Don Luis de Borbon is French. Doesn’t that restore him to the line of succession?
No. It has already been well-established that one cannot pass on a right one does not have. This was established back in 14th century to refute the claim of Edward III of England, who claimed the French throne through his mother. Since his mother could not claim the throne, neither could her children.
Because Don Luis’s ancestors ceased being French, they lost their claim to the French throne. Thus, there was no right or claim for them to pass on to Don Luis. More on this here.
King Henri IV was a foreigner. Is this not proof that a foreigner can take the throne?
No. Henri IV was not a foreigner. It is true that he was born in Bearn in 1553. But the Parlement of Paris ruled in 1505 that Bearnais were French. This was confirmed again in 1579. Click here for more information.
You have misinterpreted the Judgment of Le Maistre. Doesn’t “Foreign prince” mean a prince not of the Blood of France?
No. “Foreign prince” means exactly what it sounds like: a prince who is, or who has become, foreign. That is the plain, natural meaning of the words. Le Maistre specifically states that to put the kingdom into “foreign hands” was “against the laws of the kingdom.”
Despite what Anjouists claim, there is no evidence to back up their definition of “foreign prince.” This is because they erroneously claim that Henri IV was a foreigner, which he was not. Since the Hundred Years’ War, no foreigner has ever taken the throne of France. See: What is a “Foreign Prince”?.
Nationality is anachronistic, so isn’t it wrong to claim there is a nationality requirement?
No. It is true that the term “nationality” was not used during the Old Regime. However, they did understand when someone was or wasn’t French. The term for what we would call a French national was regnicole, someone who was “naturally French.”
Nationality is simply the contemporary term, which we use for simplicity. To try and say the Old Regime didn’t have an understanding who was foreign or French (what today we call “nationality”) is simply wrong and disingenuous. Jus soli, being born in France, was the standard for determining who was regnicole.
Further, the election of Hugh Capet over Charles de Lorraine was justified by saying that Capet was a “natural Frenchman” and had the “air of France.” Those words were written in 1627, so to try and say that nationality is “Revolutionary” or “post-Jacobin,” as the Anjouists claim, is flatly wrong.
The Spanish Bourbons are French by blood, so aren’t they in the line of succession?
No. The standard for determining who was French was not blood (jus sanguinis) but by birth in France (jus soli). It was also required that subjects remained in France. Anyone who permanently left could be considered foreign. This is why Henri III and Felipe V of Spain were given letters patent to maintain their succession rights, by treating them as if they had remained in France. In other words, preserving their status as French.
Felipe’s letters, however, were revoked. So he permanently left France and his children were born in Spain, making them foreign. Thus, there was no right for them to pass on. More of this is addressed in The Unionist Case (section H-2) and Nationality.
Doesn’t the Salic law call Don Luis to the French throne?
No. The purpose of the Salic law was the keep the throne out of “foreign hands.” This is stated or implied by Pierre de Belloy, Claude de Seyssel, and by the Judgment of Le Maistre of 1593. Le Maistre states that to give the throne to a foreign prince was “contrary to the Salic law and other fundamental times of the state.”
Le Maistre further states that to put the kingdom into “foreign hands” was “against the laws of the kingdom.”
And Charles IX said in his declaration to preserve the rights of Henri III that foreigners were “incapable of all succession.”
Since it is “contrary to the Salic law” to put a foreigner on the throne, it is impossible for the Salic law to call a foreigner to the throne.
Read more about the Salic law here.
Haven’t foreigners taken the French throne before?
Such has only happened before the Hundred Years’ War and before the creation of the Fundamental Laws in the 16th century.
Many Anjouists like to cite Francis II, Henri III, and Henri IV as “foreigners.”
Francis II, while he was King Consort of Scotland, never permanently left France. In fact, he never went to Scotland, which was ruled by his mother-in-law, Mary of Guise. Thus, he was never foreign.
Henri III received letters patent to maintain his status as French, despite his absence from France.
Henri IV was French at birth and he never permanently left France. See: The Myth of Foreign Kings for more information.
How can you call yourselves Legitimists?
It’s quite simple. Because we are. There are erroneous definitions out there of what a Legitimist is. Legitimism is the belief that the legitimate laws of the kingdom determine the rightful king. That is it.
Some definitions erroneously claim it is based on direct descent, but that is only partially true.
Webster‘s has a more correct definition: “adherence to the principles of political legitimacy or to a person claiming legitimacy.”
And Collins provides this definition:
1. a monarchist who supports the rule of a legitimate dynasty or of its senior branch2. (formerly) a supporter of the elder line of the Bourbon family in France3. a supporter of legitimate authority adjective also: legitimistic4. of or relating to legitimists
So it is clear that different dictionaries give different definitions.
So let us look at it from another source: the Legitimists of Russia, who define it as “the notion that the laws of a dynasty or a kingdom determine the identity of the rightful king.”
Let us examine the notion of direct descent. This must obviously be false. Bastards (illegitimate children) are of direct descent but have no dynastic rights. Clearly, then, we must determine that succession is based on law and that the law supersedes blood.
This is further evidenced when we examine the etymology of the word “Legitimism.” It has the same root as legitimate and comes from the Latin legitimus, meaning “lawful.”
Thus, it must be concluded that Legitimism is the belief that the laws of the realm determine its king. In France, this means succession based on the Fundamental Laws of France. It is not just enough to be the senior agnate. All of the qualifications have to be met. And the law requires that the king be French.
We discuss more of this here.
Why Unionist? Why don’t you just call yourselves Orleanists?
Because the terms Legitimist and Orleanist are too simplistic. If we called ourselves by the latter, many would assume we support the July Monarchy and the popular sovereignty it represented. We reject such notions.
Prior to 1883, Orleanism was the support of popular sovereignty and the rejection of the Divine Right of Kings. We reject Orleanism and the confusion using such a term would create.
It is our belief that it is God, via the Fundamental Laws, that calls a certain prince to the French throne. The state and the Crown are of divine origin. The legitimate state and its laws are created organically under the guiding hand of God. The Fundamental Laws are the same.
By me kings reign and lawgivers establish justice; By me princes govern and nobles; all the rulers of the earth.
Naturally, we hold with the Legitimists prior to 1883 and believe that the July Monarchy was a usurpation.
After the Count of Chambord’s (Henri V) death in 1883, most Legitimists supported the House of Orleans as the rightful kings, seeing the Spanish Branch as having been removed from the line of succession. That is not, however, to suggest that these Legitimists suddenly supported the ideas of Orleanism. They were merely supporting the rightful king.
These people became known as Unionists (Fusionistes). Thus, we use the term Unionist.
Aren’t the Orleans excluded for their past treasons?
No. Unlike England and other countries, there is no corruption of blood exception to the Fundamental Laws. Absent such an exception, the Inalienability of the Crown still applies and so the Prince of the Blood, even descended from a traitor, is still called to the throne, so long as the other conditions are met.
Henri IV could be said to have committed treason by fighting against the Royal and Catholic Army of Henri III. Regardless, Henri III still acknowledged Henri IV as his successor.
Further, even if the corruption of blood claim were true, it would not restore the Spanish Bourbons to the French throne. The throne would instead pass to the family next in line.
The Count of Paris was born in Belgium. Doesn’t that make him a foreigner?
No. The birth of the Count of Paris in Belgium is the result of a law of exile, and not one of free choice, but one done under duress and force. Thus, it cannot be held against him. More on this claim here.
If the nationality rule were true, why did they not use it on Felipe V rather than require a renunciation?
This is a question Anjouists ask all the time. Firstly, Louis XIV did not care about the Fundamental Laws, this is evidenced by the fact he tried to put his bastards in the line of succession. His efforts were revoked after his death. Louis XIV wanted to keep the possibility of a union of the Spanish and French crown open. Louis was not a man accustomed to the word “no.”
That is also the reason for the sycophantic “observations” of Aguesseau.
It was Louis’ desire to keep Felipe’s succession rights open that caused Britain to declare war on France in the first place. The only reason this was kept open was specifically because letters patent were issued to preserve Felipe’s succession rights, despite his absence from France — thus preserving his status as French.
Then Anjouists ask: “Why did Felipe not just renounce his nationality?”
But the truth is, with the revocation of the aforesaid letters patent and Felipe’s move to Spain, the renunciation of his nationality, his status as a regnicole, was theoretically automatic. Regardless, Felipe did not do so verbally, and neither he nor Louis would have wanted him to. Again, they wanted to maintain the possibility of Felipe’s succession to the French throne.