The real King of England lives in Australia

So I was just watching a documentary on Amazon Prime called Britton’s Real Monarch. In there the documentarist shows that in all likelihood Edward the IV was illegitimate, since his father wasn’t in the country at the time of his conception, and as a result showed that the line of succession should have gone through his brother George’s daughter, not through Henry Tudor through his marriage to Princess Elizabeth, and tracing down the Plantagenet line they tracked down a guy in Australia who should legitimately be the King of England.

Assuming it is all true what would it take for Queen Elizabeth to be unseated in favor of the true heir? A court decision? An act of parliament? Would we see the two monarchs fielding armies for a drawn out fight for the crown of England?

It would definitely take an Act of Parliament (which will not be forthcoming), as the situation you laid out is totally meaningless under the current law. This guy might be the legitimate monarch under the law as it existed in 1483 (although I wouldn’t put my money on that), but it’s 2017, and there are different laws now.

The Queen’s legal status has nothing to do with her descent from Edward IV. It’s all about Sophia of Hanover, who lived and died long after Edward IV.

Instead of “in all likliehood” what I’ve read inclines towards “not very likely” :). It originated with various of Edward’s enemies starting when he was in his late twenties, with the juiciest bit coming after his death and rests on a collection of bits of circumstantial evidence and rumors. There is enough to label it a clever slander, but really it doesn’t seem all that plausible.

Cecily Neville had a very exalted sense of self and the odds she’d sleep with a lowborn trooper seem exceedingly low. Meanwhile her husband was not that far away( they were both staying in France - Rouen vs. Pontoise )and we don’t have a detailed list of their itinerary in that period. It really would have been trivially easy for them to arrange meet-ups.

There’s an interesting Wikipedia entry on the rules of succession to the British throne, including a list (not official, it would seem) of successors that goes to 56 entries (including descendants of George V). Attempts to extend the tree back to Electress Sophia have listed more than 5,000 current successors. Ignoring the legal bottlenecks and going by strictly genealogical lines, I wonder how far down the line this Australian bloke would be.

I think the whole argument is that, going by strictly genealogical lines, he’s number one in the list.

This rests on the assumptions (a) that Edward IV was illegitimate, and (b) that in consequence he and everyone descended from him should be taken out of the line of succession, and ©, an assumption not often identified but still necessary, that there are no illegitimacies in the line of descent that traces from Richard, Duke of York down to this bloke in Australia.

As says Lord Feldon, since the law explicitly names the most Excellent Princess Sophia and the Heirs of Her Body, the guy’s legitimate position on the list depends on his descent, or lack thereof, from Sophia.

Off hand, it doesn’t make any sense.

(1) Under normal English law, children of a marriage are legitimate unless proven otherwise.

(2)There are a number of steps to becoming King, up to and including corination. The child becomes uncondtionally the legitimate successor, then the legitimate monarch through that series of steps. They don’t suddenly become ‘not the legitimate monarch’ if some previous step was faulty, and successors become legitimate monarchs at coronation, regardless of parentage.

Yes, but Tamerlane’s post seems to support Edward’s legitimacy. If he was, then this Aussie is still in the line of succession, but but after all the descendants of Edward IV. I was just wondering how many that would be.

Still, I’m not entirely sure I follow the OP’s line (sorry) of thought. From what I can tell from Wikipedia, the male line goes something like this:

Richard of York(a)
Edward IV
[indent]Edward V[/indent]
[indent]Richard[/indent]
[indent]George[/indent]
Edmund
George Plantagenet
[indent]Edward Plantagenet[/indent]
[indent]Richard of York(b)[/indent]
Richard III

If we take Edward IV out for being illegitimate, succession would have passed to Edmund (who was already dead), thence to George Plantagenet, and presumably down his line to Mr. Aussie.

But as it happened, Edward IV became king in 1461. He died in 1483 and Edward V became king. He died just a few months later. His brothers were already dead, Edmund was dead, and George Plantagenet was dead. So George’s sons should be next, but got skipped over for Richard III. There must have been more going on than a strict genealogical line.

You know what, screw it. We had a revolution so we wouldn’t have to deal with this shit.

Melbourne, eh; it’s you, isn’t it?

If you don’t want the job, just say so.

I thought at the time it was first shown in the UK that it was, though interesting, totally missing the point. Tony Robinson’s implicit point was, of course, the theoretical weaknesses of the hereditary principle: but that was already obvious - it simply stood proxy for the ability to win battles, whether you harked back to whether Lancastrians or Yorkists could claim to have inherited the qualities of Edward III, or through him to William the Conqueror (but don’t forget the little matter of the Plantagenet claim coming from the messy question of Matilda vs. Stephen).

And therefore, as noted above, the paternity of Edward IV is irrelevant. Henry VII didn’t marry Elizabeth of York to acquire confirmation by DNA of his and his descendants’ right to the throne - he became the legitimate monarch because he’d won the the decisive battle, and marrying her simply showed there was no chance of any other rival line of claimants.

Likewise, the Civil Wars established, and the events of 1688 confirmed, the primacy of Parliament as a substitute for actual messy battles: and Parliament settled the matter with the Act of Succession, as confirmed by all successive legislation relating to the monarchy and the succession.

Except that the law in question - the Act of Settlement - is only law because it was assented to by Queen Anne who, on this argument, wasn’t the lawful queen, and therefore this isn’t really the law.

I know, I know; at some point these arguments have to give way to reality and practicality. But if Edward IV was illegitimate, and if this does invalidate the his claims and the claims of all those who claim through him, then the Act of Settlement isn’t good law.

If you start looking at problems with the succession to the English crown, there are many, many examples of problematic and disputed successions. There’s no end to it. Succession comes down to power and politics. It always has, and the rules of succession (such as they were) were changed from time to time.

Today it doesn’t matter so much because the monarch is not an absolute ruler, but in the past it did matter, and decisions were almost always made for practical and political reasons. The rules were just guidelines.

A very brief summary of problems with the succession to the English throne:

William the Conqueror invaded and took over the country by force. Does this mean that all English monarchs since 1066 have had no right to the throne? Should we go back and try to find the closest living relative of the Saxon kings? The House of Wessex had a system whereby a council decided who the next king should be, and they could choose anyone. Harold Godwinson wasn’t even a blood relative of Edward the Confessor, who died early in 1066. However, there were plenty of wars and succession disputes among the various Saxon kingdoms before the House of Wessex gained control, so who was the valid ruler? Should we go back to the ancient Britons before the Roman occupation when there were numerous tribal leaders and tribal conflicts?

After the Norman conquest, Henry I defeated his older brother Robert in battle and imprisoned him for life. Does that mean no future monarchs had a right to throne? The succession of Henry I’s daughter Matilda was disputed because many Norman barons felt that the Salic law prohibiting women succeeding to the throne should apply in England. After a civil war, Henry I’s nephew Stephen became king. But Matilda’s son, Henry Plantagenet, forced Stephen to nominate him as his successor, in place of Stephen’s own son. How valid was that?

Henry II tried to start a convention of crowning a successor in own lifetime, and his son Henry was crowned as the ‘Young King’, but it didn’t work out. When Henry II died, the question was whether Arthur, the infant son of Geoffrey, Duke of Brittany, had a better right to throne than Richard, the younger brother of Geoffrey. According to Norman law Richard had the better right, but according to the law of Anjou Arthur had the better right. (The Plantagenets were descended in the male line from Geoffrey, Count of Anjou.) Richard the Lionheart became king, then his younger brother John. John still considered Arthur of Brittany’s claim to be a threat to him, and had him imprisoned and murdered.

An identical situation arose on the death of Edward III, but this time the decision went the other way, and Richard II, the son of the deceased older brother, became king, not John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the next surviving son of Edward III.

Richard II was overthrown in a coup, and Henry IV, the son of John of Gaunt, became king with the full consent and support of Parliament and the Church, even though it could be argued that Edward Mortimer the descendent of Lionel of Antwerp had a better claim. Mortimer himself gave up his claim, and was loyal to the House of Lancaster, but the House of York inherited his claim via Mortimer’s sister. The House of York supported and swore loyalty to Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI, until political issues resulted in them reviving their claim. The Yorkists gained power in a series of civil wars, and murdered Henry VI. Richard III made the claim mentioned by the OP as a pretext to justify seizing the throne by force, and murdered his nephews, Edward IV’s sons. (No, I don’t want to argue with fanatical supporters of Richard III.)

The Tudors came to the throne by a political compromise which had little basis in theoretical claims to the throne. After the Reformation, religious issues became a major factor.

Everyone agreed that Edward VI should succeed Henry VIII, on the principle of male primogeniture (a younger male takes precedence over older females - this has now been changed in the 21st century) but after that, there were different opinions. Catholics felt that Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon was valid and their daughter Mary was legitimate, but his marriage to Anne Boleyn was invalid, so Elizabeth was illegitimate. Hardline Protestants felt that Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon was never valid in the first place, because it was only made possible by a special dispensation of the Pope, so Mary was illegitimate and Elizabeth was legitimate. Moderate Protestants felt that both were legitimate. However, by Edward VI’s Devise for the Succession, both were declared illegitimate. Take your pick.

In the mid to late 16th century it was said that if you asked 10 people about the succession to throne, you would get 10 different opinions.

In the next century, James II was overthrown in the Glorious Revolution, and the Act of Succession of 1701 banned Catholics from the throne. So on the death of Queen Anne, all Catholics in line for the throne were ignored, and George I became king. Nearly 60 years of Jacobite uprisings after the Glorious Revolution failed to restore the House of Stuart. Catholics are still banned from the throne to this day.

In the 18th century, a constitutional monarchy was introduced, and then it didn’t matter so much who was king or queen, so it became less a matter of contention.

This. Both canon law and English common law of the period applied the presumption of legitimacy to children born to a married woman. In the absence of DNA tests, it could hardly be otherwise.

This is what Bracton had said on the subject.

Yes, it is. Because Parliament says it is, irrespective of what went before, and that’s an end to the matter. The only “good law” which might be cited to oppose it is the “law” of William the Conqueror’s victory at Hastings, Edward IV in the Wars of the Roses and so on. Once the civil wars and the Glorious Revolution replaced battles with Parliamentary votes, that trumps the lot.

Some (questionable) genealogical research I’ve seen on-line traces one branch of my family back to English royalty and to Fulk, Crusader King of Jerusalem. So technically, I’m in the line of succession to be King of the Jews.

“I know a fellow who’s a draper’s assistant in Leeds, who very earnestly told me that he ought really to be King of England, if he could only find the record of somebody’s marriage to Perkin Warbeck. The trifling accident of a few intervening changes of dynasty didn’t worry him at all.”
-Lord Peter Wimsey

The main evidence the guy presents ad to Edward’s illegitimacy is a document from the era talking about offering prayers for the sucess and safe return from the wars in France for Edward’s father when he would have needed to be home sireing his son. He establishes a five week gap of absence.

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PatrickLondon “Parliament” is the Commons, Lords and the Monarch acting together. The point is that the nitpickers claim that as it was an unlawful Monarch who assented to the Act of Settlement, it’s no law at all.

There is a lot wrong with their claim but the parliamentary supremacy bit is not one of them.

Sensational and dubious claims in ‘documentaries’ are common. The more sensational, the more viewers.

The document says that Richard, Duke of York, was in Pontoise (near Paris) around the time of Edward’s conception. The Duchess was in Rouen in Normandy, which was English territory at the time, not French. The distance from Rouen to Pontoise is about 60 miles or 100km, and an old Roman road linked the two.

So it was about a 2 days’ ride for one to visit the other. Not a big deal at all.

I understand that entirely, but since the substantive fact was that by then any monarch would have done what the other components of the “Crown in Parliament” would have said, and since any other claimant would have depended for their legitimacy on the Commons and Lords, their point is simply a distinction without a difference.