Slovenes tussle with French historians over return of King Charles X's remains

Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:08pm EDT
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By Marja Novak and Tatiana CHADENAT

NOVA GORICA, Slovenia/SAINT-DENIS, France, (Reuters) - The most celebrated resident of Nova Gorica in Slovenia is long-dead French King Charles X, but now townsfolk worry they may lose him to a movement for the repatriation of his remains.

Last month, a French historical lobby group called for the remains to be taken from Nova Gorica's monastery back to France. The monarch, who died in exile in 1836, is the only French king not buried in his homeland.

Slovenia has not reacted officially, but the mayor and locals insist Charles X must remain at Kostanjevica, a Franciscan monastery perched atop a picturesque hill on the outskirts of the town, where he chose to be interred.

"The king has been buried here for 180 years and is a part of our heritage," Mayor Matej Arcon told Reuters.

But the French Association for the Return of Charles X strongly disagrees, and wants the exiled monarch to rejoin his family slumbering in the Bourbon crypt of the Saint-Denis basilica near Paris.

"We want to gather the family in this Bourbon crypt where Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVIII already are. There has been a place waiting for Charles X for two centuries," said Philippe Delorme, the association's honorary president.

Charles X was king for six years until a revolution ended his rule in 1830 and drove him into exile.

Thereafter he lived from city to city across Europe before moving in 1836 to Gorizia, then part of the Habsburg dynasty's Austrian Empire and now in Italy, fleeing a cholera epidemic raging in Prague at the time.   Continued...

The tomb of last French King Charles X can be found in the crypt of the church of Kostanjevica, near Nova Gorica, Slovenia October 11, 2016. Picture taken October 11, 2016. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic