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United Kingdom Changes It's Rules of Succession

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LoveHistory
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Post by LoveHistory » Sun October 30th, 2011, 9:36 pm

[quote=""wendy""]
(- don't be shocked if they suddenly announce Kate is having a girl!) [/quote]

Did I miss a royal pregnancy announcement?

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Post by Vanessa » Mon October 31st, 2011, 9:58 am

I hope not! I think she needs a bit of time to get used to things. She did her first solo event last week, standing in for Prince Charles.
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Post by SGM » Mon October 31st, 2011, 3:32 pm

[quote=""Vanessa""]Ah, I see what you mean. If that very unlikely situation occurred, they would have to look at it again and change the rule of succession for Andrew, Edward and Anne's children.[/quote]

Have you ever read any of our legislation?

Most of it is left very very vague to avoid having to rewrite it which leaves it open to the interpretation of the times -- which could be a hundred or hundreds of years off. A very British approach!

Neither Anne, Edward nor Andrew would be likely to be alive if William or Harry died childless which, as I said before, is probably one of the reasons it was decided now was a good time. And into the distant future....who knows.

But I still say that the line of succession has potentially changed.
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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon October 31st, 2011, 4:34 pm

I think all the other European monarchies (Sweden, Spain, Denmark, etc.) adopted this policy long ago. I was wondering when the british monarchy would finally catch up.

In fact, I think the current heir to the swedish throne is a princess.

Ah, just found her on the google. Victoria and she's a bit of all right. http://www.topnews.in/swedens-victoria- ... el-2189133


Now someone will have to explain to me what makes a first born child (of any gender) superior to any children born after him/her? It's still discriminatory :-)

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Post by annis » Mon October 31st, 2011, 6:33 pm

Why firstborn claims the birthright is not quite clear, but I'm guessing that making an arbitrary choice was partly intended to prevent (not always successfully) internecine struggles over succession. Perhaps the idea was also that the oldest would hopefully be mature enough to take over from the father in the case of his premature death. The idea of the oldest being the one who claimed all the lands etc was a means of preventing estates from being broken up in times when land equalled a power base. Even though it caused considerable resentment if the oldest wasn't generous with his family, you can see the point when you consider the situation in medieval Wales, for example, where every son (including the illegitimate ones) got a share of the family land until there was virtually nothing left for anyone.

Is firstborn=birthright still relevant? Possibly not, though it does save having to make a potentially contentious choice based on suitability. I suspect many people might feel that Princess Anne would have made a better choice as heir apparent to the British throne than Prince Charles.
Last edited by annis on Mon October 31st, 2011, 6:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon October 31st, 2011, 8:52 pm

also the Carolinians had the habit of dividing lands between all the sons. Charlemagnes son Louis divided his lands betwixt his three sons giving us France, Germany and the low countries.

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Post by SGM » Mon October 31st, 2011, 9:35 pm

[quote=""Kveto from Prague""]I think all the other European monarchies (Sweden, Spain, Denmark, etc.) adopted this policy long ago. I was wondering when the british monarchy would finally catch up.

Now someone will have to explain to me what makes a first born child (of any gender) superior to any children born after him/her? It's still discriminatory :-) [/quote]

It was easier for the other European countries to change their rules of succession because they only had to deal with their own parliaments/legislative bodies. The UK has to do it in coordination with those Commonwealth countries for whom the reigning British monarch is also head of state. It makes it a tad more difficult. A coordinating team has been set up between the UK and all those countries to synchronise the necessary legislative change but I suspect it is going to take longer than four years, and I think they know it too.

I also couldn't swear to it but I suspect those countries you mention have rather more modern constitutions than ours which also makes it easier.

Yes, making the first born child inherit all is inequitable but have you read Zola's La Terre which gives you an idea of how Napoleon's inheritance laws made life difficult (as far as land ownership was concerned) in 19th century France. It could possibly be blamed for some of the agricultural problems they used to suffer -- or at least that was the way I heard it when I had (very reluctantly) study the CAP.

But, of course, you are correct, it is very unfair.

Charlemagne's Lotharingia was a very poisoned chalice and probably only sorted itself out at the end of WWI and hopefully stays sorted out. I have family from Alsace-Lorraine and I try to avoid the subject. But lack of geographical boundaries tend to cause problems. How handy the Pyranees and the Rhine are.

Inheritance in early Anglo-Saxon times in England did not necessarily go to the first-born child (as least as far as the crown was concerned). It went to the relative (not necessarily direct) who was most likely to be able to defend and hold onto what he had. Hence, the "atheling" or "king-worthy" concept. Even in more modern times, certainty of a "strong" male successor added to the sense of security the English/British felt. Now, you and I know that that a strong male ruler is not necessarily a given or a female ruler a weak one but it was a common perception even after the rule of Elizabeth I.

The monarchy now has other people to hang onto their territories for them so we can say "we live in more enlightened times".
Last edited by SGM on Mon October 31st, 2011, 9:50 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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Post by LoveHistory » Tue November 1st, 2011, 3:28 pm

First born inheriting the throne is better than having the monarch choose, as far as family goes. Watch The Lion in Winter if you need clarification.

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Vanessa
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Post by Vanessa » Tue November 1st, 2011, 4:51 pm

Yes, I think it stops any inter-family fighting! We don't want another civil war, thank you! LOL.
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Post by DianeL » Tue November 1st, 2011, 10:07 pm

[quote=""Kveto from Prague""]also the Carolinians had the habit of dividing lands between all the sons. Charlemagnes son Louis divided his lands betwixt his three sons giving us France, Germany and the low countries.[/quote]

Kveto, the Carolingians inherited this tradition from the Merovingians - for centuries in Continental Europe, primogeniture was unheard-of, and a kingdom was treated as patrimony, not as a nation. Kings' sons usually were given divided portions of their fathers' "estates" (even if that estate was, for instance, 90% of Gaul and several other bits from Thuringia and into the Iberian peninsula), and this of course gave rise to the rather spectacular sibling rivalries both of the Merovingian *and* Carolingian periods.

Louis, of course, is an offspring-name of Clovis, that king who brought this practice onto the largest stage it had seen - and who, ironically, also laid down the Salic Law; which today is what so many modern people, who think "monarchy = primogeniture" also think is defined by that simplistic equivalency.
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