Henri Robert Ferdinand Marie Louis-Philippe d'Orleans, 90, the Count of Paris and pretender to the French throne, died June 19 at his home in Dreux, west of Paris. He had prostate cancer.

He was a direct descendant of Louis-Philippe, the last king of France, who abdicated in 1848.

President Jacques Chirac called the count a "man of duty" who "all his life remained loyal to the heritage of the royal family of France, while still respecting the institutions of the republic."

"He accepted as natural the obligation he had to incarnate a tradition that belongs to our history," the president said.

Recognized by dapper suits and a moustache which became his trademark, the count cut a dashing figure in his youth.

He fought for France in the Foreign Legion despite being banished from his beloved country for the first 42 years of his life. It was not until 1950 that a law forbidding pretenders to the throne into the country was rescinded.

Henri d'Orleans was firm friends with Gen. Charles de Gaulle, who supported his bid to reestablish himself as king.

"The general wanted to reestablish the monarchy, and I think he was sincere when he talked to me about it," the count said in a television interview in 1994.

"My plan was to get elected on universal suffrage, like the President, to take on a firm obligation. I would have asked the French to make their choice, without forcing their hand, but giving them time to reflect," he said.

Later, in an interview with the International Herald Tribune in 1998, the count said that any restoration of the monarchy in France would have to be "above and beyond politics in the permanent interests of the whole nation."

"Everything depends on events and on the man," he added. "I believe it's finished for me -- it is up to others to carry on my work.

Last July, the count, who ran a rest home outside Paris, celebrated his 90th birthday in the company of other royals cast aside by history: the former Empress Farah of Iran and Grand Duchess Maria of Russia. Also present were a handful of royals from Romania, Yugoslavia and Greece. They celebrated at the count's favorite castle at Amboise in the Loire Valley.

In 1992, the count had a public row with his daughter, Princess Chantal, then a 45-year-old mother of three, for expressing her personal political views at a dinner party. Invoking a centuries-old law that forbids women to ascend to the throne, the count likened his daughter to a "rebel or insurgent" for speaking publicly without his permission.

Chantal had openly criticized the far-right National Front and urged other members of the royal family to speak out.

The count said in a letter published in the Point de Vue-Images du Monde, a magazine that covers royalty, that Chantal had no right, historically, to speak in the name of the royal family.

In 1931, the count married Princess Isabelle d'Orleans Bragance, and lived in a saga which out-Windsored Charles and Diana for glamour and gossip before they separated in 1986. They had 11 children.

He stripped his eldest son, Henri de France, Count of Clermont, of his position as theoretical heir to the throne in 1984 after he divorced and remarried a divorced woman, but reconfirmed him as heir to the House of France in 1996.

In addition to his children, the count's survivors include more than 40 grandchildren.