Legitimation of Charlotte, Duchess of Albany, 1784

On March 30, 1783, Charles signed an Act of Legitimation by which he recognised his natural daughter, Charlotte, permitting her to succeed upon his death to his private estates. The Cardinal Duke of York protested against this act, considering that it was unbecoming and might cause confusion about the succession to the throne (which was unaltered). The Act of Legitimation was forwarded to the Most Christian King who confirmed it and had it registered in the Parlement of Paris.

A printed version of the text can be found on pages 161-163 of The Life and Letters of H.R.H. Charlotte Stuart, Duchess of Albany, by Francis John Angus Skeet (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1932).

Louis, by the grace of God, King of France and of Navarre, to all present and to come, Greeting.

Lady Charlotte Stuart d'Albany has represented that having been brought up in Paris where she received first the particular benefits of the late Prince James Stuart and later those of the Cardinal Prince of York, his second son, she has been authentically recognised by Prince Charles Edward her father, eldest son of the said late prince James and grandson of the late James the Second, King of Great Britain, by an Act made at Florence, the thirtieth of March, seventeen hundred and eighty three, signed by the prince in the presence of witnesses and ratified with his seal, certified by a notary in the Prince Charles Edward's presence and of the sid witnesses the same day and year, and legalised in the fifteenth of July last by the Sr Billerey in charge of our affairs in the absence of our Minister Plenipotentiary to the Archduke Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany, by which act, which she has produced to us, the said Prince Charles Edward declared fully legitimated, and rendered her birth legitimate by all the faculties which he is capable of and of which he intended to avail himself of in the said Act, the said Lady Charlotte Stuart d'Albany his daughter, desiring to continue under our good pleasure her residence in our states, and to be able to acquire and possess therein immovable property, the Prince her father, having moreover there property which he succeeded to principally from the princess his mother, which he has the power to dispose of entirely or in part in her favour, and which may come to her by succession. She has begged us to accord her permission and authorisation on these requisitions, even to everything which of necessity may be renounced to her, to all right of escheat or others which may belong to us and wishing to favourably treat the said Lady Charlotte Stuart d'Albany in these legal actions and others moved by the advice of our council and of our own certain knowledge and full royalty power and authority, we have by these presents signed with our had, permitted and permit the said Lady Charlotte Stuart d'Albany, to acquire and possess immoveables in our kingdom, as we have authorised and authorise also to receive all gifts and legacies which could be made to her by the prince her father, or other foreigners, or our subjects, of immoveable property real or in fief, and of furniture or moveable effects, which succession might bring to her reception of immoveable or moveable property situated in our states, and to dispose freely of her goods by will or gift amongst the dead and living, in the same way that our own subjects can dispose of them and renouncing to her as far as may be necessary, and all right of aubanie [a feudal right by which the Most Christian King claimed the goods of strangers dying in his kingdom], and renouncing so far as the above is concerned, he [the Most Christian King] renounces all which would conflict with all laws, arrets, judgements, usages, and other things to the contrary. Giving and charging our beloved and faithful counsellors those sitting in our Court of Parliament at Paris and to all our other officers belonging to it, which these presents have made register and to continue to do the same herewith and use the said Lady Charlotte Stuart d'Albany fully, peaceably and perpetually stopping, and making cease all troubles and impediments, notwithstanding all things to the contrary. For such is our pleasure, and in order that it may be firm and stable for ever we have had our seal put on these said presents.

Given at Versailles in the month of August, the year of Grace seventeen hundred and eighty four, and of our reign the eleventh.


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