French pretenders, Henri Count of Paris, House of Orléans, King of France, Louis-Philippe of France
HRH Prince Henri d’Orléans, The Count of Paris, Duke of France (Henri Philippe Pierre Marie d’Orléans; June 14, 1933 – January 21, 2019), was head of the House of Orléans as the Orléanist pretender to the defunct French throne as King Henri VII of France.
Prince Henri was descendant in the male-line of France’s “Citizen-King” Louis-Philippe I (ruled 1830–1848), he was also recognized as the legitimate claimant to the throne by those French royalists, called Unionists, who regard him as the rightful heir of Prince Henri de Bourbon, Count of Chambord, the last patrilineal descendant of King Louis XV. Henri was a retired military officer as well as an author and painter.
He was the first son of Henri, Count of Paris (1908–1999), and his wife Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza, and was born in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. From October 1959 to April 1962, Prince Henri worked at the Secretariat-General for National Defence and Security as a member of the French Foreign Legion. He transferred from there to a garrison in Germany, he took up a new assignment as military instructor at Bonifacio in Corsica, where his wife and children joined him early in 1963.
HRH Prince Henri d’Orléans, The Count of Paris, Duke of France
Returning to civilian life in 1967, Prince Henri and his family briefly occupied the Blanche Neige pavilion on his father’s Manoir du Coeur-Volant estate at Louveciennes before renting an apartment of their own in the XVe arrondissement. In the early 1970s Prince Henri managed public relations for the Geneva office of a Swiss investment firm while dwelling in Corly.
Marriages and children
On July 5, 1957, Henri married Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg (born 1934). Marie Therese was the fifth child and fourth daughter of Philipp Albrecht, Duke of Württemberg, and his second wife, Archduchess Rosa of Austria, Princess of Tuscany. She was born at Altshausen Castle, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
Five children were born from this union:
1. Princess Marie Isabelle Marguerite Anne Geneviève d’Orléans of France (born 3 January 1959 in Boulogne-sur-Seine)
2. Prince François, Count of Clermont (7 February 1961 in Boulogne-sur-Seine – December 30, 2017)
3. Princess Blanche Elisabeth Rose Marie d’Orléans of France (born 10 September 1963 in Ravensburg).
4. Prince Jean Charles Pierre Marie d’Orléans of France, (born 19 May 1965, Boulogne-sur-Seine), Duke of Vendôme.
5. Prince Eudes Thibaut Joseph Marie d’Orléans of France (born 18 March 1968, Paris), Duke of Angoulême.
In 1984, Prince Henri and Princess Marie-Thérèse were divorced. On October 31, 1984 Prince Henri entered a civil marriage with Micaëla Anna María Cousiño y Quiñones de León (born on 30 April 1938), daughter of Luis Cousiño y Sebire and his wife Antonia Maria Quiñones de Léon y Bañuelos, 4th Marquesa de San Carlos. For remarrying without consent Henri’s father initially declared him disinherited.
Tensions lessened over the years and on March 7, 1991 the Count of Paris reinstated Henri as heir apparent and Count of Clermont, simultaneously giving Micaëla the title “Princesse de Joinville”.
Head of house
Until he succeeded his father as royal claimant, Prince Henri and his second wife occupied an apartment in Paris. On June 19, 1999, Prince Henri’s father died and Henri became the new head of the House of Orléans. He took the traditional title, Count of Paris, adding an ancient one, Duke of France, which had not borne by his Orléans or Bourbon forebears, but used a thousand years ago by his ancestors before Hugh Capet took the title of King of France. His wife assumed the title “Duchess of France”, deferring to the continued use of “Countess of Paris” by Henri’s widowed mother until her death on July 5, 2003, whereupon Micaela started to use the title Countess of Paris.
Prince Henri recognised his disabled eldest son François as heir, with the title Count of Clermont. He was the Dauphin of France in Orleanist reckoning. However, his mother had been infected with toxoplasmosis during her second and third pregnancies, and the pre-natal exposure left both Prince François and his younger sister, Princess Blanche, developmentally disabled.
HRH Prince Jean, Duke of Vendôme
Prince Henri maintained that his eldest son would exercise his prerogatives as head of the dynasty under a “regency” of his middle son, Prince Jean, Duke of Vendôme. However, with François’ death on December 30, 2017, Prince Jean became the Dauphin of France within the family’s claim to the throne. Prince Jean succeeds to the claim of King of France and Monarchists recognize him as King Jean IV of France.