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The Duché of Orléans is a survivor state in north-central France, about 130 km (81 mi) southwest of Paris. The city of Orléans is the capital, claiming to be the monarchical successor to the original Kingdom of France. Following the diplomatic mission of 2010, it became clear that the Orléanais consider the Fifth Republic to have lapsed. The Orléanais don't object to a new, unified French government, but do seem quite attached to their Prince. The Royalist element could have implications for the future of a reunified France, with some experts considering the prospects of a constitutional monarchy for the would-be restored nation.
During the Hundred Years' War between the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of France, Orleans would witness the turning point of the war, and the turn-around of the French forces pushing out the English invaders from continental Europe, due to the forces led by Joan of Arc; for her actions, she remains remembered among the Orléanais as the "Maid of Orléans." Its history has been relatively quiet since then, and shortly before Doomsday, it was a quiet city not far away from Paris.
Because of its proximity to Paris, Orléans and the environs have been the latest to be brought to order and repopulated. While the claims of being a Duché may be the stylings of a deranged ruler, no contact was made with any ruling class until early January 2009, and references to the region were apocryphal at best.
In January of 2009, WCRB envoy Dr. Cayne Armand, code-named Louisiannan managed to transmit a wireless report to the WCRB office in Clermont-Ferrand regarding the status of Orléans.
From Doomsday until some time in 1991 the region was largely lawless, and became widely depopulated as a result. Orléans was one of the few cities that had managed to maintain some degree of order at the time. Masses of refugees from Paris were known to have dispersed at this time. Unlike the chaotic experience of Bourgogne-et-Franche-Comté however, evidence points to a the number of refugees in Orleans being significantly smaller. It is suspected that the banlieu of Paris toward Orléans may have been more heavily hit by bombs, thus culling the possible number of refugees.
Further research by the WCRB has revealed that a campaign of disinformation was begun by Orléanist operatives during the initial days following the destruction of Paris, suggesting any number of things to make Orléans less than desirable for refuge. This caused much of the refugee swarm to pass over Orléans and the surrounding region and head instead toward Poitiers and La République Poitevine
Dissatisfied with his life in Monaco Prince Jacques Jean Jaroslaw Marie d'Orléans, pretender to the French throne of the Orléanist branch gathered up others, and well supplied, traveled northward to survey the ruins of Paris. Among the expedition were former soldiers of the French Army who offered their services and loyalty. Upon arrival, the Prince was appalled at the devastation done in Doomsday. Those that had survived there had degenerated into squabbling warlord-fiefs. According to later documents, the expedition managed to collect a few artifacts and supplies before being forced out. Later exploratory efforts by Celtic, Luxembourgish and Alpine explorers have independently confirmed the extent of the destruction of Paris confirming the sea of glass reported by the Orléanais explorers.
The Prince and his guard moved south to Orléans, then under "emergency control." At the time, with loss of contact with the wider world, the Orléanais presumed that the Fifth Republic remained in force. With passage of years and no restoration of contact, the Prince, using his title of Duke of Orléans, sent an official edict to the Orléanais citizens declaring the Fifth Republic dissolved, and the restoration of the Monarchy in 1993. Due to the unsettled nature of France he announced that he would retain his official title as Prince, postponing a Coronation for the day that France was restored.
In March of 2010 Dr. Cayne Armand accompanied an official delegation to Orléans from La République Poitevine and Auvergne, and was well received. Discussions of reconnection of rail and powerlines have been ongoing since that time.
Cancer remains a very common illness in Orleans, and with over 5% of the nation having some form of cancer, the health situation looks grim and will most likely stay grim until at least 2020.
If expansion does ever occur to the north, it will be the first nation to hold territory in the blasted sea of glass that was Paris.
Orleans continues to face a difficult situation as it is the most beleaguered of all French successor states, due largely in part to its proximity to Paris.
The only true factor in its economy is wine-making and subsistence agriculture. It must import most other things such as automobiles, windows, and other materials. With the arrival of a rail connection to Auvergne and the Poitevin Republic in 2010, it seems the lot of the Orleanais has improved. There are already significant trade talks underway with hopes for an increase of food and health care.