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Polish Royal Bastards

23 Sep 2012 /  #1
This thread is inspired by this article in Polish "Parada bękartów. Nieślubne dzieci polskich władców do końca XVII wieku"

The word "bastard" sometimes seemed like a badge of honour.

Anthony (1421-1504), known to his contemporaries as "the bastard of Burgundy" or "the Grand Bastard - le grand bâtard" - was the natural son (and second child) of Philip III, Duke of Burgundy, and one of his mistresses, Jeanne de Presle.


He was a close friend of his half-brother, Charles the Bold. I still own a historical novel, which describes the growth and downfall of Kingdom of Burgundy (today's Burgundy + Belgium and the Netherlands) and all the terrible losses of Charles the Bold, culminating with his terrible death at Nancy, during his wars against Suisse Confederation and Lorraine. Anthony was with Charles in most of his military campaigns, including the last battle at Nancy. So much for the bastard.

Then there was an issue of typical surnames given to bastards. Most of them were prefixed with "Fitz" - a mispronunciation of French "fils", meaning "son of". That often implied a bastard scion of aristocratic family. A special attention should be given to FitzRoy, derived from "fils de roi", a son of the king, and later - a bastard son of the king. One acknowledged royal bastard was Henry FitzRoy the son of kIng Henry VIII and his teenage mistress Elizabeth Blount.

Some experts on "Fitz-" surnames make one possible exception saying this:

Fitzpatrick is the only name of strictly Gaelic origin.

Bastards were usually given their father's coat of arms, but somehow transformed, which indicated some sort of depletion, easy to be recognized (There is a special word for it, which I do not remember right now). The second generation of original bastards would try to get their own coat of arms, independent of the original one.
23 Sep 2012 /  #2
There is a special word for it, which I do not remember right now).

bar/bend sinister?
OP boletus  
23 Sep 2012 /  #3
bar sinister?

Possibly, the wikipedia confirms it, but only after it redirects it first to "baton sinister". I'll try to look around Polish heraldry pages, since they used something different than bar/baton/bend (if I remember it right).

I also found some critique of the expression "bar sinister" here:
1. Wording. There is no such thing as a "bar sinister" in heraldry. A bar is a narrow horizontal stripe, so there is no way for it to be sinister. [In fact "bar" is a corruption of French "barre" (referred in 2 below), as playfully made up by Sir Walter Scott. No wonder heraldry experts do not like this term.]

2. Secondly there are several different marks of illegitimacy. For example some acknowledged bastards of the French crown, had the "bendlet sinister couped overall", also called a "baton sinister".
23 Sep 2012 /  #4
hmmm... could it be "herb uszczerbiony" [abatement of coat of arms]?
OP boletus  
23 Sep 2012 /  #5
Yes, that's what I thought of, thank you.

But it is generally allowed that the baton is placed across the arms of bastards as an abatement, without which they cannot bear their paternal coats

Each coat of arms has a right and left (i.e. dexter and sinister) heraldic side, a observed by the person carrying the shield.

He explains how dexter is positive side and that the figures are always turned that way when representing some positive qualities. The figures of, e.g. slain enemies (e.g. dragons, boars) face to sinister. The orientation depends on the story the figure represents. Dexter is also named "masculine" side and sinister "feminine". Also notes that this does not have to be so in Christian coats of arms of modern times.

A slanted beams, bendlets and saches going from top sinister to bottom dexter represent coats of arms of bastard children.
23 Sep 2012 /  #6
only a dummy considers the Norman blip to be the founding fathers of England. They brought nothing new to these shores beyond a few poncey French terms for bits of animals.

Really? I thought that Normans breathed new life into complacent Anglo Saxon couch potatoes and thus a modern English nation was created which ruled half the world for a few centuries.

Orthodox these days to refer to him as William the Bastard apart from in school books aimed at small children :)

Exactly. My first contact with history school books was in 3 grade primary, when I started reading my elder sister`s books.

The word "bastard" sometimes seemed like a badge of honour.

Yes, but never in conservative Poland. :):):):)

Polish word for bastard is considered offensive. When someone is called bękart, it is intended to hurt.
OP boletus  
26 Sep 2012 /  #7
Here comes my translation of a summary of the article:
Parada bękartów. Nieślubne dzieci polskich władców do końca XVII wieku, Michael Morys-Twarowski.
(Parade of bastards. Illegitimate children of Polish rulers until the end of 17th c.)

You will notice that not much was usually said about bastards [in Poland]. They are mentioned scarcely in the sources. We do not even know much about offsprings of the very amorous Casimir the Great apart from the fact that he mentioned his two natural sons in his will.

The situation changes in the sixteenth century, when - according to European standards - the rulers admitted to illegitimate children and protected them their future. A century later (Counter-Reformation), again, despite the greater number of sources, if it was not for the adventurous lives of Count Vasenau and Brisacier, we would not know anything about the natural children of our rulers.

The breakthrough came in the first half of the eighteenth century. The offspring of Augustus II the Strong proudly entered national and European salons, becoming a kind of equivalent of today's celebrities. Those were very different times. Marshal Mauricy Saski or Countess Anna Orzelska were positioned way above the earlier royal bastards suspended in a vacuum. On the one hand - because of their royal father they had been associated with the top layer of the society, but on the other hand - their illegitimacy pushed them down to the very bottom.

A spectacular picture of this dichotomy is a problem with the names of illegitimate children of our monarchs. Sometimes they are known by the term "syn króla" (son of the king), and sometimes they took a surname close to the ancestral surname. Such problem has even affected Jan, the son of Zygmunt Stary (Sigismund the Old). He was not known as Jan Jagiellończyk (John of Jagiellon) but as Jan z Ksiażąt Litewskich (Jan of the Dukes of Lithuania).

Parade of bastards. Illegitimate children of Polish rulers until the end of 17th c., Michael Morys-Twarowski.
When comparing the amount of illegitimate offspring of Polish and French kings, then our rulers presents rather poorly. You have to remember again that statistic overstates Augustus II the Strong, the father almost half of Polish bastards. Among the illegitimate children of Polish rulers we have bishops, counts and countess, various kinds rioters, and even the tax collector ...

Not much is known about them, and they were variously treated, depending on the period - ranging from shameful anonymity to a status comparable with that of today's celebrities.

One of them was Herman Maurycy Saski (fr. Maurice de Saxe) (1696 -1750), Marshall and later Marshall General of France. Maurice was born at Goslar, an illegitimate son of August the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and the Countess Maria Aurora of Königsmarck. He was the first of eight extramarital children whom August acknowledged, although as many as 354 are claimed by sources, including Wilhelmine of Bayreuth, to have existed.

Another was Countess Anna Karolina Orzelska (1707-1769) - an adventuress and Polish noblewomen, the illegitimate daughter of August II the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland and Henriette Rénard, a wine merchant from Lyon running his business in Warsaw. On 19 September 1724, August the Strong officially acknowledged Anna Karolina as his daughter and gave her the title of Countess Orzelska (Polish: Hrabina Orzelska, German: Gräfin Orzelska).

to be continued - by anyone who wants to chip in
26 Sep 2012 /  #8
to be continued - by anyone who wants to chip in

In another thread you also mentioned Casimir the Great`s illegitimate offspring. He was a very amorous king.
OP boletus  
26 Sep 2012 /  #9
Yes, we'll got into him as well, the old lecher. :-) One after the other.
Here comes another of bastard offspring of August the Strong:
Frederick Augustus, Count Rutowsky (also written Rutowski) (1702 - 1764) - a Saxon Field Marshal who commanded Saxon forces in the Siege of Pirna during the Seven Years War. He was an illegitimate son of August the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, by the Turk Fatima (or Fatime), who was captured during the Battle of Buda (1686) by Hans Adam von Schöning. After she became the King's mistress, she was christened Maria Anna and moved to the Dresden court.

Jan Jerzy, Johann Georg, Chevalier de Saxe (1704-1774), also called Johann Georg of Saxony, was a Saxon Field Marshal and Governor of Dresden.

He was an illegitimate son of August the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and Ursula Katharina of Altenbockum, by marriage Princess Lubomirska and later created Princess of Teschen.,_Chevalier_de_Saxe

Maria Anna Katharina Rutowska (1706-1746)[2] was a Polish noblewoman.
She was the illegitimate daughter of Polish king Augustus II the Strong and his mistress, the Turk Fatima or Fatime, later renamed Maria Anna of Spiegel.

August the Strong had many more mistresses, one of which was Anna Konstancja von Brockdorf "Cosel" (1680-1765) - wife of Saxon minister Adolf von Hoym. She bore him three children;

daughter Augusta Anna Konstancja Cosel (1708-1728) - married name Friesen
daughteer Fryderyka Aleksandra Cosel (1709-1784) - married Moszyńska
sone Fryderyk August Cosel (1712-1770)

That's more or less all that wikipedias know about - not mentioning the other 290. Uff!
26 Sep 2012 /  #10
I know about 8 of these bastards:
- Maurycy Saski mother Maria Aurora Königsmarck
- Fryderyk August Rutowski - mother Fatima Spiegel
- Jan Jerzy, Chevalier de Saxe - mother Urszula Katarzyna princess Teschen-Lubomirska
- Maria Aurura Rutowska - mother Fatima Spiegel
- Anna Orzelska - mother Henrietta Rénard
- Augusta Konstancja Cosel, married Friesen - mother Anna Konstancja Cosel
- Fryderyka Aleksandra Cosel, married Moszyńska - mother Anna Konstancja Cosel
- Fryderyk August Cosel - mother Anna Konstancja Cosel
26 Sep 2012 /  #11
I recall bastards by Napoleon Bonaparte and Russian tsars.

Gustave Ehrenberg was born illegitimately on 14 February 1818 at Warsaw, Poland. He was the son of Aleksandr I Pavlovich Romanov, Tsar of Russia and Veronica Dzierzanowska.

He was a Polish patriot who spent many years in tsarist Russian prisons. He composed one of the best revolutionary poems ever:

27 Sep 2012 /  #12
I recall bastards

Oh,oh,so you can call your Polish Kings Bastards but tell me off for calling one of my old (unwanted invading bastard) kings *bastard*? Hypocrite ;)
27 Sep 2012 /  #13
Not at all. It is you and boletus who taught me how to drop that hypocrite historical political correctness and to call them bastards. Thank you!
27 Sep 2012 /  #14
Thank you!

Dont mention it old chap :) Pretty soon we'll have you showing the same general lack of respect to anyone claiming any sorts of divine rights like a good patriotic Englishman, we cant stand the monarchy but we do like a parade and a day off work to watch the highlights on the news when we get back in from the Pub :)
OP boletus  
27 Sep 2012 /  #15

The bizzarre story of Brizardier

The firstborn son of King Jan Sobieski, bearing the name Brizardier, aroused the interest of historians for a long time. His silhouette has blurred, however, firmly in the darkness of history, so that there were even people doubting in his existence. However, it seems that there can be no doubt about him, as his surname surfaced in 1676, when a secret envoy of King Jan Sobieski intervened on his account at King Louis XIV.

Brizardier was the result of a fleeting love affair of Jan Sobieski, who arrived on the Seine during his trip to Europe in June 1646. No one had not yet thought that this seventeen years young man, the son of the castellan of Cracow, in less than thirty years would be crowned Polish King, and that history would even nickname him "the defender of Christianity."

Sobieski settled in Paris at the Hotel de Brisach, which perhaps is the source of the strange name Brizardier. We do not know which one of the Parisian ladies had become his mistress. Rumors of dealing with Marquise de Sévigné should be probably put between fairy tales as the young castellan's son probably did not have access to the topmost French aristocracy. One should rather look for his fleeting mistress among the lower class women employed at the court - perhaps a governess, a dresser or a singer. It is much easier to determine the date of birth of his illegitimate son. Sobieski was in Paris between June 1646 and April 1647, so the boy was most likely born in 1647. Probably the young father he had never seen his son, of whose existence he learned later.

The name Brizardier surfaced in the late sixties of the seventeenth century. The young man was little older than twenty years old and he was a sergeant in the Nantes army. He did not make, however, a military career, as it stood in the way of his passion for libertarian practices. He created a mystical aura around himself, proclaiming of being able to fulfill any wishes of women. The only condition was that a woman had to receive raw penance from him. The fame of the inspired sergeant spread throughout Brittany and he began to receive most illustrious ladies. Among them were Madam President de Magnan, Countess de Kerollin, Miss de Talet, and other aristocrats and wives of local notables. Madam President had asked him to obtain the succession, which involved death of three people, Countess Kerollin had asked him for recipe for gold making, and Miss de Talet for a rich husband.

Brizardier ordered the women to undress and he whipped them with twigs till bleeding. When a candidate for a rich man's wife could not endure the flogging, she called to him, "Monsieur Brizardier, not that much! I would rather have him not that rich."

The inspired sergeant carried his flogging practices until the day when he was exposed by the janitor of the local parliament, certain Bohamont, who noticed his daughters regularly visiting the barracks. Brizardier was put on trial, accused of libertinism, and he faced the gallows. Through the intercession of his clients, Breton ladies aristocrats, he was sentenced to the galleys only. He was not the galley prisoner for long, because his patronesses were granted his pardon and even found a job for him in the Queen's office.

When Jan Sobieski became King of Poland he decided to help his firstborn son, but he did so in such a clumsy manner that it almost led to an international scandal. He sent his trusted envoy to Louis XIV asking for permission to purchase a landed property in France, which would be linked to the title of a prince. No name was mentioned but Louis was convinced that this was meant to be the Polish Queen's father, the Marquis d'Arquien. Imagine his surprise when he learned that the protégé of the Polish king was a modest clerk, working in the office of his wife. But he received a handwritten letter from Sobieski, who explained that Brizardier was a descendant of an ancient Polish family, a relative of the king, and that he, Sobieski, grants his mother the title of the "First Lady of Poland with the golden key".

The distrustful King of France had ordered checking that information and found that the "First Lady of Poland" did not exist. Caught in a lie King John began to wriggle in more lies. He wrote that his request regarding Brizardier was prompted by the Queen of France, from whom he had received a handwritten letter along with her ​​portrait adorned with diamonds. This completely unbelievable story resulted in another investigation by suspicious Louis, who thought that the protégé migh have been the illegitimate son of his wife.

This presumption was obviously absurd, because Brizardier was nine years younger than the Queen. The investigation revealed, however, that the Queen's clerk was a former libertine and a galley slave. It was enough to send the first Sobieski's son to the Bastille. But he was on the loose after a few months, thanks to his connections. He had not a small capital to his disposal at that time, so one should assume that had has received some support from his father.

The Brizardier incident affected the Polish-French relations, as Louis XIV could not forgive Sobieski for his deceptions and refused henceforth to refer to him per "Your Majesty" in their correspondence. The further fate of the royal bastard remains unknown. King John III, at least officially, did not take any more steps associated with this person. The worst looser in this whole story came to be the Sobieski's father in law, Marquis d'Arquien, who never received the princely title from Louis XIV.
27 Sep 2012 /  #16
Oh,oh,so you can call your Polish Kings Bastards but tell me off for calling one of my old (unwanted invading bastard) kings *bastard*? Hypocrite ;)

Which Polish bastard kings do you refer to? It seems Boletus and Pawian are telling us about Polish royal bastard progeny who are different from bastard kings of which - as far as I know - Poland had none. There was plenty of royal bastard progeny everywhere in the past, while a bastard king was a rare specimen in Europe or elswhere in the world.
27 Sep 2012 /  #17
Which Polish bastard kings do you refer to?

Its a Joke refering to the thread where this thread spawned from, Pawian told me off for calling Wiliam the Conqueror by his more historicaly accurate name of Wiliam the Bastard................there was a Polish connection......just too long winded to repeat here :)

ps, not to stir,but,its pretty certain mathmatically that even if History does not admit to any Bastards on the Polish Throne there will have been at least a couple as data shows that even to this day one in ten babies are a cukoo in the nest :)
27 Sep 2012 /  #18
I heard about 15%.
28 Sep 2012 /  #19
pass,but Im busy at the minute putting my sons cornrows in....................
28 Sep 2012 /  #21
but Im busy at the minute putting my sons cornrows in....................

I don`t know this idiom. Do you mean you are filling the nest with a cuckoo? :):):)
28 Sep 2012 /  #22
he means the cuckoo is already in the he is...
OP boletus  
28 Sep 2012 /  #23
Władysław Konstanty, Count Vasenau or Vasenhoff, a bastard son of Władysław IV Vasa (1635 –1698)

Władysław IV Vasa (Polish: Władysław IV Waza; Latin: Vladislaus IV Vasa or Ladislaus IV Vasa; Lithuanian: Vladislovas IV Vaza; 1595 – 1648) was a Polish and Swedish prince from the House of Vasa. He reigned as King of Poland from 8 November 1632 to his death in 1648.

Władysław Konstanty was born around the year 1635. The problem is that his father Wladyslaw IV was then a bachelor, and his mother was Jadwiga (Jadwiżka) £uszkowska, a townswoman from Lwów. "Full of fornication and magic skills" - wrote about her Lithuanian Chancellor Albrecht Stanisław Radziwiłł. She was not a queen material and the illegitimate child not only had no chance to the throne, but even to the general acceptance.

Gone were the times of King Zygmunt Stary (Sigismund the Old) and Queen Bona (de domo Sforza), where the children of the king, both the legitimate and the illegitimate, grew up together in the court. (...) After the Council of Trent a wind of unprecedented severity blew in the country. Bastards have long been removed from the society and deprived of all civil rights. They could not bear their father's name, or inherit property. In a decent society, and especially in front of the ladies it was not a good tone to even mention the "pokrzywnik" or "wylęganiec" (bastard). Royal blood was not "ennobling" a illegitimate child, this was a disgrace to the Republic

- wrote Dr. Bozena Fabiani in her book "Na dworze Wazów w Warszawie” (In the court of Vasas in Warsaw).

The King have been pressured to finally find a wife and father a legal son, because he was already 40 years old. There was a threat of dynastic crisis! This is why a little Władysław Konstanty grew up only for couple of years in the Warsaw castle. Those days ended in 1637, when his father married Cecilia Renata Habsburg, and his mother was given away to Jan Wypyski, Grabie coat of arms, governor of Merecz, Lithuania. With time, the fate of the boy became even more regrettable. When he was a teenager, in a short time he lost his father, mother and the stepfather. Historians suggest that he could only count on his uncle - Jan Kazimierz (John Casimir), who abdicated in 1668 and was succeeded by Władysław IV on the throne.

He spent his adult life outside the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, using the title of Count Vasenau or Vasenhoff. For a time he lived at the English court of King Charles II, later in the Netherlands, and finally in Spain. There he started the affair with the wife of Prince de Chalais. When the aristocrat learned that he was made a cuckold, he locked his wife in a convent, while Władysław Konstanty wisely left the Iberian Peninsula.

He went to France to join his uncle Jan Kazimierz (John Casimir), who after his abdication had decided to settle on the Seine. The former Polish king tried to get the official recognition of his nephew, but in the meantime he died. Enriched by 30,000 livres, which he inherited from his uncle, Count Vasenau went to Rome to join his distant relative - Christina Vasa, former queen of Sweden who abdicated in 1654 in favour of Carolus Gustavus, the Poland's nemesis. Christina appointed the illegitimate son of Wladyslaw IV a captain of her guard, and in year 1676 she sent him on a certain mission to Sweden.

Władysław Konstanty during his stay in Italy started the affair with Princess Salvati. At the end of his life, Count Vasenau calmed down. He stayed nine years at the court of Christina until her death and later he became chamberlain to Pope Alexander VIII. He died on 19 March, 1698. In his will he appointed as his heir certain Giovanni Francesco, Cardinal Albani and later Pope Clement XI, who founded him a marble medallion in Roma's church Santissime Stimmate di San Francesco. De Vasenau appears on it in no other name but the "son of the Polish king"!

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