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The Earls of Derwentwater
May 31, 2008 7:20 AM   Subscribe

When King James VII of Scotland died in 1700, Louis XIV of France gave his word and his support to the cause of his son, James VIII, or the "pretender" as he was known to his enemies. One of history's most famous lost causes, the story contains smaller tragedies, like the downfall of the Radclyffe family of Cumbria. An almost embarrassingly romantic tale, it includes a "murdered" (actually executed) Earl (sound), a haunting (and some say haunted ruin), an "incorruptible" corpse, a daring prison escape and, according to at least one novelist, a possible American connection.

As a poignant denouement, Charles was the last person executed for the Jacobite cause, having been out of England when the general amnesty was announced, and therefore not eligible.
posted by nax (11 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Um, just to be clear... 'pretender' isn't only a term used by enemies of a claimant. It's a fairly specific term used with reference to monarchy that describes rival claimants to the same throne, either abolished or currently inhabited by someone else.

And um, he was actually James III and VIII, due to the different numbers of Jameses that had up until that point ruled England and Scotland, respectively. Monarchical numbering in the UK is handled differently now.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 9:50 AM on May 31, 2008


I like the idea that the Northern Lights first appeared on the day of Derwentwater's execution. I think we need to teach the controversy.
posted by athenian at 10:48 AM on May 31, 2008


> Monarchical numbering in the UK is handled differently now.
There are still some Scots who refer to the current queen as Elizabeth I, with good reason.
posted by scruss at 11:46 AM on May 31, 2008


Well yes, there are. The thing is, they're wrong. It has been established that naming & numbering of monarchs is part of the Royal Prerogative--as, indeed, we all have the right to decide what we will be called, though of course there's a little more historical import to what HM calls herself.

In strict terms, I would have to agree with those who refer to her as Elizabeth I, as she is the first Elizabeth to reign over the United Kingdom, whereas the Virgin Queen was Elizabeth of England. However, HM issued a proclamation saying that she would be known as EIIR, not ER, which is pretty much good enough for me, and that all future monarchs would take the higher regnal number, which if applied retroactively to 1707 yields no change in any monarch's number.

Funny thing, though, I'm not aware of any similar complaints regarding other regnal names.. Edward VII and VIII, and William IV. The Georges started after 1707, so there couldn't have been an issue with them.

I personally think it would be a good idea for Charles, when he accedes to the throne, to choose a regnal name that hasn't been used in either country, or one that has been used the same number of times, but that's probably not likely. It's convention that the monarch use a regnal name that is one of their given names, which gives the options of:

Charles III - probably not, given the history of Charles and Charles II
Philip - has never been used in either country, and would be a nice nod to his dad
Arthur - seems a bit off
George VII - avoids numbering issues

James VIII would be an excellent choice, and would certainly mollify any Scots. Problem being, of course, is that he's always been known as Charles.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:01 PM on May 31, 2008 [2 favorites]


That's what I get for cutting and pasting without checking my facts. Apparently, there is still a Pretender to the Stuart claim. The Earls of Derwentwater also continued to use their title, despite it being forfeit to their Jacobite loyalty. The title is now in abeyance due to a lack of male heirs.
posted by nax at 1:22 PM on May 31, 2008


Yup, there's also another pretender--lives somewhere in Australia--based on an argument that someone, Edward II or something, was illegitimate.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:49 PM on May 31, 2008


(See here for further info)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:53 PM on May 31, 2008


I think Charles should be Charles III, because after Charles I and II (who was a great partier, but not exactly remembered as a statesman), the name could use a little polishing.

Also, maybe the neo-Jacobites will feel better - especially as since Victoria the Royal Family has been more Scottish than English (ie they live in Scotland, when they aren't "on duty", and generally prefer Scotland to England).
posted by jb at 12:23 AM on June 1, 2008


My understanding was that Prince Charles had already decided on George VII. Apparently I heard the December 2005 press speculation, but not the subsequent denial.
posted by nthdegx at 12:43 AM on June 1, 2008


Derwent Water lives on, though, over part of their estate - absolutely lovely place to go camping for for a ramble.
Derwent Water

I'm always a bit surprised (and slightly relieved) that Northumbria and parts of Cumbria aren't busier with tourists. Dilston Castle isn't far from Hexham, which has a terrific abbey, isn't far from the Hadrian's Wall ramble and a 15 min train ride from Haltwhistle (geographic centre of the British Isles) and a 25 min train ride from Newcastle. Especially given all the history in the area, aside from Hadrian's Wall & Vindolanda (bastle houses galore & the history of the borders)... it's a bit curious, really, that you don't see busloads of tourists crawling over the place.

I've heard George VII for Charles as well, particularly as his grandpa was so popular.
posted by Grrlscout at 5:46 AM on June 1, 2008


Also, maybe the neo-Jacobites will feel better - especially as since Victoria the Royal Family has been more Scottish than English (ie they live in Scotland, when they aren't "on duty", and generally prefer Scotland to England).

That's not really the case, though. HM lives at Windsor on the weekends, and Sandringham from Christmas through Accession Day (Feb 6), then Windsor for Easter and Royal Ascot.. they're only in Scotland for Holyrood Week (July-ish), and Balmoral for Aug-Sept.

My understanding was that Prince Charles had already decided on George VII. Apparently I heard the December 2005 press speculation, but not the subsequent denial.

That's what I'd heard too, but it hasn't been confirmed by either the Palace or Clarence House. I suppose they wouldn't want to, because that seems a bit like they're jumping the gun on Liz kicking the bucket. And given her mother's longevity, that may well not be for another 15-20 years. At which point Charles will be eightyish.. one would hope he'd abdicate (or somehow yank himself out of the Line of Succession) in favour of Wills.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:14 AM on June 1, 2008


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