Gaston Jean-Baptiste, Duke of Orleans (April 25, 1608, Fontainebleau – February 2, 1660, Blois), was the third son of the French king Henry IV and of his wife Marie de' Medici. Known at first as the Duke of Anjou, he became duc d'Orleans, Count of Blois and Count of Chartres in 1626, and had nominal command of the army which besieged La Rochelle in 1628, having already entered upon that course of political intrigue which would occupy the remainder of his life. On two occasions he had to leave France for conspiring against the government of his mother and of Cardinal Richelieu; and after waging an unsuccessful war in Languedoc, he took refuge in Flanders. Reconciled with his brother Louis XIII, he plotted against Richelieu in 1635, fled from the country, and then submitted to the king and the cardinal. Soon afterwards the same process repeated itself. Orleans stirred up Cinq-Mars to attempt Richelieu's murder, and then deserted his unfortunate accomplice (1642). In 1643, on the death of Louis XIII, Gaston became lieutenant-general of the kingdom, and fought against Spain on the northern frontiers of France; he was created duc d'Alencon in 1646. However, during the wars of the Fronde (1648–1653), he passed with great facility from one party to the other. Then exiled by Mazarin to Blois in 1652, he remained there until his death.
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