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Juan, Count of Montizón

Don Juan Carlos Maria Isidro de Borbón, Count of Montizón (French: Jean Charles Marie Isidore de Bourbon, comte de Montizón) (May 15, 1822 – November 18, 1887) was the Carlist claimant to the throne of Spain from 1860 to 1868, and the Legitimist claimant to the throne of France from 1883 to 1887.


Youth and marriage

Juan was born at the Palacio Real de Aranjuez in Madrid, the younger son of the Infante Carlos of Spain, brother of King Ferdinand VII, and his first wife, Infanta Maria Francisca of Portugal. He was raised in an atmosphere imbued with traditional values of loyalty to the monarchy and the Church.

In March 1833 Juan moved with his family to Portugal. The following September Juan's uncle Ferdinand VII died, and Juan's father Carlos claimed the throne of Spain as King Carlos V. Carlos opposed the succession of his infant niece Queen Isabella II whose mother the Queen Regent Maria Christina managed to take control on behalf of her daughter. In June 1834 Juan moved with his family to England where they lived at Gloucester Lodge, Old Brompton Road, and later at Alverstoke Old Rectory, Hampshire. He remained in England throughout the First Carlist War, playing no part in it on account of his youth.

On January 15, 1837 the Cortes which was controlled by the Isabellists passed a law, ratified by the Queen Regent Maria Christina, which excluded Juan, his father, and brothers from the Spanish succession. By the same law the title of Infante of Spain was removed from Juan and his family. From the perspective of the Carlists this law was invalid.

On February 6, 1847, Juan married the Archduchess Maria Beatrix of Austria-Este, daughter of Duke Francis IV of Modena and Princess Maria Beatrice of Savoy. The couple had two sons:

Juan and Beatrix lived first in Modena, but had to leave during the revolution of 1848. After a brief time in Austria, they settled in London where their younger son was born. In spite of the conservatism and religious piety of his own family and particularly that of his wife, Juan developed liberal tendencies. He separated from his wife who returned to Modena where she raised her two sons.

Claimant to the throne of Spain

Juan played no part in the 1860 Carlist rising led by his brother Carlos Luis, count of Montemolín. On April 21 Carlos Luis was captured by the troops of Isabella II and forced to renounce his claims to the Spanish throne. On June 2 Juan published a declaration affirming his accession as Juan III, King of Spain;[1] henceforward he used the title conde de Montizón (in commemoration of a commandery of the Order of Santiago which belonged to his father). Juan's accession declaration used phrases such as "the light and progress of the age"; these phrases caused great offence to many Carlists most of whom refused to support him.

Once he had left Spain, his brother Carlos Luis renounced his abdication. On June 15 he declared that it was invalid since he had been forced to sign against his will.[2] Juan refused to accept his brother's declaration. Until the unexpected death of Carlos Luis the following January, there were two Carlist claimants.

During the early 1860s the popularity of the government of Isabella II continued to decline. Juan's liberal views, however, ensured that he was not a viable candidate for the Carlists. In 1866, Juan's elder son Carlos (now aged eighteen) asked his father to abdicate his rights, but he did nothing.[3] Two years later, however, on October 3, 1868, Juan signed a decree of abdication at Paris.[4] He became an active supporter of his son Carlos' attempts to regain the Spanish throne in the Third Carlist War.

After his abdication Juan lived mostly in England in the town of Worthing. He used the name Charles Monfort. He lived with an Englishwoman, Ellen Sarah Carter, with whom he had a son John Monfort (1861-1929) and a daughter Helen(1859-1947).

Claimant to the throne of France

On August 24, 1883 Juan's distant cousin and brother-in-law Henri, comte de Chambord died. Henri had been the Legitimist claimant to the throne of France. Henri's widow, Archduchess Maria Theresa of Austria-Este, and a minority of his supporters held that Juan as senior male descendant of Louis XIV was his successor. They proclaimed him as Jean III, King of France and Navarre. He issued a declaration saying, "Having become Head of the House of Bourbon by the death of my brother-in-law and cousin, the Comte de Chambord, I declare that I do not in any way renounce the rights to the throne of France which I have held since my birth". But other than this declaration he made no active claim to the French throne.

Juan died at his home (25 Seafield Road) in Hove in 1887. His funeral mass was held November 24 in Sacred Heart Church in Hove in the presence of his two sons.[5] Then his body was taken to Trieste where it is buried in the chapel of Saint Charles Borromeo in the Basilica di San Giusto.[6]


  1. ^ Jaime Del Burgo, Carlos VII y su tiempo: Leyenda y realidad (Pamplona: Gobierno de Navarra, 1994), 93-94.
  2. ^ Del Burgo, 95.
  3. ^ Del Burgo, 131-133.
  4. ^ Del Burgo, 153.
  5. ^ Del Burgo, 325.
  6. ^ Del Burgo, 326.

External links

Juan's photograph of the hippopotamus at the London Zoo, 1852 [1]

Juan, Count of Montizón
Cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty
Born: 15 May 1822 Died: 21 November 1887[death certificate]
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
Carlos, Count of Montemolin
as Charles (Carlos) VI
King of Spain
January 13, 1861 – October 3, 1868
Succeeded by
Carlos, Duke of Madrid
as Charles VII of Spain and XI of France
Preceded by
Henri, Count of Chambord
as Henry V
King of France and Navarre
August 24, 1883 – November 21, 1887


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