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Who are the four rival claimants to the French throne?

If France ever decides to reinstate a monarchy there are aristocrats queuing to take the crown - they have already chosen their regal names

Charles III could be Charles XI of France if he asserted his claim Pic: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock

France is well into its Fifth Republic but a tiny minority of citizens think that the country would be better as a monarchy as soon as possible. 

During the political squabbles of the 1950s, Charles De Gaulle is said to have prophesied the imminent restoration of the monarchy but changed his mind ten years later when he acquired quasi-royal powers as incoming president.

Should the day come when the French have had enough of republics, there will be a scrap between rival factions. 

There are two serious claimants – they have even chosen their regal names – and three other alternatives to take into consideration. 

Following the Salic law (circa AD 500) only men can inherit the throne. 

Read more: ‘Bringing back monarchy to France may not be a ridiculous idea’

1. Louis XX 

Aka Louis de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou is the claimant of the “legitimists” - people who don’t think there is any doubt about who is the rightful king. 

He traces his descent from Hugh Capet, 10th century king of the Franks through Louis XIV to his father, “Aphonse II”, who died in a skiing accident in 1989. 

He also has Queen Victoria and the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco (his great grandfather) in his family tree. 

The elder of his twin sons, another Louis, is known as the Dauphin of France.

Read more: Royal history: ‘top’ five kings of France named Louis

2. Jean IV 

Aka Jean d’Orléans aka Prince Jean de France aka the Count of Paris is the candidate for the House of Orléans. 

His claim derives from Louis-Philippe I who took the throne in the July Revolution of 1830 that supplanted the Bourbons. 

The fact that Louis-Philippe was forced to abdicate in 1848 and flee to Britain (where he lived until 1850 under the name of Mr Smith) is not considered to undermine his candidature. 

3. Napoleon II 

Aka Jean-Christophe, Prince Napoléon, is the Bonapartist contender for the crown, being a descendant of the Emperor’s nephew, Jérôme. 

He also has Bourbon ancestors, which helps. 

Technically, it should be his father, Charles, who is the heir apparent but he was cut out of the line of succession by the family because he publicly espouses republican and democratic values. 

4. Charles XI 

Aka Charles III would be an outsider in the competition if he decided to revise his lapsed claim. 

Back in the 14th century, Edward III of England claimed to be the rightful heir to the land across the Channel on the death of his uncle Charles IV of France. 

Successive English kings and queens asserted the claim until the Revolution, when France did away with the monarchy. 

But you never know with genealogy – or rather you always know. Should a vacancy arise, wouldn’t it be cost effective to have one king for the two countries?  

The choice could be yours

The Alliance Royale is a political movement that unites royalists using the ballot box. 

It wants to win the presidency and hold a referendum to decide between the competing claims above.

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