Sunday, October 30, 2011

Contemporary French Nobility

"The problem with France is that there is no king." (Via The Inn at the End of the World.)
Across Europe, nobles have weathered the effects of the rise of the middle class, fluctuating farming revenue, financial crises and tax increases. But in France the situation is particularly complicated. Following a series of revolutions, no official nobles have been created since around 1870, says the ANF. In today's French Republic, a noble title confers no formal power.

Hindered by the fact that it was long considered un-noble to have a job—unless it was to serve the king—some French nobles fell on hard times. Today many have simply inherited the financial burden of caring for an old castle. In the past 50 years, without a king to promote new members, about 600 French noble family names disappeared, many of the nobles having married into obscurity. (Read entire article.)
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6 comments:

Christina said...

The comments to the article depress me. I don't usually read comments on Internet articles but those on the WSJ are usually above the normal run of ill-spelled profane abuse. However, the comments make it clear to me that very, very few people really understand what the French Revolution did to France. And it sounds as if, inexplicably, there are quite a few who still wish the guillotine were around.

Matterhorn said...

Once, on another article, I saw a comment to the effect that anyone who thought there was any point to the old regime "deserved the guillotine".

elena maria vidal said...

I am startled to see the hatred people have for the old ways.

Barry said...

The issue at hand related to the animosity displayed by some of the comments on the original article is unfortunately incredibly relevant to what is occurring now across the world. The notion that old orders and regimes were inherently flawed to a degree that nothing of them was worth keeping is dangerous. It is good the ANF seeks to uplift their fellows and serve as the function of making the French nobility relevant and accountable in some way and advance the idea that they serve a purpose in society. I fear, however, that merely pointing out that real families with real links to legitimate noble titles even still exist might only serve to fuel more hatred from the masses. The wave of sentiment present in the world right now is dangerous.

lara77 said...

It is wonderful that an organization exists to help the aristocracy in France. I know there will never be a return to the ancien regime; yet these families had titles bestowed on them by Kings of France. THAT must be recognized because in serving the King they served France.

Matterhorn said...

Even now, when regimes are so much more egalitarian, there is still a startling amount of hatred of whatever remains of privilege. I have seen many hateful remarks about contemporary royal families, for instance, talking about them in crude and vindictive terms as parasites who have never had to work to earn their keep.(Yet their schedules of public duties sound quite strenuous to me).