No Eldest son

The current members of the British royal family
Seated from left: Prince William, Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, the Queen and her husband, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry.
Standing first row from left: Tim Laurence (second husband of the Princess Royal), Princess Anne the Princess Royal, Zara Phillips (daughter of the Princess Royal), Princess Beatrice (daughter of the Duke of York), Prince Andrew the Duke of York and his youngest daughter Princess Eugenie, Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex and his wife, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.
Last row from left: Peter Phillips (son of the Princess Royal), Daniel Chatto (husband of Lady Sarah), Lady Sarah (daughter of the late Princess Margaret), Prince Michael of Kent (the Queen's cousin) and his wife Princess Michael of Kent, Prince Edward the Duke of Kent and his wife Katharine, the Duchess of Kent, Viscount Linley (son of the late Princess Margaret) and his wife Serena, Viscountess Linley, Birgitte, the Duchess of Gloucester and her husband Prince Richard the Duke of Gloucester (the Queen's cousin)

Interestingly, in British history, no eldest son of an eldest son mounted the British throne since King George IV succeeded his father, George III, in 1820, nearly 200 years ago.

A little history:

George IV, who for nearly ten years acted as regent for his insane father, was the eldest child among the 13  children of the King and his wife, Queen Charlotte. He married his first cousin, Princess Caroline of Brunswick, when he was still the Prince of Wales. She bore him an only child, Princess Charlotte. But few months after the birth of Charlotte, the couple separated. Caroline left the country four years before George’s accession, upon the death of her father-in-law she returned to England to claim her rights but she was barred from attending the coronation at Westminster Abbey and was not crowned as Queen Consort, nevertheless, she retained her position as a legal wife of the King.

When Charlotte turned 18, she married a dashing young German Prince, Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha who would become King Leopold I of Belgium in later years. Unfortunately, the Princess died following a difficult childbirth leaving her father’s younger brothers as potential Kings, during this time, the King’s brothers, except Prince Frederick, the Duke of York, were still wandering around the realm cavorting with several commoner lovers, but since the monarchy’s rule admonished royals to take a royal spouse to retain their places in the line of succession, sons of King George III couldn’t marry their commoner girlfriends so they scrambled to look for royal brides.

George’s third brother, Prince William, the Duke of Clarence, married Princess Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. Prince Leopold, who became close to his late wife’s uncle, Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, introduced his recently widowed sister, Princess Victoria, to Edward, they got married eventually and a had child, Princess Victoria, nine months later, Prince Edward, due to illness, died. Unfortunately, Prince William didn’t have any children as Princess Adelaide’s pregnancy ended up in miscarriages.

George III's second son, the Duke of York already separated from his wife, Princess Frederica of Prussia before 1820 and had no legitimate children. When George IV died he was succeeded by the Duke of Clarence who became King William IV and reigned for seven years. He was the last Hanoverian monarch in England.

His niece who succeeded him as Queen Victoria could not inherit the Hanoverian crown as the state of Hanover maintained a Salic Law  prohibiting a woman from succeeding, she reigned in England under the House name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the Dukedom in Germany where her husband, Prince Albert, and her mother, Princess Victoria, descended. Hanover seat was inherited by her uncle, Prince Ernest Agustus, the Duke of Cumberland.

If Princess Charlotte had lived, or if the Duke of York and the Duke of Clarence had legitimate children, Victoria would never become Queen and British history might have been very different. But then, destiny worked on her side to put her descendants to the throne and gave us the idea of the modern fairytale.

Queen Victoria was the longest reigning monarch in British history, she ascended the throne in 1837 until her death in 1901. She was succeeded by her eldest son, Prince Albert who reigned as King Edward VII from 1901 until 1910, his wife was Princess Alexandra, daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark.

Edward VII and Alexandra had six children, but their eldest son, Prince Albert Victor, died several weeks after the announcement of his engagement to Princess Mary of Teck, his younger brother then the Duke of York, was the one who succeeded their father and became King George V, he also married his deceased brother’s fiancĂ©e, Princess Mary.

The couple had six children and the King was reportedly pleased that three of his four living sons, married suitable women. His second son, Prince Bertie, the Duke of York, married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the youngest daughter of a Scottish Earl. His third son, Prince Henry, the Duke of Gloucester, married Lady Alice Montagu-Douglas-Scott, daughter of the 6th of Duke of Beaccleaugh, a direct descendant of King Charles II.

His third son, Prince George, the Duke of Kent, married Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. Only one, who was still playing the field and enamored with married women, the heir-apparent, Prince David, the Prince of Wales. This sent so much concern to the King who fretted his heir's inconceivable choice of life.
King George V and Queen Mary. They called Wallis Simpson as "Edward's unholy lover"

In desperation, the King uttered that he prayed David would never get married so that the throne could be passed to his second happily married son, Prince Bertie then to his favorite grandchild, Princess Elizabeth whom he fondly called "Lilibet", within 11 months after his death, George’s heir gave up the throne to marry his commoner lover.
The royal brothers before the abdication crisis. From left: Prince George the Duke of Kent, King Edward VIII (after the abdication he was created Duke of Windsor), Prince Bertie the Duke of York (who would become King George VI) and Prince Henry the Duke of Gloucester

Though the King was often irritated with Bertie’s stammering habit and nervousness in public, he was more pleased to think that the Kingdom would be left with a morally upright royal family. The King strongly maintained that no commoners and divorce people will join his royal court so he made swore his wife, Queen Mary, not to accept Wallis Simpson into the royal fold.

George V died on January 1936, his eldest son, Prince David, ascended the throne as King Edward VIII and the British officials’ headache began. Sir Allan Lascelles, the King’s private secretary, in desperation uttered “it would be better for England, if David was not born” (The Royal Sisters by Anne Edwards).

The love-struck King was determined to make his recently divorced mistress, Wallis Simpson, his wife. Though, he could marry Simpson legally and remained King, he would face the horrible rant of his subjects who would never accept a disgraced commoner American woman as their Queen.

Threatening a potential scandal that would result to a constitutional crisis, the ministers moved forward and conducted a nationwide poll on the affair of the King and the result was unanimous, either abdicate or abandon Mrs. Simpson.
The young Princess Elizabeth in 1944. She was the favorite grandchild of King George V who affectionately called her "Lilibet"

Edward VIII stubbornly chose the first option much to the disappointment of Prince Bertie, who did not want to become King. In his abdication statement, Edward VIII uttered this very famous line: “It is impossible for me to carry on my duty as King without the support of the woman I love” (The Royal Sisters).

This line might sounds so endearing, sweet and romantic to the outsiders, but to the family who valued tradition and duty, it was “downright madness and ultimate betrayal”. Edward VIII was made the Duke of Windsor by his newly ascended King brother, George VI and was told to live outside Great Britain.

The Duke of Windsor married Wallis Simpson in France and endured the lonely life in exile, stripped from his inheritance and royal connections, all because of an inappropriate marriage. The royal family’s animosity towards Mrs. Simpson lasted for a lifetime, they never recognized her as member of the British royal family and treated as merely an “outsider”.

King George VI, who struggled nervousness through out his boyhood forcing his tongue to stutter, made effort to heal and reconcile his country battered with anxieties and tension at the height of his brother’s abdication. The weight of the crown, especially during the crisis and terror of World War II, eventually took a huge toll on his health that 16 years later, he died from lung cancer, he was succeeded by his eldest daughter, Elizabeth.

Now, 59 years on the throne, the Queen remained devoted to her duties, overseeing the progress of the commonwealth and the Kingdom and closely guarding the monarchy’s integrity. As death is the only way of abdicating the throne, Elizabeth II will continue to reign.

Her eldest son, Prince Charles, though previously viewed as unfit for the throne because of his immorality, is the heir-apparent and no one else. Though many people favored his son, Prince William, to inherit the crown directly, the palace stressed that succession is not a popularity contest. It is Prince Charles's destiny to become the next monarch and his eldest son will take his turn later.
 The current British monarch, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and her two heirs, Prince Charles and Prince William. Will history favored this time for an eldest son of an eldest son of the monarch to ascend the throne?

But the question is, can history altered the pattern of events and finally allow a son to succeed a father after 200 years? Let’s wait and see

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