Eugene Maurice of Savoy, father of famous field marshal Eugene of Savoy, was born on this day in 1635. Even though he was an Italian prince from the Savoy dynasty, Eugene Maurice was also a high-ranking French aristocrat. Namely, he held the distinguished title of Count of Soissons, which he inherited from his mother, French princess Marie de Bourbon.
Eugene Maurice was born in Chambéry, the former capital of Savoy. The title Count of Soissons was named after the town of Soissons in northern France, located on the territory of Picardy roughly 100 km northeast of Paris.
The importance of the title Count of Soissons can be seen from the fact that its bearer was addressed simply as Monsieur le Comte at the French count. This was something reserved only for the highest court titles. For example, the king’s brother was addressed simply as Monsieur, while the Prince of Condé, the king’s close relative, was addressed as Monsieur le Prince. Therefore, the shortest titles were also considered the most elegant.
Eugene Maurice married the niece of the powerful Cardinal Mazarin, who served as the French Chief Minister (equivalent to Prime Minister). Her name was Olimpia Mancini. She gave birth to Prince Eugene of Savoy, a famous Habsburg general. Since he was a younger son, Eugene of Savoy didn’t inherit the title Count of Soissons.