All The More Reason

A true Royalist
April 25, 2007, 9:06 pm
Filed under: French Politics

In a somewhat surreal interview, which is quickly becoming my new favourite word, Henri d’Orléans discussed not so subtly his own ambitions for political power in France. Have you not heard? He is the the roi putatif, the roi virtuel, of France. Yes, France keeps a running count of who would have been king until this day based on bloodlines.

Very unfortunately I have been unable to find this interview online although I’m sure in the weeks to come I should be able to find similar material to discuss some of his pretentions. Amongst other things in the interview, he mentioned how in a recent poll 17 percent of French citizens were in favour of the monarchy. In a more juicy quote, he discussed how the political power wouldn’t be prepared for a surge in the streets clamouring for the return of the monarchy.

As with most things in life I’m hopelessly ignorant about many of the relevant details of the subject. However, a couple of observations can be made all the same. In Britain the monarchy has been defanged, but in France it was dethroned. The manner in which it has been removed no doubt slightly encourages the idea of its return. As crazy as it sounds, and as impossible as it could be for a king to come to power in the United States or Canada, it really is not beyond reason to imagine France descending into monarchic rule in the decades to come if it doesn’t wake up.

Jonathan Smith

Addendum : I’d encourage any other writers and readers of this blog to challenge the last line of this post. And yet, personally, I just cannot will myself to see that possibility (of France descending into monarchy in the 21st century) as completely ridiculous anymore. I realise that that justification does not distinguish itself from those who believe that lasers took out the World Trade Towers, or indeed that Fascist America is on its way, as Naomi Wolf would believe. Still, I don’t think that we should hide away from our sentiments or intuitions either. What counts most, I think, is that we label them as such, and not as foregone conclusions.


2 Comments so far
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The idea isn’t beyond the realm of possibility, although it is probably situated in border-country between Highly Unlikely and Impossible.

The only recent precedent for a Restoration that I can think of is in Spain, where King Juan Carlos succeeded Franco and restored democracy to the country. But the monarchy had only been out of action for about 50 years when it was restored; Juan Carlos was the grandson of the previous monarch.

I can’t imagine circumstances in which French people would voluntarily reinstate the hereditary principle; some kind of mandated authoritarianism, maybe, but monarchy? I would love to hear your hypothetical scenario!

My favourite ‘what if’ scenario at the moment is the idea that France and Germany might ‘unify’. This isn’t as barmy as it sounds; it certainly isn’t as barmy as this sounds:

Comment by allthemorereason

It’s interesting that you mention the Fracno–Allemand alliance. I’ve watched a fair amount of French talk shows, political debates etc. I don’t think I’ve ever seen, or if I have done it must have been inconsequential, a German on any of the shows. I’ve seen plenty of Italians, Spaniards, Americans, Arabs and Brits. Although, I have seen documentaries that discuss relationships between French men and German women or vice versa. This is a roundabout way of saying that a Franco–German thing would strike me as a top–down affair whereas I have definitely seen plenty of populists and nationalists, and the occasional royalist on French TV which at least makes the idea palatable in the sense of it being a bottom–up affair.

Comment by J.S.

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