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French royal claimant cannot call himself Bourbon, court rules

Thursday, 02-Oct-2003 9:20AM PDT
    
Story from AFP
Copyright 2003 by Agence France-Presse (via ClariNet)

PARIS, Oct 2 (AFP) - Henri d'Orleans, count of Paris and rival pretender to the throne of France, is banned from using the ancient royal name of Bourbon because it was abandoned by his family in the 17th century, France's high court of appeal ruled Thursday.

The decision scuppered Orleanist hopes of reclaiming the dynastic title, which will now remain with the senior branch of the royal house -- represented by Louis Alphonse de Bourbon, duke of Anjou and the other contender for the throne.


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The Cour de Cassation confirmed a lower court answer to a plea lodged by the 70 year-old count of Paris shortly after he inherited his position in 1999, in which he asked for the right to call himself Henri de Bourbon.

Both courts found that the name had been dropped by Henri's ancestor Philippe d'Orleans, the younger son of King Louis XIII, who was born in 1640. Henri had "no proven legitimate interest in reclaiming possession of the name of Bourbon," the judges said.

The Orleans and Bourbon families have conducted a bitter and fruitless contest for the right to claim the throne of France ever since the last king -- the Orleanist Louis-Philippe -- lost power in 1848.

While the Orleans line comes through Louis XIII's younger son, the Bourbons pass through the elder -- Louis XIV -- whose descendants ruled till Louis XVI's execution in the revolution. After the restoration Louis XVI's brother Charles X, who reigned from 1824 to 1830, was the last Bourbon king of France.

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