Thursday 31 May 2007

Royal Stuart Society's Restoration Dinner, 2007

David Lumsden of Cushnie, Garioch Pursuivant to the Countess of Mar; Alexandre de Prat i Pont; Don Victor Franco De Baux; Hugh Macpherson Esq.

Monarchists, traditionalists and historians gathered en masse yesterday evening in the dignified surroundings of London's Travellers Club library to honour the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660; thus marking the end of 11 years of hated, puritanical republican dictatorship. The Royal Stuart Society organises this splendid annual dinner on or around Oak Apple Day, May 29th, King Charles II's birthday and the date of his triumphal entry into London.

The Governor General of the Society, HG The Duke of St. Albans, presided over the dinner and the guest of honour was Lord Charles FitzRoy, son of the Royal Stuart Society's Vice-President, HG The Duke of Grafton KG, and a descendant of King Charles II. Lord Charles's latest book, Return of the King: The Restoration of Charles II is due to be published this year by Sutton.

This well-attended annual event is always a delight and provides an opportunity to meet friends old and new.

"The Royal Stuart Society was founded in 1926 and has an international membership.

The Society’s specific Objects as laid down in its Constitution are:

* to be open to all who have an interest in the members of the Royal House of Stuart, their descendants and supporters

* to promote research in and further knowledge of Stuart history

* to uphold rightful Monarchy and oppose Republicanism

* to arrange such commemorations, lectures and other activities as shall advance these objectives

"The Society is therefore of a monarchist and traditionalist character and with a specific interest in the Royal House of Stuart and research concerning the Royal House and Stuart history.

"Within these parameters, the Society regards itself as a ‘Broad Church’ and applications for membership will be welcomed from all who support its objects and ethos as shown above.

"The Society gladly recognises that those who form its membership are likely to have a varied range of particular interests. For some it will primarily be support for the institution of monarchy and the upholding of monarchical institutions against attack from their opponents. This support may favour, for instance, the legitimist stance based on hereditary principles and exemplified in the Jacobite movement and tradition after 1688. Adherents of this position will look with favour on the senior and direct hereditary heirs of the Royal House of Stuart although as our page on ‘Succession’ makes clear, none of those heirs has claimed any or all of the thrones of the British Isles since 1807. Other members of the Society will support or find acceptable the ‘parliamentary’ monarchy created by the Act of Settlement (1701) and now embodied in the reigning House of Windsor. For all there will be a consensus based on the desirability of having a monarchy rather than a republic. Closely linked with support for monarchy, members are likely to favour organised society in these islands being of a Christian, civilized and traditionalist nature. In a more general way they will favour co-operation with other credible monarchist bodies such as the International Monarchist League to support monarchical forms of government worldwide.

"For many members of the Society, a key emphasis will lie with the achievement of historical accuracy and credible interpretations of events, policies and outcomes in studies relevant to the Stuarts and the periods of their primary significance by high quality scholarship. In this connection, the flourishing state of Jacobite studies from 1688 to 1807 has inestimably benefited the Society. Such members may themselves be academics or people with a significant interest in historical work concerning the Stuarts. These members may be actively engaged in original research and also in challenging errors of fact or interpretation where unsubstantiated or biased interpretations have previously been accepted. They will be especially interested in the programme of high quality lectures and publications organised and produced by the Society and shown on the ‘Forthcoming Events’ and ‘Publications’ pages of this website. By arrangement with publishers, the Society is often able to offer newly published books on Stuart history to its members at discounted prices. Such books and others may also be reviewed in our annual ‘Royal Stuart Review’ which all members receive.

"Other members may have as their foremost interest the fascinating and complex world of Stuart iconography and symbolism found in the portraiture, glassware and medals which enabled the Stuarts to communicate with their subjects and supporters both as reigning and exiled monarchs in an age without means of mass communication. A number of recognised experts in these fields are members of the Society and other members are serious collectors. Beyond that there is the reviving interest in the music of the Stuart Court and period both in the British Isles and in exile in France and Italy and the consequent resurgence of enthusiasm for composers such as Gibbons, Lawes, Lanier, Blow, Couperin and Fede. Linked to these interests is the Society’s programme of visits to places of Stuart interest such as Ham House, Restoration House (Rochester), Chiddingstone Castle and the Library at Windsor Castle.

"For the majority of members, it is clear that interest lies not so much in any one of these subjects but in a combination of them all. Membership of the Society therefore attractively represents the opportunity to support monarchical institutions and traditionalist values in the context of academic excellence, the visual and musical Arts and good fellowship." (Source: The Royal Stuart Society)

"This day, it is thought, the King do enter the city of London.": Samuel Pepys, 29 May 1660.

Saturday 26 May 2007

Royal Canadian

I am fortunate to be a "dual monarchist" in that I am a subject of Her Majesty in both her British and Canadian realms. I therefore heartily endorse the petition to restore the "Royal" prefix to Her Majesty's Canadian navy and airforce.

I urge all proud and loyal Canadians to sign the petition today!

"To commemorate the Canadian navy's centennial in 2010, we the petitioners call upon Parliament to ask Her Majesty that she be pleased to restore the Royal designation to the Canadian navy and Canadian air force, and so to build upon the success of our unified and integrated Canadian Forces by celebrating the unique and proud heritage of its distinctive elements."

Sign the petition at this link: Sign the Petition/

Thursday 24 May 2007

The Hat and the Crown

During the recent State Visit by Our Sovereign Lady to the United States I watched with interest the first meeting between HM and the First Lady and noted that the latter presented no curtsy. I contrasted this with a meeting, which I fondly recall, betwen The Queen and Nancy Reagan some years earlier at which the then First Lady made the controversial decision to make this deferential gesture.

As an American citizen and wife of the President of the United States, Mrs. Reagan was neither obliged nor expected to curtsy. That she did so was a clear demonstration of her impeccable breeding and her deep respect both for Her Majesty and for the Crown.

Nevertheless, the subject of deference caused me to ponder further and, whilst contemplating the age-old custom of hat-doffing, which at one time evolved into an elaborate and dexterous artform, I recalled that the Quakers had traditionally claimed the right to remain 'hatted' at all times -- on the ground that doffing one's hat was a courtesy to be afforded only to God. Indeed, it is alleged that upon receiving a firmly-hatted William Penn, King Charles II removed his own hat, declaring: "it is the custom that only one person remain covered."

The privilege of remaining hatted is claimed as a (dubious) right by some members of the peerage. The 18th Baron Kingsale is said to have "walked to and fro with his hat on his head" in front of William III on the grounds that it was his right. Simon Winchester notes that Lord Forester "has a document that appears to be a license granted at the time of Henry VIII giving all the heirs of John Forester of Watling Street the right to keep a covered head in kingly presence." However Winchester states that both Kingsale and Forester suffered from ringworm, resulting in disgusting heads which no Sovereign would wish to see; thus the privilege of remaining 'hatted'.

Winchester continues that a Victorian Lord Kingsale tried to assert this right in the presence of the Queen-Empress, causing Her Majesty to declare: "It may be your right to keep your hat on before a monarch, but I am a lady, too. Your action is most impolite. Take it off at once." Apocryphal perhaps -- but amusing nonetheless.

Tuesday 22 May 2007

King Michael of Australia?

It appears that a group of republicans have latched on to the following 2004 story and are trying to make mischief:

BBC NEWS STORY: "Aussie is 'Heir to the Crown'" (first reported 5 January 2004).

A forklift truck driver in a remote Australian town is the rightful King of England, a historian has claimed

"Dr Michael Jones says Queen Elizabeth's claim to the throne is false because her distant ancestor, Edward IV, was illegitimate. He concludes that the crown should have passed instead through another royal line which today ends at British-born Michael Abney-Hastings, 62.

"King Michael" said he was shocked by the news - but remained a republican.
He said it was "unlikely" that he would go to Buckingham Palace to claim the crown.
Dr Jones' thesis, explored in a recent television documentary, suggests that Edward IV, who reigned from 1461 to 1483, was conceived when his parents were 160 kilometres apart.

His "father", Richard Duke of York, was fighting the French at Pontoise, near Paris, while his mother, Lady Cicely Neville, was at court in Rouen. She was said to be spending much of her time in the company of a local archer with whom she was rumoured to be having an affair.

Dr Jones said Edward IV's alleged illegitimacy means the crown should instead have been passed down the Plantagenet line - ending at Mr Abney-Hastings. The unlikely heir lives in Jerilderie, a small town 640km southwest of Sydney, in New South Wales, where he moved from the UK as a teenager.

"I don't think it's really sunk in yet," he said.
The farm forklift truck driver said he had already known he was descendant of the Plantagenet family - and 14th Earl of Loudon in Scotland - but never guessed he could be a contender to the throne.

"I'm definitely a republican," he said.
"As much as I love England, I honestly feel in this day and age Australia should be standing on its own feet in everything, and that means we have to be a republic. In the last referendum we had on it, I actually voted to become a republic."

He said it was "very unlikely" he would go to London and demand entry at Buckingham Palace. But he quipped, "I'll hedge my bets."

Mr Abney-Hastings, who is widowed, said he was treated the same as ever by friends and family - except on Christmas Day, when he was welcomed to dinner with a rendition of God Save the King.

He said his eldest son had not mentioned inheriting his crown, and warned: "He'll have to wait. It's not available till I go."

Buckingham Palace, meanwhile, refused to respond specifically to the claims, saying any conclusions reached in the television documentary were "a matter for the programme makers". STORY ENDS

Buckingham Palace may have wisely chosen to remain silent on this issue but this Monarchist is not fettered by the same constraints.

Dr. Michael Jones and his cohorts and, indeed, all who have advocated this theory, appear to have a very poor grasp of history, biology and the constitution.

It is easiest to rebut the story in point form:

1. The programme host and historian contend that during the period in which Edward IV was supposed to have been conceived, his father, The Duke of York, was at war in Pontoise. The Duke of York was away from his wife (who was in Rouen) for 2.5 weeks either side of the alleged point of conception. The programme failed to consider the possibility of a late pregnancy and unfairly dismissed the concept of a premature birth. It is quite ridiculous for a serious scholar to dismiss either possiblity in such a cavalier manner. If one takes into account the very real possibilty of either a premature or a delayed birth it is entirely plausible that Edward IV was conceived whilst the Duke of York was in England.

2. Even if we accept that Edward IV was a bastard it is of no great concern since his father accepted him as his legitimate issue. The significance of such recognition appears to have been lost upon all who have reported this story. Legitimacy is a legal concept. ****Edward IV was legitimate in law.**** End of story.

3. Those advocating for this theory place far too much emphasis on the notion of primogeniture as the all-important factor for deciding who would reign in this period. In Medieval England primogeniture was not as important as it would later become. If it were we would not have had a King John.

Similarly, the programme and subsequent articles fail to consider the impact of the Tudors (or the Hanoverians for that matter). Henry VII became king by the ancient concept of the "Mandate of Heaven", having defeated Richard III at Bosworth Field in 1485. Henry VII was not the rightful genealogical successor; he became King by right of battle and later secured his position through marriage to Edward IV's daughter.

Whether or not Edward IV was legitimate, the Wars of the Roses would most likely still have been fought and Henry VII may still have become King.

4. The Glorious Revolution of 1688 also appears to have been forgotten. Parliament invited William of Orange to come to Britain -- causing King James II to flee. Mary was not next in the line of succession (that was James "III", the Old Pretender) and so again we have an example of primogeniture taking secondary position.

5. Most important of all, the programme (and articles) completely ignores the critical fact that our Sovereign, HM The Queen, reigns not by virtue of her Plantagenet descent but because of the ACT OF SETTLEMENT!

In 1701 Parliament decided that the Hanoverians should reign and, in choosing a king, passed over many persons who had a better genealogical claim than George I; the Electress Sophia became the person from whom descent was to be traced, not Edward IV! Parliament has decided the matter. Conclusion: The whole issue of Edward IV's illegitimacy is completey irrelevant. Arrant nonsense!

Thursday 17 May 2007

Churchill's London Honours

Many will be aware that two of my great interests in life are Churchill and London. I therefore thought it would be interesting to determine which London-related honours Churchill had received. I share my findings below:

The highest honour the Corporation of London can bestow is the Honorary Freedom (not to be confused with the modern Freedom which can be obtained by application), which Churchill was invited to take by the Court of Common Council.

Churchill was a liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Mercers which, appropriately, is the first of the Great Twelve. He was also an Honorary Bencher of Gray's Inn (1942). Churchill shares these joint honours with the Elizabethan Sir Thomas Gresham, founder of the Royal Exchange.

Other historical benchers include Hillaire Belloc and Lord Macaulay (thus providing a link to Churchill the historian and reader of history). Further back in time we find Lord Howard of Effingham (later Earl of Nottingham), Lord Admiral of the Fleet -- forever enshrined in our annals as commander of the English fleet during the invasion of the sinister Spanish Armada (here providing a link to Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty).

Looking at the list of more recent Honorary Benchers of Gray's Inn I note some interesting Churchill contemporaries: Lord Birkenhead, GCSI (F.E. Smith), Franklin Roosevelt and Sir Robert Menzies, KT.

Of particular note is the fact that the very first meeting between Churchill and Roosevelt took place at Gray's Inn on January 29, 1918. Roosevelt, as assistant secretary in the navy, was visiting London on naval business and attended a dinner at this venerable Inn of Court. Churchill, as minister of munitions, was also present. As has become common knowledge FDR did not acquire a favourable first impression of Churchill (quite the opposite!). Things cannot have improved when, at their next meeting 23 years later, the Great Man appeared to have no recollection of ever having met Roosevelt. Fortunately for the Grand Alliance FDR chose not to dwell on this!

At any rate, it is surely quite fitting that in later years both Churchill and FDR would become honorary benchers of the institution that first introduced them.

Sir Winston Churchill on London:

"London is so is like a pre-historic monster into whose armoured hide showers of arrows may be shot in vain." (During the Blitz)

"We shall defend every village, every town and every city. The vast mass of London itself, fought street by street, could easily devour an entire hostile army; and we would rather see London laid in ruins and ashes than that it should be tamely and abjectly enslaved." 14 July 1940

"He hopes, by killing large numbers of civilians, and women and children, that he will terrorise and cow the people of this mighty imperial city.... Little does he know the spirit of the British nation, or the tough fibre of the Londoners, whose forebears played a leading part in the establishment of Parliamentary institutions and who have been bred to value freedom far above their lives. This wicked man, this repository and embodiment of many forms of soul-destroying hatred, this monstrous product of former wrongs and shame, has now resolved to try to break our famous island race by a process of indiscriminate slaughter and destruction. What he has done is to kindle a fire in British hearts, here and all over the world, which will glow long after all traces of the conflagration he has caused in London have been removed." 11 September 1940

"London can take it!"


35A Great Cumberland Place (1874-1900, Lord and Lady Randolph's)
105 Mount Street (1900-1905, his first bachelor flat)
12 Bolton Street (1905-09), the first house of his own)
33 Eccleston Square (1909-13)*
41 Cromwell Road (1915-? shared with his brother Jack and their families)
Sussex Square (post-WW1?)*
12 Morpeth Mansions (1930s)
28 Hyde Park Gate (1945-65)*

The Bendy Bus Blight

Two days ago, as I walked along Southampton Row en route to Spink, I chanced upon an immense, snaking traffic jam, in all directions, at the intersection of High Holborn and Kingsway. Two police vans had been positioned so as to block access to the intersection and no fewer than 6 policemen stood in the street. My first reaction was to suspect a road accident or some ghastly terrorist or other criminal incident; however upon hearing the familiar "beep beep beep" that accompanies the reversing of a bus I realised the source of the mayhem: one of the bendy buses had been trying, unsuccessfully, to turn right from Kingsway into Holborn. I do not know how long the driver had been attempting this manouever (quite some time considering the circus) however I stood witness to the final 5 minutes of painful reversing and driving forward. Eventually the driver gave up and drove straight on into Southampton Row. As I passed this ridiculous scene I overheard one of the policemen explain the situation to a gawping tourist: "These buses were not designed for London's streets".

Another example of the sheer lunacy of the contemptible decision to replace London's beloved Routemaster.

Winston Churchill, HG The Duke of London?

One week ago, on May 10th, I dined with several friends to mark the 67th anniversary of Churchill's appointment as Prime Minister. On that fateful day in 1940 Winston Churchill arrived at Buckingham Palace and was received in private audience by HM King George VI, who asked him to form an all-party government. As we remembered this important event we reflected, too, upon Churchill's other meetings at Buckingham Palace and upon his devotion to the Monarchy.

The last significant meeting between Churchill and his Sovereign at Buckingham Palace centred around another important appointment; however this was not an invitation to the "lowly" office of Prime Minister but, rather, to the exalted rank of duke.

In the early 50s Lord Salisbury had seriously suggested Churchill be sent up to the Lords whilst remaining Prime Minister. Salisbury believed this would enable WSC to fade away gracefully as elder statesman whilst enabling Anthony Eden to assume the dominant position in the Commons. Lord Moran agreed with Salisbury but Jock Colville, who had a better understanding of Churchill's character, doubted the Great Man would agree. Colville had discussed the subject of a peerage in the past and Churchill had sarcastically replied that he would have to become the Duke of Chartwell and Randolph would be the Marquess of Toodledo. It should also be noted that Churchill did not have much regard for the upper chamber (Salisbury apparently once said that Churchill "regards us in the Lords as a rather disreputable collection of old gentlemen") and it was therefore agreed that only Her Majesty could convince Churchill to go the Lords. Salisbury suggested plans be set in motion but little progress was made and the concept of a Lord Churchill died a natural death.

In 1947 Churchill purchased Bardogs Farm (next to Chartwell). In a letter to his barrister, Leslie Graham-Dixon, discussing a possible dukedom, Churchill wrote: "Duke of Bardogs would sound well, and Randolph could be Marquess of Chartwell." It is to be assumed that he was writing in jest.

In 1955, after Churchill stepped down as PM, the Palace considered offering him a dukedom. An earldom was the hereditary title PMs would traditionally expect however it was agreed that Churchill deserved something higher. Unfortunately, since 1917 the policy of the Royal Household prohibited the creation of non-royal ducal titles; consequently, the offer to Churchill could only be made if the Palace was given assurances that he would refuse.

As detailed in *Fringes of Power*, Colville guaranteed that Churchill would never accept: "First of all what could he be Duke of?", Colville wrote, "Secondly even if he were Duke of Westerham, what would Randolph be? He could only be Marquess of Puddleduck Lane which was the only other possession he had apart from Chartwell. And thirdly, and quite seriously, he wished to die in the House of Commons as Winston Churchill." [ It should be noted, however, that this argument is misinformed and carries little weight as there is no requirement that a peer own the property mentioned in his title.] The Palace therefore felt confident enough to offer him a dukedom.

A number of people have suggested various possible titles including "Duke of London" and "Duke of Dover". One of my correspondents once told me: "There were rumours that it was proposed to create an entirely new degree of peerage, Consul, that would rank even above Dukes, but this would violate the commitment to Baronets in 1611 that no additional higher titles would ever be introduced...." however I have seen no evidence in support of any of these views.

Despite Colville's assurances, some courtiers worried that Churchill, the devout and romantic monarchist, might accept the dukedom if for no other reason than to avoid causing offence to The Queen. Fortunately HM did not have to face such an embarrassing situation. In a letter to Randolph Churchill quoted in Fringes of Power Colville wrote: 'Churchill returned from the Palace with tears in his eyes: "Do you know, the most remarkable thing she offered me a Duke."' Colville nervously asked what he had said in response. "Well, you know, I very nearly accepted, I was so moved by her beauty and her charm and the kindness with which she made this offer, that for a moment I thought of accepting. But finally I remembered that I must die as I have always been Winston Churchill. And so I asked her to forgive my not accepting it. And do you know, it's an odd thing, but she seemed almost relieved."

When HM unveiled the statue of WSC in Parliament Square she spoke as follows:

"I thought that when he resigned as Prime Minister, and would no longer play an active role in party politics, I might honour his wholly exceptional achievements by offering him a dukedom. No such distinction had been proposed for nearly a century.

"But he wanted to spend his last years where he had passed almost all his adult life—the House of Commons—and indeed he had no need for distinction greater than the name of Winston Churchill."

Given Churchill's fascination with his great ancestor, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough it is interesting that he should not have expressed greater interest in the possibility of establishing his own ducal dynasty -- although perhaps he was all too aware that the family would not have had sufficient wealth at their disposal to live a thoroughly ducal life.

Thus Winston Churchill died as he was born.....almost: for in his 90 years he did manage to acquire several other honours from the Crown.

Sir Winston S. Churchill, KG, OM, CH, MP, PC, PC (Can)

Tuesday 1 May 2007

A royal brain teaser....

A fascinating question was recently posed on a Monarchist discussion board. The scenario is one that we in this Scepter'd Isle shall hopefully never face, nevertheless it raises some interesting issues and I therefore post the question and my reponse:

Q. Can an unborn baby inherit the throne? e.g. the King dies while his wife is pregnant with their son. Will that unborn son inherit or eventually inherit the throne?

As with all such questions, one must first look to the law of succession applicable to the state / house in question. Unfortunately, in the case of our own Monarchy, there is no clear answer.

We must therefore turn to history for guidance. Whilst our Monarchy has never dealt with this scenario, there have been examples on the continent.

Louis X's queen, Clemence d'Anjou, was pregnant at the time of his death in 1316. In what laid the foundation for Salic succesion, Louis' living daughter was passed over and Louis' brother was named regent. 5 months later Clemence gave birth to a boy, who immediately succeeded to the throne as King Jean I. He died a few days later and the regent succeeded as King. Had Clemence given birth to a daughter, the regent, as heir presumptive, would have been named Sovereign retroactively to the date of his brother's death. Something similar occurred a few years later, also in France, with Philip VI's succession to Charles IV in 1328, although Philip's relationship was more distant.

A less ancient case occurred in Spain in 1885, where the law of succession was similar to our own. Upon the death of King Alfonso XII his pregnant queen was appointed regent. Her child was proclaimed King upon birth. We might expect a similar scenario in the case of our own monarchy, although this cannot be guaranteed as the Regency Act permits the establishment of a regency only where a sovereign exists.

Unfortunately we cannot look to any UK legislation for advice as none deals with this specific event. Whilst any answer must therefore be speculative, our own history provides us with one possible solution. Queen Adelaide, William IV's widow, was still of child-bearing age upon his death in 1837. Consequently Victoria was proclaimed queen "saving the rights of any issue of his late Majesty's consort". This proclamation may provide some indication of the manner in which the matter might be handled -- although it is our law-makers who shall have final say.

Precedence of Female Royals and the Duchess of Cornwall, "Princess" or not?

Following the 2005 marriage of HRH The Prince of Wales, HM The Queen adjusted the precedence list for female members of the Royal Family. Female precedence is now set as follows:

HM The Queen
HRH The Princess Royal
HRH Princess Alexandra, the Hon Lady Ogilvy
HRH The Duchess of Cornwall
HRH The Countess of Wessex
HRH The Duchess of Gloucester
HRH The Duchess of Kent
HRH Princess Michael of Kent

The change prompted the following exchange in Royal Insight (the "official" Royal magazine):

Q: Marc - South Africa. I read that HM The Queen has just reviewed the precedence list to include The Duchess of Cornwall. Apparently, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is only fourth on the list, after The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra. I was under the assumption that due to her being the wife of The Prince of Wales, the Duchess is the second highest ranking woman in the Royal Family after the Queen. Why then is the Duchess only fourth on the precedence list?

A: Royal Insight: In order to reflect the Duchess's wish to be called The Duchess of Cornwall rather than The Princess of Wales, The Queen took the opportunity to clarify the precedence list for members of the Royal Family. The Duchess's place in this list reflects the fact that she is a Duchess and not a Princess; thus she comes after The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra.

The explanation put forth in Royal Insight is slightly misleading as it suggests that The Duchess of Cornwall is not a Princess. This is completely incorrect. A wife takes her status, rank and title from her husband; HRH may not wish to be styled "Princess of Wales", and we must certainly respect this wish, but as the wife of the Prince of Wales she remains Princess of Wales in law. Likewise, upon the Prince of Wales' accession to the throne the Duchess of Cornwall shall legally become Queen.  The team at Royal Insight also appear to be unaware that as the wife of a Prince of the United Kingdom, the Duchess of Cornwall is also a Princess of the United Kingdom. 

Royal Insight's explanation would suggest that the Countess of Wessex is not a Princess, yet surely no one suggests that the Earl of Wessex is not also HRH The Prince Edward. If Prince Michael of Kent were given a dukedom, his wife, Princess Michael of Kent, would be a duchess but would remain a princess.

In the short time since the new precedence came into effect, it has proved difficult to ascertain the reasoning behind the changes and opinion is divided. It has been claimed by some that this is a Court Precedence list and/or is for private use only, which would mean that the revision has had no impact upon the general Table of Precedence. Evidence in support of this view was supplied at the state dinner held for HM The King of Norway, at which HRH The Duchess of Cornwall was accorded precedence over TRH The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra. Others have argued that this is a list of "personal" precedence, for events at which the Duchess of Cornwall and Countess of Wessex are present without their husbands.

Although some have claimed that the seniority accorded TRH The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra might be due to their status as Ladies of the Garter, I suspect that their ranking is more likely based upon their status as Princesses of the Blood. It is true that this would also apply to the daughters of the Duke of York, however their low ranking must surely be due to their age. As this is a private list one should not necessarily expect clear cut rules as applied to the Table of Precedence. It is The Queen's prerogative to amend the list at will and whilst we may debate the reasoning behind certain decisions, it is certainly not our place to question or challenge the final ranking.

* It must also be noted that Lady Louise, the daughter of HRH The Earl of Wessex is also a Princess.