France is marking the 600th anniversary of St. Jeanne d'Arc, in English, Joan of Arc or “The Maid of Orléans", who was born in 1412.
A Royalist, she is the national heroine of France and a Catholic saint. Claiming divine guidance, she led the French army against the English to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the coronation of King Charles VII.
But she was captured by Burgundian troops their English allies. She was tried for heresy in a show trial before an irregularly constituted ecclesiastical court at Rouen and burned at the stake when she was 19 years old.
But when Pope Callixtus III examined the trial, he pronounced her innocent. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized in 1920. With St. Denis, St. Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Theresa of Lisieux she is a patron saint of France.
Since Napoleon, French politicians have frequently invoked her memory, including and especially republican politicians. General de Gaulle honours St. Jeanne d'Arc in this historical extract from "Who does Jeanne d'Arc belong to?" presented by Laurent Delahousse on the leading TV network France 2 broadcast from Paris on 7 January, 2012 on the 600th anniversary of the Saint's birth.
This report was about the claims by French political leaders for some association with the Saint. In recent times, this appears to be principally between President Sarkozy and the National Front's Jean Marie Le Pen and his daughter Marine Le Pen.
Incidentally, according to some reports General de De Gaulle entered into talks with the the Count of Paris with a view to a restoration of the monarchy. That never took place.
[You may access here a National Public Radio report on a comment on French monarchism and particularly on a requiem mass for King Louis XVI in Paris in 2010. Louis XVI was executed during the Reign of Terror. ]