The succession to the Belgian throne (A 100 things #16)

Now that we’ve had a Belgian abdication, and a new King of the Belgians, it is time to look at the Belgian line of succession.

Unlike in the Netherlands, the line of succession does not change overly much when the monarch ascends to the throne – everybody else just takes one jump ahead in the line at the same time.

The Belgian throne goes through the male-line descendant from Leopold I until Albert II, with those that have asked permission from the monarch for their marriage. Since women were also included in the line from 1991 when Belgium abolished the Salic law in the succession, it was mentioned that the King had given permission for Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz to marry, and Princess Astrid and her descendants jumped in between Prince Philippe and Prince Laurent in the line.

(There are voices that say that it was done in this way as King Baudouin did not want Prince Laurent to be as close to the throne as he was before 1991.)

To avoid all the offspring of the daughters of Belgian kings also inheriting the rights to the throne suddenly, it was added a codicil that the change first went in effect with Prince Astrid and her offspring. By the time the change came about, Princess Astrid and Princess Marie-Laura were the two first women with rights to the Belgian throne. When Princess Maria Louisa was born in 1995, she was the first Belgian princess who was born with rights to the Belgian throne.

After 1991, women have equal rights as men to the throne,  and since last Sunday, 12 year old Princess Elisabeth has held the title the Duchess of Brabant and is the first in line.

Should the King die while she is still under the age of 18, and a minor, the Belgian government will approve a regent. (Although, for the Belgian government to agree on anything can take time, as we’ve seen in the past, so Elisabeth could well reach the age of 18 before that happens.)

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The Dutch succession (100 things #8)

The announcement last night that Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is abdicating on April 30 is also changing things further down in the line.  Unlike the most lines of succession, the Dutch line of succession deals with how closely related a person is to the monarch. As a party game, it is even fewer people who can play it, than Six degrees of Kevin Bacon. It is three degrees of consanguity from the current monarch, going up and down in the hierarchy counting the births between each level.
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British succession – what if…

An interesting question came up by Jane on The British Royal Message Board (I love “what ifs” scenarios, or counterfactual history,  when it comes to historic events, and let my geek come out often)

Jane writes: “All this talk of changing succession rules in the UK leads me to ask: just who exactly would be this person, under the law of fully cognatic (“absolute”) primogeniture?” She goes on to say that neither the current monarch nor the Stuart pretender, currently the Duke of Bavaria would qualify.

A fully cognatic primogeniture would give the oldest child, regardless of sex, rights to the throne.

Since the Act of Settlement 1701 is saying that the rights go to descendants of Sophia of Hanover, who aren’t Catholic or married to a Catholic, we start with her.

Sophia was not the oldest child of Elizabeth Stuart, but since the others either died long before the Act of Settlement came to, without offspring or were Catholic… and though the current suggestion for amendment would possibly alter it so that those married to Catholics can ascend, the current point is that the monarch would still have to not be Catholic (if I have understood it correctly). Therefore, Sophia would still be the starting point for this evening’s little excision into royal genealogical geekery.

Prepare for some tedious genealogical rambling of almost biblical proportions.


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