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  #21  
Old 06-24-2005, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Elspeth
Given that morganatic marriage doesn't exist in British law, I'm surprised that was legal. It also seems curious that the King would confer an HRH on his brother, who hadn't renounced his HRH in the first place.
That's true. Morganatic marriage does not exist in British law. That's why there were several non-royal-born Queens/wives in the past (Anne Neville, Elizabeth Woodward, Anne Boleyn, etc.). I guess George VI confered an HRH on his brother because as he was King Edward VIII at the time. I guess was no longer a HRH Prince because he had become the monarch, and the title he renounced was HM The King. Thus maybe George VI had to reinstate Edward's earlier titles of HRH and Prince?
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  #22  
Old 06-25-2005, 01:14 AM
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Most British constitutional experts later concluded that King George VI erred in his issuance of the letters patent in 1937 and that, in fact, there was no question that Wallis was entitled to be known as HRH the Duchess of Windsor as the wife of HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor. The key question was whether the Duke lost his right to be a Royal Highness upon abdicating the throne.

There is no argument that Edward, as the son of a royal duke and prince of GB at the time of his birth, was entitled to the style of Highness under letters patent issued by Queen Victoria. When she died a few years later, he then automatically assumed the style of Royal Highness as the grandson of King Edward VII.

The abdication simply stated Edward was relinquishing his status as His Majesty the King. Nothing in the Act stated he would lose his rank as a prince of GB and King George VI quickly confirmed to the Cabinet that his brother remained HRH Prince Edward. Later, he issued letters patent granting him the dukedom of Windsor.

In reality, the matter was entirely political in the aftermath of the Abdication. The King made clear to the Cabinet that he was opposed to Wallis becoming a Royal Highness upon marriage to the Duke and it simply was agreed she would not. The ministers were clear there was reason under the law she should not be a Royal Highness, however, it was acknowledged that King George VI had the right to alter the royal style and title of any member of the family.

After the King's death, the Queen declined to revisit the matter until the mid-60's. At that point, she was willing to grant the style to Wallis in the spirit of reconciliation, however, the Queen Mother was adamantly opposed and the matter was dropped.
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  #23  
Old 06-25-2005, 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Elspeth
I don't know if that was ever verified.
It was confirmed by the Palace that the Queen did offer to restore the style of HRH to the Princess. It was declined as the Earl felt Diana would not have wanted any change to her style or title after her death. In any case, this was simply a gesture on the Queen's part since titles cannot be conferred to someone who is no longer living.

The matter is irrelevant as Diana received full royal honours after her death and was granted a state funeral as the mother of a future king. She was royal.
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  #24  
Old 06-25-2005, 09:21 AM
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I thought it wasn't a state funeral. Isn't that why they weren't inviting heads of state to represent their countries at the funeral?
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  #25  
Old 06-25-2005, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Elspeth
I thought it wasn't a state funeral. Isn't that why they weren't inviting heads of state to represent their countries at the funeral?
Yeah, me too. They were debating about whether to have a state or private funeral, and I think Charles was in favor of a state one.
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  #26  
Old 06-25-2005, 11:31 AM
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I didn't think she had a state funeral either. As far as I recall she had a funeral tailored for a unique woman.
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  #27  
Old 06-25-2005, 11:44 AM
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Diana's funeral was characterized as a "semi-state" occasion. While she did not receive the same honours as a queen consort would have, she certainly received as close to one as possible. Governments and royal houses were represented the spouses of heads of state and sovereigns, not to mention the Prime Minister, MP's and the bishops of the Church of England.

It was a unique funeral for a unique person.
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  #28  
Old 06-25-2005, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by lashinka2002
I didn't think she had a state funeral either. As far as I recall she had a funeral tailored for a unique woman.
Yes, that's what I remember, too. This stuff about "a unique funeral for a unique person" was a very typically diplomatic way of avoiding the issue of exactly what sort of funeral it was, if they even knew. From what I remember at the time, the US President's wife went to the funeral representing the President, not the USA.
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  #29  
Old 06-25-2005, 02:29 PM
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In Britain only reigning monarchs have state funerals.
However, two common people had a state funeral: Wellington and Churchill.
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  #30  
Old 06-25-2005, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ElisaR
In Britain only reigning monarchs have state funerals.
However, two common people had a state funeral: Wellington and Churchill.
I believe Lord Nelson was also given a state funeral.
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  #31  
Old 06-25-2005, 02:58 PM
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I forgot some people.

I found this in BBC:

Sir Winston Churchill was the first statesman to be given a state funeral in the 20th century.

Former prime ministers, the Duke of Wellington, Lord Henry Palmerston and William Gladstone, had preceded him in this posthumous honour in the 19th century.


Nelson is not mentioned. However, he wasn't a statesman.
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  #32  
Old 06-25-2005, 05:52 PM
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Wallis Simpson was not entitled to be known as HRH nor was Edward automatically entitled to be. That title is a gift from the reigning monarch and can only be issued at that monarch disrection. I imagine the title Duke and Duchess of Windsor was dreamt up as Edward could not go back to being Prince of Wales but as a son of a past King and a brother of a reigning King no title would have been inappropiate.
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  #33  
Old 06-25-2005, 06:16 PM
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HRH has been an automatic title for certain members of the royal family since George V issued letters patent in 1917 that defined the members of the royal family that were entitled to the HRH title. I think there seems to be some disagreement about whether he gave up the HRH title by abdicating (although of course he was HM before the abdication, not HRH). But the wording of the letters patent says something about how the people entitled to the title should "have and at all times hold" the title, which suggests that it was still there "in the background" while he was king and should have still been active when he reverted to being a prince.

It seems rather weird, because the letters patent tie the prefix "Prince" to the "royal highness" status, yet it was argued in 1936 that Prince Edward (as he was called immediately after the abdication) somehow wasn't an HRH until the new king granted him the title later. Same thing seems to have happened with Prince Philip, who was given the title "Prince Philip" some time before being officially created a Prince of the United Kingdom.
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  #34  
Old 06-25-2005, 06:47 PM
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I had been under the impression that at his birth Philip had been a Prince of Greece and that he had given it up to become a British citizen. Upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth he was created Duke of Edinburgh as well as HRH but that it was not until 1957 that he became Prince of Great Britain.
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  #35  
Old 06-25-2005, 06:55 PM
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The argument that HRH Prince Edward was no longer a Royal Highness after the abdication was dreamt up by the Home Secretary John Simon, under pressure from Lord Wigram to find a way to avoid conferring HRH on Wallis.

Simon's solution was to draw up a memorandum of law for the Cabinet to consider in which he argued that: (1) Edward ceased to be a member of the royal family by renouncing the throne; (2) the 1917 letters patent of King George V clarifying who may hold the style and title of Prince/Princess of the UK with the prefix of Royal Highness applied only to members of the royal family who were within the line of succession; and (3) that Edward was essentially allowed by the Act of Abdication to marry whomever he wished without the consent of the Sovereign under the Royal Marriages Act.

Most of the Cabinet and members of Parliament who reviewed this memorandum were not convinced by its merits and believed Wallis was entitled to be a Royal Highness. However, Lord Wigram then argued that the marriage was unlikely to last long and warned of further diminshment of the monarchy if Wallis became HRH and then divorced Edward. This seems to have convinced everyone it would be best if the King acted.

The King decided to frame it as simply being a matter in which the people had rejected Wallis as either Queen Consort or a royal spouse and it therefore followed she could not possibly be a Royal Highness without making a mockery of the Abdication. In his eyes, allowing her to be a Royal Highness would indicate there was no reason why she could not have been Queen Consort in 1936.

The Duke never accepted this argument from the King and maintained to the end that it was illegal and inappropriate, which in reality, it was. He was a male line great-grandson of Queen Victoria at the time of his birth and there is no question that he was entitled under all letters patent to be a prince of the UK with the style of Royal Highness.
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  #36  
Old 06-25-2005, 07:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgia
I had been under the impression that at his birth Philip had been a Prince of Greece and that he had given it up to become a British citizen. Upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth he was created Duke of Edinburgh as well as HRH but that it was not until 1957 that he became Prince of Great Britain.
This is true, but the interesting thing about Philip was that it was later discovered that as a descendant of the Electress Sophia, under the Sophia Naturalization Act he was automatically a British citizen, similar to the House of Hanover, under the Act of Settlement.

Philip was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark, as the Greek Royal House is essentially Danish, Russian and German, and was founded by Prince William of Denmark. He did renounce all foreign titles to marry Princess Elizabeth and took the name Mountbatten.

King George VI declared Philip's precedence as a prince of the UK, but for some reason did not formally grant him the title, which was rather odd. He was the first commoner granted the style of Royal Highness without being a prince of the UK, although he was given a royal dukedom, a very controversial matter among the existing dukes at the time.
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  #37  
Old 06-25-2005, 08:05 PM
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Upon his marriage to Princess Elizabeth he was created Duke of Edinburgh as well as HRH but that it was not until 1957 that he became Prince of Great Britain.
Yes, I know the HRH and the Prince of Great Britain were conferred separately; the thing that surprises me about it is that it's possible to do it at all. The letters patent issued by George V implied that "Prince" or "Princess" was part of the package deal of being an HRH.
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  #38  
Old 06-25-2005, 08:15 PM
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Most of the Cabinet and members of Parliament who reviewed this memorandum were not convinced by its merits and believed Wallis was entitled to be a Royal Highness. However, Lord Wigram then argued that the marriage was unlikely to last long and warned of further diminshment of the monarchy if Wallis became HRH and then divorced Edward. This seems to have convinced everyone it would be best if the King acted.
This argument is so idiotic that I'm surprised they got away with it. I mean, it would have been possible for the sovereign to strip her of the HRH after divorcing the Duke, just as happened with the Duchess of York after divorcing Prince Andrew. Although I suppose they might have hoped that without the HRH in the first place, she would have been more likely to leave the Duke. Very, very mean-spirited piece of work. It just goes to show that, at that time at any rate, the Establishment was made up of the sort of spineless snobs who would do anything in order to stay in favour with the royals who were currently in power. There's something very unpleasant about the lengths to which the British upper classes will go in order to humiliate outsiders.

Quote:
The King decided to frame it as simply being a matter in which the people had rejected Wallis as either Queen Consort or a royal spouse and it therefore followed she could not possibly be a Royal Highness without making a mockery of the Abdication. In his eyes, allowing her to be a Royal Highness would indicate there was no reason why she could not have been Queen Consort in 1936.
This argument is also idiotic. The Duke ended up in a morganatic marriage anyway, which made a worse mockery of the abdication than if they'd given her the title and just learned to live with it. Apart from anything else, it doesn't seem to have been the people who were so opposed, it was the establishment figures at the head of the Commonwealth countries, and particularly Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary in the UK. Nothing to do with "the people," however much they were used as the excuse. It amazes me that the Queen Mother has such a soft, cuddly image; she must have had the world's best PR professionals working for her.
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  #39  
Old 06-25-2005, 08:56 PM
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I agree! It is clear looking back today that both the Government and the Establishment were determined to punish Edward for abdicating the throne and marrying Wallis. But we should remember this was 1936, not 2006, and the idea of a Sovereign marrying a twice-divorced woman was incredibly shocking to everyone, as was the Abdication. I'm sure King George VI genuinely felt that denying royal rank to Wallis was a necessary component of ensuring the monarchy would survive.

I do feel strongly, however, that by the 1960's and after thirty years of marriage, the Queen should have granted the rank and style to Wallis, despite the objections of the Queen Mother. She was advised by Adeane and many others it was time to do so, but the Queen felt her mother's feelings must come first. So, that's the way it was left.
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  #40  
Old 06-25-2005, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Elspeth
This argument is also idiotic. The Duke ended up in a morganatic marriage anyway, which made a worse mockery of the abdication than if they'd given her the title and just learned to live with it. Apart from anything else, it doesn't seem to have been the people who were so opposed, it was the establishment figures at the head of the Commonwealth countries, and particularly Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary in the UK. Nothing to do with "the people," however much they were used as the excuse. It amazes me that the Queen Mother has such a soft, cuddly image; she must have had the world's best PR professionals working for her.
I don't know how true it is but my Grandad always told me that the Queen Mothers antipathy to the Duke & Duchess of Windsor had its roots in the old saying "Hell hath no Fury like a woman scorned". Apparently Queen Mary had picked Lady Elizabeth as a prospective bride for the Prince of Wales but he made it clear he wasn't interested and she had to settle for the second son.
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