Monday, May 23, 2016
Discourse among the Bourbon-Two-Sicilies
It is not difficult to comprehend why the Duke of Castro would fiddle with the succession to the headship of the house of Bourbon-Two Sicilies and name his elder daughter, Princess Maria Carolina, Duchess of Palermo, as his heir, thus establishing a gender equal succession. This would be all well and good if the Duke of Castro were the undisputed head of the house. But he is not. Many see the Duke of Calabria as the head of the house - and so it remains that there are two heads and two Grand Masters of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George.
The Reconciliation document stated that Both sides trusting that Divine Providence will undertake to show the way to the dynastic unity of the Royal House of the Two Sicilies.”
“Both parties agree in the meantime to make their dynastic and family commitment to achieve a spirit of harmony and understanding not only between them but equally among their supporters, recognizing RESPECTIVELY AS COUSINS, THE TREATMENT AND TITLES ACTUALLY IN COMMON USE BETWEEN THE PARTIES AND THEIR DESCENDANTS, AND ACTING PUBLICLY TOGETHER AS ONE FAMILY.”
The Duke of Castro, in his recent statement, spoke of the UN declaration of Rights, which calls for the equal rights of women. Royal families, reigning or historical, are not governed by the a UN declaration. < The Reconciliation agreement made no mention of the succession to the headship, but many came away with the impression that the two branches would and could work together to unite the Constantintian Orders and, eventually move toward a full agreement on the succession restored to the Duke of Calabria's line. Perhaps the Duke of Castro was never fully committed to a reconciliation.
On the evening of January 24, 2014, the Duke and Duchess of Castro hosted a dinner, where Prince Jaime, then the Duke of Capua (now Duke of Noto) was asked to give a speech. At the end of the evening, all the guests were given a gift bag which included a pamphlet that included a family tree. Major faux pas (or intentional?) as the family tree did not include Pedro's great-grandfather, Prince Carlos of Bourbon-Two Sicilies (1870-1949), who married Infanta Mercedes of Spain, elder sister of Alfonso XIII.
A statement in the pamphlet declared that Prince Carlos' line had been excluded. The Duke of Noto and his family were said to be visibly upset by the statement, and he and his family were ready to walk out and return to Spain A meeting was quickly arranged between the Duke of Noto and the Duke of Castro, and they met for 90 minutes, where the Duke of Castro, apologized for the error.
The Duke of Castro's sister, Princess Beatrice, mother of Prince Jean Napoleon, supports her brother, but, so far there has been no statements from Princes Antonio and Francesco of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George is the only international Roman Catholic order that has a hereditary Grand Master. Only men can inherit can be a Grand Master, not a female, as the Order is "regulated by Canon law."
In response to the Duke of Castro's statement, the Order's Grand Prefect, Prince Augusto Ruffi di Calabria, stepped down, as did several other senior officials.
One can only wonder about the possible influence of the Duchess of Castro on her husband's decision to change the succession in favor of his elder of two daughters. I also now think that the Duke of Castro never acted in good faith when he signed the reconciliation agreement.