For as long as wizardkind can remember, the French monarchies, muggle and otherwise, coexisted in peace. They exerted equal control over the populace, often interchanging as one of the pure-blooded royals ascended to the throne. On the horizon approached an age of struggle, though. As the 18th century drew to a close, France's expensive involvement in the American revolution - coupled with the extravagant spending by King Louis XVI - left the country on the brink of bankruptcy. Royal coffers depleted, two decades of poor harvests, drought, cattle disease and skyrocketing bread priced had kindled unrest among peasants. Many expressed desperation and resentment towards the monarchy, who imposed heavy taxes without providing relief, by the means of looting, rioting and striking.
During fall of 1786, Charles Alexandre de Calonne, proposed a financial reform package that included a universal land tax from which the privileged classes would no longer be exempt. To garner support for these measures and forestall a growing aristocratic revolt, the king summoned les états généraux - an assembly representing France’s clergy, nobility and middle class. The meeting was scheduled for May 5, 1789; in the meantime, delegates of the three estates from each locality would compile cahiers de doléances to present to the king. Moreover, in the lead-up to the May 5 meeting, the Third Estate began to mobilize support for equal representation and the abolishment of the noble veto – in other words, they wanted voting by head and not by status.
While all of the orders shared a common desire for fiscal and judicial reform as well as a more representative form of government, the nobles in particular were loath to give up the privileges they enjoyed under the traditional system. On June 12, as the National Assembly continued to meet at Versailles, fear and violence consumed the capital. Though enthusiastic about the recent breakdown of royal power, Parisians grew panicked as rumors of an impending military coup began to circulate. A popular insurgency culminated on July 14 when rioters stormed the Bastille fortress in an attempt to secure gunpowder and weapons; many consider this event, now commemorated in France as a national holiday, as the start of the French Revolution.
Few royals foresaw the events leading and following the storming of Bastille, but those that did went into hiding, seeking safety from the wave of revolutionary fervor and widespread hysteria that quickly swept the country of France. Revolting against years of exploitation, peasants looted and burned the homes of tax collectors, landlords and the seigniorial elite. Known as la Grande peur, the rural insurrection hastened the growing exodus of nobles from the country and inspired the National Constituent Assembly to abolish feudalism on August 4, 1789.
As they bore witness to the rising tensions in the country, the royals of magical blood fled muggle land. They needed a new place to call 'home' - the muggle world was a losing fight, they knew, and thus poured their efforts into a new, unexplored world; one befitting wizardkind.
For as long as they had known, French wizards coexisted peacefully with their moldus counterparts, but this had begun to change, their relationships evolving in unison with the growing discomfort towards the French crown. In what is now known as the magical sector of France, hidden behind a statue in Paris, a select group of wizards tried founding what would have been known as the Ministère des Affaires Magiques de la France, based on a motto akin to their moldus siblings': Incanté, Envouté, Conjuré. Unfortunately, the government was structurally weak and had little support. Not long before it was established, it collapsed in itself, as the populace were unable to thrive under a government clouded by uncertainty. This led to the implementation of the French Monarchy, under King Charles XI.
Wanting to make it clear their rule would be nothing like their counterpart, which found itself in shambles at the time, Charles declared the Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen a general - very loose, as well, solely to fit the idea of a Monarchy - basis for their ideals. In what modern-day historians argue was a highly controversial thing to do, however, the King extended these human rights to everyone - man, woman and child. Furthermore, certain attributes of the muggle crown remained in place - a council of twelve noble families, selected from the pure-blooded population, each with a specific task to oversee. While the council has evolved over time, the general idea has transcended time. While it was something French wizards weren't initially keen on, they recognised it was better than the turmoil in the non-magical world.
Over time, the magical crown distanced itself further and further from the non-magical world. There came a point where, while not outright prohibited, many wizards found it 'taboo' to interact with molduses, making their community one of the purest out of all magical societies. Furthermore, now living in an era of prosperity under King Louis XVII, they've become much more inclusive, and has become more common to see their own marrying into moldus families and living in their world.
Matthieu never really had a chance at the throne. He was the youngest child of Louis and was had when he was rather old. So his oldest nephew of his eldest sibling was actually quite near in age. However, he was the pride and joy of Louis. He was the favourite son and was adored by everyone in the family. How could they not? Matthieu's heart was bigger than his small body could hold. Even as a child, he was always looking on how to help those less fortunate than him, always looking to help and make someone else smile. Kind, empathetic and sweet, Matthieu barely had a mean bone in his body. He was the type of child to go put himself into time out when he broke a rule, no matter how minuscule it was.
However, everything shifted when he began to age. By the time he was eleven, the age where he was meant to attend Beauxbatons, he still hadn't had his magical incident to tell his family that he was a wizard. At first, his parents were dedicated to the belief that he had had it and that no one was around to notice it and that maybe Matthieu hadn't realised that it had happened. However, when he was ten, and the family waited and waited for that acceptance letter, it became clear that Matthieu had never had any form of magical occurrences and, when he was eleven, they were forced too accept he was nothing but a squib. A muggle born into a magical family. And, to the press and public, the shame of the royal family. For the next seven years, the press ripped Matthieu apart. Making fun of him, shaming him, calling him a muggle, and eventually Matthieu rarely made any public appearances, just to make sure their hurtful words were kept to a minimum. Plus, if he was never seen, then they would run out of something to talk about and the public would get bored.
In home, it wasn't quite okay. The family was never ashamed of him. They still loved him. But Matthieu could tell, at least with his parents, that something was different. That their love had changed. In truth, his parents, especially his father, was disappointed. They wanted all their children to be magical, to prosper in French society, and Matthieu...broke that dream. Unintentionally, but he did. And Matthieu could feel it. Could feel it when they hugged him, he could feel it when they said 'I love you'. They said it in this resigned manner that just made him feel nothing but sadness. Matthieu wasn't the golden child any longer. They hired private tutors for him as he aged, putting him through the equivalent of high school and he graduated as one of the top students in France. When he was of age, though, Matthieu made a decision. He was going too abdicate. Matthieu knew if he stayed in the royal line, in France, then he would lose himself. Matthieu had already began to suffer from depression (though he was going through therapy for it) and was almost a recluse by then. He wanted to see the world, he wanted to walk down the street without someone sneering at him. Matthieu believed that he was dragging his own family down so he left. He left to London. Where he was barely recognised. Why would he? They were so caught up in their own royal line that barely any of them had time for a foreign royal family, even if they were just over the channel.
Prince Matthieu Paul Louis Alexander of Valois simply became Matthieu Valois when he moved into Diagon alley, even dropping all of his middle names. He was eighteen years old and wanted a fresh start. He even considered changing his surname to something else. But he didn't. He also considered muggle London but he decided to try the magical society first. Matthieu was still being financed by his family, though. They felt bad about his lot in life and so, when he declared to them what he was planning to do, they persuaded him to let them fund his way forward. Or at least until he can lead a comfortable life without their support. Matthieu worked in a cafe for the first few years and was happy. He had a few friends, a few girlfriends here and there, and is now living a a quiet life.