Regnal Numbers

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Alistair Campbell
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Regnal Numbers

Post by Alistair Campbell » Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:05 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:"Given that Elizabeth I of Scotland is Head of the Commonwealth, one would hope not!"

A bit of a digression, but she's Elizabeth II in Scotland as well. I read somewhere that as James VI (Scotland), who was also James I (England), was followed by James II (England), then Scotland and England became one big happy family, so the next King James will be James VIII. This may be complete rubbish, and may well be overtaken by events of course.
I'll continue the digression here.

Around about the time of the current queen's coronation, there was some disgruntlement over the proposal that she be styled Queen Elizabeth II given there had been no previous Queen of Scots called Elizabeth. This led to some bombing of post boxes (and to this day, you won't find post or pillar boxes in Scotland with the cypher EIIR thereon).

The current queen's title in Scotland was challenged in the courts by John MacCormick, with the ruling that the matter was subject to Royal Prerogative, which I think means that the Monarch can do whatever (s)he wants.

It was suggested in the House of Commons in 1953 by the Prime Minister that future monarchs would use the higher of the ordinals appropriate to the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England.

There is precedent for this elsewhere, with Vittorio Emanuele II being the first King of Italy of that name. Mr Churchill sidestepped the issue of a future monarch called Llewellyn and why some previous King Edwards (such as Edward the Confessor) don't count.

Overall this would imply that the next King James would be James VIII (although I believe the old pretender also used that title).

I can't tell you how disappointed I was when the Earl and Countess of Strathearn didn't put this theory to the test and name their first-born Alexander or David. Of course, there is nothing to stop George (or indeed William or Charles) from choosing a different regnal name if the time comes.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Michael Farthing » Tue Jul 22, 2014 4:56 pm

But in the event of Scotland departing would they continue to style the Duke of Lancaster as Queen Elizabeth II?

John McKenna
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by John McKenna » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:55 pm

Alistair Campbell wrote:
Kevin Thurlow wrote:"Given that Elizabeth I of Scotland is Head of the Commonwealth, one would hope not!"
A bit of a digression, but she's Elizabeth II in Scotland as well. I read somewhere that as James VI (Scotland), who was also James I (England), was followed by James II (England), then Scotland and England became one big happy family, so the next King James will be James VIII. This may be complete rubbish, and may well be overtaken by events of course.
I'll continue the digression here...
The current queen's title in Scotland was challenged in the courts by John MacCormick, with the ruling that the matter was subject to Royal Prerogative, which I think means that the Monarch can do whatever (s)he wants.
It was suggested in the House of Commons in 1953 by the Prime Minister that future monarchs would use the higher of the ordinals appropriate to the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England...
Overall this would imply that the next King James would be James VIII (although I believe the old pretender also used that title)...
On the death of the final Tudor monarch, Queen Elizabeth I of England, in 1603 her cousin King James VI of Scotland was invited to become King James I of England, so there were two crowns (of the English & Scottish kingdoms) on one head. The English and Scottish kingdoms retained their separate identities as shown by their separate parliaments, etc. They shared a common monarch, James, who had different "regnal numbers" - (James) 1st in England and 6th in Scotland.
Before the death of the final Stuart monarch, Queen Anne of Great Britain , in 1714 the Act of Union of 1707 had united two kingdoms - England & Scotland - into a single kingdom, Great Britain. The "regnal numbers" of the subsequent monarchs of Great Britain, and its successor the United Kingdom, have been uniquely based on the those of the monarchs of England rather than Scotland. If Scotland once again became a separate kingdom with a monarch shared with England - as between 1603 and 1707 - then the system of dual "regnal numbers", when required, would be the convention to follow, it seems. If there should there be another King James under such an arrangement he would, indeed, be James III of England & James VIII of Scotland.
N.B. The "Old Pretender", James Francis Edward Stuart, son of James II/VII was recognised by King Louis XIV of France as King James III of England and James VIII of Scotland until the Treaty of Utrecht in 1714, after which Louis recognised the Hanoverian succession in England and expelled the Stuart Pretender from France. No doubt a factor in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715.
To find a for(u)m that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now. (Samuel Beckett)

Stephen Saunders
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Stephen Saunders » Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:40 am

I think these numbers have been imbued with a significance they weren't originally intended to have. Alistair mentions the Edwards - when the Plantagenet kings called themselves Edward I, II, III they just meant they were the first, second etc of that line. They weren't trying to pretend that Edward the Confessor never existed - in fact I believe they were strong supporters of the Confessor cult.

Alistair is disappointed that George wasn't called Alexander or David. Well I suspect that these days Royal names are deliberately chosen to avoid winding up the more thin-skinned of the Scottish. It should be remembered that the current queen, who was named after her Scottish mother, wasn't expected to become the monarch when she was baptised.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:37 pm

I didn't know what I was starting.

It's interesting that George VI had the first name Albert; I always thought Edward VIII was "David", but that was the last of his fleet of forenames, (Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David) - it seems his friends called him David.

It has been said that if the Prince of Wales ever becomes king he will take the name "George VII", owing to the bad associations with previous monarchs called Charles. It is unlikely we will have a Henry IX.

If we have already had a James VIII, even an "unofficial" one, perhaps they will avoid that altogether. We are in danger of running out of names.

There is a parallel with chemistry (yes, another digression) - when element 112 came up for discussion, the discoverers suggested copernicium, with the symbol Cp. Then someone mentioned that Cp had been used for cassiopeium (the former name of Lutetium), so they changed to Cn to avoid confusion. (What confusion? Hardly anybody had heard of cassiopeium.) So when element 114 came along, the discoverers suggested flerovium, symbol Fl. I pointed out that Fl was still (wrongly) used as a symbol for fluorine in some places, (an internet search confirms) so that might cause confusion. I suggested Fv, but they stuck with Fl. This seemed inconsistent, but I gave up worrying about whether anyone listens to my advice years ago!

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:23 pm

Stephen Saunders wrote:I think these numbers have been imbued with a significance they weren't originally intended to have. Alistair mentions the Edwards - when the Plantagenet kings called themselves Edward I, II, III they just meant they were the first, second etc of that line. They weren't trying to pretend that Edward the Confessor never existed - in fact I believe they were strong supporters of the Confessor cult.
It goes further than that. Edward II used phrases like "the tenth year of the reign of King Edward son of King Edward". [anno regni Regis Edwardi filii Regis Edwardi decimo]. It was not until Edward III that the numbers began to appear at all and even then it was more of a helpful description, "Edward, the third of that name since the Conquest", Froissart, who chronicled the reign, sometimes gets himself into quite a mess with comments like, "Not the Edward who was father of the king I write about, but the Edward who was his grandfather"

Only from Henry IV is numbering well established: Opening of parliament 1399 "Au Parlement somons et tenuz a Westmonstier par le Roy Henry le Quart.."

Stephen Saunders
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Stephen Saunders » Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:27 pm

Thanks, Michael, that is very interesting, especially about Henry IV. In view of the circumstances of his accession, I suppose emphasizing his number may have been intended to reinforce the legitimacy of his claim.

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Michael Farthing » Wed Jul 23, 2014 10:24 pm

Stephen Saunders wrote:Thanks, Michael, that is very interesting, especially about Henry IV. In view of the circumstances of his accession, I suppose emphasizing his number may have been intended to reinforce the legitimacy of his claim.
Well of course such considerations were always uppermost in people's minds, but I think part of it is establishing useful practices over time. My post perhaps made it look over concrete: careful inspection will yield references to Edward III and even Edward II - they were just unusual. To bring things back to Proper Matters I always find the change from "Queen's Rook moves to Queen's Bishop's Square the Third" to R-B3 (as some of us still sometimes say) an instructive historical change! I noticed a post recently (either here or elsewhere) talking about rook and 4 pawns v rook and 3 pawns that commented that the defender needed to play h4/h5/a4/a5 early and added in brackets P-R4. Perhaps this newer, more concise, notation will eventually catch on in the same way. :wink:

Alistair Campbell
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Alistair Campbell » Thu Jul 24, 2014 3:57 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:But in the event of Scotland departing would they continue to style the Duke of Lancaster as Queen Elizabeth II?
I had to do some research to confirm my suspicion as to the identity of the Duke in question, but I think the short answer is “yes”. (Or perhaps “aye”?)

It’s all hypothetical, but given it has been asserted at various times that in the event of independence, we would keep, inter alia, the pound, the monarch, the flag, the right to be called British, the passport, the BBC, the Bank of England and, of course, most of the oil revenues, I would speculate that we would continue as a Commonwealth Realm, alongside the likes of Australia, Canada, Jamaica and so on.

The Queen appears to be called Queen Elizabeth II in all of such realms. As I said above, the matter was tested in the courts so I imagine that the Royal Prerogative would still apply.

(My personal opinion is a chap can call him/herself pretty much what they like, although that may cause problems were Lulu to try to get a grade or join certain fora… :evil: )
Kevin Thurlow wrote: We are in danger of running out of names.
Surely not? “Andrew” was suggested as a possible name, in honour of St Andrews, thus continuing the tradition of having royals named after places… :)

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:04 pm

Michael Farthing wrote:Only from Henry IV is numbering well established: Opening of parliament 1399 "Au Parlement somons et tenuz a Westmonstier par le Roy Henry le Quart.."
Ah, is this a good jump off point to get into the history of regnal numbers in other countries? France (with the history with England and the monarchs of the Angevin Empire and whatnot and the French quoted above) would be a good starting point. I know the French got very high with some regnal numbers before the whole system came, ahem, crashing down.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Fri Jul 25, 2014 8:02 am

" I know the French got very high with some regnal numbers before the whole system came, ahem, crashing down."

or was cut short...

I can't see any problem with a King Andrew, or David or Patrick for that matter. But they do seem to stick with the same few names, presumably to honour previous monarchs. I assume we won't have a King Phillip as Spain has had six. Although the latest seems to be styled as both Felipe and Phillip.

I imagine the Royal Family/Establishment was delighted the latest George was a boy, as a girl might have been called Diana, although I'm sure Elizabeth would have featured somewhere.

Anthony Appleyard
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Anthony Appleyard » Fri Aug 22, 2014 11:18 am

Kevin Thurlow wrote:... I can't see any problem with a King Andrew, or David or Patrick for that matter. But they do seem to stick with the same few names, presumably to honour previous monarchs. I assume we won't have a King Phillip as Spain has had six. Although the latest seems to be styled as both Felipe and Phillip.

I imagine the Royal Family/Establishment was delighted the latest George was a boy, as a girl might have been called Diana, although I'm sure Elizabeth would have featured somewhere.
Scotland has had two Davids and a Kenneth.

I used to think that if Prince William comes to the throne he will be William V of England and IV of Scotland :: Scotland did not have William the Conqueror and William Rufus, but they did have a king called William the Lion.

Alex Holowczak
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Alex Holowczak » Fri Aug 22, 2014 5:38 pm

Kevin Thurlow wrote:" I know the French got very high with some regnal numbers before the whole system came, ahem, crashing down."
Wasn't the idea of regnal numbers a Norman/French idea? And so, when William invaded in 1066, calling himself William I was the natural thing to do? It's probably then the idea of numbering Kings in that way became established, and would explain why Edward I didn't count Edward the Confessor.

No evidence to prove this, but I would guess that the reason he had the nickname William the Conqueror was that it was given to him to continue the old traditions by those still loyal/involved with the House of Wessex, and the name stuck. Maybe?

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Michael Farthing
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Michael Farthing » Fri Aug 22, 2014 6:26 pm

No, as I commented earlier in the thread, regnal numbers started much later.
William termed his invasion a 'Conquest' himself. It was a 'with quest', trying to give the idea of a team effort to his barons (who, of course, were suitably rewarded). I believe, (though I won't be held to it) that William coined the phrase.

Lewis Martin
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Re: Regnal Numbers

Post by Lewis Martin » Fri Aug 22, 2014 8:08 pm

Alex Holowczak wrote: Wasn't the idea of regnal numbers a Norman/French idea? And so, when William invaded in 1066, calling himself William I was the natural thing to do? It's probably then the idea of numbering Kings in that way became established, and would explain why Edward I didn't count Edward the Confessor.

No evidence to prove this, but I would guess that the reason he had the nickname William the Conqueror was that it was given to him to continue the old traditions by those still loyal/involved with the House of Wessex, and the name stuck. Maybe?
Yes. There was Ethelred the Unready, Sweyn Forkbeard (Viking as you may guess!) amongst other names we don't really have anymore.

Nicknames are nicknames due to them being famous for it. You don't really call Richard the Lionheart: "Richard I" even though that is who he is.

We have only had 1 King John, but if there was another one in the future, he may well be called John "Lackland". John does not have a good reputation throughout history, due to his lack of governance while King Richard went away.

You could even go as far as saying that William isn't originally an English name. Indeed William II was French too, and William III was Dutch. Later, we may well have William IV and he'll be at least more English than previous Williams.

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