PARIS (ChurchMilitant.com) - On the 224th anniversary of the execution of King Louis XVI, French royalists gathered Saturday on Place de la Révolution (now Place de la Concorde) to commemorate his death. And in the Basilica of St-Denis, Prince Louis-Alphonse de Bourbon, the Duke of Anjou and descendant of the French kings, attended a Requiem Mass with his wife, Princess Marie-Marguerite.
The group that congregated on the Place de la Révolution, site of the king's execution, waved flags bearing fleurs-de-lis — symbol of Royal France — and offered speeches honoring the memory of the fallen monarch, killed by guillotine on January 21, 1793, after five months' imprisonment at the hands of anti-Catholic Jacobins. Heavily influenced by freemasonry, the revolutionaries had protested against the ancien régime, represented by the Catholic Church and the Catholic monarchy.
The murder of King Louis XVI led to the Reign of Terror, a year-long period of bloody persecution of Catholic priests, religious and laity who remained loyal to the monarchy. Rejecting Catholicism as the state religion, the revolutionaries designated secular humanism the official state religion, enthroning the goddess "Reason" in the Cathedral of Notre Dame (renamed the Temple of Man) in an orgiastic ceremony where the High Altar and church were desecrated.
The Reign of Terror only came to an end after hundreds of thousands of Catholics were slaughtered — by guillotine, drowning, shooting, being burned to death — capped by the final heroic sacrifice of 16 Carmelite nuns who offered their lives at the guillotine for an end to the bloodshed. Ten days after they were beheaded, Maximilian Robespierre — lead architect of the violent regime — was executed on the same spot on July 28, 1794, bringing the Reign of Terror to a close.
Prince Louis-Alphonse de Bourbon is head of the House of Bourbon, and widely believed to be heir to the throne of France, tracing his bloodline back to Hugh Capet, the first king of France. As senior descendant of King Louis XIV through his grandson, King Philip V of Spain, to Legitimists (the faction of French monarchists who back his claim to the throne), he is properly titled King Louis XX.
And, seemingly as a mark of divine favor, his birthday (April 25, 1974) happens to coincide with the birth of King St. Louis — the Catholic saint, considered the greatest king of France — 760 years to the day earlier on April 25, 1214. In another coincidence, Louis-Alphonse's father, Alfonso de Bourbon (previous heir to the throne), died in the same manner and month as his predecessor King Louis XVI — by decapitation (he collided with a cable in a skiing accident in January 1989).
The other two royalist factions — the Orléanists and the Bonapartists — back, respectively, the claims of descendants of the House of Orléans and the House of Bonaparte. Legitimists refuse to recognize either House as legitimate, as neither one descends from a valid king. The current Orléanist pretender to the throne, Henri, Comte de Paris, descends from King Louis-Philippe, illegally placed on the throne during the July Revolution of 1830. Neither is Napoleon Bonaparte recognized as a legitimate monarch of France, as he took the throne by force rather than inheriting it via bloodline.
Personally devout, Louis-Alphonse and his wife often attend Catholic functions, including the visit of Pope Benedict to Paris in 2008, where the Holy Father offered Mass at the Hôtel des Invalides. Then-President Nicholas Sarkozy had invited the royal couple to attend his address to the pope (the Orléanist pretender to the throne was significantly not invited).
Louis-Alphonse has spoken out in defense of the family and against gay "marriage," saying in 2013, "Children need a mother and a father. This is incontrovertible. Why legalize a system that produces the absence, the loss of one of the two?"
Releasing a declaration in January 2013 on the government's push to legalize same-sex marriage, he declared:
We political leaders cannot take the responsibility of redefining the unchanging laws of human nature. Certainly, we must adapt continually to the evolution of society, but certain immutable principles like the union between a man and a woman as the foundation of a family and as educators of their children cannot be questioned.
In an interview, he praised the Manif Pour Tous, the annual march that draws millions of pro-family demonstrators to the streets of Paris, and discussed the destiny of France.
Let us remember we are the country of St. Joan of Arc. France at that time, occupied, given up to foreign powers with its basic laws flouted, succeeded in regaining the glorious course of its history, supported by its dynasty and the energy of its inhabitants, establishing itself as the very first European nation for several centuries. It is often after sinking to the very bottom that one arises again. Last year's demonstrations offered strong and bracing witness, full of hope and promise for tomorrow.