Abdication, Chamber of Deputies, Charles X of France and Navarre, Comte de Chambord, Duke of Angoulême, Duke of Bordeaux, Duke of Orleans, Henri de Bourbon, King of the French, Louis Antoine, Louis Philippe, Usurper
Charles X’s reign of almost six years proved to be deeply unpopular from the moment of his coronation in 1825, in which he tried to revive the practice of the royal touch. The governments appointed under his reign reimbursed former landowners for the abolition of feudalism at the expense of bondholders, increased the power of the Catholic Church, and reimposed capital punishment for sacrilege, leading to conflict with the liberal-majority Chamber of Deputies.
Charles X also initiated the French conquest of Algeria as a way to distract his citizens from domestic problems, and forced Haiti to pay a hefty indemnity in return for lifting a blockade and recognizing Haiti’s independence.
He eventually appointed a conservative government under the premiership of Prince Jules de Polignac, who was defeated in the 1830 French legislative election. He responded with the July Ordinances disbanding the Chamber of Deputies, limiting franchise, and reimposing press censorship.
Within a week France faced urban riots which led to the July Revolution of 1830, which resulted in the abdication of King Charles X of France and Navarre.
Charles reluctantly signed the document of abdication on August 2, 1830. Charles initially abdicated the throne to his eldest son, Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême.
It is said that Louis Antoine spent the next 20 minutes listening to the entreaties of his wife (his first cousin, Marie Thérèse of France, the eldest child of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, and the only member of the immediate royal family to survive the French Revolution) not to sign a similar document of abdication, while the former Charles X sat weeping. However, Louis Antoine also abdicated, in favour of his nephew, Henri, Duke of Bordeaux.
Technically the Duke of Angoulême was King Louis XIX of France and Navarre for about 20 minutes before he himself abdicated his rights to the throne to his nephew. Louis Antoine never reigned over the country, but after his father’s death in 1836, he was considered the legitimist pretender as Louis XIX. For the final time he left for exile, where he was known as the “Count of Marnes”. He never returned to France.
The boy who should have been King after Charles X was Henri, Duke of Bordeaux. He was the only son of Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry, the younger son of Charles X of France, and born after his father’s death in 1920.
The Duke of Bordeaux’s mother was Princess Carolina of Naples and Sicily, daughter of King Francesco I of the Two Sicilies and his first wife, Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria, the tenth child and third daughter of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor and Infanta Maria Luisa of Spain.
Princess Carolina of Naples and Sicily’s parents were double first cousins. The Two Sicilies Royal Family was a branch of the Spanish House of Bourbon. The grandson of Charles X, Henri was a Petit-Fils de France. He was the last legitimate descendant in the male line of Louis XV of France.
Charles X named Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans (from the Orléans branch of the House of Bourbon descendants of Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, the brother of King Louis XIV) Lieutenant général du royaume, and charged him to announce his desire to have his grandson succeed him to the popularly elected Chamber of Deputies.
Louis Philippe did not do this, in order to increase his own chances of succession. As a consequence, because the Chamber of Deputies was aware of Louis Philippe’s liberal policies and of his popularity with the masses, they proclaimed Louis Philippe as the new French king, displacing the senior branch of the House of Bourbon. For the prior eleven days Louis Philippe had been acting as the regent for the young King Henri V of France and Navarre, his fifth cousin twice removed.
Charles X and his family, including his grandson, went into exile in Britain. The young ex-king, Henri V, the Duke of Bordeaux, who, in exile, took the title of comte de Chambord, later became the pretender to the throne of France and was supported by the Legitimists.
Charles died in 1836 in Gorizia, then part of the Austrian Empire. He was the last of the French rulers from the senior branch of the House of Bourbon.