Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Wednesday, 6 April 2005

"Britain's Real Monarch" and more pulp fiction nonsense...

THE THEORY ABOUT the illegitimacy of Britain's monarchs since Edward IV has been around since..., well, Edward IV. It is amazing how succeeding generations of quack historians - most recently, that diminutive manservant from Black Adder who is pushing a treatment of the matter on the History Channel - "discover" it and attempt to flog it to the (increasingly indifferent) masses. The whole idea of five centuries of illegitimate monarchs is, in actual fact, bunk of the first rank, for reasons which I shall explain here.

The conjecture that Edward IV was a bastard was active in his lifetime, and there is, in fact, reason to believe that the conjecture may have been well-founded. Some recent scholarship suggests strongly that Richard, duke of York, was on campaign in France and nowhere near his wife, Cicely Neville, at any time when Edward could plausibly have been conceived. The record indicates that this possibility was widely whispered in Edward's lifetime, and that Edward's supporters (and ironically, the Tudor monarchs) fought actively to disprove the rumours.

All this matters, in principle, because Edward's claim to the throne derived from the descendency of his father, Richard of York, from Edward III (through his grandfather Edmund, duke of York, third son of Edward III; and his father Richard, earl of Cambridge, who was attainted of high treason by Henry V and executed in 1415). In many respects, Edward's claim to the throne was on the same order of strength as that of Henry VI, who descended from the second son of Edward III, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. As we all know, the fact of this strong claim, which provoked Richard's persecution at the hands of Henry VI's wife, Margaret of Anjou, touched off the Wars of the Roses. But I digress...

If Edward had, in fact, been born of a father other than Richard, he would not have been of the royal blood, and would therefore have been entirely without a legitimate claim to the throne. More to the point, however - given that Edward's brother, Richard III, who undoubtedly was legitimate and therefore definitely of the royal blood, was killed on Bosworth Field by Henry (VII) Tudor in 1485 - are the implications with respect to the Tudor dynasty. Henry VIII's royal blood derived in part from that of his mother, Elizabeth, who was the daughter of Edward IV. The theorists point out that the loss of this link would upset the rightful order of precedence to the succession.

Henry VIII was, however, also of the royal blood in his father’s right – his father was great-great-grandson of John of Gaunt. The bastardy of Edward, even if fact, would therefore not sever the blood continuity of Britain's monarchs from Henry VI to his Tudor successors on the throne. Let me now come to the point of my argument, which is three-fold: first, that the potential bastardy of Edward cannot now be lawfully established; second, that Edward’s bastardy, even if proved, would not substantially affect the legitimacy of Tudor and subsequent claims to the throne; and third, that even if Edward had been a bastard, and even if that bastardy had in fact severed the blood continuity of the Crown, it would not finally matter in the slightest.

It is self-evident that the information available to us today is insufficient to rule on a point of fact that is 563 years in the past, especially on an issue of such vast consequence. The evidence was insufficient at the time, and has been so considered ever since.

Second: the Tudor dynasty’s blood links to the Plantagenets derived from both sides of Henry VIII's parentage. So issues of precedence aside, continuity of the royal blood would not have been fully interrupted by Edward’s supposed bastardy. And what significance can we meaningfully attach to such second-order issues of precedence, in a century that saw the Wars of the Roses - the storm sown by the usurpation of the Crown of Richard II by Henry (IV) Bolingbroke – pass the Crown three times between competing branches of the same family?

Which brings me to my final point. The right of kings, within the span and scope of British history and law, does not derive exclusively from birth, but from the fact of rule which may, under exceptional circumstances, be established by means other than rightful precedence or even of blood inheritance. Such circumstances obtained, for example, in the cases of Henry Bolingbroke, Henry Tudor, and William the Conqueror. In the latter case, the right to the throne was established and recognized by outright force of conquest, irrespective of any (in fact extant) blood ties to a prior king.

These arguments are irrefutably and completely vindicated and upheld by over five centuries of British history - those centuries establishing fact and precedent that by themselves are absolutely unassailable under British constitutional law.

So much for the dime-novel bunk. God save the Queen.

Walsingham (originally posted here)


Anonymous said...

Sound arguement for the most...but spoiled by your way, way OTT support for the Royals...Ok, they are fine for Britain's history and tourism...but what good have they ever done for the poor?
its is a fact, that the Queen has Billions of pounds-worth of oil paintings in basement which never even see light of day...
Enough to feed many third world countries I reckon.

Anonymous said...

Interesting history, and I like the look of this blog.

From what you say in your second to last (major) paragraph you seem to be implying, perhaps unintentionally, that we could get rid of The House Of Windsor without becoming a Republic?

That we could resort to a more traditional means of changing our Head of State. And all in the name of Monarchy?

Why is it that people always only think: The Windsors or a Republic.

Not that I am not loyal to the Queen of course, but anyway.

Would be interested in hearing your perspectives.