Thursday, January 21, 2010

Monaco and the Regicide of Louis XVI

It was today in 1793 that His Most Christian Majesty King Louis XVI of France was beheaded by revolutionaries in Paris. This tragic event had a huge impact, not only on France, but on the neighboring Principality of Monaco as well. The French Revolution had already spread to Monaco, a Jacobin club was established on "The Rock" itself and HSH Prince Honore III had gone to Paris in an effort to save his rights and lands as a member of the French aristocracy. In the end, although the revolutionary government recognized the right of Honore's claim, he was given none of the compensation promised to him and a month after the regicide of the King the French republic took over Monaco and Honore III was deposed. The Princely flag was torn down and the French tricolor took its place.

This is something that Monegasque monarchists should keep in mind as it can be tempting to view Monaco as an isolated enclave of paradise, safe from the trials and tribulations of the outside world. Ever since Prince Honore II led his coup against the Spanish and brought Monaco under the protection of Louis XIII of France the two countries have had a special relationship which endures to this day. However, it is worth remembering, lest anyone think it does not matter to Monaco whether France is a monarchy or a republic, that the only time France ever violated Monegasque sovereignty it was the French republic that did so. No King of France ever invaded or in any way harmed the nation of Monaco -but the republic did. In fact, the Kings of France and the Princes of Monaco enjoyed a very friendly relationship, helping each other in many instances.

The French Revolution was a disaster for Monaco and the death of Louis XVI should be remembered with sadness in Monaco as much as in France for a benevolent protector was taken from them unjustly. As the tumult reached its zenith Monaco would be taken over by the French republic, the Princely Palace looted and occupied and the Grimaldi family deposed, thrown into prison and in the case of one tragic princess, sent to the guillotine. Fortunately for Monaco, the Grimaldi monarchy was restored and reigned without interruption ever since. While revolution and republicanism brought a succession of governments to France in all the years since, Monaco has remained peaceful and stable under their Princely Family. This simple fact is one French republicans should perhaps give some consideration.

Rest in peace King Louis.

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