First of all, I am an Anglophile. Which, for those of you who have mislaid your dictionaries, means that I like British stuff. I even lived there for almost three years once! Love the place, and would like to visit it again one of these days.
Second, I am glad that the new Prince is born. Long live Prince whatever-his-name-will-be!
Finally, I am also glad that finally we can put the front-page and TV coverage of this whole thing to rest. I hope, anyway. It grows tiresome.
Yes, he’s third in line to the throne. But is he likely to inherit? That’s an intriguing question. There have been many royal princes who have been in direct line to the throne who have never actually inherited. I believe that Prince X will live to be King X, however, because the history of his recent family seems to support it.
Queen Elizabeth is presently 87. She is well past the median lifespan of women of her age cohort, but her health is apparently quite good, and her mother lived to see her 101st birthday. It’s hard to factor in her father’s longevity, since he died at age 56 due to environmental effects — he was a heavy smoker and the strain of reigning during World War II took its toll on his health. Elizabeth has no intention of abdicating, like a few of her fellow European monarchs have done, but this might change if her health deteriorates. But I don’t know how to bet on that one. Anyone want to start up a pool on how soon Prince Charles, her heir apparent, might inherit? It is entirely possible that she could outlive Charles, who is now 64. If she lived to her mother’s age, Charles would be 79. This would be 2027. At that time, William would be 45 and Prince X would be 14.
One thing of interest here is that the birth of Prince X marks the first time since the reign of Queen Victoria that the reigning monarch and three generations of heirs have been alive at the same time.
79 would be an amazing age to become King. Let’s assume that Elizabeth leaves the throne (by death or abdication) at her calculated age expectation of 93. This would be 2019. Charles would be King at 71. His calculated age expectancy is 82, making William inherit in 2032. William would therefore succeed to the throne at age 48, giving him a fair amount of time to reign, and lots of time for Prince X to be prepared to reign. If William lived until 88 (calculated life expectancy) this means that he would reign for 40 years, and Prince X would succeed him in his turn at age 57 in 2070.
Unfortunately, my calculated life expectancy is 81, meaning that I will likely die during the reign of King William V. Assuming he chooses William as his regnal name, instead of one of his other Christian names, which are Arthur, Philip, and Louis.
That is a rather interesting set of names he could choose from (although I do believe he need not be limited to them — he’d be the King after all, and could pick something else entirely, or so I suppose). Arthur Pendragon (of Round Table fame) is a legendary figure, and did not rule all of England, but only a small portion of it, assuming he existed at all. So William could be Arthur for real, with no need for a numeral after his name. Or would he prefer to give a nod to Pendragon by being Arthur II? Interesting question.
As to Louis, Louis VIII of France briefly ruled about half of England from 1216 to 1217, but he was never crowned, and in signing the Treaty of Lambeth in 1217, Louis conceded that he had never been the legitimate king of England. So, William could be King Louis.
And then there is Philip. Under the terms of the marriage treaty between Philip I of Naples (Philip II of Spain from 15 January 1556) and Queen Mary I, Philip was to enjoy Mary’s titles and honours for as long as their marriage should last. And the Pope recognized both Philip and Mary as legitimate King and Queen of England. So if William chose Philip as his regnal name, he would be Philip II.
And so there we have it. Much ado about nothing, although I did have fun investigating all the possibilities.