Who replaces Strauss-Khan in France?

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Who replaces Strauss-Khan in France?

Since the ex-Head of the IMF has been disgraced for not keeping himself under control in a New York hotel suite, the question of who French socialists can promote as their candidate in next year’s Presidential elections remains moot. Someone has to stand up against Monsieur Sarkozy (as I suppose we must call him). I have an idea which I may submit to Paris in my perfectly fluent Norman French:

Since France got rid of Kings and replaced themn as Head of State with Presidents, life for five years if you get elected can only be described as Imperial. You live in one the greatest palaces to be found in the capital. There are fleets of black Peugeots and Citroens and Mercedes which rush you everywhere surrounded by Darth Vaders mounted on BMW bikes. No French king except perhaps Louis IV lived in such pomp as a modern French President.

But although the last French king was a Napoleon, there is a Luis XX, an exceedingly acceptable young man who is officially the Orleanist heir to the now non-existent throne of France. His name is Luis Alfonso de Borbón (36), married to María Margarita, who is ten years younger. They have three children, the first-born, Eugenia, and twins babies, Luis and Alfonso, who arrived one minutes after Luis.

Orleanistes et Bo(u)rbons

The last Bourbon king of France was Charles X, a nephew of Louis XVI (guillotined in 1793). In 1830 Charles was shoved out by another nephew, this time from the rival royal house of Orleans – Louis-Philippe. In his turn he was exiled (in 1849) by the coming of the French Republic. Officially, this Orleans was the last monarch to reign in France.

The Dauphins had always had among their other titles that of Duc d’Anjou, and this was passed to King Alfonso XIII of Spain when the Spanish ‘Carlist’ line was extinguished. Later the title passed to Jaime, Duque de Segovia, our subject’s grandfather. Meanwhile, Louis-Philippe II of Orleans, a cousin of poor headless Louis XVI, began the very long battle as an Orleanist ‘pretender’ to recover the dukedom of Anjou. Castles you understand, castles, chateaux, land and money. This struggle continued until 2003, when Enrique de Orleans, Count of Paris was told he had lost the claim, bestowed on the then Duke of Cadiz, Alfonso. The latter died in a ski-ing accident shrouded in mystery. Luis Alfonso’s elder brother had died in his teens in a traffic accident. Thus Luis Alfonso de Borbón legitimately became Duc d’Anjou, and the official pretender to France’s throne.

Over six feet tall, with a commanding presence, Luis Alfonso has been to all the right schools, lives in New York, speaks several languages fluently, works as a banker in a country not entirely free of danger – Venezuela, and if asked to return to France as Head of State, would do so. He has not been free of death threats, though he laughs grimly at the thought, because his own father was killed at a ski-resort in the USA in a strange incident involving a metal cable that should not have been there. The cable lopped off Alfonso’s head as neatly as any guillotine could.

In France the two royal lines Bourbon and Orleans have nearly always been at each other’s throats since records began. But Luis Alfonso might make a fitting candidate (he is as French as he is Spanish) to oppose Monsieur Sarkozy, as representive of the Orleanist Party. One could hardly expect the man to pretend, as M. Strauss-Khan did, to be a socialist. There are quite enough armchair, champagne, five-house-owning, Savile Row-suited socialists around, I think.


By | 2011-06-13T12:11:38+00:00 June 13th, 2011|French History|0 Comments

About the Author:

‘Dean Swift’ is a pen name: the author has been a soldier; he has worked in sales, TV, the making of films, as a teacher of English and history and a journalist. He is married with three grown-up children. They live in Spain.

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