This is, incredibly, the first English biography of Phillippe Egalite in thirty years. Whilst there are hundreds of books in English on Louis XVI, Marie Antoinette, Robespierre, Danton and other major characters of the French Revolution, the role of the Duc d'Orleans has been inexplicably overlooked. He might have expected better. This the man who 'funded the revolution', who sponsored Marat and Camille Desmoulins, was the first to stand up to Louis XVI, cast the deciding vote for said King's execution and was several times offered the role of constitutional monarch. All this without mentioning that his avowed anglophilia almost certainly contributed to his downfall. But Louis Philippe Joseph's story was fascinating long before the revolution. Even before he established a reputation as a notorious radical he had been a notorious libertine, married 'The Richest Woman in the World', heroically survived a balloon crash oversaw a farcical sea battle and started a feud with Marie Antoinette.
As his admiration for enlightenment thinking and especially the English model of constitutional monarchy grew, he made friends with leading French intellectuals including Choderlos de Laclos (author of "Les Liasons Dangereux") whom he made his personal secretary, Chevalier de St George, 'The Black Mozart' and best swordsman in France, his mistress Madame de Genlis, a leading intellectual and educationalist, Mirabeau and many of the most famous revolutionaries. Throughout this thoroughly researched and well paced biography, Tom Ambrose argues that much of the impetus for Louis Philippe's liberal ideology sprung from his Anglophilia. Indeed, he once said that he would much rather live the life of an ordinary English gentleman to that of a French prince.
Tom Ambrose read history at Trinity College, Dublin and gained a postgraduate degree at University College, London. He worked in advertising in London and Dublin before switching to producing and directing television documentaries. His first book, Hitler's Loss: What Britain and America gained from Europe's Cultural Exiles was widely acclaimed. His second, The King and the Vice Queen; George IV's Last Scandalous Affair was published in March 2005.