The Abbot Fighting a New Napoleonic War ... over an Emperor's Remains; (1) Napoleon III: He Took Refuge in Britain (2) Cuthbert Brogan: The Abbot Says the Ashes Will Not Be Moved

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Byline: Peter Allen

HE ruled France as its last king and then its first president.

Yet Napoleon III's remains lie not amid the splendour of Paris but in theHampshire town of Farnborough.

Now the French say they would like the ashes of their exiled emperor, who diedin 1873, to be returned to his home country.

But if the Benedictine monk in charge of the monastery where he is buried hasanything to do with it, they will be disappointed.

Writing ahead of a visit by a French minister, abbot Cuthbert Brogan said: 'Weare not interested in the extradition of the remains at all.'

Today Christian Estrosi, the secretary of state for overseas territories, willgo to Farnborough to ask for Napoleon III and his empress, Eugenie, to be movedfrom the crypt at St Michael's Abbey.

His ultimate aim is to see Napoleon III reunited in death with his uncle,Napoleon I or Bonaparte, in Paris.

Mr Estrosi said: 'This trip will be an occasion to send a clear message to theBritish - to thank them for all they did for the imperial couple in exile butalso to remind them that we have some rights over them.' But Father Cuthbert,who runs the monastery founded in 1888 by Eugenie to honour the memory of herhusband, has made it clear he will oppose the move.

Referring to Mr Estrosi's intention to spend ten minutes in kick-silentreverence by the tomb, Father Cuthbert said: 'Unlike the English, who are veryinterested in the memory of your last emperor, not a single French person comesand meditates at the crypt where his remains lie. …