THE ROYAL HOUSE OF BOURBON

 

THE FRENCH SUCCESSION: THE RENUNCIATIONS OF 1712, THE TREATIES OF UTRECHT AND THEIR AFTERMATH IN INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Historical Aftermath

The breach with Great Britain forced Louis-Philippe into closer personal reliance on his relationship with the conservative government of Guizot, and distanced him from the more liberal opposition, which had welcomed the British alliance. Guizot's government, undermined by political and financial scandals, was unable to deal with the economic crisis into which France and the rest of Europe were plunged in late 1847. François Guizot resigned as Prime Minister on 23 February 1848, and the subsequent uprising led to the immediate collapse of the Monarchy that had fatally tied itself to his fortunes. Louis-Philippe abdicated the following day in favour of his grandson, the Count of Paris, but to no avail; he was forced to flee to England where he died on 26 August 1850 at his English country house at Claremont, Surrey, the last member of the House of Capet to rule in France. Today, his male representative, Henri, Count of Paris, claims to represent not only the bourgeois Monarchy of 1830-48, but also to be the successor of the claims of Louis XIV and Charles X. In assuming the Headship of the Royal House of France, the Count of Paris bases his claim on the validity of the renunciations of 1712, the exclusion of the Spanish line in the treaties of 1713, and the foreign nationality of certain successive representatives of the senior line after the death of Henri V, Count of Chambord.

Isabel II, to the surprise of some, had eleven children by her husband the Infant Francisco de Asís, of whom only four survived to adulthood - the Infanta Eulalia, the last to survive, eventually dying in San Sebastian in 1958 at the age of ninety-four, some one hundred and twelve years after the marriage crisis. The Queen was deposed in the revolution of 30 Sep 1868, abdicating to her eldest son on 25 Jun 1870 (he was unable to take up his Crown until 29 Dec 1874), and formally separated from her husband on 8 Apr 1870. She died at her Paris home, the Palais de Castille, on 9 Apr 1904, having survived her husband by just two years - he died at the Château d'Epinay outside Paris on 17 Apr 1902. Isabel's sister, Luis Fernanda died at her palace in Seville on 1 Feb 1897. Her husband, who was given the title of Infant of Spain in 1859, died at Cadiz on 4 Feb 1890, having fathered by her ten children; their elder daughter Isabel married the Count of Paris, the only other to survive, Mercedes, married Alfonso XII as his first wife but died childless. Their descendants, however, include the present King of Spain and the Count of Paris, both of whom would be excluded from their respective successions if the British interpretation of the Treaty of Utrecht was correct. The Infant Enrique, who had failed to obtain Queen Isabel's hand, married unequally and without the permission of the Queen and was deprived of his royal titles in 1848; restored to them ad personam six years later, they were taken away once again in 1867 because of his blatant involvement in politics and opposition to the government. Three years later on 12 Mar 1870 he was shot and killed in a duel with his cousin, the Duke of Montpensier; his descendants included several distinguished Spanish army officers. His grandson, Francisco de Paul de Borbón declared himself heir of the throne of France on 30 July 1894, on the basis that he was the senior Bourbon dynast not to also claim the throne of Spain. His heirs have not maintained this pretension. Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg eventually married unequally, in 1861; his only son died without issue.

Charles X had been deposed by the revolution of July 1830, leaving first for England later for Goritz, Illysria, in the Austrian Empire, where he died in exile on 6 Nov 1836. He was succeeded as titular King Louis XIX by his elder and only surviving son, Duke of Angoulême until his father's succession when he had become Dauphin. He had married his first cousin, the unfortunate daughter of Louis XVI, and they were known in exile as Count and Countess of Marnes. He died childless, like his father a guest in the house of an Austrian nobleman, near Goritz, on 3 Jun 1844 and was succeeded by his nephew, Henri, Duke of Bordeaux, only son of his younger brother the Duke of Berry. Charles X had abdicated in favour of the Duke of Bordeaux on 2 Aug 1830, who had been recognised as King by the Emperor of Russia and Duke of Modena (who both, however, ultimately recognised Louis-Philippe). With failure of the Vendée rising and any chance of a restoration disappearing, Louis XIX's succession as titular King was unchallenged, however, and the Duke of Bordeaux, who from his uncle's death assumed the title Count of Chambord, after the splendid renaissance château and estate he had received following his birth, did not assume the Headship of the House until 1844. While he never took the title of King, preferring that of Head of the House of Bourbon or, in correspondence with the Pope, Elder Son of the Church, his supporters called him the Henri V, King of France and Navarre, etc. In 1873 he agreed to meet the Count of Paris, whom he forgave for his grandfather's disloyalty in 1830, but was unwilling to make the political compromises which would have reconciled his own supporters with the Orléanists. On his death at his castle of Frohsdorf, Austria, on 24 Aug 1883, the Count of Paris declared himself his successor, and Head of the House of France. It was the head of the senior line, however, Juan (Jean), Count of Montizon, who had abdicated his claim as Carlist King to his elder son, the Duke of Madrid, who presided at his funeral, issuing a brief statement: "Becoming Head of the House of Bourbon by the death of my brother-in-law and cousin, M. the Count of Chambord, I declare that I do not renounce any rights to the throne of France which I hold by my birth." [Le journal de Paris, 1 Jan 1888, p. 1, cited in État Présent, op. cit. supra, p.95]. For a discussion of this, see The Failed Restoration of 1873.

The Count of Montizon died at Brighton, Sussex, England, on 18 Nov 1887, whereupon his elder son, Carlos (Charles), Duke of Madrid, proclaimed himself Head of the House of Bourbon, taking the title of Duke of Anjou. In a letter to the Count de Valori dated 14 Sep 1888, he wrote: "I am King of all the national liberties, I will not be King of the Revolution… I shall always guard the inviolable right of the Bourbons of which I am the head, a right which will only be extinguished with the last person issue of the race of Louis XIV." [État Présent, op. cit., p. 96]. He reinforced this claim in a number of statements, including a protest at the expulsion of members of religious Orders from France, dated 12 Mar 1906 and published in Naples: "As senior member of the race of your Kings and Salic successor, by right of primogeniture, of my uncle Henri V, I cannot remain any longer a passive spectator to the wrongs committed against the Religion, and with His Holiness Pope Pius X …" [État Présent, op. cit. illus. P. 98]. Don Carlos died in an hotel in Varese, Italy, on 18 Jul 1909, leaving four daughters and an only son, Jaime (Jacques), who succeeded him. 

The new Duke of Anjou and Madrid emphatically stated his claim, like his father awarding the Orders of the Saint Esprit and Saint Michel, and asserting his rights in a letter to the Head of his Household on 6 Dec 1911: "The Head of the House of Bourbon is myself; it was me who, in my letter to sovereigns, on the occasion of the death of my dear and regretted Father, have solemnly declared that I intend to retake all the rights and prerogatives which he transmitted to me; me that holds from the Count of Chambord, with the Castle of Frohsdorf, the relics, archives and papers of the legitimate Monarchy, also as master of the royal Orders. H.R.H. the Duke of Orléans is even less qualified to make a Knight of the Holy Spirit, or to appropriate this Order, that he is quite last in our genealogical tree, and that his branch cannot make the slightest pretension until after the extinction of not only mine, but also those of Spain, the Two Sicilies and Parma." [État Présent, op.cit. p. 97]. Don Jaime died unmarried in Paris on 2 Oct 1931 and was succeeded by his eighty-two year old uncle, Alfonso Carlos, who took the title Duke of San Jaime, but whose only concession to his French supporters was to accept the post of high-protector of the French Archaeological Society. 

When Alfonso Carlos died, senior male representation of the House passed to the exiled King Alfonso XIII of Spain, who had been reconciled with the Duke of Anjou and Madrid, when the King visited his Carlist rival on 23 Sep 1931. Alfonso had accepted the Collar of the Saint Esprit, in a diploma in which he was described as “Prince Alphonse”, thus recognizing the Duke of Madrid’s claim to the Headship of the House of France. Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime, did not leave any issue but acknowledged Alfonso XIII as his successor on 6 Jan 1932, stating: “Je fais appel à tous et en premier lieu à mon très cher neveu Alphonse de Bourbon sur lequel mes droits devront être reportés à ma mort, avec les principes fondamentales qui ont toujours été exigés de tous les rois de notre royaume traditionnel.”[7] The aged Duke of San Jaime recognized that his position as Head of the House of Bourbon conferred special responsibilities, issuing a decree conferring the title of Prince de Bourbon on all the male line descendants of the Infante D. Sebastian.[8] Upon the death of D. Alfonso Carlos, Alfonso XIII dropped the gules border for Anjou from his arms, although the late D. Juan, Count of Barcelona, has disputed the precise significance of this in terms of the King’s French rights. When Alfonso XIII died in Rome on 28 Feb 1941 the Collar of the Saint Esprit was placed with that of the Golden Fleece upon his funeral bier. The King's eldest son, the Prince of the Asturias, had died in an accident (after two marriages made in breach of Spanish royal house laws), and he was succeeded as senior representative of the House of Bourbon by his elder surviving son, D. Jaime, Duke of Segovia, while the younger, D. Juan, Count of Barcelona succeeded as Head of the House of Spain (his only surviving son, Juan Carlos, became King of Spain, in 1975).  

Alfonso XIII had left Spain in 1931 and the Monarchy was replaced with a Republic, so when the Spanish King succeeded as Head of the entire House as representative of Louis XIV in 1936 he was no longer de facto King of Spain. As in 1887, senior representation and claims to both France and Spain were combined in the person of a non-reigning Prince. Had the two Monarchies been restored, then historical precedent would have dictated that the Spanish throne be resigned to a junior Prince, as had happened in 1700. Alfonso XIII nonetheless considered he represented both claims in his person, writing to the (jure uxoris) Duke of Seville in Feb 1940, as “Head of the House of Bourbon in its two principal branches… by our ascendants on the thrones of Saint Louis and of Saint Ferdinand”.  The Infant D. Jaime, Alfonso XIII's second son, had renounced his Spanish rights, because his physical incapacities prevented him from exercising the responsibility of Kingship, in a formal letter to his father dated 21 Jun 1933.[9] This was a courageous and selfless act made in recognition that his handicap would prove an additional hurdle making a monarchist restoration much more difficult. Two years later, on 4 Mar 1935, he married a lady of distinguished and ancient French noble birth, Emmanuelle de Dampierre (daughter of the Papal Duke of San Lorenzo by his wife, D. Vittoria Ruspoli dei Principi di Poggio Suasa), but this match was in breach of the terms of the Spanish Law on marriage, article 12, of the New Law of Title II of the Xth book of the Novísima Recopilación (the Pragmatic Decree of Charles III of 23 Mar 1776). A Pragmatic Decree of Charles IV of 1803 (New rules for the celebration of marriages) did not directly revoke the requirement for equality made in the Decree of 1776, but while ignoring the requirement of equal status, confirmed that royal permission was a pre-requisite for legal dynastic marriage. Later in the nineteenth century, it was the earlier law of 1776 that was applied, with dynasts who made unequal marriages but who wished to succeed to royal properties, and retain their royal titles, being subject to Royal Decrees, countersigned by the President of the Council of Ministers, which excluded them from the succession.  

The continuing validity of the 1776 law had been restated in Royal Decrees of 8 Feb 1847, and 7 Mar 1867, and in a Royal Command, issued by the Ministry of Justice, on 16 Mar 1875.  The various nineteenth century Constitutions, culminating in that of 1876, which prevailed until the end of the Monarchy, also required that a special law passed by the Cortes approve the marriage of the King, and that the marriage of the Heir also be approved by the Cortes, but these provisions could not be complied with after the fall of the Monarchy in 1931. The two sons of D. Jaime's marriage, while princes du sang, eligible to succeed to the Headship of the House, were ineligible to succeed to the Spanish Throne under the laws of the pre-1931 Monarchy.[10] After their father's death, D. Jaime made his position clear vis-à-vis the Spanish succession in a formal letter dated 23 Jul 1945, addressed to his brother, the Count of Barcelona, recognising him as de jure King of Spain and addressing him as “Majesty”, which he confirmed in a subsequent letter dated 17 Jun 1947. 

Some distinguished scholars have argued that as D. Jaime's renunciation did not accord with the precise terms of the law and that the Decree of 1803 had in fact superseded that of 1776, Alfonso XIII’s participation in his son's wedding was ipso facto recognition of its dynastic validity. They therefore consider that D. Jaime' subsequent revocation of his renunciation was legally valid. However, his renunciation had been made in voluntary acknowledgment of the application of an article of the 1876 Constitution permitting the exclusion of those not able to exercise the responsibilities of Kingship due to some incapacity. When he married, both he and his father reasonably presumed that this marriage also disqualified his descendants from the Spanish succession (as other such marriages had disqualified every Spanish dynast who had married outside the circle of royal families since 1776). The only occasion when any pretension he might have had to the Spanish throne could reasonably have been stated, if at all, was immediately following his father's death, when the succession to the Crown was briefly “open”. However, by recognizing his brother as de jure King, he abandoned any reasonable hope of making this claim. The application of the law on marriages of 1776 must surely be regarded as correct in this case, since it had been revalidated in successive compilations of Spanish law. The present Spanish Constitution consequently recognizes that the Crown of Spain is hereditary in the successors of H.M. King Juan Carlos, who it describes as heir of the ancient dynasty (article 56).   

In his last years D. Jaime became increasingly active in France, attending legitimist functions and even making a handful of awards of the Royal Orders. He died at Saint Gall, Switzerland, on 20 Mar 1975, and was succeeded as Head of the House of Bourbon by his elder son, Alfonso, Duke of Cadiz, who thereupon assumed his father's title of Duke of Anjou. It is worth noting that in 1936 Paul Watrin had written in his periodic publication, La Science historique, saluting the birth of the young Prince – “Le petit prince Alphonse, espoir de la légitimité.”[11] This comment is all the more noteworthy when it is recalled that it was made at a time when French Monarchists were predominately inclinded towards support of the Orléans claimant, influenced by the political theorist Charles Maurois (who the Count of Paris broke with after the latter’s condemnation by the Holy See). The late Duke of Anjou and Cadiz was elected by the French Society of the Cincinnati to be the representative of Louis XVI (leading to the resignation of the Count of Paris, who had represented the Admiral d'Orléans), and frequently attended legitimist functions and meetings. Alfonso, Duke of Anjou and Cadiz, was sued in the French courts by the Count of Clermont, eldest son of the Count of Paris, who sought an order to prevent him from using the plain Arms of France and the title of Duke of Anjou. This petition was rejected and the Duke of Cadiz continued to be accorded the title of Duke of Anjou on his French passport. [See Communique] He was killed in a tragic skiing accident at Beaver Creek, Avon, Colorado, on 30 Jan 1989 and was succeeded by his second, but only surviving son, Louis Alphonse, born in Madrid on 25 Apr 1974, who has joint French and Spanish citizenship, and lives in Madrid. Monseigneur Prince Louis-Alphonse was subsequently elected to succeed his father as the Representative of Louis XVI in the Society of the Cincinnati. On 24th June 2000 he was received as a Bailiff Grand Cross of Honor and Devotion in gremio religionis of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta as “Son Altesse Royale Prince Louis-Alphonse de Bourbon, Duc d’Anjou,” at the annual investiture of the French Association of the Order, held in the Royal Chapel of the Palace of Versailles. Since attaining his majority, Monseigneur Louis-Alphonse, Duke of Anjou, has taken a close interest in France and its history, attending many functions, and in particular the annual commemoration of the foundation of Les Invalides, to which he is invited by the Governor of Les Invalides (along with the Head of the Branch of Orléans and the Head of the House of Bonaparte). On 6 November 2004 he married Margarita Vargas, in the Republic of San Domingo.

[1] Seventh in line at the time of the death of Alfonso XII in 1884.

[2] Le journal de Paris, 1 Jan 1888, p. 1, cited in État Présent, op. cit. supra, p.95.

[3] État Présent, op. cit. supra, p.96.

[4] État Présent, op. cit. illus. p. 98.

[5] État Présent, op.cit. p. 97.

[6] Whose president was Paul Watrin, the most active among the small number of French legitimists, who resisted Maurois’ call to support the Orléans claimant.

[7] Paul Watrin, Alphonse Ier roi de France, in La Science historique, 1936, vol XXXII, pp. 111-118. On the 23rd Jan 1936, however, the Duke of San Jaime instituted a Carlist Regency, naming Prince Xavier of Bourbon-Parma as Regent.

[8] “Comme Chef de la maison de Bourbon je declare que les Enfants de l”Infant d’Espagne D. Sebastien de Bourbon et Bragance ont tous le droit de porter le nom de Bourbon (Borbón) ainsi que le titre de Altesse Royale, leur Père et leur Mère ayant été des Infants d’Espagne. Quant aux Petit fils et Petit filles de feu l’Infant D. Sebastien ils ont le droit de porter le nom de Prince et Princesse de Bourbon (Borbón) et s’ils étaient issus d’un marriage de rang de maison égal, aussi celui de Altesse Royale. 20 Février 1933. ALFONSO CARLOS DE BOURBON ET D’AUTRICHE ESTE, CHEF DE LA MAISON DE BOURBON.” The word “tous” was underlined by the Duke, in the hand written text. The significance of this decree is that the title of Prince or Princess of Bourbon was to be extended to all male line descendants, irrespective of the equality of their parent’s marriages, although the title of Royal Highness was to be limited to the issue of equal marriages. A general discussion of this decree is shortly to be published by Baron Pinoteau, the text here is reproduced from a draft of Baron Pinoteau’s article. In this article, Baron Pinoteau records also that Alfonso XIII’s letter concerning the titles of the Seville line of Feb 1940, cited above, suggests that D. Alfonso Carlos had also made a provision regarding their titles – perhaps in a letter to the Almanach de Gotha (which continued to place this Prince as Head of the House of Bourbon).

[9] This renunciation was made in accord with Article 64 of the Constitution of 1876, which, however, required a special law to be passed by the Cortes to exclude the dynast concerned. The absence of this law has led some to question the validity of the exclusion of the Infant D. Jaime under this Article. However it should be pointed out that the Constitution also required that the Cortes also approve the marriage of the King or Heir Apparent by a special law, and this was also impossible after 1931. Nonetheless, it is considered that the King’s approval of the marriage of the heir, on the basis that such a marriage was a dynastic match in accordance with the Pragmatic Decree of 1776, was sufficient even without the special law. This same argument has been applied in the case of the renunciation of D. Jaime.

[10] In a letter dated 30 November 1940 addressed to Charles Zeininger de Borja, the King’s secretary wrote: “Sa Majesté Alphonse XIII (dans le cas des fils de son 2ème fils – don’t le marriage était considéré comme inégal – [et] qui ne pouvaient pas porter le titre d’“Infants”), avait decide qu’ils seraient nommés “Princes de Bourbons Segovia”, pour qu’ils puissant démontrer qu’ils appartiennent au rang royal. C’est du reste le titre que le Roi a accordé a ce 2ème fils à l’occasion de son marriage avec Mademoiselle Emanuela Vittoria Dampierre-Ruspoli.” Just two months later, however, the King apparently underwent a change of mind, and the King’s secretary wrote again to Zeininger: “Quant au Princes de la Maison de Bourbon, don’t vous parler, et en ce qui concerne S.A.R. le Prince D. Jaime, Duc de Segovia, d’après l’opinion de son Auguste Père, les enfants de Son marriage doivent figurer avec le nom de Bourbon-Segovia, mais sans qualification de Princes ni Altesse Royale; seulement Excellence.” These letters reproduced by Baron Pinoteau in a forthcoming article, and taken from the original archives of M. le Comte Zeininger, in his possession.  The Gotha, however, did not make this change until the 1944 edition.

[11] La Science historique, vol. XXXI, 1er sem., pp. 113-114, cited by Pinoteau, draft article cited earlier.

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