Off with his head!

by Alix Barré

I like to imagine that that’s the sentence that was said before the French beheaded Louis XVI, King of France 2 centuries ago. Poor Louis could only exclaim: “I am innocent” before the deed was done. This deed ended monarchy in France and of course the French Revolution is an important part of history, a mostly admired part of it.

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Though there is the irony that this Louis was by far not the worst of kings, simply a softie that let his wife Marie-Antoinette make too many decisions. (French Revolution fun fact: Marie-Antoinette never actually said the sentence everyone attributes to her: ‘Let them eat cake’) This revolution was the first in history and paved the way for modern times. Since we took care of it such a long time ago, you wouldn’t necessarily expect to have people in France wanting the return of the king, but you’d be wrong. There are people who call themselves Royalists and would much rather have a king than a president. Though a minority they are far from being extinct.

Royalists and Royalist parties are not exclusive to France, they are found across Europe even in the countries that still have a monarchy. In a Europe where monarchies are dying and in a country that got rid of theirs ages ago, why would anyone want a king back? In France they believe it is the way to unify the country and the solution to all present problems. Which is absurd because why would a king all of a sudden make everything better? A king will not magically make France’s money problems go away, in fact I’m pretty sure the uneven distribution of wealth is what got him beheaded in the first place.

Yet the party Democratie Royale have as their slogan: “The day France beheaded their king, is the day she committed suicide.” They truly believe it was a huge mistake and that France has a king, but the National Education and the Media keep the French in ignorance of this. They claim to be nor leftist, nor rightist, simply Royalists. There is a huge division between Royalists in who should be king, but Democratie Royale believe in Capetian royalty and the rightful king is Prince Louis de Bourbon Duque of Anjou, a direct descendant of the Capetians as well as Henry IV and connected through ten generations to Louis XIV. Believed to be the only true Capetian.

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Then there is the Royalist political party called Alliance Royale, they believe the debate of who should be the new king is the reason why all the royalists are not stronger and believe in a “unified party, reuniting all Royalists, and all the French loyal to their history.” The question of who should be on the throne would be dealt with once this is done. They want an institutional monarchy, which means a regime based on institutions rather than a personal regime. They actually present themselves for the elections under the excuse of wanting to be more visible in society.

They believe any issue is solvable by unifying France through a monarchy. You realise how far from reality they are when you read about how a king would solve “evils” such as Europe, Islam, Globalisation and the rise of the Third world. There is also a brilliant answer in their FAQ to the statement: “but this is outdated, we risk going backwards! Well no need to worry about that, because as it is brilliantly pointed out, when you’re sick, don’t you wish you could go back to being healthy? In fact wanting a monarchy is not living in the past, it is merely taking the support of history to serenely go towards the future”. Couldn’t have said it better myself! Any questions ranging from “what type of monarchy they want” to “what if the king is crazy?” they have an answer to! On the front page you’ll find a testimonial from a new supporter of the party explaining he is for the first time engaged in politics because of the recent vote to allow marriage for all. He believes a monarchy is: “the only regime capable to end this dictature of abstract idealism.” All sounds very appealing doesn’t it?

I don’t have anything personal against monarchies; in fact I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with the one in the Netherlands. However the thought of France going back to a monarchy after all they did to get rid of it, is to me an hilarious thought. Also the ones striving towards wanting a monarchy back are quite extreme and we have enough extreme ideas with Marine Le Pen in France (president of the Front National, extreme right political party) So as far as kings in France go, I only have four words: off with his head.

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