Alternative History
Henry V
Henri V
Coat of Arms of Kingdom of France.svg
Fleur-de-lys.png King of France Flag of France.png
Reign 11 November 1873 - 24 August 1883
Coronation 20 June 1874
Predecessor Napoleon III
as Emperor of the French
Successor Philip VII
Born 29 September 1820
Tuileries Palace, Paris, France
Died 24 August 1883 (aged 62)
Palais-Royal, Paris, France
Spouse Maria Theresa of Austria-Este
(m. 1846 - 1883)
Full name
Henri Charles Ferdinand Marie Dieudonné d'Artois
House Bourbon
Father Prince Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry
Mother Princess Carolina of Naples and Sicily
Burial Basilica of Saint Denis, France
Religion Roman Catholicism

Henry V (French: Henri V; 29 September 182024 August 1883) — King of France. Son of Charles-Ferdinand, Duke of Berry and Marie Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, and only grandson of Charles X. Grandnephew of Louis XVIII

The King Henry V went down in history thanks to the "Third Restoration" — restoration of the monarchy in France as the ninth ruler on the throne of France since Henry IV. But during the first half of his reign, the king tried to govern alone in total contradiction with the parliamentary character of the restored monarchy — causing many political crises — and after the crisis of 6 July 1876, the parliament forced him to abandon the governance of the kingdom for the benefit of royal arbitration beginning a period of institutional and political stability for France.

In addition, Henry V was the last descendant of King Charles X in the direct male line of the House of Bourbon. Without giving birth to children, Henry was forced to transfer the throne to his parent from the younger house of Bourbon — the house of Orleans — Philip VII.

Duke of Bordeaux

The future king of France was born on 29 September 1820, under the name of "Henri, Charles, Ferdinand, Marie, Dieudonné d'Artois", baptized on 1 May 1821 at Notre-Dame de Paris he had as godfather and godmother to her uncle and aunt, the Duke and Duchess of Angoulême. Nicknamed by the poet Lamartine "The Child of the Miracle", he was the posthumous son of Charles Ferdinand d'Artois. The Duke of Berry had been assassinated on the night of 13—14 February 1820, by the Bonapartist Louis-Pierre Louvel who hoped to “destroy the roots” of the Bourbons. Already mother of a daughter, Louise d'Artois, the Duchess of Berry, pregnant at the time of the tragedy, gave birth seven and a half months later to a son, the long-awaited future heir to the throne.

Henri Charles Ferdinand Marie Dieudonné d'Artois, Duke of Bordeaux with his mother —Duchess Carolina of Berry

On 11 October 1820, a national subscription gave the prince the castle of Chambord. He was first placed, like his older sister Louise, under the responsibility of the Duchess of Gontaut. In 1828, his grandfather, who became king in 1824 under the name of Charles X, entrusted his education to the Baron of Damas. This educator places great importance on religious learning; he also takes care to choose preceptors who introduce the prince to basic subjects, to modern languages — German, Italian, Latin — to physical exercises and to pistol shooting.

On 25 July 1830, the king had promulgated ordinances which caused the revolution of 1830, also known as the Three Glorious Days (French: Trois Glorieuses) which took place over three days. On 30 July 1830, a group of Parisian politicians had launched the candidacy for the throne of Louis Philippe III, Duke of Orléans. On 2 August 1830, Charles X had abdicated in favor of his grandson Henri d'Artois. The order of succession, however, gave the throne to the king's eldest son, the Dauphin Louis Antoine of France, who was called to reign under the name of Louis XIX. But he is forced to countersign the abdication of his father, thus, the Crown would pass to the young Henry, Duke of Bordeaux, who would become "Henry V". Charles X sends this act of abdication to the Duke of Orléans, entrusting him de facto the regency, having already appointed him on 1 August 1830 Lieutenant General of the Kingdom — confirming in fact this title, which the Duke of Orleans had received from deputies. In this dispatch, he had expressly ordered him to proclaim the accession of Henry V. Louis Philippe d'Orléans no longer considered himself as regent from 2 August; he contented himself with registering the abdication of Charles X and the renunciation of his son, without proclaiming Henry V[1]. On 7 August, the Chamber of Deputies then the Chamber of Peers called the Duke of Orleans to the throne, who took the oath of office on 9 August, under the name of Louis Philippe I. Nevertheless, from 2 August, some Legitimists — who will be called later the Henriquinquists — began to designate the young Henry, aged nine, as King of France. The royal family went into exile in England on 16 August 1830.

Exile of Chambord

Charles X and his family leaving for exile

The fallen royal family moved to Holyrood Castle, Scotland. In April 1832, the Duchess of Berry, mother of the Duke of Bordeaux, landed in France in the hope of provoking an uprising in the west of France, which would give the throne to her son. His attempt failed, arrested in November 1832, imprisoned in the citadel of Blaye, she gave birth there to a daughter whom she presented as the result of a secret marriage with the Count of Lucchesi-Palli. Discredited, she exiled and the former King Charles X entrusted the education of her grandchildren to her other daughter-in-law, the Dauphine, daughter of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

In October 1832, Charles X's family left the United Kingdom to settle in the Royal Palace in Prague, Bohemia. The education of the Duke of Bordeaux is entrusted to Archbishop Frayssinous. On 27 September 1833, for his majority, fixed at thirteen by the laws of the kingdom, Prince Henry received a group of Henriquinquist legitimists, who greet him with a cry of "Long live the king!". Upon their return to France, the latter were prosecuted by the government of Louis Philippe, but acquitted by the Assize Court. The first act that the Duke of Bordeaux performs on the occasion of his majority is that of a solemn protest against the usurpation of Louis Philippe I.

In October 1836, the former royal family had to leave Prague for Goritz, where Charles X died on 6 November. His son, the Dauphin, who bears the courtesy title of Count of Marnes, under the name "Louis XIX", was become for the Carlist legitimists their chief. On 28 July 1841, the Count of Chambord was the victim of a riding accident which forced him to a long convalescence, leaving him lame and a scar on his chin which he hid while wearing a beard. In October 1843, he went to London, where he received Legitimists from France in Belgrave Square, including Chateaubriand.

Chief of Bourbon house

The death of the Dauphin Louis Antoine, which occurred on 3 June 1844, led his supporters to join forces with the Count of Chambord, who became the eldest of the House of France and is now recognized under the name of Henry V by all Legitimists, who remain in opposition under the July Monarchy, the Second Republic and the Second Empire. The first act of the pretender to the throne of France is to assert his rights on the French throne. From Frohsdorf, he keeps abreast of French and international affairs. Daily reading several French and foreign press titles, brochures and books sent to him, receiving travelers from France and maintaining correspondence with legitimist personalities. He was then at the head of an active movement but doctrinally divided with more antagonistic factions within it with the only real link, the Count of Chambord.

In February 1848, the Revolution broke out; Louis Philippe abdicates on 24 February - the Republic is proclaimed. The count of Chambord sees in the fall of Orleans a just punishment, but abstains from any public manifestation of joy. Prince Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte was elected President of the Republic in December 1848. However, in May 1849, the elections won a monarchist majority in the National Assembly. The prince-president soon comes into conflict with her. A group of legitimist officers then proposed that Comte de Chambord install him on the throne by a coup d'état, but Henri refused, considering that its establishment should not be done by the baillonettes. On 2 December 1851, Louis Napoleon carried out a coup d'état to retain power.

Henri d'Artois in the 1840

When the Empire was restablished by Napoleon III, D'Artois dictated to his supporters not to participate in public life, to abstain from voting and not to stand for election. In June 1848, he took the initiative of a first gesture of reconciliation with the Orleans family. In 1850, on the death of Louis-Philippe, he had a mass celebrated in memory of the deceased and wrote to his widow, Queen Maria Amalia. Steps are taken between the two families, but their union does not materialize. In 1851, he inherited the castle of Frohsdorf from his aunt the Dauphine. He settled there definitively and kept memories of royalty there: portraits of the royal family; white flags given to Charles X in August 1830; gifts offered by legitimists. He had two schools built on the Frohsdorf estate for the children of the castle and parish staff. He sometimes left Frohsdorf Castle to travel to Switzerland, the Netherlands, England, Germany and Greece. In 1861, this convinced Catholic made a journey of two and a half months in the East, which enabled him to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, of which he left an account.

His sister, Princess Louise had been married in 1845 to the hereditary prince of Lucca, Ferdinando Carlo, who later became Duke Charles III of Parma. Assassinated in 1854 after five years of reign, the Duchess Louise was appointed regent for her son Robert I but had to flee in front of the Sardinian troops which invaded her duchies in 1860. She died prematurely in 1864 by entrusting the guardianship of her children to her brother. The count of Chambord during his mounted on the throne of France, will offer his nephews and niece as well as the whole house of Bourbon-Parme the exile. During the Second Empire, Henri d'Artois maintained regular links with representatives of the Legitimist party in France, with whom he exchanged clandestine mail. From 1862, he made his positions known through manifestos addressed to the French. He made them know his doctrine and worked out his political project: calling for a monarchy which would achieve "the so desired alliance of a strong authority and a wise freedom", he advocated administrative and political decentralization. He also looked at the social question.

Return of Henri in France

In August 1870, when the France of Napoleon III experienced serious defeats in the war against Prussia, Henry d'Artois left Frohsdorf with the intention of enlisting; on 1st September 1870, he launched a call to "repel the invasion, save at all costs the honor of France, the integrity of its territory." On 4 September 1870, the Second Empire collapsed after the defeat of Sedan. Bismarck demanding to negotiate the future peace treaty with a government resulting from the suffrage of the French, legislative elections are organized in February 1871; the new Assembly has 240 republican deputies against 400 monarchists, divided between legitimists and Orleanists. Meeting in Bordeaux on 18 February, the Assembly appoints Adolphe Thiers "head of the executive power of the French Republic"; at the same time, it invests itself in constituent power, but announces that it will not exercise it until later. She does not want to consider the restoration of royalty until France is liberated from German occupation.

On 8 May 1871, the Count of Chambord made public a letter in response to one of his supporters, Carayon-Latour, in which he condemned political intrigues, placed events in the context of French history, affirmed his faith in eternal France and calls for people to come together. The letter accelerated the process of union of the royalists and the princes of Orleans ordered the count of Paris to step aside in front of the grandson of Charles X. Nevertheless the legitimist pretender refuses to give up the white flag. For him, it is a question of principle, which concerns the very idea he has of the monarchy. In a letter of 24 May 1871, Prince Henry affirms that he does not want to abandon the flag of his fathers which for him means "respect for religion, protection of all that is just, of all that is good, of all that is right, united to all that requires the requirements of our time, while the tricolor flag represents the flag of the revolution in all its faces and that moreover it fills the arsenals of the foreigner its victor[2]. If he compromised with the legacy of the Revolution, he would be powerless to do good." On 8 June 1871, the Assembly abolished the laws banning the Bourbons from France.

HenrI receiving his supporters with the White Royal Flag

In July 1871, Henri d'Artois returned for a few days to this France which he had leave in 1830. But he postponed a meeting with the Count of Paris, which disappointed the Orleanists. On 5 July, he received a delegation of royalist deputies bringing together the heirs of three of the greatest houses of the monarchy, Gontaut-Biron, La Rochefoucauld-Bisaccia and Maillé, as well as Félix Dupanloup, bishop and deputy of Orleans, who attempted to convince Henri to adopt the tricolor. But D'Artois also received at the Château de Chambord many representatives of his supporters from all social classes and these talks with them persuaded him that the people of France were not so attached to the tricolor. He left France again and launched a manifesto, published in L'Union of 8 July, in which he declared:

I will not allow the banner of Henri IV, François I and Joan of Arc to be snatched from my hands. […] I received it as a sacred deposit from the old king my grandfather, dying in exile; it has always been for me inseparable from the memory of the absent homeland; he floated on my cradle, I want him to shade my grave.

The Legitimists are divided, some publishing a collective note to affirm their attachment to the tricolor. Adolphe Thiers affirms that the Count of Chambord is the founder of the republic and that posterity will call him the “French Washington”. The Viscount of Meaux affirms in his memories that if the grandson of Charles X had remained at Chambord, had received the princes of Orleans there, and had said he was ready to come to an understanding with the most monarchist assembly than the country could elect, royalty would more quickly have been restored. But royalists believe royalty will be restored no matter what. On 18 September 1871, the deputies discuss a bill aiming for all the central administrations to settle in Versailles, which is voted on 8 October, Prince Henri having announced to Lucien Brun, that the restoration made, he would settle in Versailles.

In November 1871, the prefect of police appointed by Thiers, Léon Renault, declared that "with a hundred thousand francs, I would cover Paris with white flags". But some Orleanists such as the Count of Falloux wanted to obtain from the Count of Chambord a formal abdication or to bring his supporters to consider his succession as open, which would make it possible to call the Count of Paris to the throne. But Prince Henri was against it and again clarified his thinking on 25 January 1872, with a new manifesto, in which he proclaimed:

Nothing will shake my resolutions, nothing will tire my patience, and no one, under any pretext, will obtain from me that I agree to become the legitimate king of the Revolution.

Charles Chesnelong — main leader of the Legitimist party

In the spring of 1872, Henri d'Artois opposed the idea of a candidacy of the Duke of Aumale for the presidency of the Republic. The latter denigrates him by nicknamed him "Mister Too Much" and launches out on 28 May 1872 in a dithyramb in favor of the tricolor flag, described as "cherished flag" during a discussion of the Assembly; we lend him this formula: "The French are blue, and they see red when we show them white." In January 1873, the Princes of Orléans made a gesture towards Prince Henry by attending a mass in memory of Louis XVI at the Expiatory Chapel.

In May 1873, the President of the Republic, Adolphe Thiers, declared that "the monarchy is impossible" and the Republic is preferable. The royalist majority of the Assembly then puts him in a minority, causing his resignation on 24 May 1873. It immediately replaces him with Marshal Mac Mahon, in favor of the restoration of royalty.

The Restauration

Main article: Third Restauration

The death in January of Napoleon III — whose only son and dynastic heir was exiled with his mother in Great Britain — the departure of Thiers in May, the evacuation of German troops in September create a climate again conducive to restoration. The government, supported by the Church which multiplies the pilgrimages where one makes sing in long processions “Save Rome and France in the name of the Sacred Heart![3]», Maintains this climate.

The 5 August 1873, the Count of Paris, grandson of Louis-Philippe, went to Frohsdorf to meet his cousin the count of Chambord and to greet him as “the only representative of the monarchical principle.”; he adds that if France wants to return to the monarchy, “no competition will arise in our family". This reconciliation of the grandson of Charles X and the Orléans should in principle encourage the Orleanist deputies to join their Legitimist colleagues in voting for the reestablishment of royalty. Pius IX then instructs the apostolic nuncio of Vienna to inform Henri d'Artois that the Holy See attaches great importance to restoration in France and that the color of the flag is a subject on which it is necessary to know how to find a ground for agreement.

Henry V receiving deputy Charles Chesnelong in Salzburg

The 4 October, the royalist deputies appointed a commission responsible for reaching an agreement with the Count of Chambord on a project for a future constitution, prior to the vote for the restoration of the monarchy. The commission designates the deputy of the Basses-Pyrénées Charles Chesnelong to meet the pretender. The 14 October 1873, in Salzburg, he approved the liberal and parliamentary constitutional project presented to him by Chesnelong. Henri raised no objection to the lines already outlined: the recognition of royal hereditary law as an integral part of national law and not placed above it, the development of a constitution discussed by the Assembly and not granted by the king, the separation of powers and bicameralism, the political responsibility of ministers, the guarantee of civil and religious liberties. On the subject of the flag, the two men agree on a text indicating that Henri d'Artois "reserves the right to present to the country and he is sure to obtain from him through his representatives, at the time he deems suitable, a solution compatible with his honor and which he believes likely to satisfy the Assembly and the Nation". However, he did not hide from his interlocutor that he would never accept the tricolor. The “solution” envisaged by the Count of Chambord for the flag is unknown.

At the end of October 1873, preparations began for the return of the future king to France. News of negotiations and the return of the Count of Chambord raise the Paris stock exchange and creates an expectation in the upper layers of society.

Let him come quickly, our Henry… We can't wait to see him.

(Alphonse Daudet)

The 5 November 1873, at 9:50am — at the first session of the Assembly — out of a total of 673 deputies present in the Assembly for the vote, 424 votes for the royalist regime, 209 against and 42 abstention,  is voted a text prepared by the commission with as first article that "the national, hereditary and constitutional monarchy is the government of France". The monarchy in France is restored a third time, the assembly appoints, Louis of Orleans Duke of Nemours, uncle of the Count of Paris[4], Lieutenant General of the Kingdom after having proposed the title to Patrice de Mac Mahon who refused it and resigned accordingly.

King of France

Henry V — King of France

Beginning of reign

Arrived in France on 11 November 1871, after leaving Frohsdorf on 4 November and crossing southern Germany by train[5] he ended his trip at Station of the East (French: Gare de l'Est). Greeted by the Duke of Nemmours, the ministers, deputies, heads of the army and representatives of the clergy. It's on horseback, at the head of an imposing procession in a Paris draped with white royal standard and tricolor, that Henry V makes his entry and saluting on his passage the Parisians who came in droves to see for the first time a prince who had left as child from France 43 years earlier. After a mass at Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral and a visit to the Palais-Royal, he left the city and went to Versailles to take the oath there on the evening of his second return to France to be recognized as king by the National Assembly and s 'install there like its predecessors before October 1789.

Eager to reconnect with the old traditions of the French monarchy Henri V, who was in the months following his coronation, in a position to demand certain things from the Assembly and the government, successful after a tough political battle in his camp — Orleanists as Legitimists[6] — the return of the coronation and its holding on 15 August 1874, on Assumption day. Practiced since Pepin the Short in 751, this ceremony had indeed lost legal effect to become only symbolic, Louis XVIII gave up being consecrated in 1815, Louis Philippe also judging it too link to the Ancien Régime and even Napoleon III renounced it after having prepared it, the last sovereign to have practiced it was King Charles X, grandfather of Henry V, also a fervent admirer of the old monarchy on 29 May 1825. So the coronation was still in everyone's minds linked to a return to a reactionary policy.

Stone reproduction of Henry V in coronation habit

Since the last coronation was over fifty years ago, many changes have been made; first of all the coronation is written into the constitution, the ceremony is laicized in part with the presence of the deputies of the National Assembly, the oath of the Nation is added to the traditional Ecclesiastical oath and of the Kingdom, the king now takes the oath on the Evangelary of Reims and the Constitution. All this aims to "Nationalize the coronation", but Henry will refuse the presence of the tricolor standard, wanting to keep only that of the traditional banners, it will be his successor Philip VII who will introduce more national elements. If the Assembly and the king's entourage were afraid of the reaction of the people of Paris, the organized festivities will see the presence of more than 500,000 people, the first popular sign of adhesion to the new monarchy after the repression of the Commune in 1871.

Domestic policy

The 6 July 1876 Crisis

Main article: 6 July 1876 Crisis

Foreign Policy

The restoration of the monarchy and the arrival of Henry V on the French throne was awaited by all of Europe. If Henry's personality was not a consensus in all the capitals, it was for all that a better alternative to a republic — even a conservative one. In the logic of the "compromise" between the National Assembly and the King, foreign policy was conducted by the monarch as with the assistance of the government but the close surveillance of the Assembly. This compromise acquired by Henri V left him a certain freedom of action. However in the early years, Henry V was not active, concentrating on strengthening the monarchy at home, but after the crisis of May 1876 and Henry's gradual withdrawal from internal affairs, the king then threw himself into the conduct of external relations.

Germany repassing Alsace and Lorraine in Prussian blue

Before becoming king, Henry had already outlined a political program for foreign relations that he would lead. Criticizing the Second Empire for its passivity in the face of the unification of Germany by the Kingdom of Prussia which had led to the defeat of France in the Franco-German War of 1870, the proclamation of the German Empire in the Palace of Versailles, the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine in 1871 and the occupation of France until 1873. Henry then aimed to make revenge against Germany the keystone of his reign, pushing the government to rearm and as for domestic policy there is a gulf between the king's ambitions and the will of his supporters. The monarchists had distinguished themselves during the war as supporters of peace, almost acting as a "fifth column" against the republican governments of national defense for the benefit of the German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, because of the social turmoil caused by the fall of the Second Empire and the lack of authority. The Iron Chancelor was aware of that and had played the republicans against the royalists. He estimated that the monarchy was restored in France represented a serious threat of war as the people and the king of France wanted a revenge but this threat was canceled by the passivity of the elites and chatelain monarchists on the question of Alsace and Loraine. However, this did not prevent Henry V from seeking alliances in Europe as well as opportunities to provoke a new war with Germany.

Catholic diplomacy

Reconciliation with Austria

Last Years

Results of activities



Prince Charles Ferdinand of Bourbon
Paternal grandfather:
Charles X, King of France
Paternal great-grandfather:
Louis of France
Paternal great-grandmother:
Maria Josepha of Saxony
Paternal grandmother:
Maria Theresa of Savoy
Paternal great-grandfather:
Victor Amadeus III, King of Sardinia and Duke of Savoy
Paternal great-grandmother:
Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain
Marie-Caroline of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Maternal grandfather:
Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies
Maternal great-grandfather:
Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies
Maternal great-grandmother:
Maria Carolina of Austria
Maternal grandmother:
Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria
Maternal great-grandfather:
Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maternal great-grandmother:
Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria

Queen of Hungary and Croatia


  1. This episode will remain an element of discord during the reign of Henry V. However, a tacit agreement seems to estimate that Henry was not king because he was not recognized by the Chamber of Deputies of 1830 but is recognized by that from 1873.
  2. In this regard, the Count of Chambord did not consider the crushing of the Commune to be a victory. He declared: “Certain unhealthy minds dare to assure that the repression of the Commune has redeemed the tricolor. How to flatter oneself of having shed the blood of the people. Even if it had to, which I believe will restore order. And how to find glory in weapons in a street and barricade war! This is all disgusting! ".
  3. The Assembly declares of public utility the construction in Montmartre of a basilica dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, launched at the end of 1871 by a national subscription. The giant mosaic to adorn the ceiling of the choir must feature at the feet of Christ in Majesty, King Henry V praying in the name of repentant France.
  4. The Lieutenancy General was also proposed to the Count of Paris, the Prince of Joinville and the Duke of Aumale who refused it, in order to dispel all accusations of personal ambitions.
  5. The railroad necessarily crossed the German Empire — victorious over France 3 years earlier. The King's trip was not regular, several incidents strewn about it, which suggested a human and above all political origin. Indeed it was well known that Chancellor Bismarck was worried about a monarchical restoration and would have acted to delay it.
  6. These two forces took after the Restoration for the elections the name of "Constitutionalists" (French: Constitutionnels) for the Orleanists and their relatives and of "Conservatives" for the Legitimists and clerics.