A French aristocrat is suing the French government for €351 million (almost $400 million), saying the French state tricked his family out of the throne of Monaco by changing the heredity rules more than a century ago.
“I want the truth to come out—I want reparation for the injustice done to my family by France,” the noble told Le Parisien, according to BCC.
Louis de Causans, who lives in Paris, says he is a direct descendant of Honoré III, who ruled Monaco from 1733 to 1793. His branch of the family would allegedly be ruling the independent city-state today, except for a wrinkle related to Prince Louis II, who ruled from 1922 to 1949.
According to The Guardian, Prince Louis II had no official heir, and thus was ineligible for the throne. This meant Monaco would pass to his cousin, Guillaume II de Wurtemberg-Urach, the German ancestor of de Causans. But with France on the brink of World War I, the state refused to allow a German leader.
De Causans claims the throne should have passed to his family, but instead, the French state allowed Louis II to adopt his illegitimate daughter Charlotte Louise, born to the cabaret singer Marie-Juliette Louvet. The rules were changed in 1911, recognizing this succession, and Louis II was allowed to reign.
Thus, de Causans’s cousin, Prince Albert II, currently holds the Monaco throne.
De Causans, whose full name is Louis Jean Raymond Marie de Vincens de Causans, argues this “sleight of hand” has cost his family, as he does not receive any revenue from the principality. But he says his fight is with the state of France, not his cousin, Prince Albert II.
“C’est une question d’honneur,” he told Le Parisien. “It’s a matter of honor.”