An aristocrat who claims his family should have inherited the throne of Monaco is suing France for $401 million
- A French aristocrat is suing France for €351 million ($401 million) in damages.
- Count Louis de Causans says the French state cheated his family out of the throne of Monaco.
- De Causans told Le Parisien that "sleight of hand" had allowed the French state to rewrite Monaco's laws of succession.
- De Causans' ancestor was apparently once Monaco's rightful heir, but missed out on the throne because he was German, and France was on the brink of World War I at the time.
Louis de Causans is a prince without a kingdom - or so he says.
The French-born count is seeking compensation of €351 million ($401 million) in damages from France, which he says cheated his family out of the throne of Monaco.The aristocrat, full name Louis Jean Raymond Marie de Vincens de Causans, told Le Parisien that "sleight of hand" had allowed the French state to rewrite Monaco's laws of succession during the reign of Luis II of Monaco (1922-44).
He said: "I want the truth to come out and this injustice perpetrated by France on my family to be put right.
"In reality, my cousin Prince Albert acceded to the throne by a sleight of hand … France found a solution to get its hands on Monaco. Afterwards, they managed business on the Rock as they wished."
He said Louis II had no heirs, meaning the throne should have passed down to his branch of the Grimaldi family, making his ancestor Guillaume II de Wurtemberg-Urach the new ruler.
However, Guillaume II was German - and to have a German ruler of Monaco at a time when France was on the brink of war with their neighbours was unthinkable.So, Louis II adopted his illegitimate daughter Charlotte Louise, whose mother was a cabaret singer. A law, which was later deemed illegal, was passed in 1911 to secure her succession.
"I thought it was the Grimaldis' fault, but then I found out it was the French state that caused this dramatic turnaround for us," De Causans said.
It's easy to see why De Causans is upset. Monaco's current ruler Albert II is worth $1 billion. However, he stressed that he does not blame the prince for his qualm.
Le Parisien also spoke to De Causans' lawyer, Monsieur Jean-Marc Descoubès, who said that the enormous sum of money being demanded was in line with the losses sustained by the aristocrat's family.
"His fortune would be out of proportion with what it is today," Descoubès said.
You can watch the full interview in French here.