While the Prince Imperial’s military career in Austria was beginning to flourish, after having been recently promoted to the rank of Captain, turmoil in France began to spill over into open revolution; greatly alarming the European powers who sought to keep the balance of power in Europe. On March 18th, 1830, a liberal majority within the Chamber of Deputies made an address known as the Address of the 221, a motion of no confidence against King Charles X. The following day, King Charles X dissolved the parliament and delayed elections for a full two months. On July 25th, Charles X decreed what would become known as the July Ordinances; which suspended the liberty of the press, appointed reactionary ministers, and reduced the number of deputies within the Chamber of Deputies among other infractions.
Instead of quelling the protests of the people, the July Ordinances further inflamed the people into open revolution. Over the next three days from July 26th to July 29th, 1830, the people of Paris rioted against the Bourbon monarchy, and a few Bonapartists clamored for the return of Napoleon’s son, the Prince Imperial from Austria. Metternich at first refused such a notion of returning the son of Napoleon to the throne of France, yet was not completely unwilling to compromise on conditions for the eventual return of the House of Bonaparte.
Charles X soon abdicated his throne, unwilling to become a monarch limited in power and appointed his grandson the ten year old Henri, Duke of Bordeaux to the throne. However the duke was never to serve as king, as he fled with his grandfather to Britain. The cousin of Charles X, Louis Philippe of the House of Orléans was next in line to rule. However ; the cousin was unwilling to rule as a constitional monarch and the search for a suitable monarch continued. Hearing about the unrest in his native land, the Prince Imperial approached his grandfather, Franz I of Austria about returning to France and restoring the House of Bonaparte.
A painting of the Prince Imperial in 1831. The Prince is in his Austrian uniform, with no epaulets on.
The Emperor and loving grandfather at first refused such a notion – mostly because at this time Metternich still strongly opposed the return of a Bonaparte. However , events would soon begin to change the tide of Europe and the inspirations of the Prince Imperial who had now found the « principal aim of my life must be never to show myself unworthy of my father. » The spell of Napoleon I had become too powerful and nothing could prevail aganist it. Not only had the Prince Imperial found his father’s spirit, in his true heroic stature, he had also found himself through his father.
On a cool October night, with the leaves turning into majestic colors, the Prince Imperial and an entourage of tutors and servants gathered into several ornately decorated carriages and strode off in the ----erly direction of...