Re: The house of Orléans
User logged in as Johan
The Orleans remained royal. From the creation of the branch from Phillipe de France, son of Louis XIII, onwards.
Their Royal status was underlined when during the Restauration all branches of the French Royal House became HRH's.
The fact that Louis-Philippe was the only actual reigning monarch does not deminish their status. From the death of the Count of Chambord they have become the main branch of the French Royal House. That is why marriages with princesses from this (rich) dynasty were popular. Wealth, grand dynastic ties and establishing good relations with the French Republic as France did like it when their princesses married into other nations. They did not like the result that popular support for the pretender rose. So in the end they established the banishment of the branch.
As you well put it, the Orléans had royal origins.
Louis-Philippe's royauté was recognized by all major powers.
Louis-Philipe's children married in several royal houses.
His eldest daughter was queen of the Belgians, the other two married Wurttemberg and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha princes.
The sons married in the Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Imperial house of Brazil (Bragança), Two Sicilies and Royal Family of Spain.
The Murats were just upstarts only recognized by the Napoleonic Empire and its satelites, who never mingled with other royal families.
Even the Bernadottes, though adopted by the last swedish king, had a bit of trouble to be accepted at the royal "market".
Only at the 3rd generation did they join the royal merry-go-round.
However, the Orléans are an exception: despite having reigned for only 18 years (deposed amidst the political revolutions that swept Europe in 1848), and having been served by only one king who had a questionable claim on the throne (the old, meaning French, Légitimist line of the Bourbons was still living, as of the accession in 1830 of Louis-Philippe), meaning that they never managed to become a real dynasty, they have nonetheless retained their prestige as a royal house.
Of course, they are of royal origins (since the house is an offshoot of the Bourbons). Still, they could have become relegated to the status of an historical footnote, given how events unfolded. Instead, they've done a remarkable job of maintaining their traditions and remaining active on the royal scene -- contracting impressive dynastic marriages with both reigning and non-reigning houses.
Just look Princess Hélène (1871-1951): despite being a daughter of only a pretender, she was in serious contention for becoming the bride of the Duke of Clarence (Prince Eddy, born second and direct in line to the British throne). As it was, religion got in the way, as it did in the prospective match between her and the Russian czarevich (the future Czar Nicholas II). After all, her older sister became the queen of Portugal.
Members of the house seem to have always had great pride in their heritage, taking part in historical events at every opportunity. The most recent one coming to mind is the formal public apology issued by the current head of the house for his ancestor's actions, and hence partial responsibility, for the execution of King Louis XVI.
So it's no surprise that the Orléans have consistently been regarded as genuine royals, even though their house is no longer reigning (having lost their throne over 150 years ago, even before World War I).
As it happened with Murat, despite having reigned for c. 7 years in Naples.
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