What is the French Nationality?
Firstly, we must say that “nationality” is a contemporary term. The Anjouists point this out and twist it in their favour by claiming nationality was anachronistic and didn’t really exist in the Old Regime.
The term did not exist, but the French knew there was such a thing as a foreigner (étranger/aubain) versus a Frenchman (régnicole/naturel françois). If such concepts didn’t exist, it would have been impossible to have enforced the droit d’aubaine.
“Nationality,” thus, is a term we use for convenience and simplicity.
Secondly, we must acknowledge that French nationality law changed over time. During the Old Regime, and when the Spanish Bourbons left for Spain, the standard was jus soli, to be “born in the kingdom, country, lands and lordships of the obedience of the King of France.” Such a person was considered a regnicole, a natural Frenchman.
Jus sanguinis, nationality by blood, however, was only used in limited circumstances. This began in 1576 after the Edict of Pacification, which declared Protestants who fled the kingdom because of the Wars of Religion would not lose their status as regnicoles.
The most famous example of this it the L’Arrêt Mabile, where a woman born in England was declared an natural Frenchwoman. Mabile moved to France, took letters of naturalness (which weren’t necessary, but showed her desire to remain in France), and sued for an inheritance of her share of her late grandmother’s estate.
Citing the aforesaid Edict of Pacification, the Parlement of Paris declared her a natural Frenchwoman.
There were plenty of such cases. There were also cases of people “accidentally” born abroad. In such cases, it was shown that the birth abroad was “accidental” and that the parents never left France “sans esprit de retour” (“without spirit of return”). Just like with Mabile, the petitioners were required to maintain residence in France.
Some cases even stretched as far back as two generations, where the petitioner had a French grandfather.
It was only after the fall of the Old Regime that nationality by jus sanguinis became automatic. See the Civil Code of Napoleon:
Every child born of a Frenchman in a foreign country is French. Every child born in a foreign country of a Frenchman who shall have lost the quality of a Frenchman, may at any time recover this quality by complying with the formalities prescribed in the ninth article.
The Civil Code would go on to be adopted by the Bourbon Restoration of Louis XVIII, legalising the Code.
The Spanish Bourbons
Felipe V of Spain, previously the Duke of Anjou, left France to become King of Spain. In 1713, his letters of naturalness were revoked, and Felipe renounced his claim to the French throne (which is a mostly separate, but important, legal debate).
Here are the descendants of Felipe V up to Count of Montizon, the Anjouist claimant for the French throne in 1883:
Carlos III. Born in Madrid, Spain. Died in Madrid, Spain.
Carlos IV. Born in Portici, Naples. Died in Rome, Papal States.
Infante Carlos (de jure Carlos V of Spain). Born in Aranjuez, Spain. Died in Trieste, Austria.
Juan, Count of Montizon (de jure Juan III of Spain). Born in Aranjuez, Spain. Died in Hove, England.
As stated above, the use of jus sanguinis was limited and had never been used further back than two generations (a grandfather). After 1883, when the last elder French Bourbons died, the Spanish Bourbons had been abroad for four generations.
The Count of Montizon was the great-great grandson of Felipe V (on both the paternal and maternal sides, as it happens).
The fact is, despite some claims otherwise, Felipe V choose Spain over France. His descendants were born abroad. Thus, they were foreigners. So, in 1883, the French throne passed to Philippe d’Orleans, Count of Paris.
Moreover, there is a big difference between inheriting some property, and a person inheriting a throne. The latter goes on to rule a country. The writers of the 16th and 17th centuries were very clear. Even a prince who had the Blood of France could be rejected if he became a foreigner.
Arnulf opposed the Nobility of France, who never wished to recognise a Foreign Prince for their king; even if he is the blood of France.
Favyn says the French chose Odo over Charles the Simple because they viewed Charles as foreign. After the death of Odo, the French would choose Charles the Simple as king. Regardless, to the mind of Favyn, this shows a desire that the king be a Frenchman.
Then there is the election of Hugh Capet. Historians viewed Charles of Lorraine as a foreigner (despite having the Blood of France), so the French chose Capet, who was a “natural Frenchman” who had the “Air of France.”
Anjouists dismiss this a revisionist history and ahistorical. It is true that it is revisionist history, but that is irrelevant. The purpose is the understand the mindset of those who conceived of “fundamental laws” in the first place.
They believed that the king must be French, and in their minds, a family which left France, even in the first generation.
There remained of the Carolingian race only Charles, Duke of Lorraine. This Prince was absent [and thus foreign], of little virtue, and very bad in the minds of the French; Hugh Capet, on the contrary, was in the heart of the Kingdom [meaning he was French], Mighty and esteemful…
It could be said that this poor Prince [Charles de Lorraine] had deposed himself by making himself a foreigner, and that this state could not suffer a chief who was a vassal of another king.
So we see that there is a bid difference between inheriting a minor estate versus inheriting the kingdom itself.
Don Luis de Borbón
Don Luis Alfonso Gonzalo Víctor Manuel Marco de Borbón y Martínez-Bordiú inherited the French nationality through his grandmother, a Frenchwoman. This is true, but that does nothing to help his claim to the throne.
As we’ve already stated, the Count of Montizon was a foreigner, meaning the Bourbon-Orleans became the Royal House of France. This happened back in 1883.
Further, one cannot pass on a claim one does not have. This was decided in the 14th century to refute the claim of Edward III of England, which was through his mother Isabella. This became part of the Male Collaterality rule, which is another rule used to keep the kingdom out of foreign hands, and it is considered a consequence of the Salic law.
Let us look at the ancestry of Don Luis in the male line:
Carlos IV of Spain. Born in Portici, Naples. Died in Rome, Papal States.
Infante Francisco de Paula, Duke of Cadiz. Born in Arunjuez, Spain. Died in Madrid, Spain.
Alfonso “XII” (de facto) of Spain. Born in Arunjuez, Spain. Died in Arunjuez, Spain.
Alfonso “XIII”* (de facto) of Spain. Born in Madrid, Spain. Died in Rome, Italy.
Infante Jaime, Duke of Segovia. Born in Segovia, Spain. Died in Gallen, Switzerland.
Alfonso, Duke of Cadiz. Born in Rome, Italy. Died in Avon, Colorado, United States (skiing accident).
[*Alfonso “XIII” later became de jure King of Spain with the extinction of the Carlist line.]
As can be seen, the only one to have any connection with France was Francis, Duke of Cadiz. This is because he and his wife, the Usurper-Queen of Spain, were overthrown in the so-called “Glorious Revolution.”
It is obvious this was an act of Divine punishment for occupying a throne that did not belong to her. It is the same with “Philippe Égalité,” who voted for the regicide of Louis XVI, only to later meet the same fate. And of Louis Philippe, the Usurper-King of the French, who was himself overthrown and sent into exile.
The illegal actions of Ferdinand VII (the Felon King) and the usurpation against the de jure Carlos V led to three Carlist Wars, and twice the monarchy fell to republican forces. It was only with the coming of El Caudillo, General Franco, that Spain was restored to order.
So, what we clearly see here is that the Spanish Bourbons were Spanish through and through. And with the story of Hugh Capet, as told by the historians of the 16th and 17th centuries, we see that even if they have the Blood of France (albeit distantly), they must be excluded for having become foreigners.
Thus, the House of Orleans are the Royal House of France, which is today headed by HRH Jean, the Count of Paris, de jure Jean IV of France.