2 theortical questions about the British monarchy.

  1. If the recent prince George had instead been princess Jane, would she be heading towards being queen Jane (no regnal number) or Jane II? Is Jane Grey considered “official”?

  2. Very theoretical, and certainly never likely to come up, but unisex or crossover gender names. If someday a man/woman became king/queen bearing a name that was previously used by a queen/king would they add to the regnal number or start from the beginning?

No, not official; I think she would be deemed a usurper. So William and Kate’s hypothetical daughter would be Queen Jane I.

The Royal Prerogative allows the monarch to adopt any form of regnal name they wish and to determine what number that is; hence why the present Queen is Elizabeth II despite being the second Elizabeth over England but only the first to rule Scotland. So I would envision in such a scenario they would a) be encouraged to adopt a new name, or b) become the next-numbered of that name anyway.

What if a modern monarch were to be named Arthur? Would they be the First, or would they recognize the legendary one and be the Second?

Well, one of prince Charles’ middle names is Arthur, so if he is even remootely a good chap, he should try to be King Arthur, simply to provide us with some amusement in exchange for all our taxes.

They apparently reset the clock with the Norman Conquest. When Edward Longshanks became king he was King Edward I even though there was an Edward the Confessor, Edward the Martyr, and Edward the Elder before him.

The First. There have been historical, pre-Norman kings called Edward, but we’ve only numbered those since 1066 :slight_smile:

There was an Arthur, Prince of Wales, who lived from 1486 to 1502. He would have been King Arthur of England if he had not died before his father (Henry VII) – as it was, his younger brother became Henry VIII.

I’ve often wondered about whether Jane Grey is considered official. This leads to the question of who gets to arbitrate, and one possible answer is the current British monarchy. Their official web site lists her


and refers to her “accession as Queen”. So if you accept that as an authority, she was a Queen.

Hmm, that’s a fair point! She was named as heir by Edward VI, but Wikipedia lists her as ‘title disputed’. So I guess it’s still unclear.

Even if we don’t count Jane Grey, she would just be Queen Jane. Regnal numbers are only used where there are two or more monarchs who need to be distinguished.

Within living memory, Queen Elizabeth I was universally referred to as “Queen Elizabeth”.

Was Jane Grey her whole first name then? I thought it was just Jane and Grey her surname.

Grey was her surname. She is commonly referred to as Jane Grey, the name by which she went for all but six days of her life. There is, I think, one signature surviving from her short reign; she signs as “Jane the queyne”.

He could go in search of the Holy Grail…

Makes more sense than some of his other crackpot ideas.

Realistically, though, no one is going to name a potential heir Jane. I doubt we’ll see any more Richards or Johns, either.

There was no ‘clock’ to be ‘reset’. Not only had the Anglo-Saxon kings never used regnal numbers, the post-Conquest kings hadn’t done so either. They weren’t introduced until Edward II needed to distinguish himself from his father and only subsequently applied retrospectively to the other kings since 1066.

As for any future Queen Jane, she would presumably choose to be the first Queen Jane, so as to sidestep any (completely contrived) argument over whether she was Jane II in Scotland. No point in creating a controversy that could be so easily avoided.

There have been Richards and Johns in the Royal Family since the infamous ones, though, who were in the line of succession and theoretically could have become king.

Just recently, there’s Richard, Duke of Gloucester, Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, who, when he was born, was 5th in line for the throne. There was King George V’s son, the unfortunate Prince John.

Then, of course, in the Middle Ages, there was the founder of the House of Lancaster, John of Gaunt, who was the third son of Edward III and third in line to the throne at his birth.

The rule, though apparently not carved in stone, seems to be that they are expected to use whatever number is higher in the Scottish or English reckoning. Cite: ROYAL STYLE AND TITLE (Hansard, 15 April 1953) According to that rule, the current queen is Elizabeth II, because there had already been an English queen of that name, though no Scottish ones. However, a future King James would be James VIII, because there have been seven Scottish kings of that name though only two English ones.

Nine, surely.