced a capitulation by them. This in turn led to the treaty of Nice. In this treaty,Sardinia was forced go give up Nice and Savoy to france,greatly decrease the size of their army and pay heavy war reparations to Austria. The help that France provided during the war,further led to the signing of the official alliance between France and Austria in 1861,called the Paris-Vienna Axis for short. This alliance was further expanded in 1870 when Spain joined it.

Military Reforms

Seeing how brave and defiant the italian army had fought in the war,Ferdinand Philippe I on a period known in France as the great reform era. The king made sure that most of the male population of France was available for conscription. This form of conscription lasted for two years,which made a reserve army of 400.000 troops a viable possibilty. After having visited Prussia and studied their military tactics in 1861,the king implemented a strict system of continues training for the military and personally led the training of some of France finest generals.

This also led to France having some of Europes best trained and disciplined units in Europe,second only to Prussia. Another idea he tried but was only partially able to reform was the speed of mobilization of the french army,he made sure that people belonged to units that were close but armament depots was often a long distance from the units which created a problem.

He persuaded the parliament to pass several bills to create a extensive and well developed french railway network,not only to be used by the military but also to help the civilian population.He had a very keen inerest in railways and was often called the train king while he was visiting the railroads. The improved railroads helped speed up the time it took for french forces to reach the fronter and was a significant boost for its mobilization and concentration speed.

Intervention in The Taiping Rebellion

Following the outbreak of the Taiping Rebellion in 1850,the French ambassador to the Qing Empire sent a telegram to France,informing Ferdinand Philippe I about the situation in the civil war. After receving the telegram,Ferdinand Philippe I began contemplating whether a French intervention in the conflict would prove to be of intrest for France. In the end,he decided to ask the congress to hold a vote on the matter,with the vote passing in favour with a huge majortiy. Following this,Ferdinand Philippe I sent Crown prince Louis PHilippe and a number of delgates to travel to Taiping. When they arrived in Taiping,they were warmy welcomed by the Hong Rengan,the monarch who had suceeded his nephew after his death in 1853.

Hong Rengan wanted the French to intervene as soon as possible,so that the French troops could help with the Nothern expedition,which had recently ground to a standstill. Crown prince Louis Philippe asked for French permission to estabish several military bases in the kingdom and favourable trading and tull on FRench trading goods which Hong Rengan reluctantly agreed to. Following this,Louis Philippe returned home where he presented the results to Ferdinand Philippe I. Ferdinand Pilippe I brought the results before the congress,who agreed to finance an intervention against the Qing Empire.

The intervention began on 20 December 1853,with French troops arriving in Ningbo where they traveled to the frontlines to help the Taiping forces advance. The French forces helped solve the stalemate quite early and in early 1856,Taiping forces managed to capture Beijing. Following the capture ofBeijing,the situation turned into another stalemate with neither Taiping or Qing forces making any significant gains in the next years,

In early 1860,The French parliament began ordering the slow withdrawal of troops from Taiping,this was done after having fought for 8 years without the Taiping winning and giving France its promised rewards. With the loss of French support,the taiping forces became heavily challenged by the newly rebuilt Qing forces who recaptured Beijing in late 1860. Following this and a period known as the great offensive,Qing managed to defeat the rebellion and executing all of its leaders.

Ferdinand Philippe I was heavily criticised in France for having spent government funds to fund a military intervention that ended up being nothing but death and loss of men. Ferdinand Philippe I therefore said that for the next 8 years of his reign,he would donate his annual salary of 1,000,000 francs to various institutions of the public's choosing. This helped his popularity recover to pre-intervention levels.

The Austro-Prussian war

When the Austro-Prussian war broke out on 14 June 1866,Austria immidietly asked for its allies France and Spain to join the war against the Prussians. Spain was initially reluctant to join the war,but after a breif visit by Ferdinand Philippe I to Madrid,The spanish empire joined the war. France began by sending the majority of its army to the Prussian front where they joined up with Bavarian and Wurtemburgian forces.The French scored a stunning victory at the battle of Saarbrucken,where the french first army defeated the Prussian army stationed there. Following this battle the prussian troops went on to defeat the SED at the Battle of Götting,this lead to Hanover capitulating the next day. With the Hanover front now dealt with,Prussia decided to send the first and second army to counterattack and recapture the city of saarbruckem from the frenc forces. However this proved futile as the french army went on to once again defeat the prussian army who were forced to retreat to Kaiserslautern.

At the same time in Italy,the front had turned into a stalemate between France and Austria versus Italy. Both Franz Joseph and Ferdinand Philippe I knew that austria could not survive without the help of France and its troop in Italy. Ferdinand Philippe therefore began negotiating a treaty with Italy that would see Italy withdraw from the war. In exchange for Austria ceding Venetia and Lombardy to Italy,Italy would withdraw from the war and give France military access for the remainder of the war.Following this,France began sending large amount of troops to renforce Austria on the Prussian frontier.

Following the Armistice with Italy,France began to resume combat operations on the Rhineland frontier.The firs action was to march towards the remnants of the Prussian first and second armies who had retreated to Kaiserslautern. The Battle of Kaiserslautern ended in a French strategical and a Prussian tactical victory as the Prussian armies were able to retreat towards Trier.After this,they went on to help the Bavarians defeat the Prussian attack on Frankfurt. This Battle defeated the Prussian invasion of Bavaria and sent their forces to defeat Crown Prince Friederich of Prussia at the Battle of Koblenz. With the road to Köln open,The French forces decided to attack Köln where they were met by little resistance and the city fell within one day.

With the arrival of fresh French and Austrian troops from the Italian frontier to the Prussian frontier,Austria began beating back the Prussians and reetaking some of its lands. This did however not last long as the Prussians decided to launch an all out attack to finish Austria off before France could take more cities. At the battle of Königrätz,The Austrian and french forces dealt a decisive blow to the Prussian forces and a armistice was signed the next day.

Treaty of Vienna

Following the capitulation of most of Prussias military on 7 August,Otto Von Bismarck reluctantly sent the foreign minister of Prussia to discuss peace terms with France and Austria. Austrias goals in the war was to permanently weaken and remove Prussia from the German confederation and therefore annexed all of Prussia except the part of Prussia which was outside the German confederation. This specif part of treaty caused great outrage among the mayo powers of Europe,who said that Austria had chnaged the balance of power. Austrias insistence that France should not annex more then Saarland was met with heavy criticism in France and eventuelly led to the start of the Franco-Austrian Rivalry.

France was granted the province of Saarland and the reestablishment of the Kingdom of Westphalia under the leadership of the house of Bonaparte. France was generally unhappy with its few gains as it had fought valiantly and practically saved Austria from being crusheed by Prussia. Ferdinand Philippe had initially thought France was going to be rewarded the province of the Rhineland.

New alliances

Following their victory in the Austro-Prussian war,relations between France and Austria became increasingly strained as France belived it had not been granted its reighfull claims in Germany.Relations soured even further after the formation of The German Empire in 1871. It reached its tipping point in 1868 following the Forced annexation of the French client state of Westphalia by Austria. France decided to back down due to the United Kingdoms support of Austria during the crisis. The crisis became known as the Westphalian Crisis and led to Austria leaving the French alliance.

With Austria and France being enemies once again,France began looking for new allias to isolate Austria and prevent them from being a threat to France. This lead to a reapproachment with the Italian Empire in the summer of 1867. This reapproachment between the two powers ended in Italy joining the Franco-Spanish alliance and the birth of the Entente alliance. This alliance was further expanded in 1880 with the addition of Romania. This alliance proved fruitfull for all parties,as they regularly conducted military exercises each year and shared military technological developments with each other. This new alliance however led to the Anglo-German reapproachment and the birth of the Anglo-German alliance in 1880.

Domestic policy

Following the conclusion of the Austro-Prussian war,Ferdinand Philippe I annexed Saarland from Prussia as agreed upon in the treaty of Vienna. Although he returned home as a hero of France,all was not well in the French Kingdom as talks of a new reform act began to blossom following the english passage of one in 1867. Ferdinand Philippe I together with prime minister Adolphe Thiers jointly wrote the 1868 reform act which passed the chamber of deputies on 12 march 1868. The reform act of 1867 greatly expanded the elctorate for the adult male population to about 8 million people.

In 1871, The great famine of 1871 began in France and ruined most of that years crops and vegetables supplies. Ferdinand Philippe I was fully aware that a food crisis was partly responsible for the French revulotion and knew he had to solve it quickly. In order to make sure that whatever supplies remained were equally distributed among the people,he instituted a strict policy of rationing which helped alleviate some of the damdage.

He also wrote several bills to send large amounts of funds to the struggling farmers and wine workers all over France,so that they could restart their business as soon as the famine was over. When the famine finally ended in 1872,Ferdinand Philippe I was widely praised for his quick thinking and reposne to the famine. All over France his popularity skyrocketed and the reform party went on to win the next election as well.

The Glorious Revolution

IN the year of 1868,a revolution in Spain deposed Queen Isabella II of Spain and marked the beginning of the provisional government. After receiving news of this,Ferdinand Philippe I threatened Spain with an intervention in the case that they became a republic. He withdrew this threat after being assured by the prime minister of Spain,That spain would not become a republic and instead choose a new dynasty to head the country. As Spain and France were allies,Ferdinand Philippe I proposed his brother Antonio,Duke of Montpensier as the next king of Spain. Prime minister Juan prim promised to bring the matter to the cortes . On 16 November 1870,the cortes voted for the next king and chose Antonia,Duke of Montpensier with 154 votes versus the Duke of Aosta with 135 votes.

The selection of Ferdinand Philippe I brohter as the next king of Spain led to several improvements between the two alliance partners. Seeing the sad state of the Spanish Army,Ferdinand Philippe I sent over some of his best generals to train the Spanish army and bring it up to par with rest of Europe. During the Vienna conference in 1885,Ferdinand Philippe I persuaded the attending members to recognice Spains claim over Namibia,In turn Spain recogniced Frances claim over The Gambia.

Colonial expansion

Ferdinand Philippe I was an avid supporter of colonialism and conducted varius wars to expand the French colonial empire. He was however a very benovolent overlord over the empire,as he made sure that the native population were treated fairly equal. He oversaw the expansion of French Senegal,building several railroads there and began pushing for a campaign to fully conquer it. Following the Vienna Conference in 1884-1885,France signed a protectorate deal with the bateke people. This led to the establishment of the French Congo colony.

In 1881,Ferdinand Philippe I with the approval of the parliament ordered the army to begin a invasion of Tunisia.Less then a year after this,Tunisia signed a protectorate treaty with France. He also began the conquest of Mali in 1883,a war which proved to be nearly bloodless,as the Malian leaders quickly agreed to become a protectorate under France in exchange for a a large aamount of Autonomy. France accepted this deal and French Mali was born. He atteneded the Vienna conference in 1885,in which he succesfullt pushed for all of Frances claims to be agreed upon,as well as the claims made by the Italian and Spanish Empires.

In addition to his various colonies in Africa,Ferdinand Philippe engaged in the opium wars with the help of Great Brittain. These wars led to bitter resentment between France and the Qing Empire. This was however solved with the Treaty of Hanoi which was signed in 1885. the Treaty of Hanoi awarded the port of Guangzhouwan to France in exchange for France helping to train the Qing Empires armies.

Death and Funeral

On the morning of Christmas eve in 1885,The royal family was awoken by Feridnand Philippe I personal doctor who informed the family about the kings death.The doctor asked the new king whether an autospy should be conducted on his late father, Louis Philippe II responded by saying that it should as he thought his father had been in good health and was very suprised about his death. The autopsy was conducted the next day and found out that Ferdinand Philippe I had died due a heart attack.

Per royal proccedure,the new but unpledged king made his way towards the French parliament where he was to tell them about the kings death. At his arrival in parliament he made the following remarks"Fellow Nobles and parliament members,it is with a heavy heart that i am here to announce the death of King Ferdinand Philippe I of the French.His reign saw our great nation become one of the greatest powers in Europe,Got my uncle on the throne of Spain and formed a new alliance after the treachors Germans betrayed us. I know my father always said i would make a god king,but the truth is that your are never actually ready to become king. But i am nonetheless here today to take the oath of office as descibed in the counstituion"

Titles and Honours

Monarchical styles of
Ferdinand Philippe I of France
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir
  • 3 September , 1810 - 9 August, 1830: His Serene Highness The Duke of Chartres
  • 9 August 1830 – 26 August 1850: His Royal Highness The Duke of Orléans
  • 26 August 1850 - 24 December 1885: His Majesty The King of the French

Ferdinand Philippe I (Le mouvement reformiste)
House of Orléans
Born: 3 September 1810
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of the French
26 August 1850 – 24 December 1885
Succeeded by
Louis Philippe II
Preceded by
Louis Philippe I
Co-Prince of Andorra
with Simó de Guardiola

26 August 1850 – 24 December 1885
Succeeded by
Louis Philippe II
French nobility
Preceded by
Louis Philippe II
Duke of Orléans
9 August 1830 – 26 August 1850
Succeeded by
Louis Philippe III
Political offices
Preceded by
Louis Philippe I
French Head of State
9 August 1850 – 26 December 1885
Succeeded by
Louis Philippe II