France buries Henri d’Orleans, the man who would be king

Prince Albert of Monaco and Spain's former queen on Saturday led a host of royals and aristocrats at the funeral of Prince Henri d'Orleans, a pretender to the French throne which was done away with in the 19th century.

France buries Henri d'Orleans, the man who would be king
People attend the funeral of Henri d'Orleans at the Saint-Louis Royal Chapel in Dreux. Photo: AFP

The duke of Paris died aged 85 on January 21st — by coincidence, the anniversary of the execution of King Louis XVI during the French Revolution in 1793.

“This is a page in the history of France that is being turned,” Stephane Bern, an expert on European monarchies, told AFP at the funeral at the Chapel of Saint Louis in northern Dreux, the traditional burial place of members of the House of Orleans.

D'Orleans was a descendant of the last king of France, Louis-Philippe I, who reigned during the post-revolutionary restoration period between 1830 and 1848.

Mourners included Prince Albert, the mother of Spain's King Felipe VI, Sofia, and Crown Prince Moulay Hassan of Morocco.

Photo: AFP

“The king is dead, long live the king,” tweeted the royalist Action Francaise movement, which advocates a return to a French monarchy under Henri's House of Orleans, after his death.

His son Jean — the new pretender to the throne — had announced his father's death on Facebook.

Since the 19th century two different branches of the French aristocracy have furiously disputed who would take the throne if France ever decided to restore the monarchy.

The Bourbon line of the slain Louis XIV detests the Orleans branch because the duke of Orleans at the time voted in favour of the king's execution.

Born in 1933 in Belgium, d'Orleans spent his childhood in Morocco, Spain and Portugal.

He was allowed to come back and study in France despite a law that banned descendants of the royal houses from France until 1950.

He fought alongside French forces in Algeria's war of independence before taking on a string of other roles in the military and then becoming a banker.

He had five children with German-born aristocrat Marie-Therese de Württemberg before divorcing her in 1984.

His second marriage to divorced aristocrat Micaela Cousino Quinones de Leon — in breach of the customs of the French upper crust — prompted his father to disown him.

He was let back into the fold in 1991 and then confirmed in 1996 as the House of Orleans' official pretender to the throne.

An enthusiastic artist, Henri had staged regular exhibitions of his work since 1972 as well as penning a dozen books.

He also dabbled in the perfume industry, launching two fragrances, “Lys Bleu” and “Royalissime”.

READ ALSO: Did you know? The tale of the three Frenchmen who still lay claim to the throne

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Spain’s former king settles €4 million tax debt from exile

Spain's scandal-hit former king Juan Carlos I, who now lives in exile, has settled a debt of over four million euros with the Spanish tax authorities, daily newspaper El Pais reported Thursday.

Spain's former king settles €4 million tax debt from exile

The back taxes were due on the value of flights which he received from a private jet firm until 2018 that he did not declare, the newspaper said, citing anonymous “sources with knowledge of the operation”.

In December the 83-year-old former king, who has lived since August in self-imposed exile in the United Arab Emirates, settled a tax debt of nearly 680,000 euros ($820,000) following a voluntary declaration of previously undisclosed income.

That settlement is linked to a probe made public last month by Spain’s attorney general.

It investigated whether the scandal-hit former king used credit cards linked to accounts not registered in his name -which could constitute a possible money-laundering offence.

The credit card payments took place after Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014, which could mean that he is not shielded by the immunity from prosecution he enjoyed as head of state.

His lawyer Javier Sanchez-Junco announced the December tax settlement but could not be reached by AFP on Thursday to confirm the report of a second settlement.

Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said Friday, February 26th that he shared the “rejection” which the “majority” of Spaniards feel towards what he called Juan Carlos’ “uncivic behaviour”.

“An institution is not being judged,” Sanchez said. “What is being questioned is the behaviour of a person.”

He also said the current monarch, Juan Carlos’ son King Felipe VI, had his “full support”.

The former king is the target of two other investigations over his financial dealings, including those linked to a high speed train contract in Saudi Arabia.

Juan Carlos has not been charged with any crime, and his lawyers have said he would return to Spain if required for legal reasons.

A steady drip of revelations about the former king’s love life and lavish lifestyle, combined with the 2018 conviction of his son-in-law for tax fraud and embezzlement, have severely tainted the Spanish monarchy.

Since ascending to the throne in 2014, King Felipe VI (pictured above) has since taken steps to improve the monarchy’s image, such as imposing a “code of conduct” on royals.

Last year he stripped his father, Juan Carlos, of his annual allowance of nearly 200,000 euros after new details of allegedly shady financial dealings emerged.