Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-07-2010, 10:20 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 8,791
What would happen if a flaw was discovered in the British Monarch's line of descent?

What would likely happen in terms of law in the UK and Commonwealth realms if it were discovered that Elizabeth or one of her ancestors along her line of sucession to the throne was illegitimate or swapped at birth without a legal adoption, or was a bald-faced impostor? If it were discovered, perhaps by DNA tests or something like that, that the man that eventually became known as King William IV was in fact a commoner's child who was swapped at birth with the "real" future heir, would that result in over 100 years of laws and court rulings to be deemed null and void since they were done in the name of impostors to the throne and were never consented to by the real monarch (I understand that the Monarch is essentially a figurehead, but does, in theory, hold the source of legal power)? I'm sure someone must have thought of this before. I think I read somewhere that the coronation ceremony is just formality, and that the Monarch becomes the Monarch by operation of law according to the laws of succession.

Last edited by robert_columbia; 10-07-2010 at 10:22 PM.
  #2  
Old 10-07-2010, 10:42 PM
UDS UDS is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Australia
Posts: 8,189
Quote:
Originally Posted by robert_andrews View Post
What would likely happen in terms of law in the UK and Commonwealth realms if it were discovered that Elizabeth or one of her ancestors along her line of sucession to the throne was illegitimate or swapped at birth without a legal adoption, or was a bald-faced impostor? If it were discovered, perhaps by DNA tests or something like that, that the man that eventually became known as King William IV was in fact a commoner's child who was swapped at birth with the "real" future heir, would that result in over 100 years of laws and court rulings to be deemed null and void since they were done in the name of impostors to the throne and were never consented to by the real monarch (I understand that the Monarch is essentially a figurehead, but does, in theory, hold the source of legal power)? I'm sure someone must have thought of this before. I think I read somewhere that the coronation ceremony is just formality, and that the Monarch becomes the Monarch by operation of law according to the laws of succession.
You are correct that the coronation ceremony has no legal signficance; it is the succession laws that determine who is king or queen.

But they are laws, not objective realities. English law contains a presumption that the child of a married woman is the child of that woman's husband. It may be the case that Queen Victoria, for example, is not the genetic descendant of George III. But at law she is presumed to be, and that legal presumption makes her, and her heirs, legally the kings and queens of the UK.
  #3  
Old 10-07-2010, 10:44 PM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Scotland
Posts: 11,016
Nothing. It's not as if the line of the monarchy to date has been terribly straightforward and lacking in intrigue. Parliament is sovereign anyway.
  #4  
Old 10-07-2010, 11:40 PM
Guinastasia Guinastasia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 51,559
Do you honestly think there HAVEN'T been any bastards? If ALL of the British monarchs (or any European monarch, for that matter) were legit, I'll eat St. Edward's Crown.

Last edited by Guinastasia; 10-07-2010 at 11:40 PM.
  #5  
Old 10-08-2010, 03:30 AM
Princhester Princhester is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 14,257
And even if something was found that meant that every law passed for the last 200 years was technically illegitimate, there would be a law passed by parliament about ten minutes later saying (in essence): "all laws passed for the last 200 years are deemed to have full force and efffect and are deemed always to have had full force and effect, despite [insert flaw here], so don't go getting any funny ideas, so there". Or something like that. In the broader sense, this is not uncommon: every now and then due to an error a piece of legislation is realised to have some sort of drafting flaw and this sort of corrective legislation is hastily passed.
  #6  
Old 10-08-2010, 06:16 AM
bluezooky bluezooky is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Sydney Australia
Posts: 316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guinastasia View Post
Do you honestly think there HAVEN'T been any bastards? If ALL of the British monarchs (or any European monarch, for that matter) were legit, I'll eat St. Edward's Crown.
Bastards can be a term of endearment down in Australia
  #7  
Old 10-08-2010, 06:49 AM
Attack from the 3rd dimension Attack from the 3rd dimension is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Soviet Canuckistan
Posts: 5,732
Haven't we already found that the rightful King of England lives in New South Wales?

Last edited by Attack from the 3rd dimension; 10-08-2010 at 06:53 AM.
  #8  
Old 10-08-2010, 07:32 AM
Mk VII Mk VII is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: England
Posts: 2,779
Parliament says who is the rightful king, and who isn't. Not genealogy.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:19 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017