42.1 Today’s blog is dedicated to the 4973 living individuals…more or less…who are in the the Line of Succession for the British Throne. The website of the British Monarchy lists only 39…and when asked back in April by the Wall Street Journal if they would go any deeper, they answered in effect that they couldn’t be bothered. But amateur genealogists on both sides of the Big Ditch have sussed it all out, right down to 38-year-old Karin Vogel of Bostock, Germany, last on the list.
42.2 All are descendants of Princess Sophia of Hanover (above), granddaughter of James II, as prescribed by the Act of Settlement passed by Parliament in 1701. Since the first British Monarch in the year 774 AD, succession had been accomplished by a crazy-quilt jumble of laws, customs, traditions, squabbles, and yes, even bloodshed. When it appeared that Queen Anne would have no legitimate heir, Parliament designated Sophia as the heir apparent, and that only those descended from her could wear the crown…a law in effect to this day. Ironically, she died 2 months before she would have assumed the throne, and was “succeeded” by her son George I.
42.3 But in case you missed the big news…male preference in the Line of Succession will soon be a thing of the past. This reform…long-rumored to be in the works…was announced October 28 in Australia, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting…it was approved unanimously by the 16 countries represented, and will become law when each individual government passes a law to that effect. Exact birth order will now be followed…males will not jump ahead of their older sisters. So what does the new list look like?
42.4 Exactly like the old list! Nothing changes. The reform is not retroactive, and applies in principal only to the family of Prince Charles, which is to say, the prospective family of Prince William and Kate. Should their first child be a girl, and their second a boy, the girl would be third in line behind her father and grandfather…the boy would not leap-frog her as in the past.
42.5 Chart 142 shows the first 60 claimants, and as you can see, the order follows a logical pattern: Charles and his children on the far left, followed by Andrew and Edward. Princess Anne is #10…altho the 2nd born, she does not move ahead of her 2 younger brothers with the new ruling. Then comes the family of QEII’s sister Margaret, followed by her 6 1st cousins, and their families, in order of the birth of her father’s siblings. I apologize for the “squished” nature of this chart…it was taken from a larger one that included the Queen’s 2nd cousins, but would have been too wide to present here. I colored the families of George VI’s siblings to make them easier to delineate.
42.6 By way of explanation, I should mention that the Queen’s sister Princess Margaret is dead, hence not in line…but that doesn’t effect her children and grandchildren. Also, those individuals marked with E*…kind of hard to see, I know…have been eliminated from contention either because they married a Roman Catholic or themselves converted to Catholicism…them’s the rules…
42.7 But while this reform is hailed as a triumph for gender equality, the idea that the first-born ought to be first in line is nothing new…and in fact, royal watchers appear to be well aware who would be Queen today if this had been the rule in the days of Victoria…and that would be one Dr. Friederike von der Osten von Reich, 52 years of age, currently residing in Halle, Germany.
42.8 Because as you can see in Chart 143, Victoria and Albert’s first child was a girl, Victoria Adelaide. Instead, her next oldest brother became King Edward VII. But had the younger Victoria succeeded her mother, the Crown would have passed down to her oldest son, the infamous “Kaiser Bill,” and eventually to Friederike I. And don’t think she doesn’t know it! ”I have always been aware of my place as descendant of Queen Victoria and that, if different succession rules had been observed, I could have had a right to the British throne.”
42.9 OK, so a moral victory. Anyway, is Waity Katy preggers yet? Watch this space. Tons of mail to get to next week…pip pip! (Which, if heard in Britain today, is slang for “goodbye,” altho in the past it was used as a greeting, especially among the upper classes. Ciao.)
Genealogy in the funnies…I’m telling you, it’s becoming more and more of a hobby among Baby Boomers…and by following this blog, you’ll be ahead of the curve, you crafty old buzzard you!
Copyright © 2011 Mark John Astolfi, All Rights Reserved