The Unionist Case

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Hugh Capet, King of the Franks

A. The Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom of France

As a Legitimist organisation, we support succession according to the Fundamental Laws of the Kingdom of France.

The beginnings of the Fundamental Laws has its first origins in 11th and 12th centuries when the throne became hereditary. However, it was only in the 16th century that jurists and legal scholars began to conceive of “Fundamental Laws.”

The Fundamental Laws which developed were:

1. Hereditary succession. The throne passes by hereditary succession. This principle began when King of the Franks Hugh Capet had his son Robert II crowned during his lifetime. This was to prevent succession disputes.  Note: this is limited to legitimate children.

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Robert II the Pious

2. Primogeniture. The throne passes by primogeniture. This principle was strengthened by Robert II when he had his eldest son Henri I crowned rather than his younger son Robert.

3. Masculinity. The throne was limited to men in 1316 when Philip V was chosen over Joan, who became Queen of Navarre. This principle would become known as Salic law after the rediscovery of the Lex Salica in the early 15th century.

4. Male collaterality. The throne can only pass in the male line. This was used by Philip VI to counter the claim of Edward III of England, son of Queen Isabella (the She-Wolf of France). It was decided that a woman could not pass on a claim she did not have. This principle became equated with the Salic law.

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Edward III of England

5. Continuity of the Crown. As soon as the king dies, the next in line is automatically king, regardless of any coronation. This began in 1270 when Philip III dated the start of his reign right after the death of his father rather than his coronation. This was strengthened in the early 15th century when Charles VI declared that his successor would become king immediately upon his death.

6. Inalienability of the Crown (or unavailability of the Crown). The crown is not the property of the king. The king cannot appoint his successor, abdicate, or renounce the throne. This rule came into being to negate the Treaty of Troyes, which would have removed Charles VII from the succession and given the throne to Henry VI of England.

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Charles VII being crowned with Joan of Arc in the background

Naturally, the French had to fight the rest of the Hundred Years’ War to cement this rule and maintain the kingdom’s independence from Plantagenet rule. Despite the English defeat, they would continue to claim the French throne until 1801.

7. The King must be French. There is not a general date for this rule. It appears in the 16th century after the Hundred Years’ War and was confirmed as a pre-existing rule by the Judgment of Le Maistre of 1593, which states that giving the crown to a foreigner was “contrary to the Salic law and the other fundamental times of the state.”

Beginning in the 16th century, every Prince of the Blood who went abroad and wanted to maintain succession rights, received letters patent to maintain their nationality and exempt them from the right of aubaine (droit d’aubaine), whereby their succession rights would have been lost upon becoming foreigners.

At that time, it was not just enough to be born in France (Jus Soli) or to be born of a French parent (Jus Sanguinis). Residency in France had to be maintained, or succession rights would be lost via the right of aubaine*.

[*This can easily become a point of confusion.  The droit d’aubaine is not exactly the same thing as the “nationality rule,” but a very similar concept and is often used interchangeably.  Technically, however, the Fundamental Laws are a higher set of laws than those which regulate the succession to lesser estates.  Regardless, the jurists and historians of the 16th and 17th centuries understood that the king had to be a Frenchman.]

In his Funeral Oration for Maria Theresa of Austria (mother of Louis XIV), Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet wrote:

What need be to speak of the Most Christian House of France, which by its noble constitution is incapable of being subject to a foreign family, which is still dominant in its head, which alone in the whole universe and in every century, after seven hundred years of established kingship…

[Section 196]

It is important to note how this rule will be equated with the Salic law, particularly in the Judgement of Le Maistre of 1593, which states that giving the throne to foreigners is “contrary to the Salic law and other fundamental times of the state.”

This is not by accident. Jurists justified the use of the Salic law as a means of keeping the kingdom out of foreign hands, as Claude de Seyssel wrote:

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 if it is common to advance those of his nation, and to give them the greatest and most important authority in the handling of affairs; and more preferring them to honors and profits; yet he always has more love and confidence in them, and conforms more to their mores and conditions than to those of the country where he comes again. Whose ensuing desire and dissention between those of the country and the foreigners, and indignation against the princes, as we often saw by experience and see it every day.

[La Grand Monarchie de France (1558). (see 5th result) Claude de Seyssel]

8. Catholicism. The king must be Catholic. This was confirmed or established by the aforementioned Judgment of Le Maistre of 1593. After announcing his intention to convert to Catholicism, the Parlement of Paris issued the judgment to confirm Henri IV’s right to be king and denying the throne to other claimants because of their foreign nature.

B. Analysis of the Fundamental Laws

1. The rules that would form the Fundamental Laws developed over time; mainly between the 14th and 16th centuries.

2. The concept of the Fundamental Laws first emerged in the 16th century.

3. The Hundred Years’ War and the French Wars of Religion served as catalysts for the creation of the Fundamental Laws.

The Hundred Years’ War was a war of succession between the English Plantagenets and the French Valois. This war devastated France. It was quite literally a total war. Peasants were considered a legitimate military target because they paid most of the taxes, and targeting them would militarily weaken the French.

The war also led to the deaths of many French noblemen. The famous Battle of Agincourt alone led to the deaths of at least nineteen noblemen and the capture of an estimated 1,500 noblemen. Total French deaths are estimated between 1,000 and 11,000.

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Battle of Agincourt

And it was after the Battle of Agincourt that the Treaty of Troyes was signed, which granted the throne to Henry V of England and his heirs after the death of Charles VI.

As already stated, Male collaterality was used to refute the claim of Edward III of England to the French Throne. And Inalienability of the Crown was created to negate the Treaty of Troyes.

The French Wars of Religion led to the deaths of nearly 3 million and also devastated France. It is from this that the rule of Catholicism was added and confirmed in the Judgment of le Maistre of 1593.

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Duke of Guise, founder of the Catholic League

It is no doubt, then, that these wars–one being a war of succession–would cause French jurists to debate and develop firm, fundamental laws of succession to help settle such debates.

4. The continued use of the Salic law was justified as keeping the kingdom out of foreign hands. And on multiple occasions keeping foreigners off the throne was equated with the Salic law.

Twice the Judgement of Le Maistre mentions giving the throne to foreigners is against the Salic law. First, in the preamble:

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.

And again in the third paragraph of the body:

…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.

So, too, does the previous quote from Claude de Seyssel in the previous section (section A-7).

5. Male collaterality was created to keep the throne out of foreign hands (Edward III of England).

6. Inalienability of the Crown was created to deny the throne to Henry VI of England. Again, keeping the throne out of foreign hands.

Thus, it must be concluded that denying the throne to foreigners is not just in keeping with the Fundamental Laws, but is the spirit and bedrock of said laws.

C. The Nature of the Dispute

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Felipe V of Spain

In 1700, Carlos II (Habsburg) of Spain died without issue. In his will, he named Philip, Duke of Anjou as his heir.

16 November 1700 Philip is proclaimed King Felipe V of Spain.

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Philip of Anjou proclaimed King of Spain

Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor refused to accept this. He proclaimed his son, Archduke Karl, as “Carlos III” of Spain.

Britain was afraid of the possibility of a union of the Spanish and French crowns.

This resulted in the War of the Spanish Succession. Louis XIV’s France found itself at war with almost all of Europe.

The war ended in 1713 with the Treaty of Utrecht, where Felipe V renounced his rights to the French throne.

Earlier in 1700, letters patent were issued and registered by the Parelement of Paris to confirm Felipe V’s succession rights to the French throne (and those of his descendants) despite his departure from France. Those letters patent were revoked in 1713 (ibid.).

Anjouists argue that the renunciations are invalid because they violate the Inalienability of the Crown.

They further argue that the renunciations were conditional upon the continuation of the Salic law in Spain, which was introduced by Felipe V.

They also claim that there is no nationality requirement in the Fundamental Laws. Or they claim that the Spanish Bourbons are automatically French. For their evidence they often bring up Henri IV, whom they claim was a foreigner.

These points will be addressed below.

D. The Nationality Requirement

It is true that the jurists of the 16th century did not use the term “nationality,” but they did understand if someone was or wasn’t French. And ever since the Fundamental Laws came into existence, one thing was pretty clear: the king must be French.

Once again, the Salic law was equated with keeping foreigners off the throne, while Male collaterality and Inalienability of Crown were used to keep foreigners off the throne. Further, the Judgment of Le Maistre mentions multiple times that foreigners were prohibited from the line of succession.

Remember, it is not just birth in France (Jus Soli) or having a French parent (Jus Sanguinis) that makes one French. Residency had to be maintained to remain French. Anyone who left permanently (without “intent of return”) could be considered a foreigner.

Starting in the 16th century and after, those who left France but wanted to maintain their succession rights received letters patent to retain their succession rights. Particularly Henri III and Felipe V of Spain.

The letters patent worked by retaining what today would be called “nationality.”

First, the letters patent of Henri III, who was elected King of Poland but became King of France with the death of his brother. The letters make clear that what we would call nationality is being preserved:

…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.

[Note:regnicole was a natural Frenchman.]

In other words, despite leaving France, Henri and any legitimate sons would be treated as if they had continued to live in France. Thus preserving their statuses as French.

The same goes for Felipe V:

Our dearest and most loving little Son [grandson], 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.

Further, the preamble:

Letters patent of the King declaring that his grandson the King of Spain retains the rights of his birth, as if he continued to reside in the Kingdom, so that he and his heirs will die, if necessary , heirs of the Crown of France, despite their absence from the kingdom and their birth abroad.

So, in both these cases the letters preserve the nationality of the persons in question by treating them as if they had remained and lived in France. This would have given them protection from the right of aubaine.

In Felipe’s case, however, his letters were revoked (ibid.) in 1713:

Letters patent of the King, declaring, with a view to peace, to accept the reciprocal renunciations of the King of Spain, the Duke of Berry and the Duke of Orleans to the Crowns of France and Spain, to revoke his previous Letters of the month of December 1700 whose dismissal will be mentioned in the margin of their registrations in the registers of the Court of Parlement.

The revocation meant that the Spanish Bourbons, by permanently leaving France, had become foreigners and were removed from the succession.

[See also: Poland vs. Spain]

Anjouists argue that the right of succession of the Princes of the Blood supersedes any nationality rule. This is not the case. Nowhere in either of these letters patent did they say that Princes of the Blood had an inherent right to the throne that would supersede the right of aubaine or the requirement that the king be French. On the contrary, in his Declaration to the future Henri III, Charles IX acknowledged that foreigners were “incapable of all succession.”

Both letters make it very clear that they are preserving the succession rights because the persons in question would be treated as if they had remained in France.

Anjouists like to bring up Henri IV by bringing up the fact that he was born in and was King of Navarre. All that is true, but calling him a foreigner is wrong.

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Henri IV

Henri’s father, Antoine de Bourbon, was a French Peer who continued to reside in France and was active in French politics. Antoine was born in, resided in, and died in France. Thus, he was never a foreigner and never subject to the right of aubaine.

It is true that Henri was born in Bearn in the Kingdom of Navarre, but in December 1505 the Parlement of Paris ruled that subjects of Bearn were naturally French (p. 105).  The Parlement of Paris confirmed this again in 1579.  This is definitive proof that Henri IV was not a foreigner.

And even if the above hadn’t been the case, Navarre was a de facto French  vassal state* that had been ruled by French vassals and had previously been in personal union with France.  And Henri, too, resided and eventually died in France.  Compared to Henri’s estates, Navarre was only a tiny fraction. Because Navarre was a tiny (de facto) vassal state ruled by French vassals and had previously been part of the “ancient domain” of Francia and West Francia, it wasn’t considered a foreign country.  This means Henri was not born on foreign soil, and the principle of jus soli (the standard at the time) still applied.

It should be further noted that the marriage that produced Henri IV, between Antoine de Bourbon and Joan of Navarre, was done under the orders of King Francis I of France.  Francis was able to do this because Marguerite de Navarre was a French vassal.

[*See the Vassalage of Navarre and Henri IV: Frenchman.]

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Estates of Henri IV; the Kingdom of Navarre in the left corner

It is important to note that inheriting foreign estates does not make one foreign. It is the act of permanently leaving France that would make one a foreigner. Neither Antoine nor Henri did that.

Anjouists like to bring up other “foreign” French monarchs. Some bring up Henri III, but that has been addressed above.

It is claimed that foreigners have become King of France, but there is no evidence to suggest that any of the Capetian monarchs were foreign, and all foreigners since the Hundred Years’ War have been rejected.

While it is true that no male claimant has been refused the throne on the basis of nationality since the 16th century, it has happened for a female claimant.

During the French Wars of Religion, many in the Catholic League tried to put Infanta Isabella of Spain on the throne.

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Infanta Isabella of Spain

While not mentioning her by name, the Judgment of Le Maistre denied her the throne in favour of Henri IV:

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 Catholic League cared so much about having a Catholic king that they were willing to use it as an excuse to give the throne to Infanta Isabella.

Despite the fact that, as a woman, Isabella could not inherit the throne, the main reason for excluding her was because she was foreign.

Thus, the Fundamental Laws are clear: the king must be a Frenchman.

E. The Validity of Utrecht

As mentioned, Anjouists claim that the Felipe V’s renunciation is invalid ab initio–that is to say–invalid from the beginning. It is true that under normal circumstances the renunciation of Felipe V would have been invalid, but this was not a normal circumstance. France had been at war with almost all of Europe, and suffered 500,000 to 600,000 causalities, far more than any other party.

France (and Europe) needed peace, and it is the first duty of any king to protect and secure his nation. Louis and Felipe could either accept the peace or continue the war, risking the lives of their countrymen (and the potential survival of their states).

But it would make no sense to do so. By Felipe renouncing the French throne, and keeping Spain, France would no longer be surrounded on both sides by Habsburgs. So a peace would not only save the lives of Louis’s subjects, but would also leave France in a better position than before Felipe became King of Spain.

It is also common sense that the preservation of the state supersedes the laws of said state. The laws, after all, cannot exist without the state.

There is also the legal principle of force majeure. Extreme, unforeseen circumstances can negate the normal requirement to fulfil one’s legally required duty.

Because of the extreme nature of the circumstances, the usual requirement that Inalienability of the Crown be followed was no longer applicable. Thus, this one-time violation became valid (under no circumstances was Inalienability of the Crown abrogated.)

F. Conditional Renunciations?

Anjouists claim that Felipe’s renunciation was conditional upon the keeping the Salic law in Spain. For their evidence, they cite the words of the Usurper King Louis Philippe:

It is not only as French that I take him an interest in this question, It is also like father. In the case, indeed (which will never happen in my time) where we would have the misfortune to lose The Duke of Bordeaux, without leaving a child, the crown will return to my eldest son, provided that the Salic law is maintained in Spain, for, if it was not, the renunciation of Felipe V to the throne of France, in his name and in the name of his male descendants, would be struck with nullity, since it was only in act of this renunciation that the descendants of this prince acquired an incontestable right to the crown of Spain, but If this right is taken away from them, they may claim the right given to them by the French Salic law to the inheritance of Louis XIV, and as grandson of Louis XIV they pass before my children.

There are three main problems with this logic:

1. It should be understandable to say that violations of the Fundamental Laws must be kept to a minimum (otherwise what is the point of them?). Simply put, there was no force majeure to allow for conditional renunciations.

A conditional renunciation would be a greater violation of the Fundamental Laws than a simple, flat renunciation because it would be a greater violation of the Inalienability of the Crown. The order of succession had already been changed, so it would be another violation to change it again. However, there was no force majeure to make such a violation passable.

Further, the Spanish Bourbons had become foreigners. If the King of France could not re-order the line of succession to the French Throne, surely the King of Spain couldn’t. It is a total perversion of the Fundamental Laws to think that a foreigner could change the succession to the French Throne, a throne he had no right to inherit because of his foreign nature.

Then there is the actual renunciation of Felipe itself, which was in perpetuity:

With my own movement, my free, frank and pure will, me Don Felipe, by the grace of God King of Castile and Leon … etc … etc … I renounce, by the present act, forever and for ever, for myself and for my heirs and successors, to all claims, rights and titles that I or some of my other descendants have from now on, or may, have at any time that it may be the future, to the succession of the crown of France. I abandon them, and forsake them for myself and for them, and I declare myself and exclude myself and myself, and my children, heirs and descent, perpetually … from the right to succeed to the crown of France.

2. In 1830 Ferdinand VII of Spain, who has no male children, issued the Pragmatic Sanction of 1830, which purportedly ended the Salic law in Spain.

This purported law sought to disinherit Ferdinand’s brother Infante Carlos and denied him his pre-existing rights.

Further, the “Pragmatic” Sanction was never approved (see footnote, p. 75) by the Cortes, making it an illegal act of tyranny.

It is true that an earlier Pragmatic Sanction (1789) to abolish the Salic law had been approved by the Cortes, but it was never published, making it null and void. And since the the 1789 Sanction took place after the birth of Carlos, it also sought to vacate his pre-existing right to the Spanish throne, making it void.

This meant that Infante Carlos (Carlos V), not the purported Isabella “II” was the true monarch of Spain.

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Carlos V, rightful King of Spain

Clearly, it makes no sense why the illegal act of a foreign monarch should determine the line of succession to the French throne.

3. The aforementioned Arrêt le Maistre of 1593 states on two occasions that giving the throne to a foreigner is against 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.

As such, it is impossible for the Salic law to call a foreigner to the throne.  In other words, a foreigner cannot be in the line of succession.

G. The Royal House of France

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Hugh Capet

Since the election of Hugh Capet in 987, there have been four Royal Houses of France (if we consider these cadet branches separate houses): the Direct Capetians, the Valois, the Bourbons, and now the Orleans.

Just as the Valois were a cadet branch of the Capetians, so too are the Orleans a cadet branch of the Bourbons, who were also a cadet branch of the Capetians.  Thus, all were cadet branches of the Capetians.

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Philip VI, the first Valois king

It is falsely claimed that the Royal House of France has many branches across the world: Bourbon of Two-Sicilies, Bourbon-Parma, the Spanish Bourbons, etc.

This, however, is not correct.  The Royal House of France is French, not international.  It is true that the House of Bourbon, which did rule France, had multiple branches.  The Fundamental Laws are clear: France must be ruled by a French monarch, so the House of France cannot, by definition, be international.

With the death of the last French Bourbon in 1883, the House of Orleans assumed the mantle as the Royal House of France, just like the Bourbons and Valois before them.

[See also: The Myth of Foreign Kings, where we talk about the election of Hugh Capet and its relevance to the nationality rule.]

H. Refuting Other Arguments

This section is dedicated to refuting other arguments Anjouists like to use.

1. Nationality can be granted by a civil act

Anjouists like to claim, that because nationality is technically a civil act, it can simply be granted to a foreign prince who would otherwise be in the line of succession.  Thus, allowing that person to assume the throne.

There are two reasons why this is false.  Firstly, if that claim were true, the rule about prohibiting foreigners from taking the throne would make no sense, since someone could scribble some words on paper and make a foreigner “French.”

Secondly, the Judgement of Le Maistre states on two occasions this is not possible.  First in the preamble:

JUDGMENT of the sitting parliament in Paris which annulls 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.

And again in the final paragraph of the body:

…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.

“Treaty” (Traité) meant and means any sort of legal agreement. This means any legal instrument to declare a foreigner a Frenchman, for the purpose of succession to the throne, would be null and void.

This is consistent with the Inalienability of Crown. Making a foreigner “French” by decree would mean re-ordering the line of succession, a violation of the Fundamental Laws.

2. The Spanish Bourbons are Ethnically French or French “by blood”

Firstly, what do they mean “by blood.”  If they mean the principle of Jus Sanguinis, this point has already been addressed.  The principle of Jus Soli and not Jus Sanquinis was the standard for determining nationality.  Further, residency in France had to be maintained.  French residency, unless granted specific exception like with Henri III, was required.  Otherwise, the person would become foreign and would lose their succession rights.

If they mean “by blood” in the ethnic sense, this, too, is wrong.  Firstly, the person must be French by law as a prerequisite (since it cannot be granted by civil act) to being in the line of succession.

Secondly, the Spanish Bourbons, like every other royal family in Europe are of mixed blood or mixed ethnicity.

Let us examine the case of the Spanish Bourbons:

Felipe V, the first Bourbon Monarch of Spain, married Elisabeth Farnese of Parma. This marriage produced Carlos III.

Carlos III married Maria Amalia of Saxony. This marriage produced Carlos IV.

Carlos IV married Maria Louisa of Parma. This marriage Produced Ferdinand VII and Infante Carlos of Carlist fame (Carlos V).

Infante Carlos (de jure Carlos V) married Infanta Maria Francisca of Portugal. This produced Juan, Count of Montizon.

Juan, Count of Montizon claimed headship of both the Royal Houses Spain and France after the death of the Count of Chambord in 1883.

Also, the Plantagenets were partially of French blood (in the ethnic sense).  They also spoke French, which was the language of the English court until the late 14th century. They also ruled half of France.

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Angevin Empire of the Plantagenets

If we are to accept the Spanish Bourbons as ethnically French, then the same must be said for the Plantagenets (who were also culturally French).

The Plantagenets, of course, were rejected in the Hundred Years’ War, which served as a catalyst for the creation of the Fundamental Laws in the first place.

Thus is it must be concluded that having “French blood,” by either definition, does not guarantee a right to the throne, nor does it satisfy the requirement of being French in the context of the Fundamental Laws.

There is also a similar claim that the Spanish Bourbons are of the “Blood of France.” See the words of André Favyn:

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.

[See also: What is a “Foreign Prince?”]

3. The House of Orleans are excluded for past treasons

This is probably the easiest claim to refute (likely due to the fact that this is a weak claim).

There is no corruption of blood exception to the Fundamental Laws.

There is no doubt that Philippe Égalité was a traitor and Louis-Philippe was a traitor and a usurper.

The same thing could be said for the future Henri IV, when he was leading Protestant troops against Henri III’s Royal and Catholic Army during the Wars of Religion.

Despite this, Henri III still acknowledged Henri IV as his heir.

Quite honestly, the past actions of the Orleans appears to be the reason the Anjous have any support at all. The vast majority of the Blancs d’Espangne (Spanish Whites, those who supported the Anjous) likely did so because of their hatred of the Orleans. Considering the then-recent actions of the Orleans, it was an understandable desire to not see them on the throne. However, the Fundamental Laws are clear: with the ineligibility of the Spanish Bourbons, the throne rightfully passed to the House of Orleans.

Even if the corruption of blood claim were true, it would not restore the Spanish Bourbons to the French throne. Instead, the throne would pass to the family next in line.

I. Conclusion

1. The principles of the Fundamental Laws developed over time with the Fundamental Laws coming into existence in the 16th century, after the Hundred Years’ War.

2. The Salic law was equated with keeping foreigners off the French throne.  This was at the same time the Fundamental Laws were coming into existence.

3. Male collaterality and Inalienability of the Crown were both used to keep the throne out of foreign hands.

4. The Judgment of Le Maistre confirms that foreigners are to be denied the throne, and that any legal instrument to put the throne in foreign hands is null and void.  This means that being French is a prerequisite for being in the line of succession.

5. All Princes of the Blood who wanted to settle abroad and maintain their succession rights received letters patent to maintain their French status (nationality) to preserve their succession rights.

6. In 1883, the Count of Chambord, the last French Bourbon, died without issue.

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Henri V, Comte de Chambord

7. The Spanish Bourbons, having permanently left France, had lost their succession rights to the French throne.   At that point, the House of Orleans became the Royal House of France.

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Vive le Roi Jean IV!