Queen Elizabeth was conceived through artificial insemination?

I have just read this claim for the first time. Apparently it was made in Kitty Kelley’s book The Royals. The claim is that, George VI being impotent, Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret were made possible by anonymous sperm donors.

Googling, the general opinion of this claim seems to be that it is possible, but implausible.

Is there anything to the story beyond gossip?

And if it were true, would that mean that Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne illegitimately?

And does merely asking this question make me a birther?

Well if so they shared a father because they resemble each other strongly.

Never heard anything like that myself.

First I’ve heard of the idea.
Kitty Katty’s book was not published here; the publishers feared it would almost certainly be libellous (although I saw a copy in a charity shop the other day)


Simplifying somewhat: if a woman (A) has a child (B) during A’s marriage to a man ©, and that child is the eldest born to the mother during that marriage, then in English law B is C’s legal heir.

However, if George VI had been cuckolded, and made sure that everyone knew about it at the time, then that leads to a potentially interesting situation.
(And in case anyone asks: the succession to the British throne is governed in both Scotland and Northern Ireland by English [sic] law.)

Did they have artificial insemination in 1925 (she was born in 1926)? I didn’t think so…

As is the succession in Australia and I think the other realms of Her Majesty.

As for the possibility of HM being the biological result of another man’s sperm than that of HRH the Duke of York (as he then was), even if true, if a married woman (such as the Duchess of York) has children, then prima facie they are the issue of her husband, unless steps are taken to refute that. Such steps were not taken: the Princess Elizabeth became third in line to the throne (after the Prince of Wales and her father) – and that is that.

In the case Henry VIII it lead to beheadings. Catherine Howard was certainly guility though Ann Boleyn probably wasn’t.

-Kitty Kelley is a well-known sensationalist who usually spreads bullshit.
-Elizabeth and Margaret strongly resemble the Windsor side of the family, especially her grandmother, Queen Mary.
-IF it were true, do you honestly believe that royal family doesn’t have a few bastards around – including some monarchs?
And besides, if the King was incapable of having children, I doubt they’d go to such lengths, considering the potential for disaster if it were found out. The throne would then pass to the King’s next brother, the Duke of Cloucester.

It’s the subject of a new movie, The King’s Specimen.

A little googling on the topic shows there were experiments in AI from the late 19th century but it didn’t become a reliable procedure until the early 1940s. The Nazis made use of it in their breeding experiments. I also remember that it was heavily hinted Hermann Göring’s daughter (born 1938) was conceived through AI due to his and his wife’s obesity, so perhaps it was a common tabloid fodder of the time.

Haven’t there been any challenges to that law based on DNA determination of paternity?

From what I can tell from Google, the earliest recorded case of human artificial insemination dates to 1884, when a Doctor Pancoast injected a medical student’s sperm into a woman using a syringe. (The woman, who was under anesthetic at the time, was unaware that he had done this.)

Elizabeth was born in 1926 and Margaret was born in 1930. At that time their father was the kid brother of the Crown Prince.

Would the Royal Family have approved of such a potentially scandalous act (which would have been a lot harder to keep secret than Queen Mary simply having an affair with a gardener or footman) just so the emergency backup prince could have a kid?

I mentioned Scotland and NI specifically, so as to avoid an apparent gap for the rest of the UK! :slight_smile:

The precise legal framework for the other Commonwealth realms does vary a little.

New Zealand has in force what one might call a “patriated” version of England’s Act of Settlement, so strictly speaking its law operates in tandem with English law, rather than being governed by English law.

In the case of Tuvalu (iIrc), the constitution simply ties the role of Sovereign to that of the United Kingdom; in other words, there is no law of succession. Whoever has the one job, gets the other.

Australia is a more complicated setup because of having seven or more different monarchies. Or not: different constitutional gurus have conflicting views on the point. As I understand it, though, the individual Australian states have their own “patriated” versions of the Act of Settlement, whereas the “national” monarchy is tied to the heirs and successors of Queen Victoria in the United Kingdom. What exactly that means is perhaps uncertain: as a matter of strict law, would another 1936-style abdication require separate federal legislation within Australia?

Sure; that was part of my simplification. But as pointed out by Giles:

A related point included in my simplification is that DNA testing for paternity didn’t exist either at the time of Princess Elizabeth’s birth or at the time of her accession.

A further point included in my simplification is that it’s difficult to see in practice how the matter could even be justiciable. Firstly, you’d need an irate close member of the family who was prepared to take it to court. And secondly, they’d need to convince the court that a case concerning the Sovereign could even proceed as a matter of law. Of course if someone had tried to do this at the time, then quite apart from the legal niceties there would have been the political aspect; but Elizabeth was very popular as a princess and was very popular when she became Queen, and I’m not aware of any personal antipathy towards her from within any of the main parties.

Why would there be? No-one who is on the list of people who have a genuine claim to (and an outside chance of) inheriting the throne has any doubt that QE2 is there legitimately.

I’m sure there are a few crazies who imagine themselves to be the rightful heir to the throne of the UK, but no-one has a claim that any non-insane person would take seriously.

turkey basters, masturbation and cups have been around for a long time.

I can’t say I believe the story because people are always coming up with outlandish but hard to disprove claims for famous people but artificial insemination doesn’t require any special technology. All you need is fairly fresh semen plus a way to delivery it into the vagina without traditional sex. Large syringes are one way to do that but even that isn’t strictly necessary. You could use almost anything and get it to work if you did it often enough. We aren’t talking about a ‘test tube’ baby here.

Since it didn’t in 1936, I think we can safely say that the answer is “No”.

Apparently, I was not clear.

Leaving aside such minor issues as thrones and such, hasn’t this been challenged?

Can a child born during a marriage who is proven not the child of the male by DNA testing be denied child support or inheritence under current English law?