Friday, 28 October 2011

The first 57 people in line to the throne were Catholic

The 58th was a Protestant: George I

From the Daily Mail:


Franz, Duke of Bavaria, could have ended up on the British throne had laws been different

Franz, Duke of Bavaria, could have ended up on the British throne had laws been different

Had an 18th Century law not been passed by Parliament, Britain's monarchy throughout the past 300 years would have had a very different cast of characters.

For starters, rather than becoming one of the most recognisable faces in the world, our present Queen would have spent her life as a minor princess in some German backwater.

And instead of pledging allegiance to Elizabeth II, loyal British subjects would now be singing God Save Our Gracious King to... Francis II of Bavaria.

The 1701 Act Of Settlement passed the crown to Electress Sophia of Hanover and her Protestant descendants - and banned all Roman Catholics from ever ascending the throne.

That law - and the centuries-old practice of male primogeniture, in which a male child automatically leapfrogs over his older sisters - has largely dictated who became King or Queen of Britain for centuries.

But according to historian Ian Lloyd writing in the Sunday Times, had these ancient laws not been adopted, Francis II would now be ruling Brittania.

Franz, Duke of Bavaria, is a distant cousin of the Queen and head of the House of Wittelsbach, Bavaria's ruling family. He is the senior co-heir-general of King Charles I and therefore regarded as the rightful heir to the House of Stuart, which ruled England from 1567 to 1707. From birth Franz was recognised by the Jacobites as a Prince of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Prince of Cornwall and Rothesay.

The Duke's great-grandfather was the last king of Bavaria before being deposed at the end of World War One in 1918.

During World War Two, the Dukes' family condemned the Nazi regime and fled to Hungary. When Hitler's stormtroopers marched into Budapest in 1944, the Royal Family was arrested and detained in a number of concentration camps.

Following liberation in 1945, Franz, studied business management at the University of Munich. Now 78, he still lives in an apartment in the city and is a keen collector of modern art.

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