Xavier, Duke of Parma

Xavier, Duke of Parma

(Francis) Xavier, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (called "Francisco Javier de Borbón Parma y de Braganza" in Spain; 25 May, 1889 - 7 May, 1977) was the head of the ducal House of Bourbon-Parma and Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain under the name (Francisco) Javier I.

Early life

Xavier was the son of Robert, Duke of Parma, and of his second wife, Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal. He was born at Villa Pianore, near Viareggio in Italy. He had eleven brothers and sisters, including Empress Zita of Austria and Prince Felix of Bourbon-Parma (husband of Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg). From his father's first marriage, he had a further twelve half-brothers and half-sisters including Princess Marie Louise of Bourbon-Parma (wife of the future Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria) and Duke Elias of Parma.

Xavier spent his earliest years at Villa Pianore and at Schwarzau am Steinfelde in Austria. His first tutor was Father Sergio Alonso, a member of the Order of Saint Gabriel. Xavier and his older brother Sixtus studied at the Jesuit college Stella Matutina in Feldkirch in Austria and then in Carlsburg in Germany. He went to university in Paris where he obtained degrees in agriculture and political science.

During World War I Xavier and his brother Sixtus enlisted in the Belgian Army. Several of their older brothers were officers in the Austrian Army. Xavier received the French Croix de guerre and the Belgian Croix de guerre. He was also awarded the Cross of the Order of Leopold II.

In 1917 Xavier assisted his brother Sixtus in the so-called Sixtus Affair, a failed attempt to arrange a peace treaty between Austria and France.

Marriage and family

On November 12, 1927 at Lignières in France, Xavier married Madeleine de Bourbon Busset. Madeleine was a member of the Bourbon-Busset family, a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon generally regarded as non-dynastic in France.

Xavier and Madeleine had six children:

* Maria Francisca (born August 19, 1928), married Prince Eduard of Lobkowicz.
* Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma (born April 8, 1930), married Princess Irene of the Netherlands.
* Maria Teresa (born July 28, 1933).
* Cecilia (born April 12, 1935).
* Maria de las Nieves (born April 29, 1937).
* Sixtus Henry (born July 22, 1940).

Xavier's marriage to Madeleine was recognised as dynastic by the Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain, Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime, who was married to the sister of Xavier's mother. However, Xavier's half-brother Elias - who was regent for their handicapped brother Duke Enrico of Parma - did not recognise the marriage as dynastic regarding the succession to the ducal throne of Parma. The reason for this lack of dynastic recognition was in part Madeleine's ancestry, but it was also influenced by other political and family differences. During the 1920s and 1930s Elias and Xavier were on opposing sides of a family legal battle over the ownership of the Château de Chambord. Elias had also recognised Alfonso XIII as constitutional king of Spain, in spite of the fact that his father Robert had supported the Carlist claimants.

In 1961 Elias' son Duke Robert II of Parma recognised the marriage between Xavier and Madeleine as dynastic regarding the succession to the ducal throne of Parma.

Carlist regent

The early 1930s were years of both struggle and opportunity for the Carlists in Spain. Alfonso Carlos, Duke of San Jaime, was in his eighties and childless; he was the last male-line descendant of the first Carlist claimant, Infante Carlos, Count of Molina. Some Carlists considered that Alfonso Carlos' heir was Alfonso XIII, the exiled constitutional king of Spain; but many believed that Alfonso and his family were all excluded from the succession.

Faced with this uncertainty Alfonso Carlos appointed Xavier regent of the Carlist Communion on January 23, 1936. Alfonso Carlos considered that Xavier was the senior male Bourbon who believed in the Carlist ideals. Several months later the Spanish Civil War began. Xavier was named commander-in-chief of the Carlist armies.

During World War II Xavier returned to service as a colonel in the Fourth Division of the Belgian Army. After the fall of Belgium in May 1939, he retreated to Dunkirk where his division was incorporated in the 39th French Army. He was demobilized and joined the French maquis. General Francisco Franco gave permission for Xavier's mother and sister Zita to travel through Spain to Portugal, but refused permission to Xavier. Instead he was forced to remain in Vichy France.

On July 22, 1944 Xavier was arrested by the Gestapo. He was imprisoned for a month at Vichy and then at Clermont-Ferrand where he was classified as a "Nacht und Nebel" political prisoner. On account of the approaching Allied armies Xavier was sent to Natzweiler-Struthof, then to Dachau, and then to Prax in the Tirol. On May 8, 1945 he was liberated by the United States Army.

After the war Xavier re-established himself as the leader of the largest Carlist group in Spain. A minority of Carlists supported Juan, the son of Alfonso XIII. Others supported Archduke Karl Pius of Austria, a maternal grandson of Carlos, Duke of Madrid.

Carlist king

On May 20, 1952, the National Council of the Traditionalist Communion (the Carlists who supported Xavier) declared that the regency was over and that Xavier was the rightful successor to the Spanish throne. Henceforward Xavier claimed the throne as "Javier I".

Xavier kept up his political activities in Spain. He was generally opposed to the government of General Franco who lent his support more to Juan, son of Alfonso XIII, and Archduke Karl Pius of Austria. In 1956 the government expelled Xavier from Spain.

In 1962 Xavier allowed his elder son Carlos Hugo to meet Franco; this was the first of several meetings. Xavier and Carlos Hugo believed that there was a real possibility that Franco might name Carlos Hugo as his heir instead of Juan Carlos, the grandson of Alfonso XIII. Many Carlists disapproved of these negotiations with Franco.

On February 22, 1972 Xavier was injured in a traffic accident. Carlos Hugo became the active leader of Carlism. He initiated a new form of Carlism, transforming it into a socialist movement. Carlos Hugo was very successful in attracting new support for this socialist-Carlism, but also alienated many traditional Carlist supporters.

Abdication and death

On April 20, 1975 Xavier abdicated as Carlist king in favour of Carlos Hugo. His younger son Sixtus Henry opposed the succession of Carlos Hugo and presented himself as the "standard-bearer" ("abanderado") of traditional Carlism. Xavier issued a declaration affirming that his abdication had been voluntary, and that Sixtus Henry had separated himself from Carlism.

The battle between Xavier's sons continued with each claiming their father's support. Carlos Hugo was supported by his three unmarried sisters, while Sixtus Henry was supported by his mother.

Carlos Hugo accused Sixtus Henry of having abducted Xavier who was then in hospital. Sixtus Henry published a declaration from Xavier dated March 4, 1977 in which Xavier re-affirmed his support for traditional Carlism. In this document Xavier condemned the socialist form of Carlism which he described as "a very serious doctrinal error". [ [http://www.geocities.com/montejurra1976/donjavier4marzo1977.html "Declaración de S.M.C. Don Javier de Borbón"] ] Three days later on March 7, 1977, Xavier's daughter Cecilia took Xavier out of hospital in order to take him to mass. On this occasion Xavier signed another declaration published by Carlos Hugo in which he confirmed Carlos Hugo as his heir. ["Última Declaración Política de Don Javier", in "Don Javier: una vida al servicio de la libertad", 417.] The next day Xavier's wife Madeleine published a declaration condemning Carlos Hugo and Cecilia. [ [http://www.geocities.com/montejurra1976/donamagdalena8marzo1977.html "Declaración de Doña Magdalena de Borbón"] ]

On May 7, 1977 Xavier died of a heart attack in a hospital at Zizers near Chur in Switzerland; he had been visiting his sister the Empress Zita of Austria. Xavier was buried at St. Peter's Abbey, Solesmes where three of his sisters had been nuns.

In fiction

The television series "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" presents Xavier (played by Matthew Wait) and his brother Sixtus (played by Benedict Taylor) as Belgian officers in World War I who help the young Indiana Jones.


Xavier wrote several scholarly works:

* "Les accords secrets franco-anglais de décembre 1940". Paris: Plon, 1949.

* "Les chevaliers du Saint-Sépulcre". Paris: A. Fayard, 1957.


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1= 1. Xavier, Duke of Parma
2= 2. Robert I, Duke of Parma
3= 3. Infanta Maria Antonia of Portugal
4= 4. Charles III, Duke of Parma
5= 5. Princess Louise Marie Thérèse of France
6= 6. Miguel of Portugal
7= 7. Princess Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
8= 8. Charles II, Duke of Parma
9= 9. Maria Teresa of Savoy
10= 10. Charles Ferdinand, Duke of Berry
11= 11. Princess Caroline Ferdinande Louise of the Two Sicilies
12= 12. John VI of Portugal
13= 13. Infanta Charlotte of Spain
14= 14. Constantine, Hereditary Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
15= 15. Princess Marie Agnes Henriette of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
16= 16. Louis of Etruria
17= 17. Infanta Maria Louisa of Spain
18= 18. Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia
19= 19. Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Este
20= 20. Charles X of France
21= 21. Princess Marie Thérèse of Savoy
22= 22. Francis I of the Two Sicilies
23= 23. Archduchess Maria Clementina of Austria
24= 24. Peter III of Portugal
25= 25. Maria I of Portugal
26= 26. Charles IV of Spain
27= 27. Princess Maria Luisa of Parma
28= 28. Karl V, Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg
29= 29. Countess Sophie Luise of Windisch-Graetz
30= 30. Carl Ludwig III, Prince of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
31= 31. Countess Amalie Henriette Charlotte of Solms-Baruth



* Beeck, Evrard op de. "Z. K. H. Prins Xavier de Bourbon-Parma: Biografisch Essai". Aarschot, 1970.
* Borbón Parma, María Teresa, Josep Carles Clemente, and Joaquín Cubero Sánchez. "Don Javier: una vida al servico de la libertad". Barcelona: Plaza & Janés, 1997. ISBN 8401530180.
* Griesser-Pečar, Tamara. "Die Mission Sixtus: Österreichs Friedensversuch im Ersten Weltkrieg". München: Amalthea, 1988. ISBN 3850022455.
* "Father of Claimant to Spanish Throne Dies in Switzerland." "The New York Times" (May 8, 1977): 20.
* "Prince Xavier of Bourbon-Parma." "The Times" (May 9, 1977): 16.
* [http://www.carlismo.es Comunión Tradicionalista]

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