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Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma
Replace this image male.svg
Born 8 April 1930 (1930-04-08) (age 79)
Title(s) Duke of Parma, King of Spain, King of Etruria
Throne(s) claimed Parma, Spain, Etruria
Pretend from 7 May 1977
Monarchy abolished 1859
Last monarch Robert I
Connection with Grandson
Royal House House of Bourbon-Parma
Father Xavier, Duke of Parma
Mother Madeleine de Bourbon-Busset
Spouse Princess Irene of the Netherlands (1964-1981)
Predecessor Xavier, Duke of Parma

Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma and Piacenza (born 8 April 1930 in Paris, France) is the current titular duke of Parma and the head of the House of Bourbon-Parma (a branch of the House of Bourbon). Carlos Hugo is also known as having been a Carlist pretender to the throne of Spain under the name Carlos VIII.

He was baptized Hugues Marie Sixte Robert Louis Jean Georges Benoît Michel. On 28 June 1963 he was officially renamed Charles Hugues, by judgement of the court of appeal of la Seine, France. He was a French citizen, and since 1980 a naturalized Spanish citizen.

His marriage to Princess Irene of the Netherlands in 1964 caused a constitutional crisis in The Netherlands.

Carlos Hugo is the son of Xavier, Duke of Parma and Madeleine de Bourbon-Busset. In 1977, his father died, and Carlos Hugo succeeded him as Duke of Parma.

As duke of Parma, he claims the headship of the Constantinian Order of Saint George, although it was not tied to the ducal throne of Parma, but is adjudicated by the church of Rome to follow the male primogeniture.



Carlism is a Spanish political movement seeking to restore Carlos Hugo's branch of the House of Bourbon to the Spanish throne.

In 1952, Carlos Hugo's father publicly laid claim to the Spanish throne as Javier I, but he was ignored by Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who later chose Juan Carlos to be his successor instead. On 5 May 1957 Javier proclaimed Carlos Hugo Prince of the Asturias and Duke of San Jaime. In February 1964 Carlos Hugo assumed the title Duke of Madrid.

After alienating many Carlists with his attempts to approach Franco (1965–1967), Carlos Hugo switched to a leftist Titoist socialist movement. His mother, Madeleine of Bourbon, and his brother, Sixtus Henry of Bourbon, stood for traditional Carlism.

Carlos Hugo assumed Carlist leadership in August, 1975. During the Franco regime, the organization of Carlism has been known as the Traditionalist Communion. After Franco's death, also the Carlist movement was badly split, and unable to get wide public attention again. In May 1976, a year after Franco's death, two Carlist sympathizers were shot down by far-right terrorists, among whom Stefano Delle Chiaie and members of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (Triple A), with logistic support of Francoist elements inside Spanish Intelligence agencies and the Civil Guard[1][2]. This incident became known as the Montejurra massacre.[3]

Ducal Family of Parma

In the first democratic elections on 15 June, 1977, only one Carlist senator was elected, journalist and writer Fidel Carazo from Soria, who ran as an independent candidate. In the parliamentary elections of 1979, Carlists integrated in the coalition Unión Nacional, that won a seat in Congress for Madrid; but the elected candidate was Blas Piñar, Francoist leader of Fuerza Nueva. Since then, Carlists have remained extra-parliamentary, obtaining only town council seats.

Carlos Hugo abandoned his Carlist claims in 1979 and became a naturalised Spanish citizen as Carlos-Hugo de Borbón-Parma y Borbón, by royal decree of King Juan Carlos. In 1980, he left the political arena, abandoning the new "Partido Carlista" which he had created. The party would later become a founding member of the United Left coalition.

In 2002 Carlos Hugo donated his House's archives to Spain's national historical archives. This decision was opposed by his brother Sixtus.

On 28 September 2003 at Arbonne in France, Carlos Hugo re-asserted his Carlist claim. [4] He announced that he would use the title Count of Montemolin (conde de Montemolín) for himself, and that three of his children would have Carlist titles: Duke of Madrid (duque de Madrid) for his son Carlos, Duke of San Jaime (duque de San Jaime) for his son Jaime, and Duchess of Gernika (duquesa de Gernika) for his daughter Carolina.

Marriage to Irene

Carlos Hugo's engagement to Princess Irene of the Netherlands, daughter of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, caused a constitutional crisis in the Netherlands for several reasons. Irene lost her rights of succession to the Dutch throne because the government refused to enact a law permitting the marriage, and her mother could not go to Rome to talk Irene out of the marriage and of her conversion to Catholicism because the government advised her against it. The issue that prevented the government from making a law permitting the marriage was Carlos's claim of the Spanish throne. The Dutch government saw international political difficulties arising from a possible heir to the Dutch throne holding a controversial claim to the throne of a foreign state. Also, the Dutch Constitution does not allow the monarch to carry a foreign crown.[citation needed]

Carlos Hugo and Irene were married on 29 April 1964, in the Borghese Chapel at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy, by Cardinal Paolo Giobbe, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the Netherlands.[5] No members of the Dutch Royal Family were present; Irene's parents watched the ceremony on television.[6] After the ceremony, Carlos Hugo and Irene had a private audience with Pope Paul VI. They spent their honeymoon in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, after which they settled in Madrid.[7]

Carlos Hugo and Irene divorced on May 27, 1981. [8] In February 2008 it was revealed that he was being treated for cancer.


Carlos Hugo and Princess Irene had four children:


  1. ^ "Montejurra-76: crimen de Estado sin castigo", El Mundo, 6 May 2001
  2. ^ CARCEDO, Diego: Sáenz de Santamaría: el general que cambio de bando, ISBN 8484603091
  3. ^ Crimes of Montejurra (translation)
  4. ^ Palabras de S.A.R. el Príncipe Don Carlos Hugo de Borbón Parma en al acto de imposición de cruces de la Orden de la Legitimad Proscrita, celebrado el domingo día 28 de septiembre de 2003 en Arbonne (Francia)
  5. ^ "Carlist Colours Flaunted at Princess's Marriage", The Times (30 April 1964): 14.
  6. ^ "Queen Juliana Sees It on Television", The Times (30 April 1964): 14.
  7. ^ Josep Carles Clement, Carlos Hugo de Brobon Parma: Historia de una disidencia (Barcelona: Planeta, 2001), 121.
  8. ^ Het Koninklijk Huis | Prinses Irene (official website of the Royal House of Orange)

External links

Carlos Hugo, Duke of Parma
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 8 April 1930
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Xavier I
Duke of Parma
Reason for succession failure:
Annexed by Kingdom of Sardinia
Prince Carlos, Prince of Piacenza
King of Etruria
King of Spain
Carlist claimants to the throne of Spain

Succeeded by
Enrique V
Preceded by
Prince Alexander of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Legitimist line of succession to the French throne
34th position
Succeeded by
Prince Carlos, Prince of Piacenza


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