Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Duke of Edinburgh May Be Named Prince Consort

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Generally speaking, I am loathe to reprint a story which appears in only one source, and when that source is Page Six of The New York Post I am especially so, but what can I say? I like the story - whether true or false - and can only wonder what took so long.

Early in the Queen's reign (as with all Queens Regnant) there is the sexist assumption that the Queen's husband will take over as a kind of de facto king, thus usurping the royal authority which rests in the person of the sovereign. Yet nothing of the sort happened in this case. The Queen, it seems, is overly cautious. No scoop there.

Talk of making Princess Anne the Princess Royal began in the 1970s, when in fact she had earned that honorific by the time it was finally bestowed in 1987. Perhaps it was decided to wait until the Duke of Edinburgh could go a year without putting his foot in his mouth, and this year was the first time it happened.

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1 comment:

michael sean morris said...

Blogmaster's Footnote: How's this for serendipity?

Today I bought the March issue of Majesty and the article on the back page was all about the constitutional conundrum caused by the royal status of The Queen's husband.

He was born a Prince (of Greece and Denmark), but renounced that title when he became British. He was made an HRH by George VI when he married in 1947, but while the British constitution allows for the creation of Princesses (by marriage) there is no such provision for the creation of Princes under any circumstance - it's simply never come up before.

The situation was sort-of cleared up in 1957, which is the first time the Duke of Edinburgh was referred to as a Prince on the letters-patent.

Despite this, in terms of precedence he appears beneath all other royal Dukes, though above all the others. This is likely because he has no place in the succession, as do all the royal Dukes.

A further wrinkle: when Prince Edward married he took the title The Earl of Wessex, which is one of his father's three titles, and it was announced then that when the present Duke of Edinburgh died Wessex would be raised to that title. Except that titles only pass from father to eldest son.

Obviously, when the Duke dies his title can be refused by the Prince of Wales and thence lapse to the Crown, who can dispense it at their whim with the stroke of a pen.

Clearly, the situations caused by a Queen Regnant are as numerous as they are fascinating.