Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Count of Paris defies law

October 21, 1938

The Count of Paris, son and heir to the Duke of Guise, pretended to the French throne, flew to Paris today in violation of a law of exile that forbids male members of the Orleans family to go to France.
Twenty reporters were driven in automobiles owned by Royalists to a country estate about two hours outside Paris. The reporters had been told that the Countess of Paris, who is not subject to the law, would read a statement demanding restoration of the monarchy.
Instead, the reporters were met by the 30-year-old count, who apologized for the subterfuge. After the manifesto was read, champagne was served, and the Count offered a toast "to the restoration of France."
Prince Henri denounced the recent Munich pact, and stated "Our country is in danger, and Frenchmen, whether politically minded or not, know it. But how can they achieve their aspirations without the aid of an unchallenged umpire who can give them the courage to break with the past.?
"We alone can act as umpire, and aided by Frenchmen, can remake France. If France rejects monarchy she must choose between decay and party dictatorship.
"And what party can try dictatorship today? The forces of the Right and Left are equalized, and even within party folds there is strife.
"Pleading for the cause of France, I am thinking only of the welfare of my country. A Prince of the House of France is first a Frenchman, then a Prince, and his heart bleeds for his country's misfortunes even more than it does over the impotence to take an active part in healing them to which he has been reduced. May God save France!"
The Prince also asked for national union, and "counseled France" to not trust Great Britain "who will aid us only when our interests run parallel to hers. "
He added a warning: "Some day after we have been forced to abandon our colonies, we shall have to face alone a Germany which by then will have absorbed two-thirds of Europe."
The reporters were "virtually held prisoner" for two hours until the Count, who was piloting his own plane, had returned to the safety of his home in Belgium. The round trip was approximately 400 miles by air.
This was the first time that Prince Henri, Count of Paris, had visited France. He faced immediate arrest when he landed his plane, but no police were in sight.

No comments: