Heir to Hereditary Monarchy Irked by Statue Damaged in Protest

He's also dictator Francisco Franco's great-grandson

Louis XVI statue
Louisville's statue of Louis XVI.
Bedford/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / May 30, 2020 2:18 pm

Since the beginning of nationwide protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody and the arrest of police officer Derek Chauvin for his murder, there have been a number of illuminating pieces of commentary written about multiple relevant topics. Some have addressed racial inequalities in America; others have brought up flaws with the nation’s current approach to policing.

To look at social media during the protests was to see a heated but functional debate in action. This isn’t to say that there weren’t bad takes in with the good takes; there were plenty. But one particular Tweet that went viral did so not because of its insight, but because of its seeming lack of self-awareness. What happens when a statue of a bygone French king is damaged in the midst of an otherwise peaceful protest in Louisville? Turns out one guy got very indignant:

Cue a series of guillotine gifs, a “Sir, this is an Arby’s” and a general tone of withering contempt for de Borbon. Alternately: in the midst of a heated debate over race, justice and militarized policing in America, who opts to take a tone of righteous indignation over a damaged statue? The answer is, apparently, Louis de Borbon.

Unfortunately, to write de Borbon off as a wealthy eccentric clinging to the reputation of a distant relative only tells part of the story. He’s also wholeheartedly embraced the legacy of another ancestor — his great-grandfather, former Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco. A 2018 article in El País does a fine job of summarizing de Borbon’s efforts as an apologist for his great-grandfather’s legacy.

Given that de Borbon has embraced the authoritarian dictator and absolute monarchs in his family tree, it’s not shocking to see his stance in the wake of this week’s protests. But it’s also indicative of someone seeking to be on the losing side of history several times over.

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