21 January 2020


Holy Scripture correctly records that there is nothing new under the sun. It currently seems to be a matter of considerable moment at the Court of St James's that a Harry and a Megan should no longer be styled 'Royal Highnesses'.

A very similar question caused great acrimony when 'Edward VIII' discovered that his American divorcee would be denied the title of Her Royal Highness. He never stopped nagging about this restriction. Happily, an admirable woman, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, saw to it that there was no weakening. Wallis Simpson died with all the shame of being a mere duchess.

But there is something odd here. In the Middle Ages, the upper crust of the political class ... Kings, Dukes, Archbishops ... all were addressed as "Your Grace". The sharp distinction between a Monarch ruling in Majesty, and the slightly inferior Mighty, was not so acutely felt; just as the word 'Prince' was employed differently.

And Ms Markle is still the Duchess of Sussex. If she and her husband, as we have been informed, will "not be using" the style HRH, well, that leaves them as "Their Graces". I am not sure how easy it is to suppress a dukedom ... Acts of Attainder have not been much heard of since Mr Churchill floated the jolly idea of hanging German War Criminals simply by virtue of a British Act of Attainder.

I have no doubt I shall be dead when ... if ever ... the archives of the 1930s are made fully public. I am pruriently curious to know how close we may have been in the 1940s to having 'King Edward VIII' and 'Queen Wallis' crowned in Westminster Abbey under the affectionate eye of Herr von (seventeen carnations) Ribbentrop, or whoever else might have been the Fuehrer's High Representative in a ruined Britain reduced to de facto vassal status by a dominant Nazi Germany. (I suppose another candidate for that role might have been His Royal Highness SS Gruppenfuehrer Prince Charles Edward of Saxe-Coburg und Gotha, but for the Titles Deprivation Act of 1917 Duke of Albany, Earl of Clarence, and Baron Arklow.)

It really doesn't bear thinking about what might have happened if Pearl Harbour had never saved our bacon by bringing the US of A into the European War. But quite possibly it might have included 'Edward VIII's' constitutional experts taking a leaf out of Henry VI's book, and proclaiming his "readeption" of the Crown.

Now that we have an Etonian First Lord of the Treasury, when will Henry VI be canonised?


armyarty said...

Such nonsense. The Queen Mother may have been admirable, but it was her boundless ambition that put her husband on the throne, and the weakened monarchy being run on Whig principles ever since. Wallis Simpson was just an excuse to deprive Britain of a man who was determined to actually BE king.

I also think that you are being a bit unfair to the Duke of Coburg, who was rather unjustly branded a traitor, with all historical precedent in his favor. He refused to fight against Englishmen, and acted the same way in which princes always did. Depriving him of his titles was a cheap gesture.

Blessed Karl once asked a LTC Strutt of the banners and stall plates of the Austrian and German knights had been taken down at Windsor (They were) Strutt did not know the answer, but the Emperor-King assured him that none of the British knights had been dishonored by Austria-Hungary in that way. But, then again, he was really an Emperor.

Paul-A. Hardy said...

Certainly deprivation of "royal" is to be celebrated in the case of the Sussex's. "Royal" to my mind connotes a dignity beyond the respect accorded elected politicians. It implies duties that go well beyond those of a term limited incumbency. Those implicit duties imply to the monarch's subjects that their interests will not be abandoned no matter what political party comes into power. There is a Christ-endorsed sign which flows from the anointed Queen or King that their replacement will not abandon ship. I whole heartedly applaud Her Majesty's decision. I do not underestimate the pain it must have cost within the Royal Family to witness such a dereliction of duty. This, as Father has reminded us occurred once before in the case of Edward VIII. I personally belief that a prince of the blood royal ought to marry a woman of equal birth—ebengeburtig. Queen Victoria of course was very liberal in this regard and rejected that principle. During her reign the British royal house had become allied with the morganatic branch of the royal house of W├╝rttemberg, the Teck family in her Majesty's grandmother Queen Mary. Next, there was the morganatic house of Battenberg, which became that of Mountbatten, the family of Prince Phillip. It is interesting, as Father points out, that the royal principle of duty was upheld by a woman not of royal birth. I mean the Scottish noble woman, Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, when King Edward, VIII abandoned his people to marry the American divorcee, whose name I will not deign to mention, since as a USA citizen, i grew up to think of her as a national disgrace. To me Elizabeth the Queen Mother is the proof of the universality of the royal principle of duty over all else. It could not be otherwise considering the coronation oath and anointing. "Christos" after all means "anointed." Those direct descendants of the anointed monarch ought, indeed, must signify in their souls and bodies the same capacity as Jesus of Nazereth,, who in virtue of his royal and priestly anointing (Epistle to the Hebrews) did not let us down and endured every suffering even that of death on the Cross.

Romulus said...

I have read that it was Henry VIII who first arrogated to himself the honorific "Majesty" -- a move that must have stunned and outraged his more literate subjects who theretofore had encountered that title applied only in the Roman Canon: "offerimus praeclarae majestati tuae".