Poor nobles apparently abound in today’s France. There are still many nobles living in 21st-century France, and supposedly a number of them have fallen on hard times.
Luckily for these poor nobles there is a charitable association, the Association d’Entreaide de la noblesse française (ANF), dedicated to helping out young nobles who need scholarships to go to universities. This organization, known in English as the Association for the Mutual Assistance of the French Nobility, was created in the 1930s to assist French noble families and to uphold the values of nobility.
The Wall Street Journal reports on a recent meeting of a local ANF chapter in Auvergne.
The discourse of the “poor noble” has actually been employed by nobles for centuries. Early modern French nobles routinely claimed to be impoverished by their monetary contributions to royal finances, administrative offices, and military campaigns. Some of the nobles who claimed to be poor were indeed financially ruined by investments and warfare, others used the discourse of the “poor noble” instrumentally in their requests for reimbursements and gratifications from French monarchs.
The history of European nobles and social elites extends into contemporary societies, yet few historians have seriously examined the broad history of nobilities and elites.