Royalty: A New King in France?

Yes! Although it’s only a rumour at the moment, apparently it’s eminently possible. A new king could be seen in France before the year’s out. But before French republicans get their dander up, it’s not the beginning of a royalist takeover. No, but there has been a whisper from Buckingham Palace. Some even say it’s a stage whisper. 

So it seems President Macron could welcome King Charles III on a state visit soon after he gets crowned at Westminster Abbey on 6 May. 

And what a good example Charles is setting in these times of staggering inflation, with the crippling cost of living increases and long queues at food banks. And when, according to the House of Commons Library, an estimated 1.5 million Britons are living in poverty. But Charles is determined to make economies. The guest lists have been pared down from 8,000 to 2,000, meaning it’ll only cost the public 100 MILLION POUNDS. So make the most of it when it happens. 

French romance with royalty

France has always been infatuated with the British Royals. They’re never far from the French headlines. And magazines like Paris Match with Royal Family content have become highly collectible.

A rare, Hors Serie Juin 1953 edition of Paris Match: “REINE D’ANGLETERRE,” is entirely in French and dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II.

Originally on sale for 300 francs, it’s yours online today for only 58 Euros.

Royalty – the satirical view

On the other side of the coin is the satirical, irreverent, and militant atheist magazine Charlie Hebdo. Its offices were attacked by Islamist gunmen in 2015, and eleven journalists and a policeman were killed. Since then it’s been produced in a secret location, with round-the-clock police protection. A recent cover was seen as uncouth by some — but as an example of press freedom by others. It was a pointed reminder of the Black American George Floyd, who died when a policeman kneeled on his neck. The headline, “Why Meghan Quit Buckingham,” the cover shows the late Queen Elizabeth kneeling on Meghan Markle, who’s saying she can’t breathe anymore.

“Harry, le prince qui fait trembler le Royaume-Uni,” is how French state broadcaster France 24 is covering that kiss and tell book, “Spare.” The channel also recently reported a UK poll’s findings that 64 percent of King Charles’s subjects “now have a negative view of the once-popular ginger prince — his lowest-ever rating — and that Meghan also scores dismally.”

Oh well, at least it’s a break from all the stuff that’s been dubbed “Bregret” — a fusion of the words Brexit and regret.

Romantic French view of royalty versus historic fact

Unfortunately the French national romance with royal families — especially the British menagerie — is at odds with the historical facts. 

The last King of France, Louis XVI, had his head chopped off by his own subjects — the anti-monarchist revolutionaries. In October 1789, a mob marched on the French monarch at Versailles and forced the royal couple to move to a kind of house arrest in the Tuileries.

In June 1791, opposition to Louis and his wife had become so fierce that they attempted to flee to Austria. But they were apprehended en route at Varennes and taken back to Paris, where they were put on trial.

Both were found guilty. A meeting with le Rasoir National was inevitable. 

The King’s execution took place in public on 21 January 1793 at the Place de la Révolution, the square at the eastern end of the Champs-Élysées. Today it’s known as Place de la Concorde

Perhaps to avoid any sign of gender bias, the Queen had her head removed from her body a few months later.

Royals and the London Packet Postscript

Across La Manche, the establishment viewed these events with dismay and apprehension.

The upper classes were terrified that the idea of royal regime change would move up the popularity ladder in England. Habeas corpus was suspended, and stricter measures were imposed to safeguard the political order.

“The London Packet Postscript,” had given them a lurid account of the Paris regicide. Here’s an excerpt.

After the death of the King, those who were nearest the scene forced themselves between the horses of the military that formed a square around the scaffold, and dipped their handkerchiefs in this blood, which ran in copious streams upon the ground; others smeared the points of their pikes, swords, and bayonets, with it, crying out, — “Behold the blood of a tyrant! — Thus perish all the tyrants of the earth!” The surrounding spectators at a distance uttering no other sounds than groans and sighs. The Military struck up Ca Ira!

The London Packet Postscript

With all this bloodthirsty stuff in mind, let’s hope that when Charlie Three and the Queen Consort Camilla, put their heads down on their sleepover with the Macrons, no one slips a copy of “The London Packet” under their pillows.

Do you share the views of the Author, Ray Johnstone? Share your thoughts below in comments below

Image credits – all Wikicommons
Paris Match x 2
Louis 16

About the Contributor

Ray Johnstone

Ray is an artist & writer. His favourite subjects are nudes and portraits. Art holidays for groups & families are catered for in their 800-year-old house La Petite Galerie in Gascony. They also take up to 6 walkers on the 'best bits' of the Pilgrims Route to Compostela. Check out Ray's 100+ articles - he has his own column called 'Perspectives'

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