The Bourbon-Busset family is an illegitimate branch of the direct
House of Bourbon, being thus part of the Capetian dynasty. It has been regarded as an illegitimate branch, and non-dynastic since decisions by Louis XI of France.
Possibly it is however canonically legitimate, in which case it is the most senior extant male-line branch of the Capetians, and senior to the current royal Bourbons.
Its head possesses the title count of Busset since the marriage of the first Bourbon with the baroness of Busset in late 15th century.
The line of Bourbon-Busset descends in the
male linefrom the son of Louis of Bourbon, Prince-Bishop of Liège(1438-1482), himself a son of Charles I, Duke of Bourbon. Louis, in male line a sixth cousin of king Charles VII of France, married, without royal licence, Catharine of Egmont, daughter of Arnold, Duke of Gelderland. Either from this marriage, or from a mistress of Louis of Bourbon, a son was born, who then married the heiress of the barony of Busset and was elevated to the title of count of Busset.
Although the marriage between Louis and Catherine took place before Louis was consecrated as a priest, which would have made it canonically impossible for him to marry, it was kept secret, being against the interests of
Louis XI of France. French alliances in the Low Countrieswere not compatible with those of the House of Egmont. The French king therefore (debatably) annulled the marriage, declaring any children of the marriage illegitimate.
Records and chronicles are unclear as to whether Louis and Catherine produced any surviving descent in the male line. Evidence just as easily suggests that the Bourbon-Bussets derived from an entirely uncanonical affair between Louis of Bourbon and a mistress.
Members of the Bourbon-Busset family later gained the titles of
count of Châlusand count of Lignières.
The daughter and heiress of Cesar Borgia,
Duke of Valentinois, married a count of Busset.
Valois-Angoulemebranch on the throne was nearing its end in 16th century, Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme was recognized as the Premier Prince du Sang, the first prince of "blood royal" of France, although he only descended from James I, Count of La Marche(1315–1362), the younger brother of duke Peter I of Bourbon.
Were the Bourbon-Busset legitimate, the position of the premier prince would have belonged to the then
count of Bussetinstead of Duke Antony. However, what is certain is that the Bourbon-Bussets, believing themselves to be an illegitimate line, either in law or fact, never claimed the position, and played no particular role in the subsequent events, which resulted almost in a civil war in France between Protestants and Catholics.
Similarly, upon the death of
Henry III of France, were the Bourbon-Busset a legitimate dynastical line, the crown should have passed to Cesar of Bourbon-Busset (1565–1630), in male line the late king's 10th cousin. However, he never claimed the crown, and played no particular role when king Henry III of Navarre, his agnatic 7th cousin once removed, Antony's son, became king Henry IV of France and Cesar's liege lord.
The senior male-line descendant of the Bourbon-Busset recently was the French writer
Jacques de Bourbon-Busset(1912–2001), member of the French Academy. President Charles de Gaullewas once quoted telling him: "Had it not been for the decision of king Louis XI, you might well be head of state of France today, instead of me."
Madeline of Bourbon-Busset (1898-1984), daughter of the then reigning
count of Lignièresand Jacques's distant cousin, married in 1927 a royal Bourbon relative, Xavier of Bourbon-Parma, duke of Parma and Carlist pretender to the throne of Spain.
They were the parents of Carlos Hugo of Bourbon-Parma, duke of Parma. As wife of Xavier, Madeline was proclaimed
Queen consortof Spainby the remaining Carlists in 1952. In 1974, she became titular duchess of Parma in her own right.
Madeline, widowed in 1977, was a staunch adherent of Carlist
reactionaryideals, conservatism and clericalismincluded. Her younger son Sixtus Henry of Bourbon-Parma, duke of Aranjuezcontinues currently as Carlist pretender.
Other Illegitimate Houses
Bourbon du Maineextinct
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