Quote: Originally Posted by Murphy
Time to pay attention to your betters, starting with Sir Tony.
Not only has a number of historians since challenged the conclusions reached by the programme but that Australian fellow is now dead.
"Britain's Real Monarch" and more pulp fiction nonsense
Posted by The Monarchist at 8:24 PM . Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Labels: Royal Sovereigns
THE THEORY ABOUT the illegitimacy of Britain's monarchs since Edward IV has been around since..., well, Edward IV. It is amazing how succeeding generations of quack historians - most recently, that diminutive manservant from Black Adder who is pushing a treatment of the matter on the History Channel - "discover" it and attempt to flog it to the (increasingly indifferent) masses. The whole idea of five centuries of illegitimate monarchs is, in actual fact, bunk of the first rank, for reasons which I shall explain here.
The conjecture that Edward IV was a bastard was active in his lifetime, and there is, in fact, reason to believe that the conjecture may have been well-founded. Some recent scholarship suggests strongly that Richard, duke of York, was on campaign in France and nowhere near his wife, Cicely Neville, at any time when Edward could plausibly have been conceived. The record indicates that this possibility was widely whispered in Edward's lifetime, and that Edward's supporters (and ironically, the Tudor monarchs) fought actively to disprove the rumours.
All this matters, in principle, because Edward's claim to the throne derived from the descendency of his father, Richard of York, from Edward III (through his grandfather Edmund, duke of York, third son of Edward III; and his father Richard, earl of Cambridge, who was attainted of high treason by Henry V and executed in 1415). In many respects, Edward's claim to the throne was on the same order of strength as that of Henry VI, who descended from the second son of Edward III, John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. As we all know, the fact of this strong claim, which provoked Richard's persecution at the hands of Henry VI's wife, Margaret of Anjou, touched off the Wars of the Roses. But I digress...
If Edward had, in fact, been born of a father other than Richard, he would not have been of the royal blood, and would therefore have been entirely without a legitimate claim to the throne. More to the point, however - given that Edward's brother, Richard III, who undoubtedly was legitimate and therefore definitely of the royal blood, was killed on Bosworth Field by Henry (VII) Tudor in 1485 - are the implications with respect to the Tudor dynasty. Henry VIII's royal blood derived in part from that of his mother, Elizabeth, who was the daughter of Edward IV. The theorists point out that the loss of this link would upset the rightful order of precedence to the succession.
Henry VIII was, however, also of the royal blood in his father’s right – his father was great-great-grandson of John of Gaunt. The bastardy of Edward, even if fact, would therefore not sever the blood continuity of Britain's monarchs from Henry VI to his Tudor successors on the throne. Let me now come to the point of my argument, which is three-fold: first, that the potential bastardy of Edward cannot now be lawfully established; second, that Edward’s bastardy, even if proved, would not substantially affect the legitimacy of Tudor and subsequent claims to the throne; and third, that even if Edward had been a bastard, and even if that bastardy had in fact severed the blood continuity of the Crown, it would not finally matter in the slightest.
It is self-evident that the information available to us today is insufficient to rule on a point of fact that is 563 years in the past, especially on an issue of such vast consequence. The evidence was insufficient at the time, and has been so considered ever since.
Second: the Tudor dynasty’s blood links to the Plantagenets derived from both sides of Henry VIII's parentage. So issues of precedence aside, continuity of the royal blood would not have been fully interrupted by Edward’s supposed bastardy. And what significance can we meaningfully attach to such second-order issues of precedence, in a century that saw the Wars of the Roses - the storm sown by the usurpation of the Crown of Richard II by Henry (IV) Bolingbroke – pass the Crown three times between competing branches of the same family?
Which brings me to my final point. The right of kings, within the span and scope of British history and law, does not derive exclusively from birth, but from the fact of rule which may, under exceptional circumstances, be established by means other than rightful precedence or even of blood inheritance. Such circumstances obtained, for example, in the cases of Henry Bolingbroke, Henry Tudor, and William the Conqueror. In the latter case, the right to the throne was established and recognized by outright force of conquest, irrespective of any (in fact extant) blood ties to a prior king.
These arguments are irrefutably and completely vindicated and upheld by over five centuries of British history - those centuries establishing fact and precedent that by themselves are absolutely unassailable under British constitutional law.
So much for the dime-novel bunk. God save the Queen.
"Britain's Real Monarch" and more pulp fiction nonsense... (external - login to view)