24 October 2018

Baby Sussex and the Other #7 Royals

By Mark Jones via Wikimedia Commons
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on October 15 that they are expecting a child in "spring 2019", the search term "When is spring?" spiked on the world's search engines. Every royal watcher in the world is closely watching the newest royal lady and a baby before the first anniversary is the greatest hope we could have. (Not to fall into the "just like Diana" category, but Diana delivered her first child 38 days before her first anniversary. If Meghan does the same -- though there is absolutely no reason why she would -- Baby Sussex will arrive on April 12.)

Whenever Baby Sussex arrives, he or she will fit into the Line of Succession to the throne at the #7 spot as follows:

1. HRH The Prince of Wales
2. HRH The Duke of Cambridge
3. HRH Prince George of Cambridge
4. HRH Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
5. HRH Prince Louis of Cambridge
6. HRH The Duke of Sussex
7. Baby Sussex (either The Lady X Windsor or The Earl of Dumbarton)
8. HRH The Duke of York
9. HRH Princess Beatrice of York
10. HRH Princess Eugenie

Not many royal babies have been born at #7. In fact in the last 300ish years since the Hanoverians came to the throne, only nine babies have been born at the spot. Two of them, while members of the monarch's extended family, were not royal themselves. Such will be the case with Baby Sussex unless something changes. Under current guidelines, the great-grandchildren of the monarch do not get royal status. The only exception being the children of the first son of the Prince of Wales. So, as of now, Harry and Meghan's child will either be styled depending on gender as The Lady First Name Windsor or The Earl of Dumbarton, adopting Harry's secondary title. There are two circumstances that could alter this. First, and it does not bear consideration, would be the death or even more unlikely abdication of The Queen. If the Prince of Wales were to ascend the throne, the new baby would be a male-line grandchild of the monarch and therefore entitled to royal status and royal titles as HRH Prince or Princess First Name of Sussex. (This would also mean that the baby would be born at #6, as everyone would move one step closer to the throne.) The second circumstance would be for The Queen to make a special exception for Harry's children, as she did for Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, as the previous guidelines only provided for William's first child to have royal status.

One of the truths about being born at #7 is that the baby will likely move very far from the throne throughout its lifetime, as we shall see from the #7 predecessors. Moving down the line requires only the birth of more babies ahead of you, while moving up the line requires the far less frequent deaths of your higher-up relatives.

born February 1, 1723
died January 14, 1772 at #29
by Georg Desmarees, Gemaldegalerie
Alte Meister via Wikimedia Commons
Mary was born while her father was still Prince of Wales, but just a few years later, he became King George II and she became The Princess Mary. Of his eight children, only the three youngest (including Mary) were born in Britain. The older children were born in Hanover before their grandfather the King of Hanover became King of Great Britain. In fact, her oldest brother Frederick had been left in Hanover and Mary did not even meet him until she was five years old. Her mother died when she was just 14 and a few years later she was married off to an abusive husband, Frederick of Hesse Kassel. The couple separated after having four sons, one of whom died as an infant. A few years later, Mary's younger sister, Queen Louise of Denmark died at 27 following a miscarriage, Mary took her children to Denmark and helped raise her nephew and three nieces. Naturally, two of her sons married two of her nieces. Mary herself died somewhat young, aged just 48.

born May 22, 1770
died January 10, 1840 at #8
By Thomas Gainsborough
via Wikimedia Commons
Princess Elizabeth was the seventh child of King George III, who notoriously had 15 children but only eight legitimate grandchildren, two of whom died as infants. With the birth of her five younger brothers, the male-preference succession rules of the day pushed her steadily down the line. Then, she bounced up and down in line as several of her brothers had children, then three of those children died and six brothers predeceased her. She never fell lower than 12th in line. Like all of George III's daughters, she lived a very sheltered life and was not allowed to marry as a young woman.  Even a potential marriage with the future French King Louis Philippe was denied due to religious concerns. However, after her father was declared mad, she demanded to be allowed to marry Prince Frederick of Hesse-Homburg. She was almost 47 years old at the time. She was finally able to establish her own household in Germany, but was not able to have a family of her own.

born February 24, 1774
died July 8, 1850 at #12
Due to the deaths of his father, four older brothers and three nieces, he rose as high as #4 during the early years of his niece Queen Victoria's reign. Once she started her family in 1840, however, he was pushed steadily back down on an almost annual basis until his death in 1850. The seventh of George III's nine sons, Adolphus was the last boy to survive to adulthood. He was given the title Duke of Cambridge but educated primarily in the family's kingdom of Hanover, where he also pursued a military career, before returning to Britain to serve in the army there. In 1818, after the death of his niece Princess Charlotte of Wales, who had been the only heir in the next generation, he married Augusta of Hesse Kassel. They produced a son and two daughters, the youngest of whom, Princess Mary Adelaide (see my profile of Mary Adelaide) was the mother of Queen Mary, who was of course the current Queen Elizabeth's paternal grandmother. So, Queen Elizabeth has close connections to the Duke of Cambridge title that she granted to her grandson Prince William.

born September 21, 1845
died November 14, 1923 at #99
At least I think he was at #99 when he passed away. Only the descendants of Queen Victoria came before him, but they were multitudinous by the 1920s. Her nine children had produced 42 grandchildren, many of whom had grandchildren of their own by 1923. In fact, five of Ernst August's grandchildren were at least 30 places higher in the line of succession because their mother, was a great-granddaughter of Victoria. Plus, he would have been even lower in line had it not been for several QVDs (Queen Victoria's Descendants) who married Catholics like Marie of Edinburgh and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg. However, Ernst August had been stripped of his British titles and his Garter knighthood in 1917 for fighting on the side of his own country against Britain. Ernst August was a great-grandson of King George III; his grandfather, the Duke of Cumberland, would have been King of the United Kingdom if Victoria had not been born. Instead, he inherited George's throne in Hanover, where female rulers were not allowed. He married Thyra of Denmark, a younger sister of Queen Alexandra, and had six children. The family was deposed from the Hanoverian throne after losing to Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War in 1866. Ernst August gained a new title as Duke of Brunswick in 1879 after the death of a cousin. The current claimant to his titles is married, though estranged, to Princess Caroline of Monaco.

born April 6, 1871
died April 7, 1871 at #7
The third son and sixth child of the future King Edward VIII and Alexandra of Denmark was born prematurely, but he was not the first of their children to arrive early. Little Alexander John, however, did not thrive like his siblings. He was quickly christened and died just a day after his birth. Alexandra had given birth to six children in just over seven years. Although she was only 26 when they lost Alexander John, she had no children after him.

born August 21, 1924 
died February 27, 1998 at #47
Gerald Lascelles was the second grandson of King George V and Queen Mary, but he and his older brother were the sons of their only daughter Princess Mary, who was later named Princess Royal (see my profile of Mary Princess Royal). Therefore, they received no royal titles, instead being styled through their father, who was the 6th Earl of Harewood. Both Gerald and his brother led (let's say) interesting marital careers. Gerald was still married to his first wife Angela Dowding when he had a son by Elizabeth Colvin, who became his wife 16 years later after his divorce from Angela, by whom he had also had one son. Gerald served as president of the Racing Drivers' Club for 27 years and he helped compile a series of jazz compendiums. His oldest son Henry and Henry's son Maximilian are currently #70 and #71 in the Line of Succession, but his second son Martin was never legitimized and therefore is not in line.

born October 9, 1935
currently #36
Prince Edward of Kent was the first grandchild of King George V to be born to two royal parents. His father was the king's fourth son, George Duke of Kent, and to Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. On his father's side, he is a first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II and a second cousin of her husband who was born Prince Philip of Greece. When his father died in 1942, six-year-old Edward became the Duke of Kent. He graduated from Sandhurst Military Academy and served 20 years in the army, retiring with the earned rank of lieutenant colonel. He is the longest serving Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, is a Garter Knight, and Personal Aide-de-Camp to The Queen. He has represented her around the world and is the patron of dozens of organizations. He married a Yorkshire lass named Katharine Worsley. Today they have three children and 10 grandchildren. At 83 years old, he is the third oldest member of the current British Royal Family after Prince Philip and The Queen.

born July 4, 1942
currently #47
Amazingly, like his older brother Edward, Prince Michael of Kent was also born at #7 while Edward had moved up to #5. He moved up one spot when he was four months old upon the death of their grandfather King George V and one more spot 11 months later when their uncle King Edward VIII abdicated the throne. Both boys moved up a spot a few weeks after Michael's birth when their father was killed in a flying accident. Prince Michael was actually out of the Line of Succession from the time of his marriage to the Catholic Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz in 1978 until the laws were changed in 2013 to allow the spouses of Catholics to inherit the throne, as well as to allow for gender-blind accession. Unlike his brother, Michael does not receive money from the Privy Purse. However, he does carry out some royal duties and has represented The Queen at home and abroad. Often noted for a physical resemblance to his first cousin twice removed Tsar Nicholas II, Michael maintains an active engagement in Russia. He was one of the members of the Royal Family, who contributed DNA to prove the identity of the Russian Imperial Family's remains. He and Marie Christine, who is styled as Princess of Michael, have two children and two granddaughters.

born May 1, 1964 to HRH The Princess Margaret and The Earl of Snowdon
now known as Lady Sarah Chatto
currently #24
Embed from Getty Images
A professional artist, Lady Sarah is a granddaughter of King George VI but in the female line, so she did not inherit any royal titles. Her commoner father was given a title upon his marriage into the royal family, so she has always been styled as the daughter of an earl. She and husband Daniel Chatto have two sons, Samuel born in 1996 and Arthur born in 1999. She is a great favorite of her aunt Queen Elizabeth II and can be seen at almost every royal family occasion. She is also greatly admired by the public for her discretion, kindness and excellent style. Though born at #7, she is now at #24 following the births of The Queen's children and grandchildren and her brother's children. She has only moved up once in her lifetime at the time of her mother's death in 2002. (See my earlier profile of Lady Sarah.)

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