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View Full Version : English Monarchy: Establishing a Regency



Becca C.
10-09-2013, 10:24 AM
Short version: I know that a regency can be established by the next in line to the throne taking over if the current monarch is incapacitated, i.e. the Prince Regent taking over when his father was mad. But does it have to be the heir apparent to the throne who takes over?

Long version: My WIP, A BRAVER THING, involves an alternate-reality House of Windsor. In this universe, Edward VIII never abdicated the throne, he married Wallis Simpson (basically, society was one step ahead of ours, and the prejudice of royalty marrying a divorcée thing wasn't completely out of the question), they had a son who became Richard IV and a daughter, the Princess Royal, Princess Mary. Richard has a son very late in life, Prince Malcolm, and when Richard dies he leaves 18-year-old Malcolm on the throne. Princess Mary's 35-year-old son, Prince Stephen, is the amibitious, conniving antagonist, and basically attempts to bully Malcolm into making him regent or all-out abdicating, because Malcolm is unsure what to do (does he live his life before taking the throne? Go to university? etc).

In this case, would Malcolm be able to bypass Stephen, who is heir apparent, and make his aunt, Princess Mary, his regent? Or would Stephen have to be the regent? Or would this be the kind of thing a medieval war would be started over and there are no technical rules?

GeekTells
10-09-2013, 11:29 AM
I am very much not an expert in the rules of English royalty.

Accordingly, regents aren't necessarily family members, and they are appointed by Parliament. The Prince Regent (later George IV) was so-called because he was the Crown Prince and named Regent by Parliament.

So if your antagonist is doing any lobbying, he's lobbying Parliament. Your young King won't have much say in it, or even whether or not a Regent would be named at all. In addition, Malcolm wouldn't get to pick and choose when he becomes king, and he doesn't get the option of taking a year or four off for University. If he's 18 and capable of ruling, he's going to be named king.

Wikipedia has a semi-useful entry on Regency Acts in the UK (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regency_Acts).

waylander
10-09-2013, 12:17 PM
It seems unlikely because Malcolm has attained his majority. Unless he is really dysfunctional this is not a runner.

mirandashell
10-09-2013, 02:54 PM
It would be pretty much up to Parliament whether there is a Regent and who it would be.

And the whole 'going to University' thing is to give the young uns some experience of the outside world and something to do whilst they are waiting to be King. He won't get to take a year out just cos he wants to do something else. It's an all or nothing job.

williemeikle
10-09-2013, 03:01 PM
Short version: I know that a regency can be established by the next in line to the throne taking over if the current monarch is incapacitated, i.e. the Prince Regent taking over when his father was mad. But does it have to be the heir apparent to the throne who takes over?

Long version: My WIP, A BRAVER THING, involves an alternate-reality House of Windsor. In this universe, Edward VIII never abdicated the throne, he married Wallis Simpson (basically, society was one step ahead of ours, and the prejudice of royalty marrying a divorcée thing wasn't completely out of the question), they had a son who became Richard IV and a daughter, the Princess Royal, Princess Mary. Richard has a son very late in life, Prince Malcolm, and when Richard dies he leaves 18-year-old Malcolm on the throne. Princess Mary's 35-year-old son, Prince Stephen, is the amibitious, conniving antagonist, and basically attempts to bully Malcolm into making him regent or all-out abdicating, because Malcolm is unsure what to do (does he live his life before taking the throne? Go to university? etc).

In this case, would Malcolm be able to bypass Stephen, who is heir apparent, and make his aunt, Princess Mary, his regent? Or would Stephen have to be the regent? Or would this be the kind of thing a medieval war would be started over and there are no technical rules?

And remember, it's not just the English monarchy you're talking about...

Shakesbear
10-09-2013, 03:03 PM
Um . . . didn't the law change so that the eldest child, male or female, gets to inherit? If so, and providing I have not misread the post, then Malcolm would not inherit. Also, what Miranda said - it would be up to Parliament to decide if there is to be a Regency.


basically, society was one step ahead of ours, and the prejudice of royalty marrying a divorcée thing wasn't completely out of the question

It was also that she was an American and a commoner. Mainly, I think, that she was a commoner.

mirandashell
10-09-2013, 03:06 PM
And the King's sister in law hated the sight of her.

Cyia
10-09-2013, 05:28 PM
Wasn't there something about having an abortion in there, too? She couldn't convert to the Church of England because of it, or some such?

mirandashell
10-09-2013, 05:36 PM
Not that I'm aware of...... didn't know that was one the CofE taboos. Catholic, yes.

Shakesbear
10-09-2013, 05:41 PM
Not sure about converting to C of E - back then divorce was frowned on. Seriously frowned on. There is 'stuff' about her having an abortion that left her unable to conceive. That could have had serious implications for a King/Emperor.

waylander
10-09-2013, 05:42 PM
I think the 'divorced woman' thing was the main barrier.

mirandashell
10-09-2013, 05:53 PM
Was it illegal in America at the time? Cos it was here.

TellMeAStory
10-09-2013, 06:54 PM
Yes, abortion was illegal in the US at that time.

mirandashell
10-09-2013, 07:04 PM
So if it is true, that would have definitely fed into the Establishment's disquiet at the time.

Along with the King's playboy antics, the admiration of the Nazis.......

girlyswot
10-09-2013, 07:08 PM
Short version: I know that a regency can be established by the next in line to the throne taking over if the current monarch is incapacitated, i.e. the Prince Regent taking over when his father was mad. But does it have to be the heir apparent to the throne who takes over?

No, it can be anyone. Eleanor of Aquitaine was regent for her son, Richard II while he went off on the crusades, for instance.


Long version: My WIP, A BRAVER THING, involves an alternate-reality House of Windsor. In this universe, Edward VIII never abdicated the throne, he married Wallis Simpson (basically, society was one step ahead of ours, and the prejudice of royalty marrying a divorcée thing wasn't completely out of the question)
There were a lot of issues with him marrying Wallis Simpson, not just the divorce. If you're going down the alternate-reality route, make sure you've thought about all the implications of this.



they had a son who became Richard IV and a daughter, the Princess Royal, Princess Mary.
It's not impossible, of course, but the Princess Royal is not a title automatically given to daughters of the monarch. You'll want a reason why she was.


Richard has a son very late in life, Prince Malcolm, and when Richard dies he leaves 18-year-old Malcolm on the throne. Princess Mary's 35-year-old son, Prince Stephen, is the amibitious, conniving antagonist, and basically attempts to bully Malcolm into making him regent or all-out abdicating, because Malcolm is unsure what to do (does he live his life before taking the throne? Go to university? etc).

This is nonsense. If Malcolm is 18, he becomes king when his father dies. No regent is needed.

If Malcolm is a minor (under 16, probably, but maybe 17), Parliament will appoint a regent. Malcolm doesn't get to choose, because the whole point of him needing a regent is that he's not yet ready for the job.

You don't get to 'live your life before taking the throne'. That is not how it works and that makes me think that you have not grasped at all what monarchy is, or what it would be like to be a member of the royal family.


In this case, would Malcolm be able to bypass Stephen, who is heir apparent, and make his aunt, Princess Mary, his regent? Or would Stephen have to be the regent? Or would this be the kind of thing a medieval war would be started over and there are no technical rules?
There are a lot of rules, but I think you are asking the wrong questions.

girlyswot
10-09-2013, 07:10 PM
Um . . . didn't the law change so that the eldest child, male or female, gets to inherit? If so, and providing I have not misread the post, then Malcolm would not inherit. Also, what Miranda said - it would be up to Parliament to decide if there is to be a Regency.

It did, a couple of years ago. But presumably in the alternate-history it needn't have done. And even in the real history, it hadn't changed long enough ago for Edward VIII's putative daughter to have inherited ahead of her putative brother.

Shakesbear
10-09-2013, 07:12 PM
From what I have just read I think she had the abortion in China.

Waylander, yes about the 'divorced woman', but also both of her ex-husbands were still alive and that made a difference as well.

Miranda 'the admiration of the Nazis' was possibly a covert reason for the state to want rid of Edward VIII. Wallis Simpson was a convenient reason.

mirandashell
10-09-2013, 07:14 PM
Oh absolutely. I was just making the point that publicly it was because of her, but privately there were quite a few reasons why Edward wasn't considered suitable.

Shakesbear
10-09-2013, 07:21 PM
No, it can be anyone. Eleanor of Aquitaine was regent for her son, Richard II while he went off on the crusades, for instance.



Richard I, not II. Richard II came to the throne when he was ten years old and his uncle, iirc, John of Gaunt was Regent.

Becca C.
10-09-2013, 09:27 PM
Thank you for pitching in, everyone!

The Wallis Simpson thing isn't necessary for the story to work, and actually, the alternate timeline would be much more interesting if it hinged on Edward VIII staying king and making the decision to leave her... since Malcolm faces a similar decision in his relationship with a fellow student (he's gay).

My idea for a regency was actually a revision idea, so luckily I don't need to rewrite anything. Malcolm is king in the current draft and it looks like it's going to stay that way :)

cornflake
10-09-2013, 09:35 PM
Was it illegal in America at the time? Cos it was here.

Abortion was never illegal in America.

Abortion was a state-by-state thing until Roe v. Wade, which said it was a matter of privacy under the Constitution and thus legal in every state.

mirandashell
10-09-2013, 09:42 PM
Aaah! Interesting! So the states had to change the law seperately after Roe v Wade to make it illegal?

I'm not sure when it was made illegal here. Hold on a second.....

Now this is also interesting!

http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/index.php/media-and-resource-centre/abortion-law/275

According to this site, the first mention in law is in the 13th century when it was legal before 'quickening' as the Church preached that that was when the soul entered the body. And this lasted right up until the 19th century.