Mr Napoleon - great-great-grandson of Napoleon Bonaparte's brother Jerome, King of Westphalia - is standing for parliament in Fontainebleau and environs. A pro-European, he's campaigning under the centrist banner of presidential candidate François Bayrou.
If Mr Bayrou, head of the Union for French Democracy, wins the French presidency - a prospect no longer improbable - Mr Napoleon stands a good chance of being elected on his coat tails, ousting the current Right-wing UMP deputy Didier Julia, in power since 1967.
If so, Mr Napoleon could well find himself thrust to the forefront of French politics - if only because of his attention-grabbing name.
Incredibly, Mr Napoleon is also 1,120th in line to the British throne, thanks to the marriage in 1807 between Jerome Bonaparte and German princess Katherine of Wurttemberg.
Charles grew up resenting his ultra-conservative father, Prince Louis, who all his life dreamt of an Imperial restoration. In the late 1960s Charles was a student radical in Paris, eventually earning a PhD in economics from the Sorbonne. The author of serious books about his illustrious family, he openly identifies with the "rebels" of the Bonaparte dynasty.
His divorce from distant cousin HRH Beatrice de Bourbon and remarriage to a commoner provoked his late father to disinherit him as head of the Imperial House a decade ago. Mr Napoleon claims the real reason for the short-lived succession crisis was Prince Louis' disapproval of his "republican and democratic" values.
Five years ago he moved to Corsica - birthplace of Napoleon I - and forged a political alliance with leftists to take control of Ajaccio's city council. Astonishingly, Mr Napoleon's enemy in that battle was the right-wing Bonapartist party, which he dismisses as a "corrupt clan".
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
From the Telegraph: