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
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.
One of the things I enjoy about the history of royalty is when I can connect todays royal family to the Victorian Era. On this date Prince Charles of Edinburgh (future Prince of Wales) was Baptized. The Prince of Wales was baptized in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace on 15 December 1948. At his birth on 14 November 1948, Charles was the first child of HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (later Queen Elizabeth II), and HRH Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and the first grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of the UK.
In the back row of this photograph are: (left to right) Patricia Mountbatten, the Lady Brabourne, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HM King George VI, the Hon David Bowes-Lyon (his maternal great-uncle), HG Alexander Cambridge, Earl of Athlone, brother of Queen Mary, who stood proxy for King Haakon VII of Norway.
In the front: (left to right) Victoria Mountbatten, the Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven (his paternal great-grandmother), who was born HGDH Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, the eldest daughter of Grand Duke Ludwig IV of Hesse and by Rhine and his wife Princess Alice of the United Kingdom (second daughter of Queen Victoria), HRH Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (holding Prince Charles) Queen Mary, Princess Margaret.
Pictured below. HGDH Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, paternal great-grandmother of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Today HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland marks the 64th year on the throne. Her father, King George VI, died on this date, February 6, 1952. Last September 2015, Her Majesty became Britain’s longest ruling monarch when she surpassed her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria (1837-1901) who reigned for 63 years and seven months.
Her Majesty is also the oldest sovereign to reign. Queen Victoria also held that record. She was 82 when she passed away in 1901. At age 89 Her Majesty broke that record seven years ago. This April 21, Her Majesty will turn 90 and many celebrations are planned in Britain for this momentous milestone.
Almost 90 and having been queen for 64 years Her Majesty shows no sign of slowing down. Her calendar is full, although maybe not as full as years past for the Prince of Wales has taken over some of her work. Still, unless some heath crisis appears Her Majesty will continue to press forward.
Although today we mark the 64th year Her Majesty came to the throne, within the Royal Family itself these dates are rarely acknowledged publicly. For royal historians such as my self and other royal enthusiasts this is a special day, for Her Majesty this is the day her father died and that is something to be noted but not celebrated. What we will celebrate is the dedication and the long life of service to her country and long may she continue to reign.
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 of Edinburgh, Earl of Wessex, King George VI, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of the United Kingdom, Letters Patent 1947, Prince Edward, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Royal Prerogative
Part II of this topic on the titles of the Wessex family now turns to the Earl himself and his inheritance of the title Duke of Edinburgh the title his father, Prince Philip, currently holds. There are two camps concerning this issue.
Camp I: This group believes that the titles must follow the 1947 Letter Patent (LP) wherein when HRH The Duke of Edinburgh dies while the Queen is still alive the title will pass to his eldest son, The Prince of Wales. The Prince of Wales will hold this title along with the others he holds until he becomes king. At that time these titles will merge with the crown making them available to be created anew. In the case of the title Prince of Wales, Charles, as king, can create his son, The Duke of Cambridge (the Duke of Cambridge will automatically inherit the hereditary title of Duke of Cornwall), The Prince of Wales any time he desires. Charles will also be able to create his brother, The Earl of Wessex, the new Duke of Edinburgh. If the Queen should die before the Duke of Edinburgh then Charles will be king and when Philip dies his title will automatically merge with the crown.
Camp II: This group believes that in 1999 Her Majesty bestowed on Prince Edward the title of the Earl of Wessex with the intent he would directly inherit the Duke of Edinburgh’s title upon his father’s death. This was the sole reason why Prince Edward was created an Earl and not a Duke when he married in 1999. Therefore when Philip dies his titles will go directly to Prince Edward instead of the Prince of Wales. This goes against the Letters Patent of 1947 that was issued when King George VI created Philip Mountbatten (ne Prince Philipos of Greece and Denmark) which leaves the title to the eldest son as is traditionally done. However, this camp believes that Her Majesty, as the Font of All Honors, doesn’t always have to issue Letter’s Patent to change things and that her word and will are sufficient to override the 1947 LP. If that is true then Edward will directly inherit the 1947 creation of the Duke of Edinburgh title.
What will actually happen remains to be seen. For a long time I was firmly in the first camp and felt that the 1947 Letters Patent will be followed and that the Prince of Wales will inherit his fathers titles and will not be able to create his brother the Duke of Edinburgh until that title merges with the crown. Now, however, I am questioning this position and I do think that since the creation and governing of titles is part of her Majesty’s Royal Prerogative which remains at her discretion, then her will may be sufficient and Letter’s Patent are not required.
But we shall see how this actually plays out. I personally hope the Duke of Edinburgh lives for many many more years in excellent health and that we do not have this question answered for many years to come.
1917 Letter's Patent, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Duke of Cambridge, James Windsor, King George V of Great Britain, Kings and Queens of England, Lady Louise Windsor, Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II, The Earl of Wessex
I have been having some lively debates on this topic on Facebook and another Royal message board. Things seem a little cloudy when it comes to the future title of HRH The Earl of Wessex and the titles of his children. The debate hinges around how Her Majesty the Queen conducts her royal prerogative as the font of all honors.
Let’s take the children of TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex. According to the 1917 Letters Patent (LP) issued by King George V the title of Prince or Princess of the UK is held by the sons and daughters of the sovereign, the male line grandchildren of the sovereign, and the eldest son of the Prince of Wales’s eldest son. Prince George of Cambridge is an example of the last condition of the LP. Incidentally, with HRH the Duchess of Cambridge due pretty soon with their second child, this child would not hold a royal title under the rules of the 1917 LP. However, on December 31, 2012 Letters Patent were issued by Queen Elizabeth II which extended the 1917 patent so that all children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are Princes or Princesses of the UK with the style Royal Highness.
I think her actions on the Cambridge children and their titles is important to this debate. Let me explain further. According to the 1917 LP the Children of the Earl of Wessex are entitled to be Princes or Princesses of the UK with the style Royal Highness, but they are just not currently using those titles. Or, do they not even have them? There are some that believe that the agreement in 1999 between Her Majesty the Queen and the Earl of Wessex that his children be styled as the son or daughter of a non-royal Earl was enough to deny them their titles. Is her wish and word enough or does she have to issue Letters Patent to override the 1917 LP? That is the question.
There are two camps. One camp believes their children, James Windsor, Viscount Severn, and, Lady Louise Windsor, are, in fact, Princes or Princesses of the UK with the style Royal Highness. They cite the 1917 LP as evidence and feel that Her Majesty’s agreement with the Earl of Wessex did not override or negate the 1917 LP. The other camp believes that Her Majesty, as the Font of All Honors, doesn’t always have to issue LPs to state her will and that her word and will is just as sufficient as LPs in this area. In that case, then the agreement between Her Majesty the Queen and the Earl of Wessex that his children be styled as the son of a non-royal Earl was enough to deny them their titles. Plus, it has been pointed out, that if the Wessex children wanted to use the titles the 1917 LP allows them to have, they would need permission from the sovereign to start using them, giving weight to the argument that they do not have the titles.
I can see both sides of this issue so I am neutral on this issue.
I want to keep this to a digestible amount so part II, dealing with the Earl of Wessex title and his inheriting his father’s title “Duke of Edinburgh,” will be posted tomorrow.
10th Duke of Beaufort, 1st Duke of Westminster, Duke of Clarance and Avondale, Earl of Eltham, Henry Somerset, Hugh Grosvenor, King Edward VII of Great Britain, King George V of Great Britain, Kingdom of Württemberg, Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Lady Margaret Grosvenor, Lord Cambridge, Marquess of Cambridge, Mary of Teck, Prince Adolphus of Teck, Prince Albert-Victor of Wales, Princess Mary Adelaide of Cambridge, Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Mary, Queen Victoria of Great Britain, Royal Military College, Sandhurst, The Duke of Cambridge, Wellington College, World War I
In Part one we looked at the Cambridge-Teck family and how that even though they were technically a minor German royal family they were born and bred in England. The children of Princess Mary-Adelaide of Cambridge and Franz, Duke of Teck a morganatic scion of the House of Württemberg were all born at Kensington Palace and raised in England. As was had seen in Part one, the eldest daughter, Princess Victoria-Mary, known as May, grew up to become engaged to Prince Albert-Victor of Wales, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (second in line to the British Throne) until his untimely death in 1892. After a suitable mourning period May became engaged to Prince Albert-Victor’s brother, Prince George, Duke of York who became King George V of the United Kingdom of Great Britain in 1910. May chose to be called Queen Mary and became the role model of a dedicated and dignified queen. She was born during the reign of Queen Victoria in 1867 and lived to see her own granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II, ascend the throne before she passed away in 1953.
Queen Mary’s eldest brother was born HSH Prince Adolphus of Teck. He was educated at Wellington College and then joined the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. At the age of 19, he joined the 17th Lancers,, the regiment of his maternal uncle, HRH Prince George, The Duke of Cambridge, who was the commander-in-chief of the British Army from 1856-1895. Prince Adolphus was promoted Lieutenant in 1893 and transferred to the 1st Life Guards and raised in rank to that of Captain in 1895. In 1897 Queen Victoria created him Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) and in 1901 King Edward VII promoted him to Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO).
1894 Prince Adolphus married Lady Margaret Grosvenor, daughter Hugh Grosvenor, 1st Duke of Westminster Lady Constance Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, (herself the fourth daughter of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland). Prince and Princess Adolphus of Cambridge had four children, Prince George born in 1895, Princess Mary in 1897 (she later married Henry Somerset, 10th Duke of Beaufort of the old Plantagenet line), Princess Helena in 1899 and Prince Frederick in 1907.
In 1900 Prince Franz, Duke of Teck died and Prince Adolphus as the second Duke of Teck and he and his wife were styled HSH The Duke and Duchess of Teck. In 1911 his brother-in-law, King George V, as a gift to mark his own Coronation, granted his cousin the style His Highness. In 1914 with the outbreak of World War I the Duke of Teck returned to military service first serving as a military secretary at the War Office and later as military secretary to the commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Forces (B.E.F.) in France, Sir Douglas Haig, with the rank of brigadier general.
In 1917 there was a lot of anti-German feelings in Britain and King George V changed the name of the royal house from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor and further renounced all German titles for himself and members of the British royal family. In response to this the Duke of Teck relinquished his title of Duke of Teck in the Kingdom of Württemberg and the style His Highness. Adolphus, along with his only surviving brother, Prince Alexander of Teck, adopted the name Cambridge, after their grandfather, Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (1774-1850). The Children of Adophus Cambridge also lost their German princely titles and adopted the surname Cambridge. Shortly thereafter King George bestowed his brother-in-law Marquess of Cambridge, Earl of Eltham, and Viscount Northallerto. These titles were all in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. His elder son took the title Earl of Eltham as a courtesy title, while the younger children became Lord/Lady (Christian Name) Cambridge.
After the war Lord Cambridge made his home in Shropshire after at Shotton Hall near Shrewsbury and had an active socail life. In 1923 he was offered the vacant throne of the Kingdom of Hungary (long-held by the Habsburg family) but he gave this offer no serious consideration. Lord Cambridge died, aged 59, after an intestinal operation in October 1927 at a Shrewsbury nursing home, The was ist Marquess of Cambridge was first buried at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, and later transferred to the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore. His elder son, the Earl of Eltham, succeeded him as Marquess of Cambridge.
Camilla Parker Bowles, James, Lady Louise Windsor, Louise of Wessex, Prince Charles, Prince James of Wessex, Queen Elizabeth II, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Earl of Wessex, the prince of Wales, Viscount Severn
This is a controversial topic. When The Prince of Wales married the present Duchess of Cornwall in April of 2005 it was decided that instead of being called HRH The Princess of Wales (a title that is legally hers) she would instead use one of the Prince of Wales’ other titles, Duke of Cornwall, and that she would be known as the Duchess of Cornwall. It was also announced at the time that when Charles becomes king the Duchess of Cornwall will beknown as HRH The Princess Consort instead of Her Majesty the Queen.
There has been great debate whether or not Her Majesty the Queen needs to issue new letters patent for these titles to be legal. Some argue that as the Font of all Honours the queen’s word is just as legally binding as any official decree or letters patent. Camilla is the Princess of Wales even though she does not use that title. However, I have read that in the situation with the Duchess of Cornwall not being queen when her husband becomes king, it would actually take and Act of Parliament to strip her of her title. This is something I do not think will be done.
It seems as if the queen is doing the same thing with the Duchess of Cornwall that was done with the Children of TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex. Allowing her to use a lesser title despite legally holding a higher title. The children of The Earl and Countess of Wessex are legally entitled, per the 1917 Letters Patent issued by King George V, to be styled and titled HRH Prince or Princess of Great Britain as grandchildren of the sovereign in the male line. In this case their eldest daughter is HRH Princess Louise of Wessex and their son is HRH Prince James of Wessex. These titles have not been legally stripped from them, it was simply announced they just would not use their royal styles and titles.
Therefore, despite the agreement made when the Prince of Wales married the Duchess of Cornwall she will, in fact, be Queen of the United Kingdom when her husband becomes king, she just will not use that title. The question I am asking is should she be allowed to be called queen, her rightful title?
I have mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand I say yes. I think the Duchess of Cornwall has led a fine example of being a supportive consort to the Prince of Wales and would make an excellent Queen Consort. On the other hand I also know that constitutional monarchies need the support of the people. From my understanding is that although the Duchess of Cornwall has risen greatly in poularity since her marriage to the Prince of Wales there is still considerable objections by a number of people who do not support the Duchess of Cornwall becoming queen. So in this instance, despite my feelings, I need to bow to public opinion as it is today. Will that opinion change? I certainly hope so. I still think there is enough time for the Duchess of Cornwall to win over the hearts of the people and to take her righful position by her husbands side on the throne.
Buckingham Palace, Commoner, Elizabeth II, HRH The Prince of Wales, King George VI, Kings and Queens of England, kings and queens of Scotland, kings and queens of the United Kingdom, Peerage, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Queen Elizabeth II, Scotland, The Duke of Cambridge, titles
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.