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Old 04-29-2011, 10:14 PM
dhkendall dhkendall is offline
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If Edward VIII had children ...

Wife and I were discussing the British throne's order of succession, and the topic came around to Edward VIII, the king who abdicated in 1936 to marry a divorcée. The title went to Edward's brother, but the question came up: the only reason the throne went to Edward's brother (George VI) was that Edward had no children (children of the eldest son of the monarch take precedence over the monarch's siblings, which is why when Charles becomes King, WIlliam and Harry would be #s 1 and 2 in line, but Edward, Andrew, etc. would remain further down). My wife was wondering, if Edward had children (with Mrs. Simpson) after abdication, would they automatically be entitled to the throne? Would they beat out Elizabeth (especially if they were male) in the line? Would they automatically get the throne (since, had Edward not abdicated, they'd be further ahead than George would have been)? My guess is that Edward, and any future descendants, were cut off from the succession line as if he'd been illegitimate or a "Papist" (love that term!), but it's just a guess ...
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:24 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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Any children of Edward VIII were excluded by the Abdication Act of 1936:

Quote:
Effect of His Majesty’s declaration of abdication.

1. (2) His Majesty, His issue, if any, and the descendants of that issue, shall not after His Majesty’s abdication have any right, title or interest in or to the succession to the Throne, and section one of the Act of Settlement shall be construed accordingly.
So once he abdicated, his brother Albert George became king, to be succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth. Even if the Windsors had had children, those children would not have bumped Elizabeth from the line of succession.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:24 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Well, his specific abdication act said:

Quote:
His Majesty, His issue, if any, and the descendants of that issue, shall not after His Majesty’s abdication have any right, title or interest in or to the succession to the Throne, and section one of the Act of Settlement shall be construed accordingly.
so any children he had after he abdicated didn't have any right to the throne. If he had had children before he abdicated, it's possible the law would have been written differently, but he hadn't.
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:26 PM
Northern Piper Northern Piper is offline
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I won the Royal simul-post!
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:55 PM
dhkendall dhkendall is offline
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Thanks for this.

My wife was thinking of relating it to if Charles abdicated, would his children be skipped as well, but I think the difference between Charles and Edward is that Charles would have had kids at the time of his (hypothetical) abdication, Edward didn't. I think, had Edward had children when he abdicated, the abdication act would have been worded differently, Charles would more than likely be worded not to exclude his kids from the line I would think. (I can recall a few French kings abdicating in favour of their sons.)
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:31 PM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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His Majesty, His issue, if any, and the descendants of that issue, shall not after His Majesty’s abdication have any right, title or interest in or to the succession to the Throne, and section one of the Act of Settlement shall be construed accordingly.
It's interesting how that's worded as an absolute prohibition. It would seem to mean that if he had reproduced after the abdication, and one of his descendants had centuries later married a member of the royal family, their children wouldn't be eligible to succeed to the throne through their descent from the other parent. (Not that that would have been likely, but it's curious nonetheless.)

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 04-29-2011 at 11:32 PM.
  #7  
Old 04-30-2011, 04:35 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
It's interesting how that's worded as an absolute prohibition. It would seem to mean that if he had reproduced after the abdication, and one of his descendants had centuries later married a member of the royal family, their children wouldn't be eligible to succeed to the throne through their descent from the other parent. (Not that that would have been likely, but it's curious nonetheless.)
No, those kids would be able to take the throne on the basis of the other parent's lineage.
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:00 AM
A. Gwilliam A. Gwilliam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhkendall View Post
My wife was thinking of relating it to if Charles abdicated, would his children be skipped as well, but I think the difference between Charles and Edward is that Charles would have had kids at the time of his (hypothetical) abdication, Edward didn't. I think, had Edward had children when he abdicated, the abdication act would have been worded differently, Charles would more than likely be worded not to exclude his kids from the line I would think. (I can recall a few French kings abdicating in favour of their sons.)
There is absolutely no way of knowing what would happen. The 1936 abdication happened in a specific set of circumstances. Any future abdication would happen in its own specific set of circumstances, and the Abdication Act would be worded accordingly. However, William is clearly more popular than his father, so I doubt there'd be any difficulty in skipping a generation if that's what Charles insisted upon.

Then again, any abdication would require the UK government co-ordinating with the governments of the other realms, and would almost certainly require co-ordinating legislation. Few politicians are going to be terribly enthusiastic about having to deal with this! It was bad enough the last time around...

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Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
No, those kids would be able to take the throne on the basis of the other parent's lineage.
Obviously that was the intention, but I'm not convinced that this is clear from the face of the Act. Lord Feldon might have stumbled across something rather interesting!
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:10 AM
Baffle Baffle is offline
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Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
No, those kids would be able to take the throne on the basis of the other parent's lineage.
That's not what the act says.
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:01 AM
Giles Giles is offline
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It's purely hypothetical, of course, since the Duchess of Windsor died without having any children. If she had, and a descendant had married into the royal family, the solution would have been the usual British one: "We'll face that constitutional crisis when and if it happens."
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Old 04-30-2011, 06:32 AM
A. Gwilliam A. Gwilliam is offline
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Originally Posted by Giles View Post
It's purely hypothetical, of course, since the Duchess of Windsor died without having any children. If she had, and a descendant had married into the royal family, the solution would have been the usual British one: "We'll face that constitutional crisis when and if it happens."
Dammit, you broke the code!
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Old 04-30-2011, 08:19 AM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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Related but not precisely on topic: when I was preparing my post for the Abdication trifecta (which I didn't post because others got theirs in ahead of me), I discovered that for a bit less than 24 hours over December 10-11, 1936, the Commonwealth was 'broken': George VI was King of the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc., while Edward VIII remained King of South Africa and the Irish Free State. South Africa's Abdication Act took place retroactively, but Ireland's did not -- meaning that there was a brief time when Ireland (not yet a republic) had a separate monarch from the U.K. I have a feeling that greatly amused DeValera.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:02 AM
ctnguy ctnguy is offline
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In fact, the South African Parliament only passed its Abdication Act in February of 1937, though it was, as you say, retroactive to 10 December. However, the South Africa Act did define the succession to the crown by reference to "the laws relating to the succession of the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland".
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:18 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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It amazes me how many threads on this board talk about "if Charles were to abdicate", like that is ever going to happen. Kings don't abdicate or pass up the throne just because a few tabloid readers like their son better, or don't like their wife. That's not how royalty works.
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Old 04-30-2011, 11:36 AM
A. Gwilliam A. Gwilliam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
Related but not precisely on topic: when I was preparing my post for the Abdication trifecta (which I didn't post because others got theirs in ahead of me), I discovered that for a bit less than 24 hours over December 10-11, 1936, the Commonwealth was 'broken': George VI was King of the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc., while Edward VIII remained King of South Africa and the Irish Free State. South Africa's Abdication Act took place retroactively, but Ireland's did not -- meaning that there was a brief time when Ireland (not yet a republic) had a separate monarch from the U.K. I have a feeling that greatly amused DeValera.
It was actually even messier than that!

Edward signed the Instrument of Abdication on the 10th. However, that by itself had no legal effect.

On the 11th the Westminster parliament passed the Abdication Act, which Edward assented to. This Act was not retroactive, so it took effect on the 11th. This Act applied to the UK and its dependencies, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Because of trying to ram through constitutional changes at the same time, the Irish Free State's Act was not passed until the 12th. Again, the Act wasn't back-dated.

The South African government claimed that no legislation was necessary. Not everyone else agreed, so early in 1937 an Act was passed to avoid any doubt. However, this Act was made retrospective... to the 10th.

So Edward either ceased to be King in South Africa before anywhere else, or after everywhere else, depending on how you look at it!
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:17 PM
alphaboi867 alphaboi867 is offline
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Also any children the Windsors had would not have been entiled to be HRHs or Prince or Princess (ie HRH Prince N of Windsor). They would've been styled as children of an ordinary duke (ie Lord/Lady N Windsor). I'm not sure what the eldest son would've been called since it doesn't appear that Edward was given any subsidary titles to his dukedom.
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:33 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quote:
It amazes me how many threads on this board talk about "if Charles were to abdicate", like that is ever going to happen. Kings don't abdicate or pass up the throne just because a few tabloid readers like their son better, or don't like their wife. That's not how royalty works.
Except that the historical record shows that a king would abdicate because some tabloid readers didn't like his fiancee. How different is the current situation?
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:34 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
It amazes me how many threads on this board talk about "if Charles were to abdicate", like that is ever going to happen. Kings don't abdicate or pass up the throne just because a few tabloid readers like their son better, or don't like their wife. That's not how royalty works.
Quite. I should add that we are not amused by all this speculation!
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:34 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Except that the historical record shows that a king would abdicate because some tabloid readers didn't like his fiancee.
Not really. Edward abdicated in large part because Mrs. Simpson's status as a divorcee (twice) conflicted with his role as the head of the Church of England. And the marriage was strongly opposed by the Prime Minister and other officials. At that time it would have caused a constitutional crisis.

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How different is the current situation?
Vastly. Charles is already married to Camila. The Church of England is more accepting of divorce than it was 70 years ago. While they couldn't have a church wedding, the marriage was blessed in a church afterward. Today I can't imagine that a PM would prevail on Charles to abdicate on the basis of his marriage.
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Old 04-30-2011, 02:43 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Amazing View Post
Well, his specific abdication act said:



so any children he had after he abdicated didn't have any right to the throne. If he had had children before he abdicated, it's possible the law would have been written differently, but he hadn't.
Any such children would have to have been born in wedlock prior to abdication, I think. This is fairly typical; for example former SNL writer and actor Christopher Guest, now Baron Haden-Guest, has an older half-brother who could not inherit the title because he was illegitimate. (Though I do realize that the rules governing this sort of thing vary with different titles.)
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Old 04-30-2011, 09:24 PM
md2000 md2000 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northern Piper View Post
Any children of Edward VIII were excluded by the Abdication Act of 1936:

Effect of His Majesty’s declaration of abdication.

Quote:
1. (2) His Majesty, His issue, if any, and the descendants of that issue, shall not after His Majesty’s abdication have any right, title or interest in or to the succession to the Throne, and section one of the Act of Settlement shall be construed accordingly.

So once he abdicated, his brother Albert George became king, to be succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth. Even if the Windsors had had children, those children would not have bumped Elizabeth from the line of succession.
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Originally Posted by Baffle View Post
That's not what the act says.
No that's exactly what the law says; any right title or interest in the succession due Edward is removed from him and all successors. If they have a right etc. through someone else, it is not removed. It does not forbid them from being king/queen. It just says they can't claim to be monarch because they are descended form Eddy.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:16 PM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is offline
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Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
If they have a right etc. through someone else, it is not removed.
That's not what it says, though. It says that none of his descendants shall "have any right, title or interest in or to the succession to the Throne."

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 04-30-2011 at 10:17 PM.
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