February 24, 1905
The French government has "coldly indicated" to King Leopold II of the Belgians that the marriage of his daughter, Princess Clementine to Prince Victor Napoleon will "in no way interfere with the excellent relations" between France and Belgium, reports the New York Times.
Prince Victor Napoleon, the official Bonapartist pretender, is "politically speaking a negligible quantity," as he has no real interest in taking an "active part in the Bonapartist propaganda."
He has quarreled with his father, Prince Jerome, and has contributed to "spoil" his father's "own dynastic outlook" by proposing a different form of Bonapartism that relies more on the "plebiscitary appeal of the people," and less on the "claims of legitimate descent."
Father and son remained estranged until Jerome's death. Victor Napoleon is now the head of the family, but has only visited Paris twice, in disguise. The French government knew he was there, but made no attempt to arrest him -- pretenders to the French throne are barred from entering the country -- because Prince Victor Napoleon has had no intention of provoking "any breach of the public peace."
He prefers his time in Brussels, where his "comfort and happiness were studiously looked after by a devoted companion," the mother of his three sons.
This comfortable family life will end if Prince Victor Napoleon marries Princess Clementine. His relationship with the mother of his sons was never sanctioned by marriage or religion, but many feel that the Prince, now in his middle age, has turned his back on a situation that was always the "excuse" for his "political inactivity."
It is being said in Bonapartist circles that Prince Victor Napoleon would rather give up his claim to his brother, Prince Louis, then not marry Princess Clementine, a "great heiress."
Prince Louis is more popular than his older brother. He will also inherit the fortune of Empress Eugenie, as he is her favorite nephew.
The forthcoming marriage has also led to a complete rupture of relations between Princess Clementine and her father, Leopold. The Princess will have her own way and marry Prince Victor. The King is already estranged from his other daughters.