A few months pass by and Leon Millet has become, in the Order of the Croises des Temps nouveaux, Brother Marie Bernard, of royal blood. In Lyon, a city that has always been devoted to mysteries and where Illuminism periodically flares up between the Saone and the Rhone, it is murmured that Pope Pius XII in person has promoted him to the singular dignity of “Lieutenant of the Sacred Heart in the Kingdom of France”.
All throughout 1942, the “White King’s Party”, as some call it, with less than a dozen subscribers in the beginning, develops and recrutes, carried forward again by Father Collin who goes on a pilgrimage, untiringly from parish to parish, a heavy silver rosary in his hand. However, the small crowds which he approaches in the back-rooms of community centres or inside presbyteries, mostly talk to him about the White Prince, and when this young man appears, already displaying a great flair for effect, they follow him, galvanized, as far as the next town where rumour has already assembled a few more people again.
The day after the quasi insurrectional call that he made in the Valence Cathedral, which had so frightened Monsignor Pic, the Prince is famous in at least three departements of the Rhone. While his desire for sacrifice and his vocation as France’s saviour are stronger each day, the means for accomplishing his mission suddenly appear to be lacking. Cardinal Gerlier, by whom he has asked to be received, takes evasive action, and some Vichy Ministers, such as Jean Chevalier, show interest in him and assure him that they grant him a long immunity, but nothing else.
In March 1944, the region’s main subject of conversation is the appearances of the Holy Virgin in Montvendre, which he prophesied after a pilgrimage to La Sallette, and which are followed by such manifestations that the militia makes a monstrous raid, in which he is captured with his closest dignitaries. All five of them are locked up in Valence Prison. When, the next day, their cell is opened in front of the chief of the local militia, so that they can be interrogated, they have inexplicably disappeared. Their trail is found a few days later in a property belonging to Madame de Champollon, who takes them in and assures them an incognito for a while. Prayer, ascesis, macerations and anti-hitlerian white magic occupy them for a few days, but the Illuminated cannot keep still and soon goes to knock on the door of the Convent of the Compassion in Lyon. This is a stronghold of Lyonnaise Resistance, whose Mother Superior, Elisabeth Rivet, would die in deportation after having been atrociously tortured. The Prince has also become a man on the Gestapo’s hit-list, but this doesn’t stop him from coming and going among Mme de Champollon’s residence, the Convent and the many assembly points, now clandestine, which he visits for his faithful followers who see that each day which passes brings them closer to the one when the keys of the Kingdom will be given to him along with the Crown.
But 1944 advances, and Lyon is liberated before Autumn. There, where militia men and Gestapists had failed for thirty months, the FTP of Charles Tillon succeeds the very next day after the entry of the Americans into the city. They arrest the White Prince and lock him up in a subterranean gaol at Fort-de-Francais, quite decided to guillotine him so that no crown could ever be placed on his head. He remains there for three days, up until the Festival of Our Lady of Mercy, patron saint of captive christians. When the local chief of the FTP wants to have him taken out of his blockhaus, it is found that it is absolutely empty, as if the walls of iron and cement had absorbed the Prince’s substance. His friends learn that he has taken on human consistancy at the home of General Marette, who has offered him asylum. He announces there that he is breaking off relations with Father Collin, and while his popularity is at its highest point, and thousands of his faithful followers are hoping that the dream of Restoration which he has so brilliantly incarnated is going to come true, he disappears.
Up until 1950, his adepts would do everything they could to find him again. In 1950, they learn that the Prince might be living in Rome where he could be exercising the profession of taxi driver. A delegation rushes there and, taking advantage of the Holy Year, mobilises the religious authorities and the French pilgrims. News comes to them that he is in the South of France, at the home of a friend of Mme de Champollon where he has been accompanied by a Roman Carmelite nun. When they arrive at this lady’s home, only the nun is still present. She refuses to say where the Prince has gone, and what his activities in the Eternal City are. Before leaving too, she does however consent to give the address of her Roman Convent, where the Prince sometimes appears. His former companions then immediately return to Italy and go to the address indicated. They learn that there had once been a Convent there, but that it had been demolished at the end of the XIXth Century after a violent fire.
Since then, there has been no news of this King who wanted to be the saviour of a Kingdom of which he later refused to claim the Crown…
But perhaps his Kingdom was not of this world?
Some think that the White Prince might have been assassinated at the end of 1944 by the “patriotic militia”, which was indulging in a savage “epuration” at this epoch.
However, there is no proof of this. Even though the battle for power between the Communists and all of the others, not to mention vengeances of all sorts and settling of scores, made more than one hundred thousand victims in only a few months…
The White Prince seems to belong to the cohort of “Great Monarchs”, who were numerous in the first half of the XXth Century. Just before the First World War, “Felix, Henri de Valois” was announcing in Auvergne the end of time, and in the 1930s, Charles de Gimel, Louis XIX for his faithful followers, was claiming France’s throne under the name of the “Hidden Pretendant”. At the end of the Second World War, Leon Millet – if that is his real name – is therefore an avatar of these “unfortunate kings”, Jean le Bon, Charles VII, symbols of defeated France at Poitiers, at Crecy, and, invaded, but regaining hope with the miraculous arrival of Jeanne d’Arc.
The “last of the Valois” stems from the same thing. He was Francois, Duke of Anjou, the last of the direct line of Anjou, who died in 1584 at the age of thirty, without children. This Prince symbolises the end of a brilliant epoch, that of the Valois, during which the kingdom’s unity was accomplished by knight-kings, called the Good, the Wise, the Beloved, all “born in the Kingdom” and from whom the History of France really began. Before the entry into the night of the Wars of Religion, and the outside dangers which would drain again, for a long time, the unity and the authority of the State.
The White Prince could be compared to Henri IV or General de Gaulle. This young man knows how to take risks, in a critical moment of France’s History, where many think only to hide, to follow the old Field Marshal or sell on the black market. He has a presence, a purety, a charisma which make many believe in him. A prophetic charisma or clairvoyance, perhaps a charisma of bilocation…
Like Padre Pio and a few others, the White Prince is able to be in two places at the same time. It is therefore only his double that the militia men of both camps arrest… The charisma of glossolalia, in a certain manner, too. That is to say, the gift of languages or tongues, his own anyway. Leon excels in it, much more than an ordinary, or even very gifted, young man of twenty.
He breaks off relations with Abbot Collin probably because the Reverend Father is beginning to smell rather sulphurous. As soon as he arrives in Romans, Father Collin leads his little community toward mystical and visionary practices. Then, he founds “The Latter Day Apostles”, with the perspective of a liberated France after a series of miraculous phenomena, of which he and his group would be the origin. We see this when he wants to put Leon at the head of his Crusade. Then he draws into his movement an authentic mystical clairvoyant named Madame Rivet. She had prophesied, long in advance, the beginning of the great conflict and the invasion of France. Before being arrested for acts of Resistance, she had also founded the feminine branch of the “Latter Day Apostles”…
Like Jean Moulin, she was betrayed. Tortured for a long time, she is sent to Ravensbruck where she offers herself for the gas chamber to replace a mother. As far as heresies go, Father Collin doesn’t stop there. Immediately after the Liberation, he founds the “Congregation of Infinite Love” which is disavowed by the Bishop of Lourdes where he had returned. The Holy Office confirms this sentence and reduces Father Collin to the lay condition. Father Collin later becomes the Anti-Pope Clement XV. He becomes famous for excommunicating the Cardinals of the Curia as well as his tax officer, who is taxing the donations that he receives a bit too much. However, he always defends the image and the memory of the White Prince.
Even if nobody was ever able to find the White Prince again, no-one ever claimed that he was a mystifier, a crook or a madman, either. All those who knew him and have been questioned are convinced of his good faith, his sincerity and the power of his charismas…
The charismas could have been the product of the epoch in which he lived. They come from mysterious psychical forces. Free gifts, of supernatural or supranormal origin, with often a temporary character. It could be that the great return shock of the Liberation made them disappear. After this, the White Prince, judging his task to be finished, might not have wanted to be only a shadow in a landscape where the light had returned…