Louis, Prince Napoléon

Louis, Prince Napoléon
Prince Napoléon
Head of the House of Bonaparte
Period 3 May 1926 – 3 May 1997
(&1000000000000007100000071 years, &100000000000000000000000 days)
Predecessor Napoléon V Victor
Successor Napoléon VII Charles
Napoléon VIII Jean-Christophe
Spouse Alix de Foresta
Prince Charles
Princess Catherine
Princess Laure
Prince Jérôme
House House of Bonaparte
Father Victor, Prince Napoléon
Mother Princess Clémentine of Belgium
Born 23 January 1914(1914-01-23)
Brussels, Belgium
Died 3 May 1997(1997-05-03) (aged 83)
Prangins, Switzerland

Louis, Prince Napoléon, (Louis Jérôme Victor Emmanuel Léopold Marie; 23 January 1914 – 3 May 1997) as Napoleon VI was the claimant to the Imperial throne of France of the Bonaparte dynasty from 1926 until his death.


Early life

He was born in Brussels, Belgium, due to the law which then banned heirs of the former French ruling dynasties from residing in France. He was the son of Victor, Prince Napoléon and his wife Princess Clémentine of Belgium, daughter of King Leopold II of the Belgians and Archduchess Marie Henriette of Austria. Leopold II's mother, Princess Louise-Marie of Orléans, was the eldest daughter of King Louis Philippe I, ruler of France during the July Monarchy.

As a child, Prince Louis spent some time in England where he stayed with Empress Eugénie, the widow of Napoleon III. He was educated in Leuven in Belgium and Lausanne in Switzerland. His father died on 3 May 1926, and so Prince Louis succeeded as the Bonapartist claimant to the French throne at the age of 12 with his mother acting as regent until he came of age.[1]

World War II and later life

On the outbreak of World War II Prince Louis wrote to the French prime minister, Édouard Daladier, offering to serve in the French Army. His offer was refused so he assumed the nom de guerre of Louis Blanchard and joined the French Foreign Legion, seeing action in North Africa before being demobilised in 1941 following the Armistice. He then joined the French Resistance and was arrested by the Germans after attempting to cross the Pyrenees to get to London to join Free French leader Charles de Gaulle. Following his arrest he spent time in various prisons including Fresnes. Following his release, he joined the French Resistance group Organisation de Résistance dans l'Armee under the name Louis Monnier. Another member of the Charles Martel Brigade to which he belonged was his cousin, Prince Joachim Murat who was killed in July 1944. Prince Louis himself narrowly escaped death a month later when, on 28 August, he was badly wounded as part of a seven man patrol which came under attack: he alone survived. Following his recovery he joined the Alpine Division and was later decorated for bravery.

After the war, he lived in Switzerland and, illegally, in Paris until 1950 when the law of banishment against the heads of France's former ruling dynasties was repealed.

In his professional life, Prince Louis became a successful businessman with a number of financial interests in Africa. In 1951, the prince sent a memorial wreath bearing the Napoleonic 'N' insignia to the funeral of William, German Crown Prince, son of the deposed Wilhelm II, German Emperor. This was seen as an ironic gesture by royalists at the time, given the fact that it was the German House of Hohenzollern which had defeated and dethroned Louis Napoleon's own imperial house during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870.

Following Prince Louis' death in Prangins, Switzerland, his will designated his grandson, Prince Jean-Christophe Napoléon, as his successor, thereby bypassing his elder son, Prince Charles Napoléon.[2]



Louis married Alix de Foresta (born 4 April 1926), on August 16, 1949 at Linières-Bouton, France. They had four children:[3]

  • Prince Charles Marie Jérôme Victor (born October 19, 1950) who claims headship of the House of Bonaparte and the title, "Le Prince Napoléon".
  • Princess Cathérine Elisabeth Albérique Marie (born 19 October 1950), who wed, firstly, Nicolò San Martino d'Agliè dei marchesi di Fontaneto con San Germano (born 3 July 1948) on June 4, 1974, in Prangins, Switzerland, and divorced in 1982 without issue. She wed, secondly, Jean-Claude Dualé (born 3 November 1936 in Medjez-el-Bab, Tunisia) on October 22, 1982, in Paris, France, and had two children:
    • Charlotte Dualé was born October 13, 1983, in Paris.
    • Mario Dualé was born October 29, 1985, in La Celle-Saint-Cloud, France.
  • Laure Clémentine Geneviève Bonaparte (b. 8 October 1952 in Paris, France) married Jean-Claude Lecomte (b. 15 Mar 1948 in Ax-les-Thermes, France) on December 23, 1982, and had a son and two daughters:
    • Clément Louis Lecomte (born in 1995)
    • Charlotte Lecomte
    • Marion Lecomte
  • Prince Jérôme Xavier Marie Joseph Victor (born 14 January 1957).



  1. ^ Milestones, Time Magazine
  2. ^ Battle rages for the Napoleonic succession
  3. ^ Nicolas Enache. La Descendance de Marie-Thérèse de Habsburg, Reine de Hongrie et de Bohéme. Paris, 1999. ISBN 2-908003-04-X pp. 200, 210
Louis, Prince Napoléon
Born: 23 January 1914 Died: 3 May 1997
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Napoléon V Victor
Emperor of the French
3 May 1926 – 3 May 1997
Reason for succession failure:
Empire abolished in 1870
Succeeded by
Napoléon VII Charles or
Jean-Christophe Napoléon

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