Rightful king of England

George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence

“Rightful king of England dies”, The Mirror, July 5, 2012.

On a slow news day the papers love these little stories. Even when it’s not a slow news day, everyone loves the Wars of the Roses.

Back in the day, Edward IV (1442-1483) was the penultimate king of the Yorkist dynasty. The Wars of the Roses were over, the Lancastrians pretty much extinct. Then he died and it all fell apart. His younger brother Richard of Gloucester grabbed the throne (as Richard III). Edward’s sons mysteriously disappeared. Henry Tudor, the soi-disant Lancastrian claimant, invaded England, deposed Richard, made himself king as Henry VII, and married Edward’s oldest daughter. Their son Henry VIII was heir to both Yorkist and Lancastrians. The Wars of the Roses were now truly over.

One prong of Richard III’s propaganda to justify taking the throne was that his brother Edward IV was illegitimate. And, Richard claimed that Edward IV’s children were also illegitimate. Finally, an attainder disqualified his next brother George of Clarence.

If we like playing “what if”, we can think about these details and wonder who should have been king. Richard III left no descendants. If Edward IV had really been illegitimate, an attainder would not have stopped brother George’s descendants from claiming the throne as representatives of the Yorkist line.

And that’s what this article does. If, and it’s a big if, George was the Yorkist claimant, and if Henry Tudor hadn’t conquered England, then George’s modern heir could claim to be the rightful king of England. Not Scotland, though. All that came later.

George’s modern heir is an Australian forklift driver, Michael Abney-Hastings, who happens to be 14th Earl of Loudon. He died. His son Simon is the new Earl, and new Yorkist kind-of claimant. Big news.

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