A king dies, but the new king has dementia

Saudi Arabia is trying to hurt the American domestic oil industry by pumping so much oil that it drives down prices so as to make fracking unprofitable.  And yet, that helps Americans with low gasoline prices.  Saudi Arabia is the center of arch-conservative Sunni Islam, but has been a key American ally against ISIS.  Saudi Arabian despotism creates Islamist rebels, but American foreign policy sees it as a force for stability in the Middle East.  Saudi Arabia outlaws Christianity within its borders, but tends to be on the side of America’s government.

Now this important but contradictory nation is suddenly facing a crisis.  Its king, 90-year-0ld King Abdullah, has died.  Its odd laws of succession give the kingship to the various sons of the founding monarch, and, thanks to Islamic polygamy, there are 35 of them.  So the throne goes to the various brothers of the previous king, rather than to the next generation.  So the new king of Saudi Arabia is 79 years old and reportedly suffers from dementia. [Read more...]

Royal blood without royal DNA

We’ve blogged about the discovery of a skeleton with a deformed back found where Richard III was supposed to have been buried.  Studies have confirmed that the skeleton is that of Richard III, the Plantagenet king and Shakespearean villain, who was overthrown by Henry Tudor (father of Henry VIII and grandfather of Queen Elizabeth I).

The studies further show a significant problem with a hereditary monarchy:   DNA from the skeleton does not match known male ancestors, suggesting that some queen must have committed adultery and borne a son who became king of England without really being the previous king’s son.  This would also cast doubt on the legitimacy of his successors.  And since the contending families were intermarried and intertwined, this casts doubt  on the Yorks, the Lancasters, and the Tudors.  (The current royal family, the Windsors, would not be affected.)  This raises the question of whether Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth I were rightful monarchs whose laws had authority. [Read more...]

King George VII

The royal baby has been named:  George Alexander Louis.  If all goes well for the young tyke, he will someday become King George VII.   His parents went with a very traditional name for an English monarch.  I was wondering if we would have something more modern. King Dylan.  King Aidan.  King Todd.

After the jump, an explanation for the lad’s names.  (I don’t think royals have  a last name.) [Read more...]

A future king is born

Kate Middleton and Prince William had their baby–a boy who may well succeed his grandfather Prince Charles and his father to someday be king of Great Britain.  The succession law had been changed so that a firstborn girl  could inherit the throne directly as Queen, even if she has a brother–the earlier law giving precedent to any male heir–but that’s a moot point now, as England is set to have three kings in a row after Queen Elizabeth.

The name of the baby has not been announced as of this moment.  (Any guesses?  If the name is released, someone please post it in the comments.)

Some say that this baby would be the rightful ruler of these United States, that the grievances of our revolution were not sufficient grounds to throw off a lawful Romans 13 authority.  At any rate, in the Treaty of Paris–one of our most important founding documents–the king of England grants the former colonies their independence, renouncing his claim to them, so that our current government is, in fact, legitimate.  Still, what is the appeal of a monarch? [Read more...]

Changes in the monarchy

A fallback position in case American democracy completely implodes is to just apologize for the Revolution and see if the British monarch would take us back.  But now it seems that the British monarchy itself is becoming democratic and open to change.  Now the Crown will go not to the first born son but to the first born:

Sons and daughters of British monarchs will have an equal right to the throne under changes to the United Kingdom’s succession laws agreed to Friday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said.

The leaders of the 16 Commonwealth countries that have the queen as head of state approved the changes unanimously at a Commonwealth of Nations summit in Australia, he said. The individual governments of those 16 countries still must agree to the changes for them to take effect.

The constitutional changes would mean a first-born girl has precedence over a younger brother. They also mean that a future British monarch would be allowed to marry a Catholic.

The laws would apply to any future children of Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, who married this year.

Speaking alongside his Australian counterpart Julia Gillard in Perth, Cameron described Friday’s agreement by the heads of government of the 16 nations as “something of a historic moment.”

Attitudes have changed fundamentally over the centuries, he said in a televised address, and outdated rules should evolve with them.

“The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man, or that a future monarch can marry someone of any faith except a Catholic — this way of thinking is at odds with the modern countries that we have become,” he said.

“Put simply, if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were to have a little girl, that girl would one day be our queen.”

Cameron also referred to plans to scrap the Act of Settlement, a law passed in 1701 which bans the UK monarch from marrying a Catholic. It was intended to ensure that Protestants held the throne and remained head of the Church of England.

“Let me be clear: the monarch must be in communion with the Church of England, because he or she is the head of that church, but it is simply wrong that they should be denied the chance to marry a Catholic if they wish to do so,” Cameron said. “After all, they’re already quite free to marry someone of any other faith.”

via Girls given equal rights to British throne under law changes – CNN.com.

Hat tip to  tODD, who comments, “Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t seen a lot of coverage of this in my world. I realize the monarchy is just a shell of its former self … and yet, this seems like a big deal to me. Just like that, the whole anti-Catholic nature of the succession rules is gone. Given the relationship between the monarchy and the Church of England, I actually consider that more interesting than the fact that a first-born female could inherit the throne before her younger brothers.”

What strikes me is that the decision was made not by the Crown and not even by Parliament, but by the Commonwealth nations. That is, England’s colonies!   What kind of empire is it when the colonies get to decide who gets to be the Emperor or Empress?  What kind of monarchy can change its operation like this?  A pretty good one, I guess.