Image of the Grimaldis’ 700th anniversary celebrations.
Image: AP

Perhaps you thought the era of dynastic disputes and rival claimants to the throne were a thing of the past, a phenomenon consigned to an era when monarchy mattered. Think again, says French aristocrat Louis de Causans!

The Guardian reported that this man has filed suit against the French government, arguing they deprived him of his rightful place on the throne of Monaco. The painstakingly intricate details:

The succession dispute dates back to 1911, when the then Prince Louis II of Monaco, who ruled between 1922 and 1949, had no official heir. This raised the prospect of Monaco being ruled by Guillaume II de Wurtemberg-Urach, a German.

For France, on the brink of the first world war, the prospect was unthinkable. De Causans says the throne should have passed to a second branch of the Grimaldi family, from which he descends.

Under pressure from Paris, Louis II adopted Charlotte Louise, the daughter of his lover Marie-Juliette Louvet, a cabaret singer and Prince Albert’s great-grandmother. A law was passed in 1911 recognising this succession, but it was later deemed illegal. A second law was passed in 1918. France and Monaco also signed a treaty requiring prior French approval of all future Monégasque princes.

An important fact here is that—according to the portrait in Randy Taraborrelli’s 2003 history Once Upon a Time: Behind the Fairy Tale of Princess Grace and Prince Ranier—the Grimaldis’ family tree practically bows under the weight of the various disagreements and estrangements throughout its centuries-long history, and they are messy out of all proportion to Monaco’s size. So really this is perfectly in keeping with their endless drama.

To be clear, however, de Causans sressed that his beef is with France, NOT his cousin Prince Albert. Hard to imagine that will make Prince Albert any less massively annoyed.

“I want the truth to come out and this injustice perpetrated by France on my family to be put right,” de Causans told Le Parisien. Also, he wants €351 million in damages. Good luck to Louis!