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Although the name Charles is the only name which is off by one, as mentioned in yesterday’s blog, it is interesting to see how ordinal numbers have been handled in other situations.

There were 18 kings of France named Louis, beginning with Louis I, the Pious, in 814 who was the only surviving son of Charlemagne and ended with Louis XVIII in 1824. Louis XVII, son of the ill-fated Louis XVI, never reigned but is numbered among the kings of France and his reign is said to be nominal. In 1830 the last bourbon king, Charles X, abdicated in favor of his eldest son, Louis Antoine, Duc d’Angoulême who is said to have been King Louis XIX of France and Navarre for 30 minutes until he, in turn, abdicated his claim to the throne to his nephew Henri of Artois, Count of Chambord. The Count of Chambord claimed the throne of France as Henri V until the National Assembly declared his distant cousin, Louis Philippe, Duc d’Orléans King of the French on August 9, 1830.

There is a similar situation with the Napoleonic line of French Emperors. Napoleon Bonaparte ruled as Emperor of the French as Napoleon I from 1804 to 1814/1815. France was again under the rule of a Bonaparte when Napoleon’s nephew, Louis Napoleon, President of the Second French Republic had himself proclaimed Emperor Napoleon III in 1852. Louis Napoleon chose to reign as Napoleon III because he recognized the nominal rule of Napoleon II. Napoleon II was the ill-fated son of Napoleon I and his second wife Archduchess Marie Louise of Austria. Napoleon II never ruled but held the title King of Rome during his father’s reign and he was considered titular Emperor for two weeks after his father’s final defeat. Napoleon II moved to Austria after his father’s exile and assumed the name Franz (after his grandfather, Holy Roman Emperor Franz II), and was granted the title of Duke of Reichstadt. Known to French history as “the Eaglet” the Duke of Reichstadt died of tuberculosis at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna on July 22, 1832. Although he never married some historians conjecture he had an affair with his cousin, Princess Sophie of Bavaria, mother of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary (1848-1916) and was the father of her son, Archduke Maximilian of Austria, who became Emperor of Mexico until his assassination via a firing squad at the hands of Benito Juárez in 1867.

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