Help! How was Queen Victoria allowed to succeed Wm IV?

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Help! How was Queen Victoria allowed to succeed Wm IV?

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 02 Sep 2017 01:09

Being American, I'm probably totally mixed up on this. But I'm really familiar with British History, so at least I'm not starting in a hole. But, I've been reading and reading today trying to figure this out and hope that some of you who are British (or in parts of the Empire) can help.

I understand the Salic Law issue as relates to the House of Hanover. I also understand that the rules of succession have varied just a wee bit over the centuries, depending on who was more influential, richer or mightier in battle. For some reason, though, everyone seems to refer to Victoria as the only living heir of from the sons of George III. In fact, I never really put two and two together to realize that Victoria actually had living boy cousins. With those boy cousins alive and well, why did she inherit the throne? All of the news reporting about the change to the rules of succession in 2011 treat it like this is new for a girl being allowed to inherit. But, obviously, it had happened before. Why were Victoria's cousins (George and George) not given the male right of inheritance above their girl cousin, regardless of the difference in age of their fathers?

I really appreciate any answers.
Thanks!
Sarah
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Re: Help! How was Queen Victoria allowed to succeed Wm IV?

Postby zerostate » 02 Sep 2017 03:19


"Cookery is the art of preparing and softening food by the action of fire, so as to render it fit for digestion" - Instructions to Military Cooks in the Preperation of Dinners at the Instructional Kitchen, Aldershot, 1878.
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Re: Help! How was Queen Victoria allowed to succeed Wm IV?

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 02 Sep 2017 12:44

Thanks! I have read through those (the first one was very good, in particular!). I guess that what I never realized was that the monarchy, at this late date and since, followed a succession by age without regard to gender. The modern news reporting has done such a good job making you think that the girls don't count when any males are living.

Thank you so much!
Sarah
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Re: Help! How was Queen Victoria allowed to succeed Wm IV?

Postby Josh&Historyland » 04 Sep 2017 20:47

Laws of succession are dashed tricky things but the key is tied up in the branches of the family. In the old days if a Monarch (& by virtue of the neutral terminology you can gather that a woman could reign) had a girl first and then a boy, the boy would inherit, but if the girl remained an only child or survived her brothers she would succeed. It's the same order of precedence with cousins but this only comes into effect if all of the main branch of the ruling house die out.

This is tempered somewhat depending how far back you go. If it came to a matter of cousins at any time before the glorious revolution you'd probably be looking at war, rebellion or assassination. However after 1688 when the laws of succession became very clearly defined you didn't so much have that problem.

The question of matrilineal right goes back a long way & many claimants (and kings) in medieval times felt it was perfectly legal to make a bid based on being the son of a princess of Royal blood. Edward III laid claim to the throne of France through one even though the French did not allow it. William the conqueror laid claim to the throne through a matrilineal line as well. Thus reigning Queens were welcome (so long as by this time they were Protestants) by the time of Elizabeth I & later Anne.

Essentially by Victoria's time the rules were in favour of the closest genetic link. And cousins didn't come into it even if they were boys until the main line was exhausted.
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Re: Help! How was Queen Victoria allowed to succeed Wm IV?

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 04 Sep 2017 20:51

Thanks! Nice explanation and a great help.
I had never really thought about the idea that it was only the order of age that mattered (when a younger brother was not there to inherit). It seems like they always present Victoria as the only surviving child of her many uncles, and that being the reason she came to the throne. That's what confused me there. :)

Thanks so much!
Sarah
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