The British Royal Family

Fairytales have long since captivated the minds and imaginations of people throughout the world.  Perhaps some of the most romanticized and popular stories of this sort involve the likes of castles, knights, kings, queens, and sometimes the most unlikely of heroes.  Due to the worldwide fascination with stories of these sorts, it is of no surprise that real life castles and monarchies entrance the minds of the masses.  Perhaps the most recognized and publicized monarchy in modern times is found in England.

Currently under the rule of Queen Elizabeth II, the British monarchy is followed and held under a microscopic media lens that reports every event, accomplishment, and scandal of the entire royal family tree.  It appears all of the publicity and news stories that have put the royal family in such a high profile spotlight might have caused the real truth about them to be shoved into a dark, taboo corner in which it was undoubtedly meant to be forgotten.  That is, until now.

The question is, how could there possibly be any discrepancies in the legitimacy of a literal age old dynasty?  The answer to this dates back all the way to the 1400’s where an entire saga of coverups and lies ensue.  Unraveling all of the lies brings us to a shocking discovery that should rewrite our history books.

An Illegitimate King

According to British actor and producer, Tony Robinson on Channel 4’s documentary series called Britain’s Real Monarch, he had discovered interesting information that relates to the British Royal family which revealed that they are not so royal after all.

King Edward IV, most commonly remembered for his part in the War of the Roses and his becoming of the first Yorkist King, has had numerous claims pinned against him arguing his illegitimacy and how he had no right to the throne. Amongst these accusers was Edward’s own brother and his successor, King Richard III who was proven to be the legitimate son of King Richard II Duke of York and Cecily Neville. 

The claims surrounding Edward IV started to circulate once he became King in 1460 after the Duke of York was killed. The French claimed that while the Duke was out on campaign from July 14 to August 21st 1441, Cecily had an affair with an archer rendering Edward the Duke’s illegitimate son. While historical biographies of Edward IV state that he was born on April 28 1442, there has never been any solid evidence to prove that this was the exact date he was born. However, by using this date, historians have calculated that Edward’s conception took place while Richard was away further proving his illegitimacy. This would support Richard III’s claim about his brother having no right to the throne as unless Richard II took a break from his campaign to conceive Edward (of which there is no proof of) then Edward can not be his son and thus should not have been his successor. 

Richard III not only had reservations about his brother becoming King but his child as well. Richard believed that Edward’s child; Edward V, was an illegitimate child which eventually led to all of Edward’s children being denied any chance of taking the throne. This is because Richard was not alone in his belief as 3 leaders of the states of the realm offered him the throne on the basis that Edward had committed bigamy with Elizabeth Woodville, also written throughout histrocial documents as Wildville. 

There has always been a question about the legality of Edward and Elizabeth’s marriage, especially so after Eleanor Talbot was acknowledged as being married to the King during parliament in 1483. In fact, it was this supposed marriage to Talbot that Richard used as evidence to remove Edward V from the throne and imprisoned the rest of his brother’s children who later mysteriously disappeared. What Richard failed to mention is that while Edward was involved with Talbot there was no record of her becoming pregnant with the King’s children but their supposed marriage on 8th June 1461 was enough for Richard to claim bigamy. 

Regardless of what evidence was given, Richard III became the King of England in 1483 and ruled until 1485 when he was killed by Henry VII. While Edward IV is widely considered the illegitimate King, historians do believe that his son was legitimate and should have continued to rule. 

The Real Royal Family

So, if the current reigning Monarch is illegitimate and has no right to the throne, then who is the real Royal family and where are they today? Tony Robinson and his film crew travelled to Australia to meet the real King that should be sitting on the throne, today. 

Robinson bases the documentary on the illegitimacy of Edward IV and therefore explores what would have happened if the crown was given to Edward’s younger brother George would have been the next in line to the throne if Edward was to die childless. Following George’s lineage, Robinson reveals that the direct descendant, Mike Hastings; would have been King of England. A fact that came as a shock to Hastings who had no clue about his claim to the throne until Robinson contacted him in 2004.

While Hastings did know that he was the 14th Earl of Loudoun, the claim to the throne was a surprise that came too late in his life for him to bother trying to claim it. After all, it is a big job to fulfill for a humble forklift driver. Unfortunately, Mike Hastings did die as a happy but regular citizen at 71 years old in 2012. While he did have children, Hastings’ eldest child seems to have the same standoffish approach to his claim as his father did, meaning we will not be having a King Simon I any time soon. 

Wars of the Roses

While many historians focus on Edward IV’s illegitimate status when questioning the current reigning monarch’s claim to the throne, the War of the Roses is another reason that the monarchy may be considered illegitimate. The 32 year war came about during Henry VI’s Lancastrian reign. Due to his father’s strong military alliances, Henry VI was able to be the first monarch to be crowned King of England and King of France. However, he was not a very stable king. During his reign he lost almost all of England’s possessions in France and was easily manipulated by his advisors as well as other noblemen leaving both him and the crown vulnerable. 

His unstable nature eventually led to a mental breakdown in 1453, leaving Henry unable to contain civila rivalries in England. The most prominent rivalry at this time was between the Duke of York and the Duke of Somerset, a rivalry so uncontainable that the only way it could be settled was through blood shed. Both the Dukes represented two different Plantagenet houses; the house of York and the house of Lancaster, both of which were fighting for a claim to the throne. 

The War officially began with the Battle of St Albans in 1455. This battle was a disaster for the house of Lancaster and resulted in the Duke of Somerset’s death as well as many other Lancastrian nobles along with the capture of King Henry VI. Due to the King’s inability to rule during his capture, Richard Duke of York was named Lord Protector of England. 

After being held captive for 5 years, King Henry agreed to an Act of Settlement in 1460. This act legally handed the line of succession to Richard Duke of York meaning that the crown would be his after Henry VI’s death. Richard would then become King and, upon his death, his son would succeed him. It is because of this act that some historians believe that today’s monarchy is illegitimate. While Richard duke of York was related to Henry VI as a cousin, he and his descendants had no real claim to the throne until this agreement. This agreement also meant that Henry’s own descendants, namely his son the Prince of Wales, would not be able to inherit the throne upon his father’s death. This is something that Henry’s wife, Queen Margaret, strongly disagreed with and so decided to continue the fight against the Yorks obliterating any chance of the end of the war this settlement was supposed to provide. 

Led by Queen Margaret, the Lancastrians were able to kill both Richard Duke of York and his second eldest son at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460, not long after the Act of Settlement was signed. The way that Richard died is still not entirely explainable and many theories surrounding his actions exist but historians fail to unanimously agree on one definite answer. All they know is that Richard left the safety of his castle and was consequently killed by his opposition allowing his son, Edward IV to succeed him as King. 

As I’ve already mentioned, Edward’s claim to the throne in itself can be considered illegitimate but either way during his reign as King he was able to keep a secure rule throughout the war until his death. This is partly because of the Yorkist victory at the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471 where the Yorks imprisoned Henry VI once again. Not long after this imprisonment, King Edward ordered Henry’s execution when he was killed at the Tower of London. Henry’s death offered some reassurance to Edward’s supporters as it demonstrated his power as King. Throughout the War of the Roses, nobles were quick to change sides depending on who held the power at the time, in this instance it was Edward. A power that failed to falter throughout his reign despite his questionionable marriages. 

Upon Edward’s death, his younger brother Richard III who had been loyal to the house of York throughout the war was named the Protector of England for as long as it took for Edward’s son to be crowned King. Unlike Edward, Richard did not do as well at keeping the York nobles loyal during his reign as many became disgusted by the rumours of what he had done to his nephews also known as the Princes in the Tower which allowed him to become King in the first place. These rumours caused many Yorks to switch over to the Lancastrian side and some even swore allegiance to Henry Tudor. 

Due to the noble’s change of heart, Henry Tudor was able to gather enough support to battle King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. It was during this battle that King Richard suffered a deathly blow to the head and victory was handed to Henry Tudor. 

Some consider this battle the end of the War of the Roses as Henry Tudor became King Henry VII and the leader of the house of York was dead. However, others who have looked in the years surrounding the Battle of Bosworth Field feel that the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487 is the battle that marks the end of the war. This battle saw a fight between Lambert Simnel and King Henry VII after Simnel claimed to be Edward Plantagenet and thus a house enemy of King Henry. Needless to say that Henry won with a destroying victory and continued to rule until his death leading to the monarchy we have today.