Sunday, September 18, 2022

Will Beatrice and Eugenie be Alastair-ed?

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 When Charles succeeded to the throne, a vacancy opened with the Counsellors of State.  The Regency Act (1937) requires the first four adults in the line of succession and the spouse of the sovereign to fulfill certain duties if the Sovereign is abroad or ill.  

In the final years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, the Counsellors of State were: the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex, and the Duke of York.  A Counsellor of State must be domiciled in the UK.     

Charles' ascension to the throne means Queen Camilla and Princess Beatrice, the Duke of York's elder daughter, are now Counsellors of State, joining the Dukes of Sussex and York.  Although the Duke of Sussex now lives in Montecito, California, he has extended his lease on Frogmore Cottage, which means he is domiciled in the United Kingdom, although noted constitutional historian Vernon Bognador has disagreed with this assessment/.

The Daily Telegraph is reporting that King Charles III wants Parliament to amend the law so only working royals can be Counsellors of State.  If a new law is passed that requires Counsellors of State to be working royals, the Duke of Sussex, the Duke of York, and Princess Beatrice would be removed.

The most likely replacements are the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal, and the Duke of Gloucester, all of whom have served as Counsellors of State.  The Duke of Gloucester has had two separate appointments as a Counsellor of State.

I expect other changes as well, including a new Letters Patent that will go further than George V's 1917 Letters that limited the HRH and title of Prince or Princess to the children of the Sovereign, grandchildren of the sovereign in the male line and the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.  In December 2012, Queen Elizabeth II issued a new Letters Patent that changed one clause in the 1917 Letters Patent.   All children of the eldest son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales will have the HRH and title of Prince or Princess.

The Queen did not take it further to allow the children of all the sons of the Prince of Wales to be styled as HRH Prince or Princess.

In the 1990s, the then Way Ahead Group was founded by Lord Airlie, the Lord Chamberlain, and included senior royals and private secretaries.  The primary goal was to discuss and implement changes at the time and in the future. One of the first changes was the announcement that the Queen would pay income tax.

The Way Ahead group also discussed how to slim down the royal family.  

 One idea that was discussed was to downgrade the Duke of York's daughters to the status of daughters of a duke: Lady Beatrice and Lady Eugenie Mountbatten-Windsor.  It was already known that the York princesses were never going to be working royals.

This suggestion was vetoed, but the plan was implemented when Prince Edward married Sophie Rhys-Jones.  It was announced on their wedding day that their children would be styled as children of an earl, as Edward was created Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn.  The statement said that the Queen DECIDED and Edward and Sophie agreed to her decision to not have their children styled as royals.  

Edward and Sophie's children are styled as Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor and Viscount Severn (whose Christian name is James.)

One reason -- and it is a major reason - - for the new king to issue a new Letters Patent is the gender equal succession.  The eldest child is the heir/heiress apparent.  The 1917 Letters Patent is based on male primogeniture. 

I do not like to make predictions, but I think that a new Letters Patent will give the HRH and title of Prince/Princess to the children of the Sovereign, children of the Heir apparent, and the children of the eldest child of the Heir apparent.  This means Louis' children will not be royal.   At this time, Charlotte, even though she is ahead of Louis in the succession, cannot pass her royal titles to her children unless she succeeds to the throne or is created a peer in her own right.  

It is unlikely that the King would downgrade his mother's first cousins, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, and Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy because of their long service and duty to the Crown.

It is possible that the Way Ahead group's recommendation to remove Beatrice and Eugenie's royal titles and be styled as daughters of a duke will be implemented.  This will also apply to The Duke of Sussex's children, the Earl of Dumbarton and Lady Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor, as children of a duke. [Let's be honest: Archie and Lili will grow up in the United States where titles, royal or courtesy are not used.]

This decision will allow uniformity for the style and title of the children of younger sons of a Sovereign. I also expect the King to issue another Letters Patent creating his youngest brother, Edward, as Duke of Edinburgh, which would give him the status and courtesy titles of children of a duke to Lady Louise and James, whose courtesy title would change.

There are precedents for this:  the Queen's decision for Edward and Sophie's children and the 1917 Letters Patent, which removed the title of Prince and Princess and HH (not HRH) from male line great-grandchildren of the Sovereign, and the 1919 Royal Warrant that allowed Princess Patricia of Connaught to relinquish her HRH and title of Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

all images not from Getty: Marlene A Eilers Koenig Collection

This brings us to HH Prince Alastair Arthur of Connaught, who was born on August 9, 1914, in London.   He was the only child of HRH Prince Arthur of Connaught (1883-1938), only son of HRH Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and Princess Luise Margarete of Prussia, and HH Princess Alexandra, 2ndDuchess of Fife (1891-1959).

Prince Arthur's older sister, Margaret, married in 1906 to then Crown Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden, and his younger sister, Princess Patricia (1886-1972) relinquished her royal titles by Royal Warrant when she married the Hon. Alexander Ramsay, youngest son of the 13th Earl of Dalhousie in 1919.  She entered the Abbey as HRH Princess Patricia of Connaught and came out as Lady Patricia Ramsay with the precedence before the Marchionesses of England.

Princess Arthur of Connaught was the granddaughter of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.  Her mother was Princess Louise, Princess Royal, who married Alexander Duff, Earl of Fife.  He was created Duke of Fife at the wedding breakfast.  In April 1900, Queen Victoria issued a Letters Patent giving Louise's husband the second dukedom of Fife (and Earldom of Macduff) that would pass to his daughters and their male heirs.  Louise had given birth to a stillborn son, Alastair, in 1890.

In November 1905, Edward VII created Princess Louise as Princess Royal and raised her two daughters, Lady Alexandra and Lady Maud to HH Princess.  It should be noted that Louise's brother, the Prince of Wales, did not agree with his father's decision to give royal status to Louise's daughters.

Alexandra, a duchess in her own right, having succeeded her father, in 1912, became HRH Princess Arthur of Connaught in 1913.  Her younger sister, Princess Maud (1893-1945) was downgraded in 1923 when she married Lord Carnegie, heir to the Earl of Southesk.  She was styled as Princess Maud when she walked into Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace, but when she and her new husband came out, Maud was styled as Lady Maud Carnegie.  

King George V did not issue a Royal Warrant as he did when Princess Patricia married, but he did tell Maud that she no longer could use the title of Princess.  She reverted to the style of a daughter of an earl.  Her husband succeeded his father in 1941.  Maud's new style was Countess of Southesk.

Princess Arthur, Lady Southesk, and the 2nd Duke of Connaught served as Counsellors of State.

Prince Alastair of Connaught was a male-line great-grandson of a sovereign, but his father was the only son of a younger son of Queen Victoria.  In the new Letters Patent, male line great-grandsons would bear a courtesy title if the father had a dukedom or was styled as a younger son of a duke.  The three-year-old was the heir apparent to his mother's dukedom and second in line to the dukedom of Connaught and Strathearn.  It was decided that he would be styled as Earl of Macduff, until 1942, when he succeeded his paternal grandfather as the 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.  

A year later, the 2nd Duke died as a result of hypothermia in Ottawa, Canada. He was 28 years old.  Sir Alan "Tommy" Lascelles, private secretary to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II wrote: "the wretched young Duke of Connaught, whom his regiment (Greys) have had to get rid of, as he is wholly incompetent." 

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 The Connaught and Strathearn titles reverted to the Crown.  Alastair's first cousin, James, then Lord Carnegie, succeeded to the Fife dukedom when Princess Arthur of Connaught died.

Prince Alastair ceased to be a prince when the 1917 Letters Patent was issued. 

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 A new Letters Patent could mean the loss of royal status for Beatrice and Eugenie.   Which means they could be Alastair-ed.

I am not advocating a change or suggesting that King Charles III will do this.  All I am doing is offering the historical precedents in case it does happen.

Evening Telegraph August 10, 1914

Times August 11, 1914

Times August 26, 1914

Aberdeen Journal July 17, 1917

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Lionel M. said...

This is speculation. Young Alastair of Connaught was not yet 3 when he was demoted and the "Duff princesses" were not born as princesses. What's more, their uncle had always been opposed to his father's decision to elevate them to the title of princess.

Whereas princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are adults and their identity has been their identity since they were born. I think it would be very strange and very unfair to change it at this stage in their lives.

But I'm not the new king so just we wait and see.

Andrea said...

Why sad Edward, that Louise and James not have/use the title Princess and Prince?

Andrew gives his children the title.

Can Louise name herself Princess?
She turned 18 last year.

Margaret (1882-1920), died young.
Her widower married her Cousine Louise, whos only daughter was stillborn.



Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Andrea, Andrew did not give his kids the titles. They are grandchildren in the male line, meaning the HRH and Princess were automatic. The 1917 Letters Patent. Same for the present Dukes of Gloucester and Kent, Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael, as they are grandchildren of a sovereign in the MALE Line. The scandals in the 1990s (the divorces, for example) led to criticism about the size of the royal family, the cost, etc. The plans to remove the princesses' titles and be styled as children of a duke got vetoed. Louise and James are styled as children of an earl. No, Louise cannot decide, that is not how it works. The Queen was the fount of all honors, now Charles is. The decision to give the children the style of children of an earl was the queen's decision. This was the first step toward what will probably be a new Letters Patent for who gets titles.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Hey Lionel, you do not need to send 3 exactly the same comments. Posting is not automatic. I have to approve it. I do not think you read my article because everything you said is in the artice

SL said...

Marlene, Congratulations on a thoughtful and well researched article. I learned a lot regarding the planning underway in the 1990's.

Royal admirer said...

As things stand right now, Archie and Lily are "entitled" to use HRH Prince and Princess, is that a correct statement? Or is there an understanding that these titles are "on hold" until the new monarch makes his will be known?

I admire your high standards for citing references, which I cannot do right now. I am certain I read an interview with HRH Sophie of Wessex where she recognized that her children might choose to use the HRH title when they came of age, but she was quite certain they would not. Louise and James will not be working royals and those titles would be cumbersome in making a living.

But maybe there will be a window for Louise and James to be working royals....?

Andrea said...

Thank you for your answer.

I know that about the male line, so Louise and James can have the titles too, like Beatrice and Eugenie?

Thats not fair to Louise and James.

Edward has been marring to his wife, not divorced.

Poor Louise and poor James.

Whats about Archie and Lilibet?
Now they are grandchildren of a King.
Are they allowed to use title like Prince and Princess or not?

What say King Charles III about this?

Greetings from Austria.


Unknown said...

I've always found it add that Harry's children were not automatically styled as the children of a duke with the style of Lord and Lady, since this is done automatically for the children of non-royal peers. Do you have any insights as to why they have not yet been afforded this courtesy ?

- said...

I think the problem would be to legally define who a "working royal" is. We know that non-working royals occasionally perform duties on behalf of the monarch and represent her/him on formal events. Prince Michael of Kent, for example, did that in the past.
Also, I always thought the concept for the counsellors is that those are the eligible (adult and domiciled in the UK, thus able to actually perform the duties) people closest to the throne by blood, not by right of their work or personal relations to the monarch. I think a solution of this problem would be giving the King power to name counsellors from a list of those eligible.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

It has been decades since Prince and princess Michael represented the queen on one or two occasions. Beatrice and Eugenie were asked by the foreign office to represent the queen at a British festival in Germany, but it is unlikely that they will be asked again. I think there will be less royal patronages.

Archie should be the earl of Dumbarton and Lili as Lady Lilibet Mountbatten-Windsor but right after Archie was born, his parents issued a statement to say that they were not going to use the courtesy title at this time because they wanted their son to have a more private life.

- said...

As I said, it will be a real challenge for the lawyers to come up with a legal definition of a working royal...therefore, I think it will up to the King to choose the counsellors among the eligible persons.

Bridget =) said...

This is a fascinating read and I have wondered about this, now that there are THREE non-working Royals out of the 4. I also thought it went down the line of succession, so instead of the Duke of Gloucester, why isn't it Katherine (standing in for Pr. George since he is not 18?).

I think Andrew needs to be removed IMMEDIATELY. He is a disgusting disgrace, and needs to just go away. Pr. Harry is a UK citizen in name/property owner only at this time, so I think if they cut away Andrew, they need to cut away Harry too. The Princess Royal and Duke of Wessex would be a FANTASTIC addition. So who is the Duke of Gloucester to King Charles.... his uncle? His mother's cousin? I am trying to figure out where he fits in the line....

Thank you!

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

The Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex (not Duke) have served as Counsellors of state. See my article
Only an act of Parliament can change the Regency Act, Bridget. Counsellors of state are the consort and the first four ADULTS in the line of succession.

The King has no uncles. His mother had no brothers - if she did, the brother would have succeeded). The Duke of Gloucester is the late Queen's first cousin), as are the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Prince Michael of Kent - all grandchildren in the male line of George V. The Duke is the younger son of the late Prince Henry, duke of Gloucester, and became the heir to the dukedom after the death of his older brother, Prince William in a plane crash in august 1972. He has served twice as a Counsellor of State. He follows Arthur Chatto (younger son of Lady Sarah Chatto, nee Armtrong-Jones) in the line of succession. Lady Sarah is the daughter of the Princess Margaret. Katherine? Do you mean Catherine? According to the current law, George would become a Counsellor of state at 18 if his father is king, but 21 if Charles is king. The Princess of Wales is not eligible to be a Counsellor of State, according to the Regency Act. In May 2022, the Queen issued a Letters Patent naming Charles and William as Counsellors of State to step in to open parliament. This was the first since 2015 that Counsellors of state were named. When the Sovereign goes abroad, 2 COS are named -- Andrew and Harry had not been named in years. Philip could not be replaced as a COS because he was the spouse .. now with Charles as king, Camilla becomes a COS, with William, Harry, Andrew and Beatrice. It will be interesting to see when Parliament takes on passing legislation to change this.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

dear said .. It will be up to Parliament to pass legislation to change counsellors of state

Matthew Plooster said...

This will be very interesting to see pan out. I imagine that the new reign will lead to several changes that brings the UK in line with other European monarchies that have 1) slimmed down, and 2) modernized their relevancy/practices/ceremonies. My guess (crystal ball is currently out of commission) is that the wife of the POW will be included in the COS retinue (I also imagine that Catherine will get the Garter fairly soon, too). I could also see the legislation moving in a direction of "the sovereign may appoint up to X individuals as COS provided they meet X, Y, and Z eligibility." How are COS/regencies modeled in other royal houses? If memory serves, there's more of a "one-size-fits-all" approach in Danish, Swedish, etc., royal houses that, with a slimmed-down monarchy, the UK may be headed in that direction.