We’ve heard the repeated claims of the Anjouists again and again. “There is no nationality requirement,” the say. “The blood right of Princes of the Blood supersedes the law of aubaine,” they say.
The notion of “Fundamental Laws” emerged in the 16th century based on customs dating back centuries.
The Inalienability of the Crown made clear that the succession would be based on custom. Let us argue that we use this rule to negate the renunciations of the Spanish Bourbons (Treaty of Utrecht).
There is one common theme and custom that dominates the Fundamental Laws: the exclusion of foreigners in favour of French candidates. Male collaterality and Inalienability of the Crown were both used to keep the kingdom out of foreign hands.
Piere de Belloy, a French magistrate who defended the rights of Henri IV against the Catholic League, wrote in 1587 that the purpose of the Salic law was not to exclude women because of “imbecility,” which he said was often found in men, but to keep the kingdom out of “foreign hands.”
We see a similar opinion from Claude de Seyssel:
And the first specialty 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.
And then there is the very important Judgment of Le Maistre of 1593:
…said court declares all treaties made and to be made hereafter for the establishment of a foreign prince and princess of null effect and value, as done to the prejudice of the Salic law and other fundamental laws of the state.
That the fundamental laws of this kingdom be kept and the judgments given by the said court for the declaration of a Catholic and French king executed; and that it is necessary to employ the authority which has been committed to him to prevent that, under pretext of religion, be transferred in foreign hands against the laws of the kingdom…
The above ruling confirmed the rights of Henri IV, a Frenchman, to be king and denied the throne to Infanta Isabella of Spain, a foreigner.
Regardless of this, Anjouists cite the Salic law as a reason to give the throne to a foreigner.
The problem is that the Fundamental Laws are considered equal. All of the criteria must be met for a person to take the throne.
So, just as Le Maistre made it impossible to use the pretext of religion to give the throne to a foreigner, it is the same for the Salic law. The Salic law does not supersede the requirement that the king be French. In fact, the Salic law requires that the king be French (more on this below).
Likewise, the blood rights of Princes of the Blood do not supersede this requirement either.
Anjouists erroneously claim that Henri IV was a foreigner because he was born in Bearn, then part of the Kingdom of Navarre. However, the Parlement de Paris ruled in 1505 that Bearnais were naturally French.
Anjouists like to the cite the letters patent issued to Henri III and claim they were precautionary and unnecessary to maintain his succession rights and those of his potential children. However, nowhere do these letters state there is some inherent blood right that would supersede the requirement that the king be French.
The purpose was to maintain Henri III’s succession rights despite his departure from the kingdom and despite any children being born abroad:
…so they will remain all right and whatever other things may be theirs now and in the event of his coming and staying as if he were full, he lived and lived continually in this kingdom until their trespass, and their heirs were original and *regnicoles.
*A regnicole was a subject of France, a natural Frenchman.
Even clearer are the letters patent (which were later revoked) to Felipe V of Spain:
Our dearest and most loving little Son, the King of Spain, still retains the rights of his birth in the same way, as if he were doing his present residence in our kingdom.
It was only during and after the War of the Spanish Succession, that some started claiming that there was some inherent blood right to allow a foreign prince on the throne. This was done by people who wanted to keep open the possibility of a union between France and Spain.
In contrast to such opinions, we turn to the words of Charles IX in his Declaration to the future Henri III, which stated that foreigners were “incapable of all succession.”
Further, Le Maistre states on two occasions that giving the throne to foreigners is against to the Salic law:
JUDGMENT of the sitting parliament in Paris which annuls 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.
This, plus the above quotes from Seyssel and Belloy, it is clear that giving the throne to a foreigner is against the Salic law, as the true purpose of the Salic law is to keep the kingdom out of “foreign hands.” Thus, it is impossible for the Salic law to call a foreigner to the throne. In other words, a foreigner is outside the line of succession.
In 1883, after the death of the last French Bourbon, Philippe d’Orleans was the most senior agnate to be French. Thus, the Salic law called him to the throne, not his relative, the Count of Montizon (de jure Juan III of Spain).
As such, Henri d’Orleans, Comte de Paris is the rightful King of France.