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Elizabeth II, Happy Birthday, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of Scotland, kings and queens of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, King George VI of the United Kingdom, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of Scotland, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria, Royal Family, Sandringham Estate, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
In a few short weeks, on February 6, 2017, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will celebrate 65 years on the throne technically inaugurating 2017 as her Sapphire Jubilee Year. In September 2015 she surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, to become the longest-reigning British monarch and the longest-reigning queen regnant and female head of state in world history. In October 2016, she became the longest currently reigning monarch and head of state following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. Her Majesty became Queen on February 6, 1952 when her father, King George VI, passed away in his sleep at the Sandringham estate.
From what I have read there will be no official celebration for her Sapphire Jubilee and I for one think this is a good idea. On April 21 of this year Her Majesty will also be 91 and although this dedicated monarch will continue to carry out her royal duties there are already signs that she will be slowing down a bit as she hands off some of her duties to other members of the Royal Family. I think this is a good idea. After a long battle with a severe cold, which can be be quite serious for the elderly, I would like to see Her Majesty slow down a bit and take care of herself. I do not want to see her abdicate and nor will she ever, I just would like to see her slow down a little.
2012. Parliament, Act of Settlement 1701, Charles II of England and Scotland, King James II-VII of England and Scotland, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of Scotland, Louis XIV of France, William III and Mary II
On January 30, 1649 King Charles I of England, Scotland, France and Ireland was beheaded at the end of the English Civil War. In normal times when the monarchy was extant The Prince of Wales would automatically be King. “The King is Dead, Long Live the King.” To monarchists HRH The Prince of Wales did become HM The King (Charles II of England, Scotland, France and Ireland ) on that fateful and dreadful day. Just before and after the execution of King Charles I on 30 January 1649, the Rump Parliament passed a number of acts of Parliament creating the legal basis for the republic. With the Monarchy officially abolished Charles II was king in name only. Here is the succession to the crown at the moment Charles II became king.
Charles II King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland
1. HRH Prince James, Duke of York
2. HRH Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
3. HRH Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
4. HRH Princess Elizabeth
5. HRH Princess Henrietta, Duchess of Orléans
6. HM Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, Electress Palatine of the Rhine
7. HSH Prince Charles Louis, Elector Palatine
8. HSH Prince Rupert of the Rhine of the Rhine, Duke of Cumberland
9. HSH Prince Maurice of the Palatinate
10. HSH Prince Edward, Count Palatine of Simmern
11. HSH Princess Luise Marie of the Palatinate
12. HSH Princess Anne of the Palatinate
13. HSH Prince Philip Frederick of the Palatinate
14. HSH Princess Elisabeth of the Palatinate
15. HSH Princess Louise Hollandine of the Palatinate
16. HSH Princess Henriette Marie of the Palatinate
17. HSH Princess Sophia of the Palatinate
The first five in line to the throne are all of the new king’s siblings. Number 6, is HM Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, Electress Palatine of the Rhine and she was the aunt of King Charles II and the only surviving sibling of King Charles I. Number 7-17 are her descendants and are members of the German royal House of Wittelsbach. Members of this illustrious family reigned as Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria (1180-1918), Counts Palatine of the Rhine (1214-1803 and 1816-1918), Margraves of Brandenburg (1323-1373), Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland (1345-1432), Elector-Archbishops of Cologne (1583-1761), Dukes of Jülich and Berg (1614-1794/1806), Kings of Sweden (1441-1448 and 1654-1720) and Dukes of Bremen-Verden (1654-1719). This noble dynasty even produced two Holy Roman Emperors, Louis IV (1314–1347) and Charles VII (1742–1745),
Incidentally, number 17, was HSH Princess Sophia of the Palatinate. She was the daughter of Friedrich V, King of Bohemia, Elector Palatine, and HRH Princess Elizabeth Stuart of England and born in 1630. Sophia married Ernst-August of Brunswick-Lüneburg in 1658. Sophia, Ernst-August became Elector of Hanover in 1692. His wife, Sophia, the Electress of Hanover became heiress presumptive to crowns of the Kingdom of England, Scotland and the Kingdom of Ireland under the Act of Settlement 1701. After the Act of Union, 1707 unified the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, she became heiress to the throne of Kingdom of Great Britain. In 1701 she was bumped up to first in line after Princess Anne (later Queen Anne). (more on this next week).
On April 4, 1660, Charles II issued the Declaration of Breda, in which he made several promises in relation to the reclamation of the crown of England. General Monck organized the Convention Parliament, which met for the first time on April 25. On May 8, 1660 the Convention Parliament proclaimed that King Charles II had been the lawful monarch since the execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649. Charles II entered London on May 29, his 30th birthday. He was crowned at Westminster Abbey on April 23, 1661.
Here is the succession to the throne May of 1660 on the Restoration of King Charles II.
1. HRH Prince James, The Duke of York
2. HRH Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange
3. HRH Prince Willem III of Orange
4. HRH Princess Elizabeth
5. HRH Princess Henrietta, Duchess of Orléans
6. HM Queen Elizabeth of Bohemia, Electress Palatine of the Rhine
7. HSH Prince Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine
8. HSH Prince Charles II, Elector Palatine
9. HSH Princess Elizabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine
10. HSH Prince Rupert of the Rhine of the Rhine, Duke of Cumberland
Not too much has changed in the 11 years of exile. Neither Charles II nor his brother, Prince James, The Duke of York, sired an legitimate issue. The future James II-VII of England and Scotland would remain the heir to the throne through the reign of his brother who, despite marrying Catherine of Braganza of Portugal in 1661, would not have any legitimate children. The children of Prince James, The Duke of York; the future Queen Mary II and Queen Anne would not be born until 1662 and 1665 respectively. However, the future King William III of England and Scotland was 3rd in line to the throne in 1660 behind his mother, HRH Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange, who would died on Christmas Eve 1660, the year of her brother’s restoration.
After his mother’s death the future William III was dumped up to second-in-line to the throne until the birth of his cousins would bump him down the line. Incidentally in 1688 when James II-VII was deposed the first five in-line to the throne were:
1. HRH The Prince of Wales. (Prince James Francis Edward)
2. HRH Princess Mary, the Princess of Orange
3. HRH Princess Anne, Duchess of Cumberland
4. HH Prince Willem III, The Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of the Netherlands.
After James II-VII was deposed due to the invasion of England by his son-in-law, William III, his eldest son, Prince James, the Prince of Wales, was deemed ineligible for the throne due to being Catholic. This left HRH Princess Mary, the Princess of Orange as heir to the throne. However, many in Parliament wanted William to be king. William summoned a Convention Parliament in England, which met on January 22, 1689 to discuss the appropriate course of action following James’s flight. William felt insecure about his position; his wife ranked first in the line of succession to the throne, and was merely third in-line to the throne and he wished to reign as King in his own right, rather than as a mere consort. A majority of Tory Lords proposed to acclaim Mary as sole rule.
This angered William who threatened to leave the country immediately. Mary remained loyal to her husband and refused the crown unless her husband could rule by her side. A compromise was reached and as joint sovereigns the crown was offered to both William III and Mary II. Parliament stipulated the sole and full exercise of the regal power be only in and executed by the said Prince of Orange in the names of the said Prince and Princess during their joint lives”. William III and Mary II were crowned together at Westminster Abbey on April 11, 1689 by the Bishop of London, Henry Compton.
When Queen Mary II died of smallpox in 1694, King William III continued to reign alone. Princess Anne became his heir apparent, since any children he might have by another wife were assigned to a lower place in the line of succession, and the two reconciled any animosity between them.
A couple of interesting titbits before I close. In May of 1660 Princess Elisabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine, was 9th in line to the English and Scottish thrones. She was the eldest daughter of Charles I Louis, Elector Palatine of the Simmern branch of the House of Wittelsbach, and Landgravine Charlotte of Hesse-Kassel. In her youth Princess Elisabeth Charlotte lived with her aunt, Sophia, Electress of Hanover, mother the future King George I of Great Britain, and she had purportedly desired to marry her cousin, Willem III of Orange, who would later become King William III of England and Scotland.
Although the very pretty Wittelsbach princess did not marry William III of Orange, she did make a beneficial marriage with English connections. On November 16, 1671, Princess Elisabeth Charlotte married HRH Prince Philippe I, Duke of Orléans, the brother of the King Louis XIV of France. The recently widowed Duke of Orléans was formerly married to her father’s first cousin (and his own first cousin), Princess Henrietta Anne of England, 5th in line to the English and Scottish thrones in May of 1660!
Prince James, the Prince of Wales who was bypassed in 1689 for the crown, proclaimed himself King James III-VIII of England and Scotland on the death of his father, King James II-VII of England and Scotland, in 1701. This began a long series of claims to the throne by the heirs of the House of Stuart and began a political movement known as the Jacobites. When the last Stuart male heir, Henry Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York (King Henry IX of England and Scotland to his supporters) died in 1807, the Stuart claim would wind through other European royal houses to where it rests today on the shoulders of Duke Franz of Bavaria, a scion of the noble house of Wittelsbach whose family occupied many places in the succession to the English and Scottish crowns during the time of the Stuarts.
Alba, Áedán mac Gabráin, Briton, Dál Riata, Dumbarton Castle, Hen Ogledd, King of Scots, Kingdom of Alba, Kingdom of Strathclyde, Kingdom of the Picts, kings and queens of Scotland, Ptolemy's Geography, Scotland
Like it’s neighbor to the south, Scotland has a long history of monarchy that is partly clouded in myth and legend and it is only as you progress during the centuries do you come upon more credible and documented history. Similar to England the country was divided into many kingdoms and sub-kingdoms. The main and warring kingdoms were the Kingdom of the Picts, Kingdom of Del Riata and the Kingdom of Strathclyde. Each of these regions have a rich and vast history that I could never do justice in this simple post. Many of these regions began as tribal clans that grew to take over certain regions. The early history of Scotland is that of clans becoming regional kings that were later absorbed by much larger and more powerful regional kings from other clans. A series on each of these kingdoms is warranted!
An example of some thriving sub-kingdoms othjer than the larger main three kingdoms is the kingdom of Cait, which is now Caithness in northern Scotland. Cait was, according to Pictish legend, founded by Caitt (or Cat), one of the seven sons of the ancestor figure named Cruithne. After the death of its last king, Taran mac Entifidich, in 697, it was absorbed into the larger Kingdom of the Picts. There were at least seven other small sub-kingdoms within the the broader Pictish kingdom. These sub-kingdoms are…
Ce, situated in modern Mar and Buchan, Circinn, perhaps situated in modern Angus and the Mearns.
Fib, the modern Fife, known to this day as ‘the Kingdom of Fife.’ Fidach, location unknown, but possibly near Inverness. Fotla, modern Atholl. Fortriu, cognate with the Verturiones of the Romans; recently shown to be centred around Moray. More small kingdoms may have existed. Some evidence suggests that a Pictish kingdom also existed in Orkney.
Here is some information on the three main Scottish kingdoms:
Kingdom of the Picts: A Pictish confederation was formed in Late Antiquity consisting of a number of f tribes. It is not known how and why this Confederation was formed but some scholars have speculated that it was partly in response to the growth of the Roman Empire. Succession to the kingship of the Picts was confusing and complex. Kings who had fathered sons were not frequently succeeded by their sons, not because the Picts practised matrilineal succession, but because they were normally followed by either their own brothers or cousins, more likely to be experienced men with the authority and the support necessary to be king. The tradition of monarchy had not yet adopted the concept of primogeniture. So instead of leaving the crown to your son a king would leave the crown to the best able male to support the kingdom. In these days when wars between tribes was a common occurrence you needed a king who could rise to the task.
The style of kingship changed considerably during the centuries of Pictish monarchy. Earlier kings had to be successful war leaders to maintain their authority. This lead to a style of kingship that became rather less personalized and more institutionalized during this time. Bureaucratic kingship, where the king was concerned with laws and justice was still far in the future and it would not commence until Pictland transformed into the Kingdom of Alba.
Kingdom of Strathclyde: Strathclyde was originally known as either Cumbric: Ystrad Clud or Alclud, was one of the early medieval kingdoms of the Britons in the Hen Ogledd. (Hen Ogledd is a Welsh term used by scholars to refer to those parts of what is now northern England and southern Scotland in the years between 500 and the Viking invasions of c. 800, with particular interest in the Brittonic-speaking peoples who lived there). The kingdom developed during the post-Roman period. It is also known as Alt Clut, a Brittonic term for Dumbarton Castle, the medieval capital of the region. It may have had its origins with the Damnonii people of Ptolemy’s Geography.
Kingdom of Dál Riata (also Dalriada or Dalriata) was a Gaelic kingdom that included parts of western Scotland and stretched to northeastern Ulster in Ireland, across the North Channel. In the late 6thearly 7th century it encompassed roughly what is now Argyll and Lochaber in Scotland and also County Antrim in Ulster. To its east and north was Pictland, with whom it was often in conflict. The inhabitants of Dál Riata were often referred to as Scots (Scoti in Latin). Scots was a name originally used by Roman and Greek writers as a name for the Irish who raided Roman Britain. As time passed the name Scots came to refer to any Gaelic-speakers, whether from Ireland or elsewhere. They are referred herein as Gaels, an unambiguous term, or as Dál Riatans.
The kingdom reached its height under Áedán mac Gabráin (r. 574-608), but its growth was checked at the Battle of Degsastan in 603 by King Æthelfrith of Northumbria. Serious defeats in Ireland and Scotland in the time of Domnall Brecc (d. 642) ended Dál Riata’s “golden age”, and the kingdom became a client of Northumbria, then subject to the Picts.
Next week we will examine the Kingdom of Alba and unifying the Kingdom of Scotland.
Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of Scotland, kings and queens of the United Kingdom, Prince Andrew, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Prince Philip, Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of York, The Earl of Wessex, the prince of Wales, The Princess Royal
Today will begin a new series on how the line of succession has changed over the years. I will pick random and important dates and will examine who was in line for the throne at that time. Although my main focus will be the British line of succession I will also include other monarchies from time to time. Although this is a new series I won’t be doing it week-to-week, it will reoccur randomly.
At first there was just four. It was mid 1977 when I began to research the royal family and the Kings and Queens of Britain. At that time there were just four descendants of HM. The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. These four were also the top four in line to the succession to the throne:
1. HRH The Prince of Wales
2. HRH The Prince Andrew
3. HRH The Prince Edward
4. HRH The Princess Anne
Except for the Prince Charles, none of the Queen’s children had any titles yet. Princess Anne would not be given her title, The Princess Royal, until ten years later in 1987. Prince Andrew and Prince Edward would not be given their titles until they married. In 1977 the Queen had been on the throne 25 years and it was also the year of her Silver Jubilee. Her Majesty was 51 years old (the same age as I am now) and would be a first time grandmother that November when Princess Anne would give birth to her first child Peter Philips.
Flash forward 38 years and a lot has changed! Her Majesty is now 89 and has celebrated her Golden Jubilee celebrating 50 years on the throne in 2002 and her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 celebrating 60 years on the throne. This September The Queen will be on the throne one day longer than Queen Victoria and will be come Britain’s longest reigning monarch at 63 years, 217 days. Instead of her descendents occupying the first four places in the succession they now occupy the first 17 places in line for the succession! Here they are in order.
1. HRH The Prince of Wales
2. HRH The Duke of Cambridge
3. HRH Prince George of Cambridge
4. HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
5. HRH Prince Henry of Wales
6. HRH The Duke of York
7. HRH Princess Beatrice of York
8. HRH Princess Eugenie of York
9. HRH The Earl of Wessex
10. Lord Severn
11. Lady Louise Windsor
12. HRH The Princess Royal
13. Peter Philips
14. Savannah Phillips
15. Isla Phillips
16. Zara Tindall
17. Mia Tindall
It is very interesting to see how the line of succession changes over the years. It is fascinating to compare today’s line of succession to February, 1952 just prior to the death of HM King George VI.
1. HRH The Prince Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh
2. HRH Prince Charles of Edinburgh
3. HRH Princess Anne of Edinburgh
4. HRH The Princess Margaret
5. HRH The Duke of Gloucester (Prince Henry)
6. HRH Prince William of Gloucester
7. HRH Prince Richard of Gloucester
8. HRH The Duke of Kent (Prince Edward)
9. HRH Prince Michael of Kent
10. HRH Princess Alexandra of Kent
11. The Princess Royal, Mary, Countess of Harewood
12. The Rt Hon The Earl of Harewood
13. David Viscount Lascelles
14. Gerald Lascelles
15. HH Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife
16. James Carnegie, 3rd Duke of Fife
17. HM King Olav V of Norway
Today, 63 years later only the top two remain in the top twenty inline for the throne. The Prince of Wales (HRH Prince Charles of Edinburgh at the time) moved up one place and has remained. His sister, The Princess Royal (HRH Princess Anne of Edinburgh at the time) has gone from 3 (she was actually at number 2 until the birth of the Duke of York in 1960) to number 12. The next living member on the list is number 7, HRH Prince Richard of Gloucester, the current HRH The Duke of Gloucester who moved to his current 24th inline to the throne. Incidentally, the Duke of Gloucester is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. He is the first inline to the throne who is not descended from King George VI. He is also the senior male line descendant of Queen Victoria.
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Earl of Chester, High Steward of Scotland, King George VI, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of Scotland, kings and queens of the United Kingdom, Merge with the crown, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Prince Henry of Wales, Prince of Wales, Prince Philip, Princess Beatrice, Princess Elizabeth of York, Proper usage of titles, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen, titles
You would think this was harmless and fun without much controversy… but you’d be wrong!! You wouldn’t know it from reading the comments on this blog because they are 99% very positive. However, I also run my own royal history page on Facebook (link below) and while that page is also pretty civil you will see some squabbling from time to time. If you’re on Facebook you can follow that page if you’d like.
I would to mention a few of my observations to why discussing royalty can be controversial.
1. First of all not everyone is following royalty for the same reasons. Plus, some peoples interest in the topic may not be as deep or as intense as others which lead me to this observation. Before I relate what it is I want to say, I imply no judgment at all. It seems there are two groups of people that are interested in royalty. One group, I call royalty watchers, follow royalty like they would follow any celebrity, be they an actor or an actress, singer or musician or sports figure. Often, as I have observed, many of these types of royalty watchers began watching royalty due to the influence of Diana, Princess of Wales. Therefore, there interest may be limited to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry of Wales, and may be extended to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and other immediate members of the British Royal Family. But there is a limited focus and interest.
2. The other group that are interested in royalty are like myself, they are more of an historian than royalty as celebrity watcher. That means often our knowledge and interest is not just with the British Monarchy (although it may be our favorite) or the current British Royal Family; our interests stretch far back into history and across all monarchies of Europe and even the world. Again, both groups are fine. If you’re interest is not that deep, whatever level you enjoy royalty is fine!
The problem, as I have observed, these two groups often clash.
3. It seems as if they clash over two areas. These two areas are Diana, Princess of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) and the knowledge and usage of titles and correctly addressing the members of the royal family. I apologize for generalizing the situation so if you don’t fit in these categories I understand. It seems the more historical minded people have no problem accepting the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) into the royal family and seeing her one day being queen along side her husband, future King Charles III. The more casual royalty watcher, those that began watching royalty due to the influence of Diana, Princess of Wales, tend to still hold Diana in very high esteem and cannot stand either the Prince of Wales or the Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) very much. With some there is outright hated. So that can be a controversial topic and an area of conflict.
Another topic that is surprisingly controversial is the usage of titles. Now, I must admit the proper usage of styles and titles is a bit confusing and can take a while to learn, but it can be done. I have found that the more historically minded the royalty watcher they generally do know this information. What I see in the casual royalty enthusiasts can be divided into three categories: a) There are those who do not understand the proper usage of titles or the laws governing how titles are created and inherited and what happens to some of them when the heir to the throne becomes the sovereign or the title becomes extinct. This group is eager to learn about these things. b) The second group may have some knowledge on the subject but they are grossly misinformed and are often wrong. I find this group to be a challenge to deal with because they often do not like to be corrected when they’re wrong and will often stubbornly cling to their misinformation. c) That last group are the very casual royalty watcher who could care less about this topic!
The proper usage of titles and the rules and laws governing them was a big interest of mine so I don’t think I am being too pedantic about this topic considering how much misinformation there is and given the fact that there are people that do want to understand how the system works. Someone has to set an example or all we get is this misinformation! Even keep in mind often the American media and even the British media gets this stuff wrong!!! (even a King got it wrong once)*
Here is a quick run down about how to refer to the members of the royal family. One thing many royalty watchers get upset about is the fact that the press on both sides of the pond still call the wife of Prince William (HRH The Duke of Cambridge) Kate Middleton!! The proper way to refer to the wife of HRH The Duke of Cambridge is, simply, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge. It is not Princess Catherine or Duchess Catherine. You do not call members of royalty by their first name if they have a peerage title. For example, its not proper to say “Prince Charles” he is to be called HRH The Prince of Wales. It is alright to drop the HRH and call him the Prince of Wales.
We do not call the Queen, Queen Elizabeth or just Elizabeth, it is proper to refer to her as Her Majesty, The Queen or simply The Queen. Her husband is not to be called “Prince Philip”, he is to be referred by his title, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. Now if members of the royal family are not the sovereign and they do not have a peerage title, you refer to them by their style Prince of Princess, their first name and the territorial designation they would inherit from their father. For example, Prince Harry is officially, HRH Prince Henry of Wales because he is the son of the Prince of Wales. The Duke of Cambridge was HRH Prince William of Wales until he received his peerage title.
Princess Beatrice is HRH Princess Beatrice of York because her father is HRH The Duke of York. The Queen, incidentally, was born HRH Princess Elizabeth of York for at the time of her birth her father, future King George VI, was HRH The Duke of York.
For those Princes or Princess without a peerage title to be able to use the predicate “The” in front of their name is reserved only for the sons and daughters of the sovereign. For example, if tomorrow the Prince of Wales were to ascend the throne as king, HRH Prince Henry of Wales would then become HRH The Prince Henry. He would be known as that until he is given a peerage title. Also, if the Prince of Wales were to be king tomorrow, the Duke of Cambridge would automatically inherit the titles Duke of Cornwall in the Peerage of England and the titles Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, and High Stewardship of Scotland, which are the Heir Apparent’s titles in the Peerage of Scotland. The titles Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester are not hereditary and would merge with the crown when the current Prince of Wales becomes king. King Charles III would then be able to re-create his son Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester whenever he sees fit. Until then he known by his double peerage titles while in England, HRH The Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge.
That is only the tip of the iceberg. I am sure I will type more about this in the future. Suffice it to say whenever the question of titles and its rules and regulations come up there is often some misinformation which leads to debate and conflict. I don’t claim to be the font of all knowledge on this topic for I am still learning myself. I know a few royal authors that know quite a bit more than I.
Even sometimes the sovereign himself doesn’t know the rules! * In 1947, Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark renounced his Greek and Danish titles to become a British subject (something he already was, but that is another story) in order to marry the heiress presumptive to the throne, HRH Princess Elizabeth of York. He became Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten (taking the Anglicized name of the Princely House of Battenberg that his mother was from). The day before the wedding King George VI endowed Philip with the style His Royal Highness and the titles, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich. However, this did not create him a Prince of the United Kingdom as many, including the King, thought! Despite renouncing his Greek and Danish titles (not legally recognized in Britain anyway) HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was not a Prince! But that didn’t stop the press from continuing to refer to him as Prince Philip. I have a book on the royal family from 1951, a year HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh became queen, and it refers incorrectly to the Duke of Edinburgh as “Prince Philip.”
Some say King George VI did this intentionally and that is the point of debate. However, the matter was left unsettled for ten years. Various dignitaries of State suggested titles for the Duke of Edinburgh. They ranged from Prince Consort, the title Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria held, to the unusual, Prince of the Commonwealth or Prince of the Realm. The Duke of Edinburgh himself did not want any elevation of his titles. In the end The Queen, issued Letters Patent on February 22, 1957 giving her husband the style and titular dignity of a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. He has henceforth been known as His Royal Highness, The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, with the capitalized definite article “The”normally restricted to the children of the Sovereign.
I guess it can get complicated and no wonder titles can be quite the controversial subject!!!
English Bill of Rights
When William III and Mary II were called to the throne by Parliament this forever altered the succession by hereditary right only. The Jacobites that followed the Glorious Revolution today recognizes HRH Prince Franz, The Duke of Bavaria as King Francis II of England and Scotland as the heir general of the Stuart Dynasty. This very small faction will ignore the right of Parliament to designate the succession. That is what happened. With the Glorious Revolution Parliament became the power in the land, supplanting that position once held by the Crown.
By December of that year Parliament passed the historic Bill of Rights on December 16, 1689. Although the Bill of Rights was similar to the Declaration of Right presented by the Convention Parliament to William III and Mary II in March 1689 (or 1688 by Old Style dating), inviting them to become joint sovereigns of England, the Bill of Rights went further and set the limits on the powers of the crown and sets out the rights of Parliament and rules for freedom of speech in Parliament, the requirement for regular elections to Parliament and the right to petition the monarch without fear of retribution.
From Wikipedia here are some basic rights set out by the document:
The Bill of Rights laid out certain basic rights for all Englishmen. The Act stated that there should be:
No royal interference in the freedom of the people to have arms for their own defence as suitable to their class and as allowed by law (simultaneously restoring rights previously taken from Protestants by James II).
No royal interference in the election of members of Parliament
no excessive bail or “cruel and unusual” punishments may be imposed.
Although the Bill of Rights did limit the Crown the monarchy did not instantly become the Figurehead Constitutional Monarchy that it is today. No, the King and or Queen still had considerable say in the Government although they were not subject to the will of the House of Commons and the House of Lords respectively. As we shall see in the next session Parliament also has contentions within themselves as the powers of the House of Commons grew the more they desired to limit the powers of the hereditary House of Lords.
However, before that happened a crisis in the succession to the Crown happened once again requiring Parliament to pass the The Act of Settlement in 1701. When William III took the throne jointly with his wife Mary II he was bumped up from third-in-line to the throne to share the Crown with his wife who had been first-in-line until the birth of her Catholic half-brother, James, The Prince of Wales in 1688. As we have seen Princess Anne, the sister of Mary II, relinquished her place in the succession. This meant that when Mary II died in 1694 (making the joint rule of William III and Mary II lasting a mere five years) William III stayed on the throne instead of Anne succeeding. Had William re-married and produced heirs they would have come before the claim of Princess Anne. The union of William and Mary was childless. When William died of pneumonia, a complication from a broken collarbone following a fall from his horse, Sorrel, he was succeeded by his cousin/sister-in-law, the Princess Anne who then became Queen.
Queen Anne, as a princess, married Prince George of Denmark and Norway, Duke of Cumberland the younger son of King Frederik III of Denmark and Norway and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg. Ironically, Prince George was first cousin to King George I of Great Britain, his wife’s eventual successor, as his mother was the sister of Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, later Elector of Hanover (father of King George I). Anne and George had many many pregnancies but only one child, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, lived beyond infancy. Sadly, Prince William died of either Scarlet Fever or Smallpox at the age of 11 in 1700. At the time it was thought King William III would not remarry and Anne, worn out from all her pregnancies, would not have another child.
The only legitimate heir at the time was the Catholic James, The Prince of Wales. He was approached by members of Parliament to be placed back in the order of succession under the condition that he convert to Protestantism. He refused to do so. This left Parliament with no other choice but to search for another heir. Eventually Parliament settled the succession to the English and Scottish crowns on the Electress Sophia of Hanover (a granddaughter of James VI of Scotland and I of England) and her non-Roman Catholic heirs. The line of Sophia of Hanover was the most junior among the Stuarts, but consisted of dedicated Protestants. Sophia missed being queen by a few weeks and died on June 8, 1714, before the death of Queen Anne on 1 August 1714, at which time Sophia’s son duly became King George I and started the Hanoverian dynasty.
The act played a seminal role in the formation of the Kingdom of Great Britain. England and Scotland which had shared a monarch since 1603, but had remained separately governed countries. The Scottish parliament was more reluctant than the English to abandon the House of Stuart, members of which had been Scottish monarchs long before they became English ones. English pressure on Scotland to accept the Act of Settlement led to a softening of this attitude which paved the way for the parliamentary union of the two countries in 1707.
In this last section dealing with England/Britain we will see the power of the Crown diminish further with the rise of the office of Prime Minister under the Hanoverian Dynasty.
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The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (often mistakenly called the Kingdom of England) is the most well known monarchy in the world today. However, at one point, the monarch was not the figure head they are today; they actually held considerable power. How it survived its transition from a powerful monarch to figurehead will be examined in this section.
England is also one of those countries where the monarch has never held absolute power in the strictest sense. Although Continue reading
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When the Duchess of Cambridge married Prince William of Wales the media spoke about her being a commoner. They were correct. Until her marriage she was indeed a commoner. However, did you know that until Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, created her grandson Duke of Cambridge, Earl of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus, that he too was a commoner? What may be even lesser known is that the queen herself, as young Princess Elizabeth, heir presumptive to the throne, was a commoner when she married Lt. Philip Mountbatten, former Prince of Greece and Denmark; and that he was not a commoner? You may think I have gone mad! Let me explain.
In the British system, a society historically divided by class, there are three legal standings, or classes, people can hold and belong to. These positions/Classes are: The Sovereign, Titled Peers/Nobility and Commoners. Therefore technically and legally speaking if you are a Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom and you do not hold a peerage title, and you are not the sovereign, you are in fact… a commoner. The style His or Her Royal Highness and the title Prince/Princess of the United Kingdom is a courtesy title held at the behest of the sovereign but does not bestow a legal position. Do not confuse this legal and class status with rank or precedence which are different subjects all together. A person may hold a princely title and have more precedence and out rank a peer. That will be the subject of my next blog entry.
Therefore only members of the royal family that also hold peerage titles are not, technically speaking, commoners. The sons of Queen Elizabeth II are all Peers: The Prince of Wales, The Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex. Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, is a commoner because the title Princess Royal is a courtesy title and not a peerage title. In the next generation, only Prince William, as Duke of Cambridge, is a peer and all of his cousins (his children and brother) are commoners. The queens cousins, The Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent are also peers of the realm but their children are not. Prince Michael of Kent and Princess Alexandra of Kent are royal, but commoners.
Interesting fact is that when the current Dukes of Gloucester and Kent pass on their titles to their children these titles will cease to be royal as the title of Prince or Princess of the United Kingdom is limited via the 1917 Letters Patent to the male-line grandchildren of the sovereign. Although the next Duke of Gloucester and Kent will not be royal they will be peers and not commoners.
There are actually five types of peerages. The Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom. These represent those titles that were created at the various times in the history of the country. The hierarchy, or rank, of these peerage titles is as follows: (highest to lowest) Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount and Baron. There is also the hereditary title of Baronet but Baronets are not peers but fit into the social class of the Landed Gentry. It gets confusing doesn’t it?
I will end my post by keeping it simple. Unless you are the sovereign or a titled peer, even if you hold the style and title of HRH Prince/Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, you are technically a commoner. On 20 November 1947 HM King George VI created his future son-in-law HRH Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich. This made the former Prince Philip of Greece a Peer of the Realm. When he married the king’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, the very next day, she was a commoner while her husband was not.
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With the succession now legally in the hands of William III and Mary II and with the death of the future Queen Anne’s son, Prince William, Duke of Gloucester, it necessitated the Act of Settlement of 1701 that placed the succession on the nearest Protestant heir, the Electress Sophia of Hanover. She was a granddaughter of King James I-VI of England and Scotland. The Electress Sophia was married to the Ernst August, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Imperial Elector of Hanover.
Ernst August of Hanover died January 23, 1698 and his son, Georg Ludwig became Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Imperial Elector of Hanover. He was also 2nd in line to the English and Scottish thrones throne via the Act of Settlement. Although not the topic of this series, in 1707 the Parliaments of England and Scotland were united to form the kingdom of Great Britain. The titles of King and Queen of England and the Scots passed into history. Georg-Ludwig’s mother, the Electress Sophia, did not live long enough to inherit the British throne she died June 8, 1714 a few weeks before the death of Queen Anne on August 1, 1714. Upon the death of Queen Anne the legal succession passed to Elector Georg-Ludwig of Hanover who became King George I of Great Britain. Although George was Elector of Hanover that country was not politically united with Great Britain.
The deposed king, James II-VII, died in 1701 and the Stuart claim passed to his son, James Francis, Prince of Wales who then claimed the throne as King James III-VIII of England and Scotland. The followers of James, known as Jacobites, did not recognize the union of England and Scotland so you will often see the Jacobite claimants call themselves Kings of England and Scotland rather than Great Britain. When James claimed the titles to his father’s thrones these claims were recognised as by France, Spain, the Papal States and Modena. These states refused to recognise William III, Mary II or Queen Anne as legitimate sovereigns. Another consequence of James claims to the throne was that the British government charged him with treason and his title, Prince of Wales, was attainted March 2, 1702, and were considered forfeited under English law. For the rest of this post James will be called The Old Pretender.
It is not the scope of this series to delve in-depth with he Jacobite uprisings but I will give a brief synopsis. James had support in France from King Louis XIV who had been the first cousin to both Charles II and James II-VII. Also, at this time France was at war against Britain as the War of the Spanish Succession raged throughout Europe as Louis XIV’s grandson, Felipe V, became the new King of Spain. In 1715 the year after the accession of George I, John Erskine, 22nd Earl of Mar, began a rebellion with the aim of placing James, the Old Pretender on the throne. This rebellion failed.
In 1745 another rebellion occurred under the Old Pretender’s son, Charles Edward, known to his supporters as King Charles III and to history as Bonnie Prince Charlie. This uprising moved as far into England as Derby and culminated in the Battle of Culloden. The armies of Field Marshal George Wade and of William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, son of King George II of Great Britain led the British forces to victory. Bonnie Prince Charlie fled to Europe with a large price on his head.
After the Battle of Culloden the Jacobite movement dwindled considerably. Charles Edward married Princess Louise of Stolberg-Gedern but had no legitimate offspring. He left a natural daughter, Charlotte Stuart, created Duchess of Albany by her father but this title had no legal standing in Britain. When Charles Edward died in 1788 the Jacobite claim to the throne went to his brother, Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York. He was a Catholic Priest and to his supporters he was Known as King Henry IX of England, Scotland, Ireland and France.
After the French Revolution, Henry lost his French Royal benefices and sacrificed many other resources to assist Pope Pius VI. He also lost all of his French property which caused him to descend into poverty. Ironically, the British Minister in Venice arranged for Henry to receive an annuity of £4,000 from King George III of Great Britain. In his will, which he signed as “Henry R”, he was succeeded his claim to the British/English/Scottish throne to his nearest blood-relative, King Charles Emmanuel IV of Sardinia. However, Charles never asserted nor renounced his Jacobite claims, nor have any of his successors to this day.
In the near future I will do a post about Jacobitism and the succession of those claimants. My next entry in the Legal Succession series will be the last as I bring it up to date with current times.