Wednesday, August 18, 2010
The Duke of Parma and Piacenza has died
August 18, 2010
The Duke of Parma and Piacenza died today in a hospital in Barcelona, Spain. He was 80 years old and had suffered from prostrate cancer
HRH Prince Charles-Hughes Xavier Marie Sixt Louis Robert Jean Georges Benoit Michel of Bourbon-Parma was born at Paris on April 8, 1930, the eldest son of HRH Prince Xavier of Bourbon-Parma, Duke of Parma, and his wife, Madeleine de Bourbon-Busset.
In the 1950s, the prince studied law at the Sorbonne in Paris and economics at Oxford. By the late 1950s, the prince became immersed in Carlism politics. At the time, Spain was a dictatorship headed by Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Although the dictator had re-established the monarchy in 1947, there was no guarantee that the main line - the Count of Barcelona or his son, Juan Carlos -- would achieve the throne. Thus, the Carlist line, headed by Carlos Hugo's father, saw an opportunity advance their cause.
Carlos Hugo made his first official trip to Spain in 1957, although the visit was conducted in secret. Five years later, he returned to Spain, where he worked for a month as a miner, using the name Javier Ipiña.
Even though his political prestige was enhanced by his marriage in 1964 to Princess Irene of the Netherlands, Carlos Hugo eventually resigned as president of the Carlist party.
Franco's death in 1975 was followed the succession of the Prince of Spain to the throne as King Juan Carlos.
Carlos Hugo's marriage ended in divorce in 1981, although he maintains good relations with the Dutch royal family. He is survived by his four children, Carlos, who succeeds to the title of Duke of Parma, Margarita, Jaime, and Maria Carolina, a granddaughter, Julia ten Cate, and his siblings, Princess Francoise (Princeess Edouard de Lobkowicz), Princess Marie Therese, Princess Cécile, Princess Marie-des-Neiges and Prince Sixte.
Princess Francoise and Prince Sixte were not included on the official death announcement as both are long estranged from their late brother. Sixte is a traditional Carlist.
The late Duke of Parma was also estranged from his father. due to political differences. Carlos Hugo wanted to see Carlisim move toward more socialist principles, which went against traditional Carlism.
The late Prince Xavier's marriage to Madeleine de Bourbon-Busset was not recognized as equal by the head of the house of Parma. In 1958, Elie, Duke of Parma, made it clear that he supported the Count of Barcelona as the future king of Spain. He died in 1959, and was succeeded by his son, Roberto, who said that if the throne of Spain did devolve on the Parmas, he would be the heir because he was a Spanish citizen, and born of an equal marriage.
It was not until the marriage of Princess Francoise of Bourbon-Parma to the American-born Prince Eduoard de Lobkowicz, when Roberto met with Prince Xavier, and finally acknowledge Xavier's marriage and Xavier's sons' succession rights.
"I am not married and have no issue, my uncle Xavier is indubitably my eventual successor. His children have always born the titles Prince or Princess of Parma."
But Prince Roberto made it clear that he would not recognize Xavier's rights to the Spanish throne, and he regretted that Xavier would not accept the Count of Barcelona as heir.
Neither Xavier nor Carlos Hugo were Spanish citizens. The family's relationship began to disintegrate. Princess Cécile, Marie-Therese and Marie de Neiges were all active participants in the Carlist movement, until all three found themselves moving toward leftist politics. All three moved to Spain.
Princess Francoise supported Duke Roberto's ideas, and did not take on a political role. She raised her children, and worked tirelessly for charitable organizations.
In the early 60s, Prince Xavier and Princess Madeleine, along with Carlos-Hugo and their three daughters continued to foment Carlist insurrections within Spain. Carlos-Hugo began to speak out vocally against Juan Carlos, who was seen as Franco's heir, calling Juan Carlos Franco's puppet.
Juan Carlos maintained a dignified front, but was seething inside after a meeting with Franco, who had told his father, the Count of Barcelona. that he had another candidate. Franco was, of course, referring to Carlos-Hugo, but it is doubtful that Franco ever seriously considered the Carlist candidate.
Carlos-Hugo began to see Carlisim in a new way, not traditional nor favoring capitalism.
Carlos-Hugo's marriage in 1964 was seen to be controversial, especially in the Netherlands. Princess Irene, who converted to Roman Catholicism before the wedding, did not seek Parliament's approval for the marriage, and thus, she and her descendants have no succession rights to the Dutch throne. Irene's father, Prince Bernhard, was not pleased with his daughter's choice of a husband. He insisted that that there would be no marriage unless Carlos-Hugo renounced his claims to the Spanish throne.
Irene and Carlos-Hugo refused to acknowledge her father's request. They were married in Rome on April 29, 1964. None of Irene's family attended. Nor did the Duke of Parma, who supported the Count of Barcelona.
As Carlos Hugo's view of Carlism moved toward the left,they fell out with Franco. Prince Xavier abdicated his role his Carlos Hugo 1975, but his son refused to adopt the more traditional view of Carlism, which further alienated Carlism's supporters. Although the traditional Carlists announced that they would remove Carlos Hugo as the head of the movement, Carlos Hugo responded: "I have renounced noting. These are matters which one cannot renounce because they do not belong to the patrimony of any individual."
In the meantime, Carlos-Hugo's younger brother, Sixte, embraced traditional Carlisim, thus setting up further problems for the family. In 1977, Carlos-Hugo accused his brother of hiding Xavier in a French monastery. Princess Madeleine, who supported Sixte, accused her elder son of trying to force Xavier to acknowledge him as heir.
Several days later, Xavier issued a statement disavowing himself from his son's increasingly leftist politics, but three days later, after Carlos-Hugo and his three sisters managed to remove their father from a local hospital, he issued another statement, this time naming Carlos-Hugo as his heir.
Xavier died on May 7, 1977. The breach between Princess Madeleine and Carlos-Hugo and his three sisters was never healed. Princess Madeleine died in 1984, and left her estate to Sixte and Francoise. Carlos-Hugos and his three sisters were not permitted to attend her funeral.
In 1978, Carlos-Hugo met with King Juan Carlos in a private audience. He acknowledged Juan Carlos as head of state. In a statement released to the media, Carlos-Hugo said: "Neither myself, nor my family, have, at this time, any ambition to occupy the place occupied by Juan Carlos. The facts are facts. He is today the head of State and we have not been asked, neither ourselves, nor the people."
In 1979, Carlos-Hugo finally acquired Spanish nationality as Carlos de Bourbon-Parma y Borbon with the style of Royal Highness nor the title of Duke of Parma.
In 1980, the Duke of Parma resigned as head of the Carlist party. He also ceased to be a member of the Carlist party.
Prince Sixte is the head of the traditionalist Carlist Party. He is not married, but it is his belief and hope that one of Carlos-Hugo's sons, Carlos or Jaime, will take up the cudgels of traditional Carlism. These seems unlikely.