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Henri, Comte de Paris, Duc de France

Henri Philippe Pierre Marie, Comte de Paris, Duc de France is the Orleanist pretender to the French throne. As king, he would be Henri VII.

He was born on June 14, 1933, as son of Henri, Comte de Paris and his wife Isabelle. He was born in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Belgium, because a 1886 law banned the heirs of formerly reigning French dynasties from entering France. This law was only abrogated in 1950, but Henri had already been allowed to enter France by special favour of President Vincent Auriol in 1948.

On August 25, 1940, Henri's grandfather, Jean, Duc de Guise died. His father was now recognised by most French royalists as head of the French royal house, and Henri became their dauphin.

He studied at the Institut des Sciences Politiques in Paris. After that, he served in the military, notably during the Algerian war.

On July 5, 1957, he married Duchess Marie-Therese of Württemberg (born 1934). He received the title Comte de Clermont. Five children were born out of this union.

The marriage was unhappy, and ended up in a divorce in 1984. That same year Henri married Micaela Cousiño Quinones de Leon (born 1938). As this marriage was not celebrated in the Roman Catholic Church, it was not recognised by a number of French royalists. Henri's father, too, was furious; he disinherited Henri and stripped him of his titles and gave him the lesser-valued title Comte de Mortain. Henri, and a number of French royalists who considered it impossible for a head of the royal house to unilaterally disinherit someone, never recognised his father's decision, and refused all mail adressed to him as Comte de Mortain.

After a couple of years, tensions lessened, and Henri's father reinstated him as dauphin and gave Micaela the title "Princesse de Joinville", even if he did not recognise her as his wife.

Henri lost a court case (1987-1989) in which he challenged his rival Don Alfonso de Borbón y Dampierre, Duke of Cádiz's right to use the title "Duc d'Anjou".

On June 19, 1999, Henri's father died and Henri became the new head of the French royal house (according to his supporters). He took the titles Comte de Paris and Duc de France. His wife became known as Duchesse de France, in order to enable Henri's widowed mother to continue to use the title Comtesse de Paris. On July 5, 2003, Henri's mother died, and Micaela started to use the title Comtesse de Paris.

After his father's death, Henri anulled his father's decision to disinherit his brothers Michel and Thibaut from their rights to the throne, because they married commoners. He also recognised his eldest, disabled, son François as heir, with the title Comte de Clermont.

He wrote a number of books:

He is also a painter, and has launched his own brand of perfume.

He has announced that he will run in the European elections of 2004.


Only those descending in the male line are listed:

See also: List of French monarchs, Members of the French Royal Families

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