Sunday, 15 March 2020

"Louis XVII Survived" by Charles-Louis de Bourbon

The current "reigning" Naundorff pretender is Charles-Louis Bourbon / Naundorff ["Charles XIII"].  He was born on 2nd November 1933, so is now 85 years of age.  In 2017 he published a new book entitled Louis XVII survived the Temple Prison: the DNA proof.  I was curious to find out if it contained any further information on the latest DNA tests. The book didn't quite deliver - it is largely a reissue of an earlier set of memoirs published in 2005.  However, it is strangely fascinating - and perhaps a little sad - to enter into the world of this very sincere and rather likeable old gentleman.

In his book Charles-Louis intersperses chapters on the history of Louis XVII with an account of his own life.  He was born in Nijmegen in Holland and emigrated to Canada in 1952. He has since forged a successful career in clothing retail and real estate. Today he lives in Prince Edward County and has sons and grandsons to carry on the succession.  His father, mayor of Oss at the time of the German occupation,  is  acknowledged as a war hero for his aid to Dutch resistance workers and Jewish refugees.  C-L relates that during the War his father was once approached by two German officers with a proposal from Berlin to head up the French government in place of Pétain. C-L himself has only become seriously interested in the family legacy after his retirement.

The main body of the book is mainly a retelling of  the Louis XXVII/Naundorff saga, with recent research added in to form a coherent  narrative.  Chapter 7 recounts the supposed escape from the Temple. It is a convoluted tale in which Barras, aided by Laurent, pulls off not one but two substitutions and smuggles the prince out in the funeral procession. The description of Harmand de la Meuse is cited to the effect that the child he saw was a deaf mute, with rickets -  exactly like the body found in Sainte-Marguerite.   C-L is not a man to linger over psychological niceties: "A boy, nine years old, may try to keep silent for a few minutes if he were very angry, but how long would he have held out?"  There are hints of foul play and conspiracy: the doctor Desault expires under mysterious circumstances;  his report, and other key documents, have disappeared: "The laundry lists are in good order but anything that might have given us some idea of what really went on is missing"

Charles-Louis on the Canadian Morning Show,  September 13th 2017:

C-L goes on to give a narrative of Naundorff's life, and the tribulations of his descendants including the various family feuds.  Court cases in 1874 and 1954 upheld the legality of Louis-Charles's original 1796 death certificate.  There is also a rather startling chapter on "visions".  Although we have gathered that C-L is a Catholic believer, it is still unexpected to have supernatural support for Naundorff presented, without explanation, in the middle of a historical account.   The "first witness" is Thomas Martin, who C-L says darkly,  was "among the first to accept and join LXVII and the first to be eliminated"   Also cited are later 19th-century visionaries, the children of La Salette and  Henriette Couedon, who was a well-known Parisian medium in the 1890s.

C-L has nothing very new to offer in terms of more conventional evidence: his chapter "Proofs galore" rehashes the substitution thesis, cites Naundorff's supposed physical resemblance to Louis XVII and his detailed memories.  C-L explains he would be prepared to reconsider only if two conditions were met: the recovery of the body of Louis XVII and the disclosure of Naundorff's true identity, which has never been conclusively discovered.

I am saving detailed discussion of the DNA findings for a separate post.  However, it is no surprise to learn that C-L did not accept Professor Cassiman's negative findings on Naundorff,  or his analysis of the heart at Saint-Denis.  (The eminent geneticist is referred to as "that dummy Cassiman"!). On the other hand Gérard Lucotte's claim that Hugues de Bourbon is related to the royal line is treated as a definitive scientific proof.

Charles-Louis de Bourbon ends his book by describing his recent appeals to the French government for recognition, which have gone unanswered: “Again, they persecute us for 220 years. I am now asking all who vie for a place in government to promise they will finally let the truth come out 220 years later."

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