July 24, 2013

Horse 1516 - Prince (name yet to be determined - possibly George), the future King of (realms yet to be determined)

It's been impossible to avoid the news that Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, has given birth to a son who will be in time the future king. What he will be king of exactly is still unknown, for history itself might have several cards to play before he ascends the throne.

I like almost two generations of people, have only ever seen one monarch on the throne of England and the birth of William and Kate's baby I suppose is of some significance but possibly not to the country I live in.
Assuming that following Elizabeth II will be Charles III and after him William V, then by the time that the new baby (who I'm guessing will probably end up being named George*) grows up and does eventually become George VII*, Australia will have probably become a republic and I myself in all likelihood will have long been dispatched and met my maker.

It's also unclear as to what George VII* will be King of domestically. Scotland is threatening to dissolve the Union with England which has stood since Queen Anne and what's to say that England itself won't in time become a republic? Who's to even know what the future status of Wales, Northern Ireland and the other dependencies will be? What of the other realms in the greater British Commonwealth?
By historical accident, the current monarch is firstly Scotland's monarch. As Elizabeth I left no children, James VI of Scotland became James I of England in a personal union of the crowns. Legally the monarch is first the Queen or King of Scotland, then England. Little George* could very well be King of only one country north of the border.
If Scotland does leave the Union, they'll have to reorganise the delivery of government services such as the defence forces, schools, hospitals, taxation, roads and even have to work whether to call their new currency a Pound, Merk, Ryal, Noble, Unicorn or something else. And on that note:

The coins of George V bore the legend:
Dei Gratia: Brit Omni: Rex: Fid Def: Ind Imp
By the Grace of God, of All the Britons, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.

By the end of George VI's reign it was shortened to:
Dei Gratia: Brit Omni: Rex: Fid Def
By the Grace of God, of All the Britons, King, Defender of the Faith

Yet by the time George VII (assuming that will be his name) becomes king, there's a distinct possibility that he could end up as just simply:
Dei Gratia: Rex
By the Grace of God, King

Little George* as King of Scotland (and the other realms) in the latter half of the twenty-first century, could very well end up being not "King of All the Britons" and because Scotland has no official state church, there is never a "Defender of the Faith" in Scotland.
Actually it remains to be seen whether Dei Gratia would even be included because as the world slowly closes its eyes and ears to religion generally, George* might end up with the rather paltry title of just "King", and there wouldn't be any need for a legend at all if that's the case.

This is all quite apart from the fact that this little child won't really live a "normal" life. Granted that newspaper and magazine sales are sliding as we move to digital media but it still doesn't change the fact that he'll be living his life to some degree in a fish bowl, with the prying eyes of the world looking on. He'll never meet his grandma precisely because of the relentless pursuit to death of the paparazzi. 
It's worth remembering though that his Great-Great-Grandpa, George VI, who had the role thrust onto him with some reluctance steered both the monarchy and helped Britain through the Second World War and the further dissolution of the empire. So even though he might be "born great" and  "have greatness thrust upon" him, it's still possible for him to "achieve greatness"; even though we don't what he'll be king over yet.

*yeah, I don't know what his name is going to be either but I couldn't very well just leave it. He's probably going to be a George or a James though. I don't think he'll be a Edward or Henry.

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