Monday, April 7, 2008

Franz the First?

I'm a firm believer in the repeal of the Act of Settlement, but if that eventually does happen- will it have a retrospective effect?

If it does, then let me be the first to say:
God Save King Franz Herzog von Bayern,Duke of Bavaria!


The Aberdonian said...

Well it more likely to be "amended" than repealed.

In Denmark the present lot are regulated by two sucession laws. In the first half of the 19th century the king Frederick VII did not produce any heirs and all his near relatives were female. In those days women could come to the throne - more of that later - and so they elected a distant relative - a naval officer Christian of Schleswig-Holstein Sonderburg-Glucksburg as heir apparent since he happened to be married to the king's cousin and they had a pile of kids.

This had grave implications for European peace as the Germanic duchies of Schleswig-Holstein were in personal union with Denmark and they objected to Christian's election. When Christian succeeded the German states lead by Austria and Prussia invaded Denmark and seized the Duchies - causing a bloody war in the process.

Christian reigned as Christian IX. His great-grandson Frederick IX in turn only had female heirs - three daughters. To avoid problems like the previous situation the law was changed so that Frederick's eldest, teenage daughter Margrethe, became heir apparent, usurping her uncle Knud who supposedly had a drink problem. The law also narrowed the succession to descendents of Christian X, Margrethe's grandfather.

Concerning religion, the Danish monarch is head of the Church of Denmark and therefore has to be a practicing Lutheran. They can marry non-Lutherans but the spouses are expected to change their religion - like Margrethe's French husband had to publicly renounce his Catholicism and their daughter-in-law Mary converted to Lutheranism on her marriage to the Crown Prince.

In neighbouring Sweden the ruling house is Bernardotte. They are sired from the Jean-Baptiste Bernardotte who was elected king in 1810, replacing the previous dynasty who were having problems producing direct heirs. Bernardotte was a general of Napolean's and it was felt politic during that period to elect someone who was pally with France. Bernadotte was however forced to convert from Catholicism to Lutheranism as part of the deal. A couple of generations later his decendents married into the deposed "legitimate" line to give themselves a quiet life.

Since then the Swedish monarch has been stripped of the role of supreme governor of the Lutheran Church in Sweden. The constitution inaugurated in 1975 still demanded the monarch and heirs be practicing Lutherans.

Concerning the Wittelsbachs - the Bavarian royal family's name - a few years back they errected a statue of James vi and i in Munich and lay wreaths at it on the anniversary of his death. Charles is supposed to be quite friendly with the Duke as they have a shared interest in art and Charles makes jokes about his family stealing the Duke's inheritance.

Ironically Jacobites on the succession of George I complained he was a "German lairdie". Now the Jacobite claimant is a "German Lairdie"! History can be ironic.

O'Neill said...

I read an article a while back, possibly from Cochrane in the daily telegraph, stating that if we wanted to chage the religious provisions of the Act, it would have to be repealed and a new one passed (rather than ammended) as it would involve a change in the constitutional status of the Uk and also the Commonwealth.

He was against such a change, although for rather negative and pessimistic reasons, as he felt it would set a whole chain of defections from the C/W in motion, not even taking into account the opportunity it might present for celtic nationalism to redefine its own countries' relationship with the central govt