April 21, 2011

Royal Successions

Last night my mom and dad and my mom's friend Donna and I tried to figure out who would be next in line for the British throne if Charles died before he was king. You would think there would be a simple and quick "just look it up" kind of answer to this question, but YOU WOULD BE MISTAKEN. We even had Donna call in a lifeline, phoning her trivia-knowledgeable husband to ask him. (To his credit and our amusement, he didn't act at all surprised about being called at 9:00 at night with a question about British rules of succession. Donna says this kind of thing happens to him all the time.)

To ME, it makes sense that if one of Queen Elizabeth's children dies before she hands over the crown, she would instead hand it to another of her children. Instead, after about an hour of poring over various sites (none of which agreed with each other), it appears that even though Charles hasn't yet been crowned, his descendants (I will never spell that word right the first time) are already lined up JUST AS IF HE WERE crowned---so if Charles died, Queen Elizabeth would give the crown to William. (This assumes the verb "give" will ever apply to her relationship to the crown, which I doubt.)

But...why skip the generation? Why not have someone of the exact same "rank" (child of the queen) fill that slot of queen's heir, instead of skipping over those same-rank people and going a rank lower? It seems like the rule is something like "preference is given to the firstborn AND to the firstborn's line, over any otherborn or otherborn's line"---but that doesn't explain the WHY to me, and also there were spots in the lines of succession we were looking at that didn't seem to follow this rule. Finally we had to agree that we would just have to wait and see what happened: if Charles DOES die before his mother, THEN we will find out for sure. Until then, it doesn't matter anyway.

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Are you going to watch the royal wedding a week from tomorrow? I'm already aware that huge swaths of the population couldn't care less about it, and a list of who's NOT watching would be hard to file, so it's more that I'm wondering who among us has a "yes" reply to this question, and I will assume the rest are "no, this is not among my personal set of interests, just as some of my personal interests are not among yours---and that doesn't mean that either set of interests is superior to the other."

I'm hoping to figure out a way to watch it on television AND be on Twitter, because I think that kind of thing is fun. Maybe I'll see if I can borrow my dad's laptop. Or...can it be watched on the computer? I don't know about these things, and it seems boring to research it. Oh! It looks like we can watch it on YouTube? That's probably what I'll do, unless it ends up being reallllllllly slow on my computer. Or....I don't know, how are YOU doing it? And are you having snacks? Because I'm having snacks.

53 comments:

el-e-e said...

Oh, I'm very excited to watch, although NOT at 4:00 a.m., I'm sorry to say. I will DVR it for sure. (Doesn't that sound crazy disrespectful, like it's the Friday night episode of a sitcom??)

I'm naturally wanting to captivate my 3-y-o daughter, who's at the height of her Princess phase, with news of "a girl named Kate (also my d's name) is becoming a PRINCESS today!" so she'll have memories of watching a Wedding of The Century on TV like us girls of the '80s do, of Diana's.

I'm unsure why I want this for her (blah blah gender sterotypes and celebrity fascination and wishful lifestyles of the rich and famous and all - why start all those misguided perceptions), but I do.

Ms. Key said...

I'm not sure how the line-to-be-King works either, though I know they very frequently seem to refer to William as potentially getting to be King even if Charles never is... but I have no idea.

I want to watch the Royal Wedding... it reminds me of my mom always telling me how everyone stopped and watched Charles and Diana get married. However, if my job interview today goes well, I'll be teaching next week on Day 2 of a new long-term assignment, so I won't be able to. Though, I might wake up early and watch some of it before leaving for work.

(I'm not going to lie, if I was supply teaching, I was going to book the morning off -- why the heck not? Life needs some fun in it too, haha).

I want to watch the super cheesy William & Kate movie too... watch this trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qu4wQwc6QU
Hilarious!

andreaunplugged said...

I'm watching. Actually I'm taking off work to go to a Royal Wedding Viewing party with friends. (there were actual invitations with RSVP cards sent out!) I think the hostess is going to tivo it since it'll be on around 3am our time or something like that.

Nowheymama said...

Yes, I will be watching. And yes, my mom got me up at the crack of dawn to watch Charles and Diana. And Andrew and Fergie.

Allyson said...

Think of it this way- male heirs come before female heirs, and older children come before younger children. This is also true for the entire line of a particular son. So, even though Prince Harry is 3rd in line for the throne, he'll get bumped by any children Prince William has. Just like Charles' siblings got bumped by his kids.

antikva said...

This is a link to the Succession page on the British Monarchy Official site.

http://www.royal.gov.uk/ThecurrentRoyalFamily/Successionandprecedence/Succession/Overview.aspx

Gives the history of why as well :) Although, we Aussies are still muttering about dumping the Queen [I hope not!] and now because Prince William & Kate are getting married, apparently the male heir only part is being debated again. Same thing happened when Princess Diana married Prince Charles though, so I doubt there'll be any changes.

Anna said...

Well, I'm in the UK, so obviously it's a bigger deal over here (not for everyone. But in general). We've been invited to a street party but even if we don't go we'll have the wedding on TV, although maybe not all sitting in a line watching it all the way through.

As I understand it, yes, if Charles and HRH both die then William is King.

Allyson said...

This explains it pretty well-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Succession_to_the_British_throne

Jody said...

Rest easy: the Palace has a section of Her Majesty's website devoted to just this question:
http://bit.ly/tIso6

Why does William stand next in line to the throne and not Andrew? Partly just tradition, and partly for the same reason that your kids would inherit all your goods if you died tomorrow, and not your siblings. Charles's titles and lands are part of the inheritance that falls on his descendants.

We are living in Scotland right now, and most of the people we know are ignoring the wedding in an aggressive way. The kids get an extra day off school (which combines with Easter to give us two four-day weekends in a row) and so we are going on vacation.

I may buy a magazine after the fact, though. I woke up at 3am back in 1981 to see Diana's wedding. Of course, I was 11 at the time.

Lara said...

Swistle! Swistle! I keep meaning to send you a message on twitter and ask how we are going to DO THIS. Are you watching live? I have taken the day off work so I can get up early (West Coast) and then nap later.

I know my local station will carry it but it would be good to find something on the internet so we are all watching the same thing. The YouTube link looks promising, but do we all have to like, click PLAY at the same time (I am perhaps an overthinker, I think...)

Anyways, I am all over this. I'll see if I can find out any other internet sources. I will be in touch. Also I have to find my tiara :)

Lara said...

Oh also, yes to snacks. Maybe I'll make scones. My mom and I went for afternoon tea the other day and the scones! Oh my god, the scones. With that cream on them - is it devonshire? Clotted? Are they the same thing? I think it's about halfway between whipping cream and butter and OH MY GOD.

Lawyerish said...

I will definitely Tivo the wedding and watch it later in the day or that evening. I haven't been following the coverage up to now, but I am into the spectacle of these sorts of things -- the pageantry, the music, her dress OBVIOUSLY.

Swistle said...

Ms. Key- OMG. I had not seen that. I laughed and laughed and laughed.

Rachel said...

I will be getting up to watch the wedding at 4am here in California. DON'T YOU JUDGE ME I DON'T HAVE DVR. And of course I'll be having pre-breakfast snacks.

Julia said...

Here is some fun wedding royal trivia for you: Queen Elizabeth became Queen in just the situation you talk about. Her uncle, Edward, was Prince of Wales and was expected to become King, marry, have many happy babies, etc. etc. When he took the throne, Elizabeth's father became heir to the throne since Edward didn't have any children yet. Edward ended up abdicating to marry a divorcee, leaving Elizabeth's father, George, to take over a position he probably never thought he'd have. (Like Harry - he probably doesn't think he'll ever be King, but IT COULD HAPPEN.) When George became King, Queen Elizabeth was the oldest child and didn't have a younger brother, so she automatically became the heir. She spent most of her childhood as just a member of the royal family, NOT the heir to the throne, and then in just a few short years faced becoming Queen of the realm. Talk about some pressure for a 10 year old!

Lisa said...

its called primogeniture--eldest firstborn son takes all. British inheritance usually came with title, land, and money. The person with the title (eldest firstborn son) got most of the money and usually all of the land. Eldest firstborn daughters generally got nothing unless there was no male heir whatsoever. A male cousin four times removed would inherit the title/money/land over a direct firstborn daughter. It ensures that the land, title and the money (and the monarchy) succeeds in a (mostly) unbroken patriarchal line.

Inheritance usually flows in a downward manner, the exception being spouses. If you died, your husband would inherit. If you and your husband died at the same time, then your kids inherit. Suppose your husband dies before you, you inherit. Then you die, and your oldest son dies, but he also has two kids. Then your estate is still split into fifths evenly between your four remaining kids, and the fifth portion that would have belonged to your oldest son is split in half between your two grandkids. (This all assumes that you have not left a will specifying otherwise.)

You would not know that I knew this based on my grade in Trusts and Estates. I probably gleaned it from romance novels.

Swistle said...

Lara- Yes, I plan to watch it live! Good point about the YouTube thing---maybe I'll go back to the plan of TV-plus-dad's-laptop.

Christy said...

I would LOVE to watch, but will sadly be at work. My boss is obsessed with it as well, so maybe we can check in at certain times throughout the morning or something. There are special royal-wedding doughnuts from Dunkin Donuts, so maybe I'll bring in some of those! Definitely need snacks.

I'm DVRing it for sure and I'll never live it down from my husband. Oh well.

Angela said...

I am definitely going to watch the wedding, but via the wonderful technology of DVR. I was under the impression that the wedding was on Saturday, but based on all of the comments, I guess it is on Friday? I will be up at that time, but heading to the airport, so no live wedding for me.

I wasn't really that interested in the wedding, but a couple of weeks ago I went to a Lady Diana exhibit (in Kansas City). Her wedding dress was on display, along with many other dresses and other artifacts from her family and childhood. The room where the dress was on display had a video of the wedding playing, and I was just so captivated by the tradition and pagentry. I was thinking how exciting a royal wedding was, and then I realized that another one was coming up in a few weeks! I do have to say, I did not watch Charles and Diana get married (I was 9 at the time), but I did stay up and watch her funeral.

So, short answer: yes, I am watching the wedding, but not live. :-)

lifeofadoctorswife said...

I am probably not going to watch it, but maybe. But what I REALLY am curious about is the snack situation!

Are you doing themed snacks? Not sure what the theme would BE, aside from British, but it would be very fun to have, like, tea sandwiches and crumpets or whatever. (My knowledge of British snack food is limited.)

Maureen said...

I can't wait to watch the wedding! I am a total Anglophile, and Westminster Abbey is one of my favorite places I have ever visited. Others have mentioned that it is true William will be King if his grandmother and father die, even if his father never becomes King. If lines of succession haven't always seemed to follow that, sometimes when a ruler dies before the child is of age, there would be a power grab for the throne-like Richard III and the two princes in the tower. The eldest prince should have become King, but the boys were probably killed.

B said...

Oh I am excited to read all of these comments, so much information! I have always been curious about the succession thing. I think I will watch the beginning before the actual wedding part, and anything after the ceremony, but not the ceremony itself. I know they are royalty but it makes me a little sad that they can't have the wedding for just THEM, you know? Her whole life is going to be under a microscope now, can't she have this one last celebration for just her and her husband? Anyways I like the Twittering while it is in progress idea too.

Beth said...

Bah. Nursing while commenting Fail. That B is me, Beth.

Leah said...

My youngest son's name is William Charles--both family names. When I think of William I think of his great grandfather, and when I think of Charles, I think of his father & grandfather. BUT since this royal wedding (which crazy enough falls on my William's 2nd birthday) I feel like people are going to think I'm some sort of crazy person obsessed with British royalty. Still, it is a kind of interesting coincidence. Maybe I should pick up some kind of souvenir to commorate the occasion.

Nik-Nak said...

I won't be watching, simply because I'm not into all that. Although I think if I live din the UK I would be all up in that business.

Here's my opinion on the succession of the crown. IT BLOWS! My mom says I am a child of fairness, I like checks and balances in everything! I HATE that it skips other siblings and only hits with firstborn. You can't help what part you were born in. Why EVEN HAVE ANOTHER child after the first if you just have to say to them, "Sorry, kid. Your big sister is Queen because she was born first, you'll be a no-name."
NO WAY, nope, nu uh, that's ridiculous to me!

Betty M said...

Primogeniture is harsh! We have been given a public holiday here which is a pain cos we get tomorrow and Monday off for Easter then the kids are back at school for 2 days then a holiday again plus another on the next Monday. We are in london so may even go down to watch. No street parties in my neck of the woods though.

Katie said...

Nik-Nak, you have more kids even if they don't get to be anything, because especially in the past lots of kids died before they had any kids, in which case the siblings DO inherit.

I have also gleaned most of my procession-knowledge from historical fiction so I think I have a fairly decent understanding of it. It's still a bit weird though. :)

I want to watch the wedding but I seriously doubt I will. Maybe I'll turn it on at 6 am when I wake up and see if it's still happening (I'm on west coast time). But I have a baby waking up still at night, and I have to get ready for work, and we don't have TV so I'd have to make an EFFORT. Bah.

Swistle said...

lifeofadoctorswife- It was not until writing this post that I realized the necessity of snacks, and now I need to PLAN! I think little cucumber sandwiches on white bread with the crusts cut off would be refreshing in the morning! And maybe some jam ones, too! And TEA, obviously.

Jana said...

I guess things have changed since the 30's, but isn't Camilla a divorcee? Is Charles allowed to be king now that he's married her?

And I'm normally not a gushy, girly-girl kind of person, but I am so excited about this wedding for some weird reason. I'll DVR it and watch it later with my daughter who has left the princess-phase of girlhood, but is still curious about it all. I may even fix shepherd's pie for dinner and we'll eat in front of the TV (a huge treat in our house).

Deanna said...

While I don't think I will be getting up to watch at 5 a.m., I do plan to DVR the wedding. I am debating on whether or not I will check in on coverage from the office, or just save it all up for watching Friday night.

If I am remembering correctly, there was a bit of speculation when Prince Charles and Diana divorced that the Queen might bypass Charles and hand the title directly to William. I think the general idea now is that she will allow Charles to become King, but I definitely remember hearing something about that after the big divorce.

Magic27 said...

Jana - there was a huge debate about the Camilla thing. I think it was ultimately decided that yes, Charles would become King but Camilla wouldn't take the title Queen but instead something else (don't ask me what...).
I most likely won't be watching the weddding because, despite being British and not living there (I'm in France), I'm not really interested. I remember being similarly unimpressed for Charles and Diana's wedding.
I do like the idea of British-themed snacks... If anyone wants any ideas, I can provide them! From traditional to chic to kitsch to whatever...!
For those of you who actually get up at unbelievable times of day to watch this, I hope you have fun!
And, last thing (no commission, I promise!), to really get into the mood, I recommend you check out the website of fabulous British designer Cath Kidston who has a whole range of wedding souvenir-wedding fun stuff (www.cathkidston.co.uk I think), alongside the rest of her totally addictive stuff (I'm a big fan; my bank account much less so).

Rebecca said...

I'll be at work, so I'm going to set my DVR at home and try to have it running in a window on my work computer. Generally they don't mind my doing that kind of thing as long as my work gets done.

But just in case, DVR will be set.

Stimey said...

I have this vague idea of when the wedding is happening and that I will be out of town at that time, so it would take some effort to watch it. If I WERE home, I would probably watch it on TV and twitter to have that shared experience, but if I have to work to find it? I probably won't bother.

Christina said...

If I recall correctly, ppl had to get up at ass o'clock to watch Diana's wedding. If that's the case I will NOT be watching this one.

HOWEVER - I am very anxious for this wedding to be done and OVER with. I got engaged at the end of December and planning my wedding has been a little annoying w/ all this royal wedding crap. While perusing all the sites/mags/boards, etc. are so royal wedding focused. "KATE'S COLORS" and "Have the same cake as the ROYAL COUPLE." etc. Wedding planning is stressful enough, I don't need to be keeping up w/ a PRINCESS for crissakes!!!

Josefina said...

I am so excited for the wedding! I will definitely be watching. With snacks. I was fortunate enough to find a box of my very favorite morning-milk-and-sugar tea yesterday (Ty-phoo), which seems perfect for 4 a.m., and I'm thinking maybe other breakfast food for me--fresh fruit and Irish oatmeal? A little boring, I guess, but cozy.

Christina said...

OK SO I just saw Lara's comment about finding her tiara. Now I'm super-fucking-excited to watch while wearing a tiara.

Snoopyfan said...

I am going to DVR it and watch at a more reasonable hour. No themed snacks here (I hate tea!) and I still have to get the kids off to school that morning. It is my 11th wedding anniversary on the 29th so I don't know if I will get to actually watch it that day or not.

I am very excited to see it. I remember watching Diana and Charles' and Fergie and Andrew's weddings and want my almost 8 yr old to remember watching this one!

Linda said...

I CANNOT WAIT! I think my 7yo was 3 when she first asked how SPECIFICALLY she could become a princess. I probably won't watch it in the middle of the night or whenever it starts over here in the US, but I'll definitely watch later that day with my kids.

I have a friend going to England next month and I asked her to buy me the cheesiest W&K coffee mug she could find!

As for succession, I spent HOURS reading over the lives of the royals after watching The King's Speech. It was FASCINATING even though I could never understand how exactly succession worked and sometimes people change their names? I've read articles that quote a "Royal Etiquette Expert" and thought, "HE IS A FOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE. I MUST HAVE HIM TO DINNER."

Mrs. Haid said...

Yes! I am going to watch! I love big spectacles, and I also like that W and K are about the same age as me and my husband. It is interesting to me to see the differences between our lives.

I am also nursing a newborn and I don't have cable... so I imagine we'll be up watching the wedding! It will be something I can tell

d e v a n said...

Did you watch Modern Family last night? It was about the wedding, and it was hilarious!

I will probably dvr it, if I remember. I will definitely NOT get up to watch in the middle of the night.

d e v a n said...

Oops, that is The Middles, not Modern Family.

Caitlin said...

Sadly, I will be at work. Though I may stream onto my computer from YouTube, if possible.

And maybe I will get up early to watch some coverage before work - Great idea!

PS - Completely obsessed with this wedding. I want to be Kate Middleton. There, I said it.

Slim said...

Snacks: Sheila Lukens's scones from All Around the World are terrific. Jam and cream (whipped or Devon/clotted) or just lemon curd -- yum.

My teacher for Chinese history said that primogeniture (not just for royalty, but for inheritance generally) was a big reason capitalism took off so well in Europe. In China, the heirs divide the pie, so they keep getting enough to scrape by. Giving everything to the oldest kid is a sort of economic push out of the nest -- the other sons have to go find a way to make money.

Kristen said...

I'll definitely be watching the royal wedding...and will probably be getting up in the wee hours of the morning to do so. Really only because I still remember my mom waking me up in the middle of the night to watch Charles and Diana's wedding. And it's a good memory. =)

I love British stuff and so, yes, I'll probably make some cream scones and drink Buckingham Palace Garden Party tea. For real. It's what they serve or have served or something or another at some point. And it really is one of my favorites because it's got jasmine in it. And a funny thing about scones - I've read that the Queen doesn't even really like scones (I can't fathom this) but serves them to her little dogs during tea time. And they can't be yesterday's scones. They must be *fresh*.

Have you seen this T-Mobile commercial? http://youtu.be/Kav0FEhtLug
Hilarious! A Scottish friend put it on Facebook. The Queen's entrance is my favorite part!

Ah, I'm excited for this wedding. =)

Donna said...

My sister is attending a Royal Wedding Viewing Party in a casino, beginning at 3 in the morning. She's planning to wear her pajamas and a tiara.

bluedaisy said...

I have not followed every detail but the event itself will be fascinating to say the least! I guess I will go the DVR route unless for some reason, I am up at that hour of the morning. I really just want to see Kate's dress and see what new titles she and William are given.

bluedaisy said...

OH and if I were Kate, I'd be super pissed if I'm not given the title of "Princess" but I read somwhere the title will probably be Duchess or something crappy like that. I'd be looking for ways to insure that the Queen gave me the "Princess" title...

kris (lower case) said...

i saw diana's and i plan to see williams but i will be on a plane so i will have to dvr it.

Blondie said...

Actually, it kind of makes sense that the title gets passed to a grandson over a son/daughter. I think the "firstborn" is treated differently and prepared differently than a 2nd or subsequent child. I think William and Harry (and Charles and Andrew) have very different personalities BECAUSE William (and Charles) were bestowed with additional burden/responsibility from Day One.

Ordinarily, I would be one of those weirdos getting up in the middle of the night to watch the Royal Wedding, except that now I'm over 40, a single parent, and I have a crazy-ass job that requires me to work 12 hours a day. Consequently, I am one of those impatient people who can't STAND waiting in line or being stopped by red lights or traffic. I'm quite certain every significant event/photo op will be replayed over and Over and OVER again, so I'm going to choose Sleep over Crazy and just watch the edited replays that will cut out the boring stuff.

Although, I did harbor a huge and ridiculous crush on Prince Andrew, once upon a time, so if that flame gets re-ignited, well, that might change my plans.

Mayzie said...

My husband is British, but we are not watching it. Though I'm pretty sure it's bring shown on BBC America.

Doxie said...

I wish it was happening on Saturday!!! I want to watch but the timing is terrible with my job! I will "DVR" it so that I can watch the whole thing later, but I might set the alarm and see how gung-ho I feel at the time! Wish me luck...I did get up to watch Charles and Diana..and my mother-in-law is British...so family is very excited! Snacks? hmmm I'll probably be watching in bed, under warm cozy covers...won't be schlepping down to the kitchen in the dark...I'm sure!

MamaK said...

yes! we are watching, well I am. We MAY drive up to disney because one of their resorts is offering free breakfast and MIMOSAS and that is surely worth a little drive.

But then again, MAYBE my neighbor is DVR'ing it, so we can watch and party later- is there a royal wedding drinking game? because even with soda, that would be funny.

OR, another friend may just come over, and we'll stream it over the net, and have MIMOSAS anyway...

so yes, watching and yes, snacks. other details unclear.

Kelsey said...

I am planning to go the DVR route because I'm pretty sure there would have to be bombing outside (or tornadoes) for me to get up at 4:00 a.m. AND I know Harper is going to want to watch it.

I'm not on Twitter but I hope you'll post some post-wedding thoughts on the blog?