Saturday, September 19, 2015

What if: Could a Stuart king today roll back history?

A Catholic monarchist writes:
Now — if one can maintain civility, I open the floor to a question I asked my Jacobite friend, which I think is one worth asking (and please do not fight the Jacobite Wars over again here — that is not my point — nor ought you to assert the superiority of the American republic! Please just follow along). As we know, George III absolved his American subjects of their allegiance to the Crown with the treaty of Paris in 1783 — from which dates the de jure independence of these united States. Now the Jacobites did not accept the Union of Parliaments of 1707, because for them, it was an action approved by the usurper, Queen Anne, and not by James III. Obviously Charles III was not a party to the treaty of Paris. Now, presumably, if a closer heir of the Stuarts than the current Royal Family once again occupied the Throne, both the 1707 and 1800 Acts of Union, the independence of the American colonies, and indeed, the 1922 partition of Ireland and the Statute of Westminster would not be recognised by said heir (although one can easily suppose that they might soon be officially recognised out of necessity). For my Jacobite friends, what think ye of all of this?
Right, and before the Acts of Union (whence the British flag, the Union Flag/Jack) you had England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland as separate countries that happened to have the same king, sort of like the setup today with the dominions (so Elizabeth II is the Queen of Canada, etc.).

Anyway, practically speaking, probably not. But fun to think about. (Better still: undo World War I.)

If a Stuart monarch claimed Ireland or America, what could he do about it now?

By the way, the church has never been synonymous with Irish republicanism, American St. Patrick's Day notwithstanding with well-meaning American Catholics giving money to the IRA "cause." Early Irish nationalists were Protestants; later ones Marxists. The Popes would have loved to help Catholic Ireland with a top-down solution, hierarchy being the natural way, by having a Catholic British king such as the revert Stuarts bring all those kingdoms back into the church at once. Sort of like how we'd like to bring all the Orthodox back into the church at the same time.

Since the empire in its old form is done (and has been since World War I ran Britain broke, and which its elite were already preparing for secretly with Americans), with its real capital now Washington (obvious since World War II), is the question moot, sort of like Taiwan legally being Nationalist China?


  1. "... and before the Acts of Union (whence the British flag, the Union Flag/Jack) you had England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland as separate countries that happened to have the same king,"

    True enough for England, Scotland and Ireland - for Wales, well, sort of. Wales was never a unified realm or kingdom, although one Welsh prince, Hywel Dda (d. 950) briefly brought all the Welsh kingdoms under his rule. By 1066, the Welsh princes, or most of them, owed a very vague deference to English kings (this was before the introduction of feudalism after 1066; Scottish kings owed an even more vague deference). In the 1070s and 80s ambitious Norman barons overran (a process completed by the early 1100s) all the Welsh principalities, save Gwynedd in the north (and they nearly overran that, too, before being pushed back in the 1130s and 40s): these "Marcher lordships" and their lords, and the rulers of Gwynedd, owed feudal allegiance to the English kings, although their lands were not part of the "Realm of England." Edward I conquered Gwynedd in the 1270s and 80s, and thereafter the area was governed by Crown-appointed officials, although it was still not part of England. By 1500 the other Marcher lordships had come under Crown control as well, due to extinction of their Anglo-Norman-Welsh lords, or to forfeiture before and during the course of the Wars of the Roses. The Act of Union of 1540 incorporated all Wales into England, dividing it into shires, replacing Welsh legal custom by English Common Law, and depriving the Welsh language of any legal standing or recognition. Parts of the Welsh borderland were incorporated into Herefordshire, and the SE part of Wales, Gwent, was made into an English county, Monmouthshire. There remained some administrative peculiarities, and Welsh boroughs (and, I think, counties) were represented in the House of Commons by one MP, rather than two, as in "old England."

    As to Scotland, from the 1090s onwards Scottish kings owed personal allegiance to English kings, and through the 1100s Scottish kings held large estates, which brought them more income than they had from Scotland as a whole, in England as Earls of Huntingdon. When the Scottish king supported the rebellion of "Henry the young king" (d. 1183) against his father, Henry II (d. 1189), upon its failure the Scottish king was forced to become a feudal vassal to the English king for the realm of Scotland, and not only personally, but Richard I renounced the overlordship of Scotland when he became King of England, and the Earldom of Huntingdon was conferred upon a younger son of one of these Scottish kings - and when this younger line died out ca. 1237 Henry III refused to allow the Scottish king to inherit the Huntingdon title and lands. Edward I forced John Balliol, when he became Scottish king in 1290, to become Edward's vassal as King of Scotland, and after 1295 Edward's ambition seems to have been to bring Scotland under direct English rule, but it is not clear whether he wished to incorporate Scotland into England. By the Treaty of Northampton of 1329 the English king had to recognize Scotland's complete and total independence, but within a decade the English "forgot about" that treaty and regarded Scotland as a vassal state. It was not until the marriage treaty of 1502 which matched James IV with Henry VII's elder daughter, Margaret Tudor, that the English began officially to regard Scotland as a separate and independent realm (often grudgingly).

    1. Right; I meant "England and Wales" as one kingdom.

  2. Ireland is complicated as well. By papal grant in 1154 (granted by Adrian IV, Nicholas Breakspear, the only English pope) the King of England became "Lord of Ireland:" from the papal perspective the pope had ultimate authority in Ireland; from the English perspective Ireland itself was a subordinate realm to the Kingdom of England (and in the 13th and early 14th centuries, when Parliament functioned as much as a court, as a legislature, appeals could be made from the Irish Parliament to the English Parliament). Henry VIII's assumption in 1540 of the title "King of Ireland" was intended to symbolize the repudiation of any papal overlordship (the papacy recognized the English monarch as King [or in this case, Queen] of Ireland in 1556, after Queen Mary's reconciliation of England [and Ireland] with Rome). Even after the permanent breach between England (and Ireland) and Rome in 1559/60, there were heated altercations between the English Parliament and its Irish counterpart (both of them exclusively Protestant in their membership) over the respective status of the two realms, and in the early 18th century the Irish Parliament was bludgeoned into acknowledging its subordinate status to that of England. In 1783 the English Parliament renounced all authority over Ireland, but Ireland's existence as a completely separate kingdom sharing only its king with England (as with Scotland in the period 1603 to 1707) lasted only until 1800, when the Act of Union united the Kingdom of Ireland with the United Kingdom of Great Britain.

    As a curiosity, there are two "British territories," the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which are not part of the United Kingdom. Acts of the British Parliament apply to, and bind, these territories only if this is explicitly stated in such acts. The Channel Islands are a tiny remnant of the Duchy of Normandy, the rest of which was conquered by the French in 1202-05; the Isle of Man was a tiny vassal kingdom of Scotland (previously of Norway) from 1266 to ca. 1300, and it remained in the hands of English vassal kings (usually one or another English noble family) after the Treaty of Northampton in 1329. When the Stanley family had the Isle of Man conferred upon them in 1400 they took the title "Lord of Man" in placed of the previous "king," and it continued in the Stanley family until George III bought the island and title from the then Stanley Earl of Derby in 1766, in order to bring some order to what had become by then a smuggler's paradise.

  3. As a monarchist and a legitimist, I am sympathetic to the Stuart cause. Alas, reality tends to be inconvenient. The Royal House of Stuart is extinct. It died on July 13 1807 with King Henry IX, who expired without issue, (rather understandably he being a Cardinal of the Roman Church). The succession passed to a female line descended from Henrietta Ann Duchess of Orleans and daughter of King Charles I via a granddaughter of Charles I (Anne Marie Queen of Sardinia) to her son Charles IV of the Ducal and later Royal House of Savoy. Subsequently the succession passed to his younger brother Victor and thence, again via a female heir, Mary, into the Ducal House of Modena, a lesser branch of the House of Habsburg-Lothringen. From there the succession passed through yet another female heir (another Mary) into the Royall House of von Wittelsbach, the hereditary rulers of the Kingdom of Bavaria where the succession currently resides in the person of Duke Franz Bonaventura Adalbert Maria von Wittelsbach of Bavaria.

    One may be forgiven for seeing the irony in that the legitimate heir to the throne of the Three Kingdoms (England Scotland and Ireland) is... another German Prince.

    On a side note it appears that the legitimate succession is likely to soon pass into the Princely House of Lichtenstein. as Duke Franz is an octogenarian bachelor (and reputed homosexual) and his brother and heir presumptive has no male issue. The succession will this pass to Duke Max (presuming he outlives his brother) and then to the eldest of his five daughters the Princess Sophia who has married Alois, Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein. Her heir is their now 20 year old son Joseph Wenzel Maximilian Maria von und zu Liechtenstein.. Thus it is likely that the heir to one of the smallest monarchies in Europe is also an legitimate heir presumptive to the thrones of the Three Kingdoms.


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