Who would be Queen of France today?

legitimists orleans claim
Philomena (left) and María Margarita (right) Credit: Lys-Jaune - CC BY-SA 4.0 (left) and HJK - CC BY-SA 4.0

After the fall of the French monarchy on 21 September 1792, it was resurrected several times, but it currently does not exist. However, as the lines continued into the 21st century, who would be Queen of France today?

King Louis XVI was executed on 21 January 1793, and he was nominally succeeded by his son, now King Louis XVII. He died young while still imprisoned, and his uncle, the Count of Provence, became King Louis XVIII for the monarchists. He was officially proclaimed King during the Bourbon Restoration and reigned from 1815 until his death on 16 September 1824 (with a brief interruption). His wife had already died before his official reign.

He had no children and was succeeded by his brother, the Count of Artois, who became King Charles  X. His wife had died in 1805. He was forced to abdicate six years later, and his cousin Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans, a male-line descendant of King Louis XIII of France, through his second son, Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, was hailed as the new King. This became known as the July Revolution. The legitimists continued to recognise the line of the overthrown eldest branch of the Bourbon dynasty.

Thus, the legitimist line continues with King Charles X’s son, Louis Antoine, Duke of Angoulême, who was recognised as King Louis XIX. He was married to King Louis XVI’s daughter, Marie Thérèse. They had no children together, and upon his death in 1844, the claim passed to his nephew Henry, who was recognised as King Henry V. He married Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Este, but they had no children together, thus ending the male line of King Louis XVI and his brothers.

The line then went back to the descendants of Philippe, Duke of Anjou, second son of Louis, Grand Dauphin, who had succeeded as King Philip V of Spain, following the childless death of King Charles II of Spain1. He gave up his French succession rights to succeed as King of Spain, but this is irrelevant for the legitimists. If they considered his renunciation valid, the succession would fall to the Orléans line. When Henry V died, the claim was taken up by Infante Juan, Count of Montizón, a great-great-grandson in the male line of King Philip V. Infanta Juan was also the Carlist pretender to the throne of Spain after his father Carlos claimed the throne of Spain as King Charles V in opposition to the succession of his niece Queen Isabella II. Juan was married to Archduchess Maria Beatrix of Austria-Este.

Upon Juan’s death in 1887, the claim passed to his eldest son, Infante Carlos, Duke of Madrid, who was married to Princess Margherita of Bourbon-Parma, herself a great-granddaughter of King Charles X of France. After Princess Margherita’s death, he remarried to Princess Berthe de Rohan in 1894. Upon Carlos’s death in 1909, he was succeeded in his claim by his son Jaime, Duke of Madrid. Infante Jaime remained unmarried, and upon his death in 1931, his claim passed to his uncle, Infante Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime. Alfonso Carlos was married to Infanta Maria das Neves of Portugal, but they had no surviving children together.

Upon Alfonso Carlos’s death in 1936, his claim passed to King Alfonso XIII of Spain, a great-great-great-great-grandson in the male line of King Philip V of Spain. He was married to Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. He was deposed as King of Spain in 1931. Upon his death in 1941, he was succeeded by his second son, as his eldest son had died in 1938. His second son was Infante Jaime, Duke of Segovia, who had renounced his rights to the Spanish throne because he was deaf. The throne of Spain was eventually restored to the son of King Alfonso XIII’s third son, who became King Juan Carlos I. The French claim, however, passed to his second son, Infante Jaime, who had married Emmanuelle de Dampierre in 1935. They had two children before divorcing in 1947. Upon Jaime’s death in 1975, his French claim passed to his eldest son, Alfonso, Duke of Anjou and Cádiz.

Alfonso married María del Carmen Martínez-Bordiú y Franco in 1972, and they had two sons before divorcing in 1982. Their eldest son died at the age of 11. Alfonso died in 1989, and he was succeeded by his second son, Louis Alphonse de Bourbon, who uses the title Duke of Anjou. He married María Margarita Vargas Santaella in 2004, and they have four children. Under the legitimist claim, she is the current Queen of France.

The competing claim comes from the Orléans line. Following the July Revolution, Louis Philippe, Duke of Orléans, became Louis Philippe I, King of the French. He was married to Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily. During the February 1848 Revolution, King Louis Philippe I abdicated in favour of his nine-year-old grandson, Philippe, Count of Paris, as his eldest son, Ferdinand Philippe, Duke of Orléans, had died in 1842. However, the young Philippe was not recognised as King; instead, the Second Republic was proclaimed. Nevertheless, the Orléans claim to the French throne passed to him.

Philippe married Infanta Maria Isabel of Spain in 1864, and upon his death in 1894, he was succeeded in his claim by his eldest son, Prince Philippe, Duke of Orléans. He had married Archduchess Maria Dorothea of Austria in 1896, but they separated without having had children in 1914. Upon his death in 1926, he was succeeded by his cousin and brother-in-law, Prince Jean, Duke of Guise, the son of Philippe, Count of Paris’s brother, Robert. He was married to Princess Isabelle of Orléans, who was thus Philippe’s sister. They had four children together, and upon his death in 1940, his claim passed to his only son, Prince Henri, Count of Paris.

Prince Henri was married to Princess Isabelle of Orléans-Braganza in 1931, and they had eleven children before separating in 1986. Upon Henri’s death in 1999, he was succeeded in his claim by his eldest son, who is also known as Prince Henri, Count of Paris. He had married Duchess Marie Therese of Württemberg in 1957, but they divorced in 1984, so she was never titular Queen. He remarried to Micaela Cousiño Quiñones de León in 1984. Upon his death in 2019, he was succeeded by his second son, Prince Jean, Count of Paris, as his elder son, Prince François, Count of Clermont (who was also developmentally disabled), died in 2017. Prince Jean was married to Philomena de Tornos Steinhart in 2009, and she is thus the current Queen of France under the Orléans claim.

  1. Louis’s mother was Maria Theresa of Spain, the elder half-sister of King Charles II of Spain

About Moniek Bloks 2729 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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