Click here for the Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom of France.
1. The Spanish Bourbons are ethnically French or French by blood.
This is just false. Like most royal families at the time, the French and Spanish families married princesses from other royal houses across Europe. The blood and ethnicity of the Royal House of Spain, and France before it, was mixed.
To put it frankly, by blood, the Royal Family of France was “less French” than the common French peasant*. The same could be said for the Spanish Royal Family and just about every crowned family of Europe.
[*This is not to say that the Royal House of France is “less French” because of their blood status. On the contrary, despite their blood status, the Royal House of France is very much French, just like how the Spanish Bourbons are very much Spanish. As stated before, Frenchness is not based solely on blood.]
Let us examine the wives and mothers of the Spanish Royal Family following the War of Spanish Succession.
Philip V, the first Bourbon Monarch of Spain married Elisabeth Farnese of Parma. This marriage produced Charles III.
Charles III married Maria Amalia of Saxony. This marriage produced Charles IV.
Charles IV married Maria Louisa of Parma. This marriage Produced Ferdinand VII and Infante Carlos of Carlist fame (Carlos V).
Infante Carlos (de jure Carlos V) married Infanta Maria Francisca of Portugal. This produced Juan, Count of Montizon.
Juan, Count of Montizon claimed headship of both the Royal Houses Spain and France after the death of the Count of Chambord in 1883.
Most Legitimists, however, recognised the claim of Philippe of Orleans (Philippe VII).
2. The Spanish Bourbons have French heritage.
So what? Lot’s of people have French heritage. I have Norman, Irish, and German heritage. But I’m neither Irish, German, nor Norman.
And since the Spanish Bourbons are of mixed blood, they are likewise of mixed heritage.
3. Don Luis is the senior agnate of the House of Bourbon.
This is true, and I don’t know anyone who argues otherwise. That said, all the Fundamental Laws are equal and male only primogeniture is not the only requirement for eligibility.
There are other laws that evolved and were added over time. One of those laws was that the king must be French.
In 1883, with the death of Chambord (de jure Henri V), Philippe d’Orleans was the most senior agnate who happened to meet all the qualifications under the Fundamental Laws. Thus, the House of Orleans became the Royal House of France.
4. The Orleans are excluded because of their past treasons.
This is probably the easiest claim to refute (likely due to the fact that this is a weak claim).
There is no corruption of blood exception to the Fundamental Laws.
There is no doubt that Philippe Égalité was a traitor and Louis-Philippe was a traitor and a usurper.
The same thing could be said for the future Henri IV, when he was leading Protestant troops against Henri III’s Royal and Catholic Army during the Wars of Religion.
Despite this, Henri III still acknowledged Henri IV as his heir.
Quite honestly, the past actions of the Orleans appears to be the reason the Anjous have any support at all. The vast majority of the Blancs d’Espangne (Spanish Whites, those who supported the Anjous) likely did so because of their hatred of the Orleans. Considering the then-recent actions of the Orleans, it was an understandable desire to not see them on the throne. However, the Fundamental Laws are clear. With the ineligibility of the Spanish Bourbons, the throne rightfully passed to the House of Orleans.
Even if the corruption of blood claim were true, it would not restore the Spanish Bourbons to the French throne. Instead, the throne would pass to the family next in line.
5. The Utrecht renunciations were conditional.
It is claimed by the Anjouists that the renunciation of Philip V of Spain was conditional and dependent upon the continuation of the semi-Salic law of Spanish succession.
While it is true that the renunciations were intended to be conditional, such a thing is illegal and void.
I’ve previously written about why I think Utrecht is valid. I stated that it was valid because the War of Spanish succession created a force majeure. Quite simply, the security of the state superseded the Fundamental Laws (since the existence of said state is necessary for the existence of the Fundamental Laws). The renunciations were the price of peace, and France needed peace. Thus, the renunciation of Philip V was a permissible violation of the Fundamental Laws.
A conditional renunciation, however, is not permissible. While a simple renunciation was necessary for peace, a conditional renunciation was not. In other words, there was no force majeure for a conditional renunciation.
Violations of the Fundamental Laws must be kept to a minimum. That means one should not stray beyond what is permissible. While a simple, flat, permanent renunciation was permissible, a conditional renunciation was not.
It appears likely that the Fundamental Laws do not allow for mutable renunciations. The logical consequence of the Fundamental Laws is that removal from the line of succession is permeant.
Under normal circumstances, a flat renunciation is not allowed. However, there may be loopholes to this rule. One such being the aforementioned force majeure caused by the War of Spanish Succession. Another would be religion.
Let’s suppose, hypothetically, that the Dauphin (let’s call him Charles) has no desire to become king. Knowing that the king must be Catholic, Charles becomes a Protestant. So, when his father dies, Charles’s younger brother (Francis) becomes king.
Now let us suppose that Charles becomes Catholic again. Does this mean that Francis should be removed from the throne? A clear answer should be no. What of Charles’s future children, should they be ahead of Francis’s children? To say yes opens the door for civil war. The logical conclusion is that any removal from the line of succession must be permanent.
Now let’s take the case of the Spanish Bourbons. Here we have a house that renounced the French throne and moved to Spain to rule a foreign land. For generations the Royal House of Spain resided and raised its children in Spain. In other words, they became Spanish.
In 1830, Ferdinand VII of Spain issued the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830, which purported to revoke the semi-Salic law of Spanish succession. In the minds of Anjouists, this negated the renunciation of Philip V.
So, in Anjouist reasoning, the line of succession to the French throne should be determined by the succession laws of Spain. Such logic is a total affront to the Fundamental Laws of France, some of which were created to specifically maintain the independence and sovereignty of France against foreign powers.
In defence of their reasoning, Anjouists love to quote the Usurper Louis-Philippe, the purported “King of the French”:
It is not only as French that I take him an interest in this question, It is also like father. In the case, indeed (which will never happen in my time) where we would have the misfortune to lose The Duke of Bordeaux, without leaving a child, the crown will return to my eldest son, provided that the Salic law is maintained in Spain, for, if it was not, the renunciation of Philip V to the throne de France, in his name and in the name of his male descendants, would be struck with nullity, since it was only in act of this renunciation that the descendants of this prince acquired an incontestable right to the crown of Spain, but If this right is taken away from them, they may claim the right given to them by the French Salic law to the inheritance of Louis XIV, and as grandson of Louis XIV,they pass before my children.
For reasons stated previously, Louis-Philippe’s reasoning is flawed. To allow for conditional renunciations not only opens the door for unnecessary succession disputes (and potential war), but, in this case, grants the Royal House of Spain the power to determine the line of succession to the French throne.
And, despite the intentions of a conditional renunciation (as implied in the first paragraph*), Philip V’s actual renunciation was in perpetuity, according to the text*:
With my own movement, my free, frank and pure will, me Don Philip, by the grace of God King of Castile and Leon … etc … etc … I renounce, by the present act, forever and for ever, for myself and for my heirs and successors, to all claims, rights and titles that I or some of my other descendants have from now on, or may, have at any time that it may be the future, to the succession of the crown of France. I abandon them, and forsake them for myself and for them, and I declare myself and exclude myself and myself, and my children, heirs and descent, perpetually … from the right to succeed to the crown of France.
I want and consent, for myself and for my descendants, that from now on as then, this right be regarded and considered as passed and transferred to the Duke of Berry my brother, to his children and descent male, born in legitimate marriage. And, in the absence of his masculine lines, to the Duke of Orleans, my uncle and his children and male descent, born into a legitimate marriage; and, in the absence of his lines, to my cousin the Duke of Bourbon and his children and descent, born in lawful marriage; and, successively, to all the princes of the blood of France, their children and descent men, forever and ever, according to the rank and order in which they will be called to the crown by the right of their birth.
Further, the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830 was an illegal act of tyranny, making it void. This so-called “Pragmatic” Sanction effectively disinherited Infante Carlos and retroactively denied him his pre-existing right to the Spanish throne. The Pragmatic Sanction of 1830 was never ratified by the Cortes, making the Sanction an illegal act of tyranny. It is true that the Cortes approved a similar Sanction in 1789, but it was never published, making it void.
Therefore, Infante Carlos (Carlos V), not Isabella, was the rightful and de jure monarch of Spain.
It clearly makes no sense why the illegal actions of a foreign monarch should determine the line of succession to the French throne.
6. There is no nationality requirement.
This is appears untrue and ahistorical. Further, many Anjouists seem to misunderstand what is meant by foreign. Many erroneously believe that possessing foreign titles or being king of a foreign state makes that person foreign.
Thus, they cite the case of Henri III who became King of Poland. Henri III was a French peer and a Prince of the Blood. He was granted letters-patent ensuring his succession rights (this is a sign that he didn’t not leave France without intention of returning, which would have put his succession rights in doubt).
Henri IV, despite being King of Navarre (via his mother), was a French peer and the son of a French peer, Antoine de Bourbon. Neither Henri nor Antoine left France with no intention of returning. Antoine actually died in France and Henri IV actively participated in French politics and was active in the aforementioned Wars of Religion.
Anjouists also like to cite examples of foreigners becoming King of France, but these all happened prior to the 16th century. It was in the 16th century (after the Hundred Years’ War) that the idea that no foreigner could take the throne arose.
In fact, the justification for the use of Salic law was that it kept France out of foreign hands:
And the first speciatie that I find good there is that the kingdom goes by male succession, without being able to fall into the hands of a woman, according to the law that the French call “salic”, which is a very good thing. Because, falling in a feminine line, it comes into the hands and power [it can come into power] of a man of strange nation, which is pernicious and dangerous thing: yet that which comes from such a strange nation [the one who comes from strange nation]is other food and condition and has other mores, other language and other way of living than those of the country where it comes to dominate. [Translated from French. Claude de Seyssel: The Monarchy of France, I, 7 (Paris, 1961, page 112-3)]
In 1593 Arrêt Le Maistre decreed that no foreigner could take the French throne, and since Le Maistre was issued in the lifetime of Henri IV and affirmed his rights to be king, the Parlement of Paris did not consider him to be a foreigner.
7. Don Luis is a French citizen / Nationality can be granted.
It is true that Don Luis is a French citizen through his grandmother. This, however, does nothing to restore any succession rights to the French throne.
As I’ve previously argued, once lost, succession rights are lost in perpetuity. The Count of Montizon (de jure Juan III of Spain), the supposed Anjouist pretender, was not a Frenchman. Thus, despite claiming otherwise, he had no right to the French throne.
Interestingly enough, a French court has previously ruled that the Spanish Bourbons are no longer French. Anjouists reject this because the court was of the illegitimate French Republic. This is ironic since it is by the laws of the illegitimate French Republic that make Don Luis a French citizen.
Further, with the Count of Montizon being a foreigner, the throne of France passed to Philippe d’Orleans (Philippe VII), making the House of Orleans the Royal House of France. Why should the Royal House of France be displaced because another person gains French citizenship half a century after the fact?
Anjouists also like to argue that nationality granted by civil act would be sufficient to restore a person to the line of succession. As stated above, this is false. Further, the Judgment of Le Maistre specifically nullifies “all treaties made or to be made which would call to the throne of France a foreign prince or princess, as contrary to the salic law and other fundamental times of the state.”
Keep in mind that the definition of a treaty included not only international treaties but any legal agreement. The wording here indicates that being French is a prerequisite to being in the line of succession. Otherwise, a foreigner could be declared “French” and given the throne, which put the crown of France into foreign hands. Maistre specifically declares such an agreement is void.
8. Why was nationality never used to justify excluding Philip V or settling the question of legality of his renunciation to the French throne?
Guy Sainty writes:
If, however, foreign nationality was sufficient to exclude a dynast then a simple remedy to have settled the issue of the legality or otherwise of the renunciations of 1712 would have been to deprive Philip V of his French nationality upon becoming Spanish King. If foreign nationality was all that was required to exclude a dynast, there did not need to be any renunciations and no-one would have bothered to argue about the legality or otherwise of the means used. [E, final paragraph.]
While this appears true on the surface, a quick exploration of history and the behaviours of Louis XIV, the French monarch who agreed to Utrecht, reveals that the Sun King cared little for the Fundamental Laws. At one point, he even issued letters patent recognising his bastards as Princes of the Blood, a direct violation of the Fundamental Laws. These were later revoked after Louis’ death.
It is no surprise that Louis intended to leave open the possibility of a union of the crowns of Spain and France, a thought that terrified the other crowned heads of Europe. This, of course, is what started the War of Spanish Succession in the first place. The other European power didn’t not want a potential union of the crowns.
If Louis XIV and his ministers had definitively stated that Philip V and his descendants would lose their succession rights by moving and residing abroad, then it would have settled the issue, something Louis XIV didn’t want. Prior to the war, Louis issued letters patent confirming Philip’s succession rights and those of his descendants. These were revoked after the war.
Since Louis XIV cared little for the legal question behind this, the last thing he wanted was for the issue to be settled in the minds of his subjects. He always wanted the future possibility of a union of the crowns open, legal or not.
9. The Constitution of 1791.
Kingship is indivisible and delegated hereditarily to the race on the throne, from male to male, by order of primogeniture, to the perpetual exclusion of women and their descendants.
(Nothing is prejudged on the effect of renunciations in the race on the throne.)
Anjouists claim that this shows that Utrecht is invalid or somehow restores the Spanish Bourbons to line of succession.
Firstly, the question was far from unanimous and was hotly debated. Secondly, the Parlement of Paris, not the National Assembly, was the guardian of the Fundamental Laws. It had no authority to make judgments as to the Fundamental Laws, nor did it have the authority to alter the Fundamental Laws.
Notice this purported “law” of succession mentions nothing about the other Fundamental Laws. There is nothing requiring the king to be Catholic and French, nothing about the unavailability of the crown.
Then there is Title III, Chapter II, Section I, Article 5:
If, one month after the invitation of the legislative body, the king shall not have taken this oath, or if, after having taken it, he retracts it, he shall be considered to have abdicated the throne.
And Article 7:
If the king, having left the kingdom, should not return after the invitation which shall be made to him for that purpose by the legislative body and within the period which shall be fixed by the proclamation, which shall not be less than two months, he shall be considered to have abdicated the throne.
The period shall begin to run from the day when the proclamation of the legislative body shall have been published in the place of its sittings; and the ministers shall be required under their responsibility to perform all the acts of the executive power, whose exercise shall be suspended in the hands of the absent king.
These supposed “laws” of succession are invalid and fly in the face of the Fundamental Laws and everything they stand for. No legitimist in his right mind would consider this so-called “constitution” legitimate. Keep in mind that Louis XVI was forced to agree to it. And, in the end, the revolutionaries still killed him and his family.
It may be the case that many Anjouists are merely citing the Constitution of 1791 to demonstrate that Utrecht was thought to be invalid. But that would require them to accept the judgment of revolutionaries who rebelled against their king (some of whom played a role in his murder). Again, these same people had no authority to make such a judgment.
Philip V made a valid and irrevocable renunciation to the French throne for himself and his descendants, made legal by a force majeure (the War of Spanish Succession).
There was no force majeure to allow a conditional renunciation, something repugnant to the Fundamental Laws, and the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830 was illegal and void.
Philip V descendants resided and lived in Spain, becoming foreigners. The Count of Montizon, thus, was a foreigner and not in the French line of succession. His descendants, likewise, are not in the line of succession.
With the death of the Count of Chambord in 1883, the House of Orleans became the Royal House of France because Philippe d’Orleans was the senior agnate who met all the qualifications under the Fundamental Laws. From that moment, the House of Orleans was and remains the Royal House of France, which is headed by Henri d’Orleans, Comte de Paris (de jure Henri VII).