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Wallenstein
07-06-2012, 09:07 AM
Is there a formal protocol govering a situation where Kate 'n' Wills have a profoundly disabled child who would be first in line for the British crown?

e.g. Severe brain damage at birth or similar.

Is there a sliding scale to this? Would a Downs child be able to take the throne, or a low-, medium-, or high-functioning autistic person?

I guess the latter is a trickier question (some of our best leaders arguably have mental ability at one end or other of the bell curve), but who makes the decision in the event that the first in line is mentally incapable of ruling effectively (if indeed there is such a status).

Churchill had deep depression, and George III was famously out of his gourd, but we are perhaps more likely to assess "ecentricity" as mental illness these days.

RealityChuck
07-06-2012, 09:42 AM
There are precedents where the King could not rule.

George III -- his son was name Regent
Henry VI -- his son was a minor, so they set up a governing council until the son reached majority; Henry came to his senses before that. His uncle Richard of York was a part of it.
Edward III -- he just lost interest in governing after the death of his son Edward. The heir, later Richard II, was too young to rule, so Edward's son John of Gaunt ran the country.

In general, a regent can be appointed until the king is able to rule. I would think that these days Parliament would make the determination, based upon whether the king/queen would be able to fulfill the functions of office.

The regent would be whatever adult that was next in line for the throne. In the case you mention, then Prince William would be the most likely Regent.

Baron Greenback
07-06-2012, 09:49 AM
In the case you mention, then Prince William would be the most likely Regent.

William is never going to be Regent for his own child...

Polycarp
07-06-2012, 10:18 AM
There are precedents where the King could not rule.

George III -- his son was name Regent
Henry VI -- his son was a minor, so they set up a governing council until the son reached majority; Henry came to his senses before that. His uncle Richard of York was a part of it.
Edward III -- he just lost interest in governing after the death of his son Edward. The heir, later Richard II, was too young to rule, so Edward's son John of Gaunt ran the country.

In general, a regent can be appointed until the king is able to rule. I would think that these days Parliament would make the determination, based upon whether the king/queen would be able to fulfill the functions of office.

The regent would be whatever adult that was next in line for the throne. In the case you mention, then Prince William would be the most likely Regent.

William is never going to be Regent for his own child...

I suspect Chuck misspoke himself, and meant to say that Prince Harry would be regent for Wills's (disabled) child, his nephew (or neice).

Lemur866
07-06-2012, 10:30 AM
Also note ever since they shortened Charles I, the British monarch is whoever Parliament says it is. If someone is unsuitable, like, say, Edward VIII, they can order him to step aside and choose someone else to be national mascot.

Baron Greenback
07-06-2012, 10:39 AM
I suspect Chuck misspoke himself, and meant to say that Prince Harry would be regent for Wills's (disabled) child, his nephew (or neice).

Ah right, yes, that seems likely.

Flyer
07-06-2012, 10:45 AM
snip

I guess the latter is a trickier question (some of our best leaders arguably have mental ability at one end or other of the bell curve), but who makes the decision in the event that the first in line is mentally incapable of ruling effectively (if indeed there is such a status).

Well, obviously, one has to have SOME ability in order to be a good leader. What makes it interesting is when people have some sort of disability.
:)

Northern Piper
07-06-2012, 02:15 PM
It's covered by the Regency Act 1937. If the monarch is under 18 or is declared to be incapacitated in writing by three of the following officials (the monarch's consort, the Speaker, the Lord Chancellor, the Chief Justice of England and the Master of the Rolls), then the person who is next in the line of succession and over 18 becomes Regent, able to exercise the powers of the Crown.

So if Her Majesty were to have a stroke that incapacitated her, she could be so declared and Prince Charles could act as Regent.

If the example of the OP came up, for instance, Wills comes to the throne, his heir has Down syndrome and Wills dies, then Harry would be Regent.

Northern Piper
07-06-2012, 02:19 PM
But to speculate further, if Wills has two children and the heir has Downs but not the second child, then once the second child turns 18, the second child would replace Harry as Regent, since the second child would be next in succession, not Harry.

md2000
07-06-2012, 02:36 PM
So Harry would be Regent-Once-Removed until the real Regent was old enough?

And if harry becomes incapacitated... :)

OldGuy
07-06-2012, 03:06 PM
So Harry would be Regent-Once-Removed until the real Regent was old enough?

And if harry becomes incapacitated... :)

There's "always" a next in line to the throne. This page gives 47. I'm sure the list is longer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_of_succession_to_the_British_throne

Polycarp
07-06-2012, 03:32 PM
So Harry would be Regent-Once-Removed until the real Regent was old enough?

And if harry becomes incapacitated... :)

Something likle this happened in Bavaria. The King was insane; his uncle was Regent. But Uncle Regent became senile, so his son became Regent for, first, the mad king, then on his death, for his own father who was next in line. He finally got the throne for himself, just in time to be thrown out by the Treaty of Versailles.

Northern Piper
07-06-2012, 03:59 PM
So Harry would be Regent-Once-Removed until the real Regent was old enough?
No, Harry would be the Regent, because he would be the closest in line who was over 18. Then, when Wills' second child turned 18 he/she would replace Harry, as the closest in line who was over 18.

And if harry becomes incapacitated... :)
also dealt with by the Regency Act: the same group are authorised to declare that the Regent is incapacitated, in which case that person ceases to be Regent and the next in line who is over 18 becomes Regent.

Senegoid
07-06-2012, 05:03 PM
But to speculate further, if Wills has two children and the heir has Downs but not the second child, then once the second child turns 18, the second child would replace Harry as Regent, since the second child would be next in succession, not Harry.

In that case, wouldn't the second child just be made King when he turns 18? Is there not some amount of "wiggle room" in the succession rules (with Parliament having the final say), to allow irregular successions in cases like this?

Northern Piper
07-06-2012, 09:46 PM
No - one of the limitations on the Regent's powers is that the Regent cannot give Royal Assent to any bill that changes the line of succession.

alphaboi867
07-06-2012, 10:11 PM
Also note ever since they shortened Charles I, the British monarch is whoever Parliament says it is. If someone is unsuitable, like, say, Edward VIII, they can order him to step aside and choose someone else to be national mascot.

Except these days it's not just the British Parliament involved; the parliaments of each of the 16 realms that share the monarchy would all have to approve any change.

OldGuy
07-06-2012, 11:08 PM
Except these days it's not just the British Parliament involved; the parliaments of each of the 16 realms that share the monarchy would all have to approve any change.

I believe that if other parliaments didn't consent, that would just mean the different realms would have different monarchs. That would be awkward, and I suppose unlikely to be done, but within the law.

Captain Amazing
07-06-2012, 11:14 PM
No - one of the limitations on the Regent's powers is that the Regent cannot give Royal Assent to any bill that changes the line of succession.

What if Prince Harry kills the second kid when he turns 18. Does he stay regent?

Bytegeist
07-06-2012, 11:16 PM
No - one of the limitations on the Regent's powers is that the Regent cannot give Royal Assent to any bill that changes the line of succession.

So regents don't get to offer their assent (or dissent either, presumably) for such bills, but regular monarchs do? Or am I misunderstanding?

I can see the rationale for that rule, although I'd have thought it would apply to whomever is on the throne.

Lord Feldon
07-06-2012, 11:43 PM
No - one of the limitations on the Regent's powers is that the Regent cannot give Royal Assent to any bill that changes the line of succession.

Can the Regent give Royal Assent to a bill that changes the powers of the Regent?

Northern Piper
07-07-2012, 12:44 AM
So regents don't get to offer their assent (or dissent either, presumably) for such bills, but regular monarchs do? Or am I misunderstanding?

I can see the rationale for that rule, although I'd have thought it would apply to whomever is on the throne.

Yes, the monarch can assent to a change in the succession - most recently when Edward VIII assented to the Abdication Act, which forfeited his claim to the throne as well as any issue he might have had.

If the monarch could not assent to such a bill, there wouldn't be a way to change the succession.

Northern Piper
07-07-2012, 12:58 AM
What if Prince Harry kills the second kid when he turns 18. Does he stay regent?

He'd be busy defending himself on a murder charge, which would likely be considered an incapacity leading to a new Regent being appointed.

Wallenstein
07-07-2012, 02:42 AM
It's covered by the Regency Act 1937. If the monarch is under 18 or is declared to be incapacitated in writing by three of the following officials (the monarch's consort, the Speaker, the Lord Chancellor, the Chief Justice of England and the Master of the Rolls), then the person who is next in the line of succession and over 18 becomes Regent, able to exercise the powers of the Crown.
Thank you - question answered!

Does the affected person have any right of reply? The Speaker and Lord Chancellor are political appointments, so if you got hooks into them and one other could they conspire to rule an otherwise functioning monarch as incapacitated?

Northern Piper
07-07-2012, 10:49 AM
By the way, here's a good article on the Regency Acts (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regency_Acts), just so you don't think I'm making it all up. (I have read the Acts, but it was a while ago.)

Northern Piper
07-07-2012, 11:01 AM
Does the affected person have any right of reply? The Speaker and Lord Chancellor are political appointments, so if you got hooks into them and one other could they conspire to rule an otherwise functioning monarch as incapacitated?
Well, they are political appointments, but in the British political tradition, the Speaker is a non-partisan position, and the Lord Chancellor (until recently) was a judicial officer. The other two officers are judges, and I think it should be assumed that the spouse of the monarch will be very protective of the monarch's rights. I think the reason for choosing them for this purpose is that they are collectively about a non-partisan group of public officials as you could get.

The removal of incapacity is done by the same group.

Captain Amazing
07-07-2012, 11:28 AM
He'd be busy defending himself on a murder charge, which would likely be considered an incapacity leading to a new Regent being appointed.

The Crown, at the advice of the Regent, fails to prosecute? Worked for Richard III.

Northern Piper
07-07-2012, 11:45 AM
There have been many constitutional developments since then, including the principle that the monarch can not get involved in the day-to-day administration of justice. Crown prosecutors take their instructions from the DPP.

lawoot
07-07-2012, 12:32 PM
Churchill had deep depression, and George III was famously out of his gourd, but we are perhaps more likely to assess "ecentricity" as mental illness these days.I doubt that Churchill's depression had any impact on the succession, as he wasn't a Royal.

ftg
07-07-2012, 02:04 PM
Note that a major change (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_proposals_to_change_the_rules_of_royal_succession_in_the_Commonwealth_realms) is well underway to change some of the rules of British succession, e.g., male priority, but none of these affect the OP's question except to note that getting everybody on board for a change in the rules is apparently still doable.

Captain Amazing
07-08-2012, 02:04 AM
There have been many constitutional developments since then, including the principle that the monarch can not get involved in the day-to-day administration of justice. Crown prosecutors take their instructions from the DPP.

Does Parliament intend to take ALL the fun out of being regent? I mean, what's the point if you can't massacre your enemies?

Tim@T-Bonham.net
07-08-2012, 03:31 AM
He'd be busy defending himself on a murder charge, which would likely be considered an incapacity leading to a new Regent being appointed.Unless he grants a Royal Pardon to the murderer (himself).

alphaboi867
07-08-2012, 01:14 PM
He'd be busy defending himself on a murder charge, which would likely be considered an incapacity leading to a new Regent being appointed.

It would be high treason, not just murder.

Lamia
07-08-2012, 06:41 PM
Something likle this happened in Bavaria. The King was insane; his uncle was Regent. But Uncle Regent became senile, so his son became Regent for, first, the mad king, then on his death, for his own father who was next in line. He finally got the throne for himself, just in time to be thrown out by the Treaty of Versailles.If the king you're referring to was Ludwig II ("Mad King Ludwig"), it was actually stranger than that. Ludwig II had a younger brother, Otto, who presumably would have become Prince Regent once Ludwig II was declared insane in 1886...only Otto had himself been declared insane some years before. So their uncle Luitpold became regent instead. When Ludwig II died under mysterious circumstances a few days after being declared insane, Otto inherited the throne and officially became King Otto I of Bavaria. But since Otto was never considered fit to rule, Luitpold continued as Prince Regent.

Luitpold did not become senile and was never king himself. When Luitpold died in 1912 his son, also named Ludwig, became the new Prince Regent. By this time Otto had technically been king for over 25 years. Soon after Ludwig-son-of-Luitpold became regent the Bavarian parliament changed the law so that the regent could become king if the current king had been incapacitated for long enough. Ludwig-son-of-Luitpold became Ludwig III, the last king of Bavaria. He was not removed by the Treaty of Versailles, but was more or less forced to abdicate during the German Revolution of 1918-1919.

Polycarp
07-08-2012, 09:34 PM
amia: Thanks for th correction. The genera concept -- one guy regent for multiple disabled kings -- was right; I just got details wrong.

Northern Piper
07-08-2012, 11:02 PM
Does Parliament intend to take ALL the fun out of being regent? I mean, what's the point if you can't massacre your enemies?
Modern Parliaments are just wet, wobbly killjoys! :p

SanVito
07-10-2012, 02:25 AM
Unless he grants a Royal Pardon to the murderer (himself).

British monarchs no longer go around granting royal pardons to whoever they feel like. They only do things on the advice of the (elected) Government.

Polycarp
07-10-2012, 02:30 AM
British monarchs no longer go around granting royal pardons to whoever they feel like. They only do things on the advice of the (elected) Government.

There was a (eaked) incident where George VI had to follow his Home Secretary's advice to sign a death warrant where he as an individual felt that commuting the sentence to life imprisonment would have been more appropriate.

Lord Feldon
07-10-2012, 03:40 AM
British monarchs no longer go around granting royal pardons to whoever they feel like. They only do things on the advice of the (elected) Government.

Well, presumably they're not supposed to kill people either.

Wallenstein
07-10-2012, 04:36 AM
I doubt that Churchill's depression had any impact on the succession, as he wasn't a Royal.

Well, yes... my point was more that in Britain we seem to tolerate a level of mental instability in our leaders, so that a king with mid- to high-functioning autism might simply be seen as charmingly eccentric even though you wouldn't necessarily want his finger on the Trident button.

SanVito
07-10-2012, 05:26 AM
Well, presumably they're not supposed to kill people either.

Not in an official capacity, no. ;)

Steophan
07-10-2012, 07:02 AM
Well, presumably they're not supposed to kill people either.

The fact that many of them are active in the military belies this.

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