Henri VI
Jaime Enrique de Borbón.jpg
King Henri VI March 1935
Reign 9 September 1947 – 8 January 1959
Predecessor Vichy regime
Napoleon III (Emperor of the French)
Successor Monarchy abolished
Fourth Republic
Spouse Emmanuelle de Dampierre
Charlotte Luise Auguste Tiedemann
Alphonse, Dauphin of France

Gonzalo, Duke of Aquitaine

House House of Bourbon
Father Alfonso XIII of Spain
Mother Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg
Born 23 June 1908(1908-06-23)
Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso, San Ildefonso, Spain Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931)
Died 20 March 1975(1975-03-20) (aged 66)
St. Gallen, Switzerland Flag of Switzerland
Burial El Escorial, Madrid, Spain
Religion Catholic

Henri VI, (Jaime Leopoldo Isabelino Enrique Alejandro Alberto Alfonso Víctor Acacio Pedro Pablo María de Borbón y Battenberg;23 June 1908 – 20 March 1975), was King of France and Navarre from 1947 to 1959. Born in the Royal Palace of La Granja de San Ildefonso in Spain, Henri VI was the second son of King Alfonso XIII of Spain and his wife Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. He was proclaimed king of France by National Assembly with personal backing from Kaiser Wilhelm III after formal peace between France and Germany was concluded in 1947. His reign was troubled by the political instability of the kingdom and the Algerian question.

Early life and succession

At the time of his birth in 1908 Henri's father was the reigning King of Spain. Named Infante Jaime of Spain he was second in line to the Spanish throne. Faced with increasing political problems that led Spain to become a Republic in 1931 when Henri's father was deposed. Henri, with his family left Spain in exile, settled in Switzerland. Because he was deaf, as the result of a childhood operation, he renounced his rights to the Spanish throne for himself and his descendants on 21 June 1933. He was then created the title for life of Duke of Segovia by King Alfonso XIII. After his father's death in 1941, he proclaimed himself the senior legitimate male heir of the House of Capet, heir to the French throne, and head of the House of Bourbon. He then took the title of Duke of Anjou and became, in the opinion of French legitimists, the de jure King of France. Henri, like all the other French royals, did not recognize the Vichy regime when it first came to power in 1940. Legitimists were returning to prominence during this time however and appealed to Henri to speak with Philippe Pétain regarding the matter of transforming France back into a monarchy.

Nevertheless, a few days before Battle of Moscow, German Emperor William III, whose relationship with the Spanish prince was cordial, decided France would be better suited in the post-war world with a monarchy, and on 29 September 1941 he sent two passenger aircraft and his representative, Crown Prince Louis Ferdinand to St. Gallen to bring Henri to Germany. Henri again refused because of Hitler's backing of Vichy government, but he eventually relented and flew to Germany the next day.

Upon his arrival at Hohenzollern Castle he received an official welcome by the Emperor and, to his surprise, Pétain. Later William informed Henri of his desire to leave France as intact as possible after the war in Europe was over. During the general conversation which followed with those present, Pétain and Henri reached a personal understanding that if put on the French throne Henri would work for the betterment of France, not fulfill German fantasies. Upon returning to France Pétain named Henri his designated successor, pending a National Assembly vote on the matter and a peace treaty with Germany. Meanwhile, the National Assembly approved the restoration on 16 January 1947 by a wide margin, receiving 51.19% against the 27.41%.


As king, Henri was a relatively weak monarch. He attempted to reconcile political factions within France and warm relations between France and its allies. He was criticized for France's ailing economy and political turmoil in the postwar period, and the war in Indochina. A series of debilitating strikes were waged across France in 1947, initiated by the Confédération Générale du Travail. The strikes escalated into violence in November of that year, leading, on 28 November, to the government deploying 80,000 French Army reservists to face the "insurrection". The Communist Party, who often supported the strikes, were expelled from the legislature in early December. The strikes ended on 10 December, but more would come in 1948, and again in 1953 in response to the Joseph Laniel government's austerity program.

Apart from the inconclusive war in Indochina, France's colonial empire decayed under Auriol's presidency. Clashes in Morocco, Madagascar, and Algeria became more frequent; an Algerian independence movement, the Front de Libération Nationale, was founded in 1951, in 1953 the French overthrew Mohammed V, the Sultan of Morocco, after he demanded greater autonomy. France waged a brutal war of repression in Madagascar in 1952. With the deepening of the crisis in 1958, on 29 May of that year, Henri appealed to Charles de Gaulle, the "most illustrious of Frenchmen" to become the last Prime Minister of the kingdom. Henri had threatened to abdicate if de Gaulle's appointment was not approved by the National Assembly.

De Gaulle drafted a new constitution, and on 28 September, a referendum took place in which 79.2% of those who voted supported the proposals, which led to the Fourth Republic. De Gaulle was elected as President of the new Republic by parliament in December, and Henri was deposed on 9 January 1959. De Gaulle told Henri if he did not leave France within 48 hours of the new constitutions effect, France ran the risk of civil war and it would be blamed on him. He finally left France, returning to St. Gallen on 11 January.

Later life and death

On 6 December 1959, Henri took back his renunciation of the throne of Spain. On 3 May 1964, he took the title Duke of Madrid as head of the carlist branch of the Spanish succession. On 19 July 1969, Henri definitively renounced the Spanish succession in favour of his nephew, King Juan Carlos I of Spain, by petition of his son Alphonse.

Henri died in St. Gall Cantonal Hospital in Switzerland on 20 March 1975. He is buried at the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.

Marriage and issue

On 4 March 1935, in Rome, Henri married Victoire Jeanne Joséphine Pierre Marie Emmanuelle (Emanuela) de Dampierre (Rome, 8 November 1913 – Rome, 3 May 2012), a noblewoman, daughter of the French nobleman Roger de Dampierre, 2nd Duke of San Lorenzo Nuovo and Viscount of Dampierre, Nobleman of Viterbo (1892–1975) and of the Italian noblewoman Donna Vittoria Ruspoli (1892–1982), daughter of Emanuele Ruspoli, 1st Prince of Poggio Suasa and his third wife English American Josephine Mary Curtis. Henri VI and Princess Emanuela had two sons, named for Henri's hemophiliac brothers, Alfonso and Gonzalo:

Henri and Emmanuelle de Dampierre Ruspoli planned to divorce but never followed through once he became king, the remained largely separated however and so in 1949 he began an affair with divorced singer Charlotte Luise Auguste Tiedemann, daughter of Otto Eugen Tiedemann and wife Luise Klein.

Titles and styles

Monarchical styles of
Henri VI of France
Coat of Arms of Kingdom of France
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sir
  • 23 June 1908 – 21 June 1933 His Royal Highness Infante Jaime of Spain
  • 21 June 1933 – 9 September 1947 His Royal Highness Infante Jaime, Duke of Segovia
  • 9 September 1947 – 8 January 1959 His Majesty The King of France
  • 8 January 1959 – 20 March 1975 His Majesty King Henri VI of France

Henri VI
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 23 June 1908 Died: 20 March 1975
Royal titles
Title last held by
Napoleon III
as Emperor of the French
King of France and Navarre
9 September 1947 – 8 January 1959
Monarchy abolished

Preceded by:
Philippe Pétain
Co-Prince of Andorra
9 September 1947 – 8 January 1959
Succeeded by:
Charles de Gaulle
Titles in pretence
Loss of title
King of France and Navarre
(8 January 1959 – 20 March 1975)
Succeeded by:
Alphonse, Dauphin of France