Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The 81st Birthday of Micaëla, Dowager Countess of Paris

Henri and Micaëla

Today, HRH Princess Micaëla d'Orléans, Dowager Countess of Paris, marks her eighty-first birthday.

The Dowager Countess of Paris was born doña Micaëla Ana María Cousiño y Quiñones de León on 30 April 1938 at Vichy, France. Her parents were Luis Maximiliano Cousiño y Sébire (1895-1970) and his wife doña Antonia Quiñones de Léon y Bañuelos (1895-1982), 4th Marquesa of San Carlos and Grandee of Spain; the couple had married at Paris on 9 June 1922. The Marquesa of San Carlos and her husband were divorced in the late 1940s after having had seven children. Nearly fifteen years separated their first child, don Juan Luis (1923-2017), from their last, doña Micaëla (b.1938).

doña Antonia Quiñones de Léon y Bañuelos, IV marquesa de San Carlos, in 1929

Doña Micaëla Cousiño y Quiñones de León married firstly in a civil ceremony on 12 June 1961 at Saint-Cloud to Jean Marie Maurice Bœuf (b.1934). The couple had one son, Alexis Francis-Bœuf (b.1964). The marriage of Micaëla and Jean ended in divorce in 1966.

Alexis Francis-Bœf with his stepfather and mother, the Count and Countess of Paris, in 2017

Micaëla began her career on the radio in France. Her first husband Jean Bœuf was an employee of Télévision Française. Later, Micaëla worked for an advertising group both in Madrid and in Paris. From 1978 until May 1981, she was responsible for the communications of the minister and the senior directors at the cabinet of minister Raymond Barre.

The Count of Clermont and the Princess of Joinville

On 21 January 1973, Micaëla Cousiño met Prince Henri d'Orléans, Count of Clermont, the eldest son of the Count and Countess of Paris. Henri had been married since 1957 to Duchess Marie-Thérèse of Württemberg and they had five children; however, the couple's union had deteriorated over time. When Henri and Micaëla encountered one another, it was love at first sight. Their devotion to one another was to stand the test of adversity and time. 

Henri and Micaëla

In 1984, the Count of Clermont and his wife Marie-Thérèse, who was granted the title Duchess of Montpensier by her father-in-law, were civilly divorced. Prince Henri d'Orléans and doña Micaëla Cousiño y Quiñones de León contracted a civil marriage at Bordeaux on 31 October 1984; this action greatly displeased the groom's father, who sought to disinherit his son for a number of years. However, the Count of Paris and the Count of Clermont were reconciled in 1991; at this time, the Count of Paris granted his daughter-in-law Micaëla the title Princess of Joinville.  

The civil marriage of Prince Henri d'Orléans and doña Micaëla Cousiño in 1984

Point de Vue covers the reconciliation of father and son in 1991

In 1999, the Count of Paris died and was succeeded by his eldest son Henri as Head of House France. Henri assumed the title Count of Paris; however, Micaëla chose to remain titled as Princess of Joinville from 1999 until 2003, when her mother-in-law passed away. The "new" Count of Paris and his first wife the Duchess of Montpensier received a religious annulment in 2008 from the Vatican. In light of this, Henri and Micaëla, the Count and Countess of Paris, were joined in a Roman Catholic ceremony on 26 September 2009 at Biarritz.

The Count and Countess of Paris after their religious wedding in 2009
Photograph (c) Alamy

The Count and Countess of Paris with Empress Farah of Iran

After thirty-four years of marriage to his second wife, the Count of Paris died on 21 January 2019 in Paris. His death came exactly forty-six years after he crossed paths with the woman who was to be his partner for the rest of his life. The Countess of Paris was unable to attend the funeral of her husband due to poor health; however, Princess Micaëla did attend a recent requiem mass in memory of her spouse.

The Dowager Countess of Paris


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