27 January 2009

Prince Jean's Ready to Rule--If Only the French Would Let Him

This Wall Street Journal article from last month details the Orleanist pretender's hopes for France.
[E]ven if France decided it wanted its monarchy back, Prince Jean would have to battle a claim from a rival family -- the Bourbons, who share a family name with the executed king, Louis XVI. Meanwhile, his own dynasty is struggling to end years of decline.

Prince Jean does his best to live like a king.

He has no official status and little public recognition, and he has to work for a living. He has been a financial consultant, and he now works full time promoting French heritage.

But he still carries out a program of "royal" engagements, aided by a staff of 30. He tours France 10 times a year, meeting mayors and visiting factories, where he says people see him as a reminder of French history. He also makes an annual overseas visit. He has discussed foreign policy with Vatican officials, has performed a tribal dance with Houma Native Americans in Louisiana, and traveled to the North Pole to raise awareness of climate change.
Prince Jean, to clarify, is the second son of Henri, Comte de Paris, Orleanist pretender to the throne. The Legitimist pretender, Prince Louis-Alphonse (the one with the genuine claim, as far as I'm concerned), lives in Venezuela with his wife and child, but makes frequent official visits to France, and was recently invited to a private audience with the Holy Father. Relations between the two pretenders soured after Prince Jean's father filed suit against Louis-Alphonse for sole bearer of the title Duke of Anjou and use of the plain arms of France; the French court declared it had no jurisdiction, and Prince Louis-Alphonse's passport bears this title. When the Prince married Spanish Princess Marie-Marguerite, no one from the Spanish side of the family attended because of its close relations to the Orleanist pretender. Still, Prince Louis-Alphonse, in a gesture of humility, offered sincere condolences to Prince Jean on the passing of his grandfather.

For what it's worth (and I do think it's significant), Louis-Alphonse shares the same birthday as his predecessor, the greatest king of France, King Saint Louis IX.