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Picking up where we left of yesterday we saw Louis Philippe mount the throne of France. While I do admit that his succession was in violation of the traditional laws of the kingdom he did come to power during a revolution and it seems that in revolutions most laws are off the books and it in a time of upheaval the revolutionaries get to set the new rules.

Louis Philippe’s reign lasted about 18 years when once more revolution struck France and the king fell from power. The heir to the French throne, Prince Ferdinand Duc d’Orléans died in a carriage accident in 1842 leaving his son, grandson of the king, Prince Philippe d’Orléans as heir. The National Assembly of France was willing to accept Philippe as king but the tide of opinion toward the monarchy was very negative and instead France was once again proclaimed a Republic.

The second Republic was replaced by the second Empire under Napoleon III. Once that regime collapsed during the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 France once again turned toward the House of Bourbon with the intent of restoring the royal line of French kings. The vast majority of French monarchists accepted the claims of Henri V, Comte de Chambord as the legitimate pretender to the throne. Henri was childless and not likely to father any children so many regarded Philippe d’Orléans as Henri’s eventual and rightful heir. The National Assembly and Henri could not reach agreement on the nature of his rule and what rights and powers he would have. Also, Henri, insisted he reign under the white flag of the House of Bourbon and not the tri-colored flag of the revolution. Unable to reach agreement a Third Republic was proclaimed. There was a belief that a restoration of Philippe to the French throne would occur after Henri’s death but Henri lived until 1883 and by that time support for the monarchy had declined (they lost the majority in Parliament in 1877) to the point where a continuation of the Third Republic was the most favorable option.

The vast majority of French monarchists supported the Orléans claimant while a faction of those that did not support the Orléans claim supported the descendents of Felipe V of Spain. These supporters, called Legitimists, believe in the fundamental laws of the kingdom and that a French prince cannot legally give up his rights to the throne. Therefore the renunciation of Philippe Duc d’Anjou (King Felipe V of Spain) of his rights were invalid according to the laws of France at the time. With the death of Henri V in 1883 the Legitimist pretender was Juan, Count of Montizón who was the senior heir general to King Louis XIV. Spain was also experiencing civil discord with the Carlists War, which did not legally recognize Queen Isabel II’s right to the Spanish throne due to Felipe V instituting the Salic Law in Spain, which was abolished by King Fernando VII in 1829 by his wife, Maria Christina of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, in order for their daughter Isabel to succeed to the Crown.

Today the representative of the Spanish line for the French crown is HRH Prince Louis Alphonse of Bourbon, Duke of Anjou. He is a great-grand son of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and through his mother he is a great-grandson of Spain’s former dictator Francisco Franco. He is first cousin once removed to Spain’s current king, Juan Carlos. To his Legitimist supporters he is King Louis XX of France. All titles he holds are in pretense as he does not hold any legal title in Spain and is not a member of the Spanish Royal Family. He is married to María Margarita Vargas Santaella and they have three children, twin boys, Louis and Alphonse and a daughter Eugénie.

The Orléans representative is HRH Prince Henri VII d’ Orléans, Comte de Paris, Duc de France. He is a descendent of King Louis Philippe. His first marriage was to Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg, daughter of HRH Prince Philipp Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg (himself a claimant to the throne of Württemberg) and Archduchess Rosa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany. They had five children. The eldest son, Prince François of Orléans, Count of Clermont, is not heir to his father’s claim due to mental difficulties developed because of toxoplasmosis during pregnancy. Henri’s heir is his second son, Prince Jean, Duke of Vendôme, and is married to Philomena de Tornos Steinhart and they have two children, Prince Gaston and Princess Antoinette.

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