Monday, 22 July 2013

Praying for a prince, not a princess. Anyway, the rightful King of England is a Bavarian

H.R.H. the Duchess of Cambridge is in labour as I write this. I pray that she is delivered of a healthy prince and we can forget, for a generation, the recent change to the rules of succession to the throne (I assume it has been enacted by now) allowing an elder princess to inherit the throne in preference to a younger prince. If it is a princess I shall feel only great sadness. In the words of the last Lord Chancellor of Scotland, when the Act of Union passed the Scottish House of Lords, it will be the end of an old song.

The new prince or princess will be related to most people you can think of, including Vlad the Impaler and almost all Americans, including: George Washington, Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton and the two George Bushes. He or she will also be a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, via King Pedro the Cruel of Portugal. If King Edward VII's son and heir the Duke of Clarence was, as some have speculated, Jack the Ripper.... but the better view is that the poor simple-minded Duke was innocent. In any case, the new baby is heir to any number of savage and bloodthirsty conquerors who wore skins. It all reminds me of the birth of Titus Groan, heir to the Earldom of Gormenghast, in Mervyn Peake's great eponymous novel.

I may be wrong but I think this will be the only the second time that three heirs to the English throne in three successive generations are alive at the same time as the Sovereign. The other occasion was the birth of the future King Edward VIII, who was heir to the greatest empire the world had ever known and died a forgotten and déclassé figure living in France. One journalist (A.G.Gardiner I think) described Prince Edward in his teens as 'the greatest gentleman in the Empire', but he was not a gentleman at all. Let us hope the new born baby, who is born to reign over but not rule a social democratic, multiracial island on the western edge of the EU, is a gentleman and that he makes a better king than King Edward VIII.

The birth of a royal baby is 'the princely edition of a universal fact', in Bagehot's famous phrase and this is why it is both interesting and boring at the same time, as is the monarchy itself. Here is the new-born Prince Charles, surrounded by King George VI, who had just over three years to live, the present Queen and Queen Mary, widow of King George V:

On July 14th the man whom many (myself included, when I remember) consider the rightful King of England, Scotland and Ireland celebrated his 80th birthday. King Francis II, or as he is usually styled, Francis (Franz), Duke of Bavaria, is the legitimate heir to the House of Stuart. He is the closest living relation to the last legitimate king, King James VII and II, who was overthrown by the English Revolution in 1689 (a coup d'etat or putsch, accompanied by a coup in Edinburgh and, in 1690, a war in Ireland between Protestant rebels and loyal Catholics).

But, though I have been known raise my glass of wine and pass it over the water jug before toasting the King (over the water, the Jacobite toast), would I really want to change matters now? I think I would, actually, although Dr Johnson said if he could restore the Stuarts by lifting his finger he did not know if he would do so and he was speaking twenty years after 1745. However, since the rightful King will never be restored I in practice accept and support the present regime, faute de mieux. Time heals all wounds.

After all, years have gone past and there is a Yorkist claimant too for that matter.

The deputy political editor of The Times, Sam Coates, tweeted today:

Love how Kate gets admitted in early stages of labour. None of the "sod off home again you're not far enough along yet..."

How the National Health Service doth make sullen socialists of us all, all us Britons that is. The implication of his tweet I imagine is that she is getting preferential treatment because she is our future Queen giving birth of our future King or Queen. I assume that she is in any case not using the NHS. Unless the world really has gone mad. 

Hmmm, now I think of it, who knows? Perhaps as part of a drive to make the monarchy seem less elitist? I suspect that the National Health Service means almost as much to the British as the monarchy, possibly more. It certainly means far more than the Church of England or the British Empire.

People are speculating that the baby might be called James or Victoria. Another King James would not be James III but James VIII because James II of England and Ireland was James VII of Scotland- they changed the rules in 1953 to please the Scots. A King James VIII would be very good for unionism in Scotland. Victoria II would be a wonderful name too even though I hope it will not be a princess. Some website opines that the new prince or princess will be named Qatar Airways as part of a sponsorship deal. I thought this rather droll.


  1. Nope, St Mary's is comfortably private with warmed bedpans and all...


  2. A relief. King George VI could not see why people should get free medical treatment any more than free shoes.

  3. We are indeed praying. Although even the Royal Stuart Society (for which I have the utmost respect), accepted the present succession at a dinner Attended in 1996. Or rather a speaker did, to pretty much universal agreement.

  4. Yes, changing the succession to favor older daughters is a pointless waste of time for the legislatures of the commonwealth, certainly just to satisfy political correctness. Not least of which reason it almost guarantees any/all sons will be party Princes and tabloid fodder. Don't understand the need to "reform" an archaic institution that is enjoying an upswing in popularity no matter the gender of the child being born. May have a disruptive effect on some aristocratic families depending upon how the entails are written.
    As to the house of Stuart, members of the Bruce male line may have issue with that.
    Were it not for the Glorious Revolution and act of settlement history would be different. Right off, no British Empire or Industrial revolution(in Britain), no WW I, and in turn no Hitler and WW II (in Europe anyway). The whole of the British Isles would have been a backwater as was Ireland until recently, or maybe another Norway. On the upside, North America would have become the continuing and exclusive refuge of Protestants, migration would have been massive, probably would have been independent of GB sooner and may have been the capital of a global empire, as well as the worlds sole industrial giant. Political divisions would be different, not the US and Canada, but maybe a bigger union of states or regions. Republic or alternate Hanoverian Monarchy? Who know but fun to speculate.

  5. Well said. Not sure I accept that a Yorkist claimant would be legitimate in the same way as Franz, Duke of Bavaria, mind you. John Kersey

  6. I detest the way the Queen is depicted among the comedy crowd.
    In this U.S. anyway. Perhaps in England they still at least still show respect for the Queen. She was certainly a pretty girl. And I might be wrong but I don't believe King George was
    very simple. I think he was simply nervous.