Emmanuel Maurice, Duke of Elbeuf  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Emmanuel Maurice de Lorraine (Emmanuel Maurice; 30 December 1677–17 July 1763) was Duke of Elbeuf and Prince of Lorraine. In 1709 or 1710, while constructing Palace of Portici, he discovered the ruins at Herculaneum via Nocerino. One of his first finds were the Herculaneum Women.


Emmanuel Marurice was born the youngest son of Charles de Lorraine, Duke of Elbeuf and his second wife, Élisabeth de La Tour d'Auvergne, daughter of the Duke of Boillon, member of the illustrious House of La Tour d'Auvergne. She was a niece of the vicomte de Turenne.

A member of the House of Guise founded by Claude, Duke of Guise, he was a Prince of Lorraine as a male line descendant of René II, Duke of Lorraine.

His sister in law was Charlotte de Rochechouart de Mortemart, a daughter of Louis Victor de Rochechouart de Mortemart and a niece of Madame de Montespan.

In 1706, he served under Joseph I, Holy Roman Emperor at Naples as lieutenant general of the Calvary. As a result, Louis XIV deserted him.

Living in Naples, he commissioned the Neapolitan architect Ferdinando Sanfelice to construct him a private residence on the outskirts of the city in Portici in 1711. The property was called the villa d’Elbeuf. From 1711 till 1716 he lived at the villa. This villa was seen by Charles, King of Naples and his wife Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738 and the couple were so impressed that the couple ordered the constructio of the Reggia di Portici which still stands today.

In 1719, he discovered the ruins at Herculaneum. The same year he returned to France to regain his possessions.

Styled prince d'Elbeuf, he was not expected to become Duke of Elbeuf as he was the youngest of five sons born to his father and his first two wives. His older half brother's Charles (1660–1690), Henri Frédéric (1657–1666) and Louis de Lorraine (1662–1693) died before their father and the duchy was thus inherited by Emmanuel Maurice's other surviving brother Henri.

Henri died without any surviving issue, two of his sons dying within a week of each other in 1705 having been in the War of the Spanish Succession. Emmanuel Maurice became Duke of Elbeuf in May 1748 holding the title till his death.

Emmanuel Maurice married twice neither union produced any issue. He died aged 85 and was succeeded by his second cousin Charles Eugène de Lorraine.


  • Georges Poull, La maison ducale de Lorraine, 1991

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