Somebody get His Majesty a lager
July 26, 2011 8:02 PM   Subscribe

Did a case of 15th C. royal adultery mean that every King and Queen of England since Henry VI to sit on the throne was not the legitimate heir according to the rules of royal succession? And if the Tudors, Stuarts, Hanoverians, and Saxe-Coburg von Gothas Windsor-Mountbattens are not properly the ones to be occupying the positions they have/are, who is Britain's Real Monarch?

Tony "Oh look, more urine" Robinson, while researching Richard III, comes across startling recently encountered evidence that questions whether Edward IV was the legitimate son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York. If Edward IV was indeed conceived out of wedlock, then every Monarch since him has sat on the throne in place of someone with a superior claim to the throne. And so "Balders" traces the lineage of the alternate royal family... right to the front door of the person who "should" be King.

It has been pointed out that Henry VII could also claim the throne by Right-of-Conquest when nobody coughed up a horse at Bosworth Field. But that's always a shaky claim to pass on to one's descendants. Because if the crown can be seized once...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey (109 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Just started watching, but if the real king's name isn't Baldrick, I'm going to be seriously disappointed.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:15 PM on July 26, 2011 [26 favorites]


Um, at one point the Parliament paid/begged the Dutch Staatholder to come and be king based on some cousin of a friend of an uncle genealogy cause the actual heir was a French-Catholic git so the entire line (and this is true of every monarchy or Ceasarship or Tsar) is a confused improvised mess of compromise and "No no no I meant HIM."
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 PM on July 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


And if the person who should be King isn't ME I'm not watchin'
posted by The Whelk at 8:17 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


(oh man I cannot tell the difference between real and fake conspiracy anymore. Internet had ruined me)
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 PM on July 26, 2011


Have enough centuries elapsed yet that it's finally time to let Britons decide whether there is anyone who is "properly the one to be occupying the positions they have" in the monarchy?
posted by anarch at 8:20 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Henry Tudor's legitimacy came from Henry III, bypassing the question of Edward IV.

George the first was 52nd in line to the throne, but the first protestant, and was made king according to the 1701 Act of Succession.

I guess the point is, these rules are arbitrary nonsense anyway, so who cares? The king is dead, long live the king!
posted by wilful at 8:24 PM on July 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


One could imagine that there would be some kind of equivalent to adverse possession of the English throne.
posted by Blasdelb at 8:24 PM on July 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


According to family history, I'm a descendent of Eddie III, but I wouldn't bet I'm the next king.
posted by hanoixan at 8:27 PM on July 26, 2011


"I found a key to Windsor Castle and paid $16. Hope the HOA doesn't evict me." - Cromwell.
posted by mmmbacon at 8:29 PM on July 26, 2011 [31 favorites]


One of my childhood fantasies (running a close second to "my real parents will come and get me sooner or later", which, seeing "Annie" did not help) was that it would turn out I was the rightful heir to the British throne.

I had a lot of really good work I was going to do, you guys.
posted by padraigin at 8:29 PM on July 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


SPOILER ALERT: It's not who you think it is.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 8:32 PM on July 26, 2011


I vaguely remember from undergrad history (back in the dark ages of the late 80s, so this is not new stuff) that the Lancastrians put about the rumor that Cecily (Edward IV's mother) was unfaithful as a method of deligitimizing Yorkist victories. I'm not surprised to see it turn up in a show that looks like it's going to be sub-History Channel value.

I'd rather get my medieval history from Terry Jones.
posted by immlass at 8:32 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Oh ffs. All kings are illegitimate. Off with their bloody heads already.
posted by Ahab at 8:36 PM on July 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey: "It has been pointed out that Henry VII could also claim the throne by Right-of-Conquest when nobody coughed up a horse at Bosworth Field. But that's always a shaky claim to pass on to one's descendants. Because if the crown can be seized once..."

You mean like in the Norman Conquest?
posted by Chrysostom at 8:45 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Henry Tudor's legitimacy came from Henry III, bypassing the question of Edward IV.

I came here to say exactly that! Even though the younger Henry Tudor was the grandson of Edward Plantagenet and Elizabeth Woodville through their daughter Elizabeth, the elder Henry Tudor had already broken the legitimacy of that line by killing Edward's younger brother Richard. Of course Richard himself had also broken that succession by killing Edward's two sons. The right of succession actually rests upon Margaret Beaufort, who was married to Owen Tudor when she was twelve and gave birth to Henry when she was fourteen. If you want a good story, that's it right there: child bride and teen mother gives birth to king.
posted by Jehan at 8:46 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Nae king! Nae quin! Nae laird! Nae master! We willna' be fooled again!"
posted by edgeways at 8:47 PM on July 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


Great post, cheers.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:48 PM on July 26, 2011


It has been pointed out that Henry VII could also claim the throne by Right-of-Conquest when nobody coughed up a horse at Bosworth Field. But that's always a shaky claim to pass on to one's descendants. Because if the crown can be seized once...

Leaving aside for the moment how incredibly entertaining that would be, why would anyone bother?

I mean, the money's not terrible, but I think anybody with the resources to take the English crown by force probably has higher-ROI opportunities available, not to mention ones that would come with actual rather than ceremonial power and less onerous job responsibilities.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 8:49 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


King Ralph!
posted by CarlRossi at 8:53 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


You mean like in the Norman Conquest?

Well, William the Bastard Conqueror's claim was based on the fact that:
-Edward the Confessor had promised to make him his heir
-Harold Godwinson had sworn himself as William's man on a hidden stack of saint's relics, and then had gone off and declared himself King when Edward died instead of supporting William.

That, and conquest.

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:56 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have met someone who has met Princess Maragret therefore I am entitled to a Baronet.

It's not like they're using them right now.
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have met someone who has met Princess Maragret therefore I am entitled to a Baronet.

As it happens, I have met someone who has met Grace Jones, which means I am entitled to a warm leatherette.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:59 PM on July 26, 2011 [20 favorites]


Which bloodline is the actual bloodline approved by God to rule the British Empire?!
posted by asnider at 8:59 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


MINE!!!
posted by edgeways at 9:06 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm a descendent of Eddie III

You might hate me for this, see The Royal We:
The mathematical study of genealogy indicates that everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius, and everyone of European ancestry is descended from Muhammad and Charlemagne.
Indeed, most people of English ancestry are probably related to William the Conqueror. Everyone is related to royalty. It's only special if it was in the past .. 200 or 300 years or so, beyond that the math just makes it normal.
posted by stbalbach at 9:09 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


People survive meeting Grace Jones? Wow.

Another friend can alllllomost lay claim to minor pre-Napoleon French nobility, his great great great great ancestor was a bought bride for a carabeeian merchant riiiiight before the French revolution.
posted by The Whelk at 9:09 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, admitting Edward IV's illegitimacy would have been a pretty easy way to keep his kids non-murdered.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:11 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


When it comes to this kind of thing, possession is 90% of the law, if not even more.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:14 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The mathematical study of genealogy indicates that everyone in the world is descended from Nefertiti and Confucius, and everyone of European ancestry is descended from Muhammad and Charlemagne.

Indeed, most people of English ancestry are probably related to William the Conqueror. Everyone is related to royalty. It's only special if it was in the past .. 200 or 300 years or so, beyond that the math just makes it normal.


Intellectually I know that must be true, but I have a hard time fathoming it out. I know a lot of my ancestry back several hundred years, and it's just peasants all the way down. I'm not saddened by that, but it's hard to imagine that at some point it trends toward kings, philosophers and a prophet.
posted by Jehan at 9:14 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Rhameses the second? Had something like a hundred kids and Louis the 15 was fathering bastards up until his 90th birthday, not to mention the great Khan.

Besides wasn't there a supposed huge bottleneck in human population sometime in prehistory that accounts for the fact that we're way more related to each other then apes?
posted by The Whelk at 9:18 PM on July 26, 2011


it's hard to imagine that at some point it trends toward kings, philosophers and a prophet.

Well it's not a single line but a tree. The tree includes kings, but it also includes peasants. So you might be related to William the Bastard, but your also probably related to about 80% of everyone else who was alive at the time of William, including peasants. It's just a question of which line you want to trace to which end node - since it's a tree, there are many different paths that can be followed.

Now, if you want to talk Primogeniture, that's a different story, since there is only one line possible through the tree. That would be rare indeed to have a Primogeniture connection to royalty no matter how old. That's the idea of this video that makes him King of England.
posted by stbalbach at 9:33 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


CIVIL WAR CIVIL WAR CIVIL WAR *RESTORE THE TRUE KING* HOIST THE FLAG MAN THE CANNONS HEY DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THE CIVIL WAR? CIVIL WAR!

There, now I just wait until they've fought a bit... my time will come soon.
posted by Winnemac at 9:42 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm The eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the eldest son of the man who fucked Nell Gewyn.
posted by The Whelk at 9:42 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey: "Well, William the Bastard Conqueror's claim was based on the fact that:
-Edward the Confessor had promised to make him his heir
-Harold Godwinson had sworn himself as William's man on a hidden stack of saint's relics, and then had gone off and declared himself King when Edward died instead of supporting William.
"

William claimed that, sure. I'd say that, too, if I were trying to seize the throne. Harold claimed that Edward had named HIM heir. Plus, he was selected by the Witenagemot, which certainly lends him some legitimacy.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:43 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Plus, he was selected by the Witenagemot

Was that when Voldemort was in power though? Because there have been a lot of doubt cast on those decisions. The Ministry was just a mess. A mess I say!
posted by Chipmazing at 9:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Intellectually I know that must be true, but I have a hard time fathoming it out. I know a lot of my ancestry back several hundred years, and it's just peasants all the way down. I'm not saddened by that, but it's hard to imagine that at some point it trends toward kings, philosophers and a prophet.

You have two parents, they each have two parents, and so on. Eventually--pretty quickly, as a matter of fact--the branches at the top of your family tree outnumber the population of [applicable country of origin] at any period in its history, so it's a fair guess that, one way or another, you're certain to be descended from any specific inhabitant of the country beyond that point in time.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:54 PM on July 26, 2011


You have two parents, they each have two parents, and so on. Eventually--pretty quickly, as a matter of fact--the branches at the top of your family tree outnumber the population of [applicable country of origin] at any period in its history, so it's a fair guess that, one way or another, you're certain to be descended from any specific inhabitant of the country beyond that point in time.

I do understand how I might be related to kings, it's just hard to really believe. However, any pedigree collapses significantly in time, and if you're descended from a relatively closed population the number of specific ancestors may be quite low.
posted by Jehan at 10:02 PM on July 26, 2011


Good post and amusing video. I loved the typical Australian under reaction to being told the news.
posted by schwa at 10:03 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This...this is a little disturbing. I'm related to Scott Adams?
posted by maxwelton at 10:14 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Legitimists and Orleanists! Carlists and Alfonsists! Liberals and Miguelites! Jacobites! Fortunately, the 18th century has brought us a much more stable form of government than hereditary, aristocratic monarchy: Bonapartism.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:21 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]




Hell, based on my nose, I'm closely related to Caesar (or a salad).
posted by arcticseal at 10:57 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"She's descended from a long line her mother listened to." ---Gypsy Rose Lee
posted by Napoleonic Terrier at 11:02 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Why don't we just crown a god damn lump of petrified donkey turd king and be done with it. I mean, considering the inbreeding and genetic mishaps of the royal line, it would probably be just as effective and certainly a more apt symbol.
posted by spicynuts at 11:05 PM on July 26, 2011


Besides wasn't there a supposed huge bottleneck in human population sometime in prehistory that accounts for the fact that we're way more related to each other then apes?

Toba catastrophe theory suggests that somewhere around 70,000 years ago, there were just 10,000 of us buggers running around thinking we own everything.

If all men were brothers, would you let one marry your sister?
posted by Zed at 11:31 PM on July 26, 2011


Bah. The only king I bow to is the Animal King.
posted by homunculus at 11:34 PM on July 26, 2011




I have met someone who has met Princess Maragret therefore I am entitled to a Baronet.

For the sake of your marriage, I hope you mean a baronetcy.
posted by kenko at 11:56 PM on July 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Why don't we just crown a god damn lump of petrified donkey turd king and be done with it. I mean, considering the inbreeding and genetic mishaps of the royal line, it would probably be just as effective and certainly a more apt symbol.

There are ceremonial and other duties fossilized feces (a coprolite) would not be able to physically perform. People would be disappointed.

They keep the monarchy because it would be rude to ask them to leave, even though they probably should.

Ask them, that is.
posted by longsleeves at 11:56 PM on July 26, 2011



There are ceremonial and other duties fossilized feces (a coprolite) would not be able to physically perform.


Name one.
posted by spicynuts at 12:05 AM on July 27, 2011


It would be difficult for a coprolite to do that wave where one's hand looks like a satellite dish seeking a signal.
posted by jamaro at 12:14 AM on July 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Have enough centuries elapsed yet that it's finally time to let Britons decide whether there is anyone who is "properly the one to be occupying the positions they have" in the monarchy?

To be fair, if you gave them the choice the vast majority would opt to retain the present monarchy (though some would choose to skip Charles and go straight to William after Elizabeth dies). [Speaking a republican, myself, but I know I'm in the minority]
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:19 AM on July 27, 2011




It would be difficult for a coprolite to do that wave where one's hand looks like a satellite dish seeking a signal.


This could be mechanized. We have the technology. Or at least, Disney does.
posted by spicynuts at 12:39 AM on July 27, 2011


Who wants to be King? It's a thankless job and your life is not your own.
posted by bwg at 12:42 AM on July 27, 2011


Who wants to be King? It's a thankless job and your life is not your own.

I'm a Project Manager. It's a thankless job and my life is not my own. Only difference is I don't have any fancy hats or jewels and I had to sell all my castles a few years ago. So, me. I want to be king. Or dictator. One or the other.
posted by spicynuts at 12:45 AM on July 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


In the Netherlands, during the Second World War, the fact that the queen represented the country helped it not to become a Nazi pupet state. I'm betting that the French would have loved that deal, to avoid the stain of collaborationism and Vichy which is still present in the country.

Once in a while the monarchical system does work.
posted by Omon Ra at 1:14 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sure if you if you like the idea of a Harrier flying up your ass you could push the point.
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 2:11 AM on July 27, 2011


Oh ffs. All kings are illegitimate. Off with their bloody heads already.

While I agree with you for the most part, there's the odd exception; for example, while the story about Christian of Denmark donning the yellow star wasn't true, Haakon of Norway and his son Olav were more enthusiastic opponents of the Nazis than many British and American leaders, while Juan Carlos of Spain restored democracy and faced down a Fascist coup.
posted by rodgerd at 2:14 AM on July 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


It would be difficult for a coprolite to do that wave where one's hand looks like a satellite dish seeking a signal.

This could be mechanized. We have the technology. Or at least, Disney does.

Thus far a rather uninspiring thing.
posted by doublehappy at 2:19 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Prince Caleb" indeed. Pffff.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 2:42 AM on July 27, 2011


So, if I understand correctly, Robinson asserts that the legitimacy of the monarch depends crucially on these rules of inheritance being followed exactly. But why these rules and not others? I guess the only answer is that these rules are customary for this purpose. But if you admit custom as a foundational justification, then doesn't the last half a millennium establish the descendants of Edward IV as the customary, hence proper, rulers?

I'm not seeing a coherent political theory which makes this information have the consequences that Robinson claims for it.

(He backs off of his main claims a little in the last few minutes of the program, but still.)
posted by stebulus at 3:01 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why don't we just crown a god damn lump of petrified donkey turd king and be done with it.

The main reason you can't do this is that then you would have a portrait of petrified donkey turd on all your money. I can't believe I have to explain this.
posted by taz at 3:34 AM on July 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is this a Game of Thrones ARG?
posted by GilloD at 4:16 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


This reminds me of my favourite chapter from Gulliver's Travels. Gulliver finds his way to Glubbdubdrib, an island of sorcerers. Its Governor is able to summon anyone from the past to speak to Gulliver:

I desired the governor would call up a dozen or two of kings, with their ancestors in order for eight or nine generations. But my disappointment was grievous and unexpected. For, instead of a long train with royal diadems, I saw in one family two fiddlers, three spruce courtiers, and an Italian prelate. In another, a barber, an abbot, and two cardinals. I have too great a veneration for crowned heads, to dwell any longer on so nice a subject.

Goddamit, Hollywood. This is the film you should have made, not this shit!

(Thanks for a great post, P-B-Z-M)
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 4:36 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I am Marie of Roumania.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:39 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The main reason you can't do this is that then you would have a portrait of petrified donkey turd on all your money. I can't believe I have to explain this.

I don't have a dog in this race, but it's possible he thinks that's one of the advantages.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 4:49 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


taz: "The main reason you can't do this is that then you would have a portrait of petrified donkey turd on all your money. I can't believe I have to explain this."

Yeah but in some cultures that might actually be a bonus.
posted by bwg at 4:57 AM on July 27, 2011


Something pecunia (non) olet something.
posted by likeso at 5:05 AM on July 27, 2011


George the first was 52nd in line to the throne, but the first protestant, and was made king according to the 1701 Act of Succession.


That's true - although if you say "he was James I's great-grandson", it sounds less remote. But yes - there was a bit of a break with William of Orange, and a much more impressive break with George of Hanover.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:14 AM on July 27, 2011


Isn't royalty and nobility a game of being best at asserting leadership? Royal lines start because somebody does the best job of asserting himself over everybody else, his heirs succeeded him (as much through intrigue and battle as anything else), and the rest gets formalized mostly as a way to keep costs down and disruptions minimal. A fresh war for the throne every time a king dies makes for interesting novels but sucks from a making-sure-enough-people-live-to-pay-tithes-and-bring-the-crops-in-next-year perspective.

So if somebody can insert himself into the order of succession, his legitimacy is contingent a great deal more on getting the rest of the place to accept his version of events, a process of persuasion and bullying rather than scrupulous documentation and pure logic. After all, the great-ancestor of the official line got to the top by similar means.

The dude in Australia is a dude in Australia and can never be king, regardless of his ancestry. Years ago, somebody else took over. If he wants the throne, he'll have to decide whether to form an army, instigate palace intrigue, or do things the modern way: Make a hell of a lot of money and buy his way in.
posted by ardgedee at 5:22 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have met someone who has met Princess Maragret therefore I am entitled to a Baronet.

Hi, I just sent you your Baronet. The Royal Mail will deliver him in 5 business days.
posted by ersatz at 5:26 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


A case of adultery led to my branch of the family not owning Somerset. Thank Christ.
posted by longbaugh at 5:27 AM on July 27, 2011


If there was a king on the throne, I could make the "So he's saying the king is ersatz?" joke.
posted by ersatz at 5:27 AM on July 27, 2011


I have met someone who has met Princess Maragret therefore I am entitled to a Baronet.

I danced with a man who danced with a girl who danced with the Prince of Wales.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:38 AM on July 27, 2011


I have a cunning plan.
posted by pracowity at 5:39 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Watching intently from the wings: Thailand, where a long-lost heir with a stronger claim to the throne than the current one would be something of a godsend.
posted by Naberius at 5:52 AM on July 27, 2011


spicynuts for coprolite!
posted by nickmark at 6:18 AM on July 27, 2011


Of course Richard himself had also broken that succession by killing Edward's two sons.

Do you have proof of that, you Tudor slanderer?
posted by TWinbrook8 at 6:33 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Intellectually I know that must be true, but I have a hard time fathoming it out. I know a lot of my ancestry back several hundred years, and it's just peasants all the way down. I'm not saddened by that, but it's hard to imagine that at some point it trends toward kings, philosophers and a prophet.

What's more intriguing is that with a couple of changes in the completely arbitrary circumstances, those peasants could have been kings, philosophers, etc. Life is a big scammy lottery for most.
posted by Tarumba at 6:47 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to work with a Hapburg Contessa (by marriage).

I myself am descended on both sides from an long unbroken line of devout Shakers.

 
posted by Herodios at 6:48 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I skipped to the end of the video just to see if the answer is Princess Mononoke.

It was not.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:01 AM on July 27, 2011


ted to each other then apes? Toba catastrophe theory suggests that somewhere around 70,000 years ago, there were just 10,000 of us buggers running around.

However, more recent calculations based on the genetic evidence appears to indicate numbers a couple orders of magnitude higher. So the bottleneck wasn't really a bottleneck for the population at large.

Anyway, the genealogy program needs to talk more about the reptoids in the British royal family.
posted by happyroach at 7:13 AM on July 27, 2011


But why these rules and not others?

They cover that in Act I, Scene 2.

Really, as has been said before, the real rules are: 1) Stab the old King. 2) Crown yourself King. 3) Have enough friends that no one can do this to you and don't whine about it when they try.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:23 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If its not John Goodman, I'm not interested...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0102216/
posted by Billiken at 7:24 AM on July 27, 2011



Really, as has been said before, the real rules are: 1) Stab the old King. 2) Crown yourself King. 3) Have enough friends that no one can do this to you and don't whine about it when they try.
posted by Kid Charlemagne


Eponhistorical!
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 AM on July 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


1) Stab the old King.

Or you could 'stab' the Queen, if you catch my drift.
posted by spicynuts at 7:27 AM on July 27, 2011


The rumours began almost immediately. The circumstances surrounding Edward's christening is also cited as evidence that Richard and Cecily did not have much to celebrate. The ceremony was a private and secretive affair conducted in a side chapel of the cathedral. Contrast this with the christening of Edward's younger brother for which the cathedral itself was used for the celebrated and very public occasion. As Edward grew up it was pointed out that he hardly resembled Richard or anyone else in the family for that matter. Edward's square jaw and round face, so prominent in portraits of him, starkly contrasted with the thin face of the man who was supposed to be his father.

1) Sounds like Richard knew the kid wasn't biologically his.

2) Sounds like Richard accepted the child, whereas we know King Robert Baratheon would not have responded well to being cuckolded.

3) Meets the criteria of "adoption" to me.
posted by jefficator at 7:32 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The question of genetic "legitimacy" always struck me as something of a red herring. The game of "no you're not/yes you are" with Henry the VIII's heirs demonstrated that for all of the pretense of bloodlines and primogeniture, the practice in England is that the party with the most clout picked their favorite bastard and rationalized it after the fact. And a part of that rationalization usually involved long-winded myths about ancestry and lineal descent that went all the way back King David, Julius Caesar, and/or Aeneas.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:32 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


the practice in England is that the party with the most clout picked their favorite bastard and rationalized it after the fact.

Whereas, in America, two parties pick their favorite bastards and . . .
 
posted by Herodios at 7:37 AM on July 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


If its not John Goodman, I'm not interested...

Actually, it IS John Goodman. Since he lost all that weight, he should have no trouble fitting into one of those silly uniforms like Charles and the rest of them wear. I hear they'll be serving Spotted Dick at the coronation reception.
posted by briank at 7:52 AM on July 27, 2011


3) Meets the criteria of "adoption" to me.

Not only that, but adoption of bastards and passing the crown on to an alternate party were grand old European traditions up to the point where the later Tudors and then the Stuarts got their dander up over legitimacy in the wake of Henry FitzRoy, Jane Grey, and multiple acts of parliament declaring Mary and Elizabeth alternately legitimate and illegitimate.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:03 AM on July 27, 2011


Lyndon La Rouche, true King of the Britains!
posted by ennui.bz at 8:17 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


CRAP! I'd seen BRM before, but this one I linked to clips off the end credits. As they roll, Michael Hastings takes a branch and knights a kneeling Tony Robinson, who rises Sir Tony of Hackney (or wherever it is he now lives) with the broad Australian outback in the distance. Was kinda cool.

So no. No King Baldrick.

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:52 AM on July 27, 2011


Do you have proof of that, you Tudor slanderer?

They starved to death in his care! He didn't kill them? Yeah, tell that to social services.
posted by Jehan at 9:08 AM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. I have met Grace Jones' brother. I am, therefore, entitled to the title of Marchioness at the very least.
posted by kinnakeet at 9:59 AM on July 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Really, as has been said before, the real rules are: 1) Stab the old King. 2) Crown yourself King. 3) Have enough friends that no one can do this to you and don't whine about it when they try.

Well, sure. But I'm trying to understand Robinson's argument. He says Edward IV was the son of some hottie archer and not the king, and therefore not legitimate. Assume that's right. He concludes that the current royals are illegitimate. How does this follow? It doesn't follow under your theory (unless and until someone leads a successful revolt on this basis). As I argued in my first comment, it doesn't follow under the theory that whatever is traditional is right (since the intervening time has surely made the current status quo "traditional"). What theory is Robinson implicitly using?
posted by stebulus at 10:01 AM on July 27, 2011


I think he's using straight up primogeniture. Which is the real rule, as long as it's convenient.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:22 AM on July 27, 2011


What theory is Robinson implicitly using?

6:18 on part 1 is where he lays it out. When Richard III is killed, Henry Tudor claims the throne as Henry VII. But his claim is through John of Gaunt via John's mistress, and that line is specifically barred from inheriting the crown. Of the blood, but out of wedlock. Henry Tudor marries Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV in an effort to strengthen his position. Their son is Henry VIII, and on down, each descending through Elizabeth's royal line.

So if Henry Tudor's claim is a weak one and marrying Elizabeth of York doesn't improve it because of her father's bastardy, then all the calculations on who is next on line have to be redone. New data entered into the primogeniture equation spits out a new result.

Margaret of Salisbury (sp?), daughter of George Duke of Clarence (Richard III's older brother) should have been Queen Margaret I because her claim to the throne would be stronger. Her descendants are the Hastings-Plantagenets.

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:37 AM on July 27, 2011


Apparently I am not making the source of my confusion clear.

I understand that Robinson is calculating primogeniture. I understand that Edward IV being a bastard would change the primogeniture calculation. The details of the change are clearly explained in the video (and in your latest comment, Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey). What I do not understand, and what he does not explain, is why this change would undermine the legitimacy of the current royal family, as he repeatedly claims it would.

Let me rephrase the point I tried to make on this issue in my first comment:

Inherited right to rule isn't a righteous or coherent system, on the merits; if it is justified, it is only by appeal to custom. But if appeal to custom is allowed, then we can justify the position of the current royal family directly — their position is customary.
posted by stebulus at 12:53 PM on July 27, 2011


Just struck me that if we proclaim this Australian guy the "actual" king we are still assuming there are no illegitimacies in his line. Which, ya know, I am not going to speculate about. But it is still an assumption.
posted by marmaduke_yaverland at 12:53 PM on July 27, 2011


The historian Michael Howard (author of War in European History) describes the establishment of dynasties in The Invention of Peace:
Some societies have certainly been more warlike than others, probably from necessity. ... When fighting is necessary for physical survival those who are good at it will predominate. If they pass on their genes to their offspring they will found ruling dynasties. They and their companions will become warrior elites whose interests and attitudes determine the nature of their culture, including religion, literature and the arts. They create a social and political order, which initially may have no justification but its own strength, but for which utility, prescription and, above all, religious sanction ultimately provide legitimacy. Legitimized order produces domestic peace, and also legitimizes the conduct of war. Success in war further reinforces legitimacy. Failure results either in subjection and the imposition of an exogenous elite whose rule in turn becomes legitimized by prescription, or the eventual emergence of another indigenous elite more successful than its predecessors.
posted by russilwvong at 12:57 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


... So one of the main reasons to have clear rules of succession would be to avoid open warfare whenever the current leader dies. In the context of today's British monarchy, that doesn't seem particularly relevant.
posted by russilwvong at 1:04 PM on July 27, 2011


I thought the whole point of the War of the Roses was that primogeniture was ultimately determined by who had the best army and political advisers. I'd say the argument is a bit of an anachronism.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:12 PM on July 27, 2011


... So one of the main reasons to have clear rules of succession would be to avoid open warfare whenever the current leader dies. In the context of today's British monarchy, that doesn't seem particularly relevant.

What if William dies childless and we're left with his unaccountably ginger brother?

Aristocalypse!
posted by Sys Rq at 4:40 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


They need to skip over Charles cause no one will touch money with his face on it leading to mass economic collapse. It's the only thing keeping Liz alive (that and Alan Moore's strange magics)
posted by The Whelk at 4:42 PM on July 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Canadian journalist Doug Saunders has a fascinating analysis of the current succession problem, given the unpopularity of Prince Charles.

He also quotes Bagehot on the usefulness of a constitutional monarchy:
“A princely marriage,” the great Victorian constitutional thinker Walter Bagehot wrote, “is the brilliant edition of a universal fact, and as such, it rivets mankind. … Just so, a royal family sweetens politics by the seasonable addition of nice and pretty events.” He was speaking of just the sort of pomp we will witness on Friday.

Indeed, he was explaining its precise political purpose, which he argued helps to justify a constitutional monarchy, despite its flaws: By creating an air of mystery and remove, it can keep politicians and public focused on the state and its laws, not hierarchy and power, unlike a system with an elected or Parliament-appointed head of state. A constitutional monarchy “has a comprehensible element” – the king or queen – “for the vacant many, as well as complex laws and notions for the inquiring few.”

For this division between the “efficient” state and the “dignified” Crown to work as a constitutional whole, Bagehot added, the monarch must be a person capable of maintaining that mystique – else the entire system cannot work: “He should not be brought too closely to real measurement,” he wrote. “He should be aloof and solitary.”

The Crown, in fact, “seems to order, but it never seems to struggle. It is commonly hidden like a mystery, and sometimes paraded like a pageant, but in neither case is it contentious. The nation is divided into parties, but the Crown is of no party. Its apparent separation from business is that which removes it from both enmities and from desecration, which preserves its mystery, which enables it to combine the affection of conflicting parties – to be a visible symbol of unity to those still so imperfectly educated as to need a symbol.”
posted by russilwvong at 5:06 PM on July 27, 2011


Everyone knows the real reason for all of it is that Tudor is much easier to pronounce than Plantagenet.
posted by bwg at 5:13 PM on July 27, 2011


Oh ffs. All kings are illegitimate. Off with their bloody heads already.

This, and the fact that in recent years the non-royal upstart autocrats have tended to have a far worse record than their constitutional monarch counterparts.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:39 PM on July 27, 2011


(Plus real royal weddings are a whole lot more fun.)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:40 PM on July 27, 2011


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