Charles & William at the Royal Military Tattoo

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On Wednesday, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge attended the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo – or, rather, the Duke of Rothesay and the Earl of Strathearn as the two men are known in Scotland. While normally this isn’t an engagement I would write up on its own, I do like to cover off when we get more than one senior royal for a notable event and, well, it’s August – it’s going to be a slow crawl when it comes to royal news.

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Is There a Regency Plan in Place?

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In the past two weeks the Duke of Edinburgh retired and a slew of new documentaries and TV specials on the late Princess of Wales debuted. These two seemingly parallel events have created a perfect storm of an intersection that lands smack dab on the head of the Prince of Wales – or rather, his place in the succession. Stepping away from the personalities at play here and it begs the question, how can a man who has been first in line for the throne since 1952 truly have his viability undermined?

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Katherine of York, Countess of Devon & the Courtenays

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Remarkably given their dynastic importance, the chaos with which they were surrounded and their potential for mischief, the daughters of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville were a quiet lot. Much like the eldest, Elizabeth of York, there are only flashes of agency against an overarching pattern of obedience for the younger daughters.

While we know that Elizabeth became the queen consort of Henry VII and the third sister, Anne of York, married Thomas Howard, future 3rd Duke of Norfolk, today we’re going to focus on the second-to-youngest daughter, Katherine, whose life followed a very interesting Medieval pattern.

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The Example of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen

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If there was ever a woman you could forget was queen of the United Kingdom, meet Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. Wife of William IV and queen consort for a mere seven years, it’s easy to overlook her role in the British Royal Family if for no other reason than it’s easy to forget her husband’s reign. Even so, Adelaide was an inherently decent woman and if the House of Hanover had had the good fortune to be blessed with more of her ilk, there would have been by far less scandal in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Royal Roundup: Henrik, Earl Spencer & the Succession

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Well, that’s a weird title, but I think it hits the highlights. Where to begin with the last few days? Let’s start outside the UK where the Danish Royal Family has been dominating headlines. Denmark’s  monarch, Queen Margrethe II has reigned for 45 years, is enormously popular and is supported by her two sons and plethora of grandchildren. That support does not, apparently, extend to her husband, Prince Henrik, a Frenchman to whom she has been married since 1967.

Henrik boldly stated that he had no desire to be buried alongside his wife at Roskilde, the traditional resting place for Danish monarchs and their spouses, because he had never been granted the title of “king.” His argument is that his prevention from receiving the title is 1) his wife’s fault and 2) sexist, because female consorts are given the title “queen.”

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The Union of Tudor & Stuart

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By the “union of Tudor and Stuart” I don’t mean that of England and Scotland, but rather the marriage that facilitated the eventual consolidation of power in James I in 1603 and the later formation of the concept of “Britain.” All of that was a long time in the making and it stemmed from the union of King James IV of Scotland and England’s Princess Margaret Tudor in 1503.

The alliance came together in the Treaty of Perpetual Peace signed on January 24, 1502 at Richmond Palace. The treaty was the first between the two countries in roughly 170 years and it ended what had become nearly two centuries of warfare – that said, it was England and Scotland, so even that two centuries needs to be put in the context of several more of bloody battles over sovereignty.

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The Dawn of the Plantagenets: Geoffrey & Matilda

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On May 23, 1125 the only daughter of King Henry I of England was widowed by the death of Henry V, Holy Roman Emperor. Matilda of England had left her home 15 years earlier and in the subsequent years both her mother, Matilda of Scotland, and her brother, William Adelin, had died. Though Henry I married a second time to Adeliza of Louvain, by 1125 the union hadn’t produced any children and Matilda remained her father’s sole legitimate offspring.

Thus, her next steps, including the urgent need for her to marry again, were not only of personal concern, but of national importance. If one considers the amount of sexism that female monarchs like Mary I, Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots encountered in the 16th century, then it should be easy to imagine the disbelief with which many viewed the idea of Matilda ruling England as queen regnant in the 12th. However, rather surprisingly, that’s exactly the plan Henry I put in place.

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Meghan, Botswana & Fitting in an Engagement

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Considering it’s August, there was certainly quite a bit of commentary this past weekend after news hit that Prince Harry took girlfriend Meghan Markle on a holiday in Africa for her birthday. And I say “Africa” because when the news first hit the location wasn’t specified beyond that, a fact that drew quite a bit of ire online.

We know now that the couple are in Botswana, a country with particular significance for Harry. He visited the country for the first time back in 1997, just months after the death of his mother, the late Princess of Wales. That trip, and his many subsequent visits to the larger continent, have resonated with Harry and he appears to enjoy a special connection with the place. While the Duke of Cambridge appears to have similar feelings for Africa – it played a role in the theme of his 21st birthday party and is where he proposed to his future wife in 2010 – Harry makes a point of visiting at least once a year, sometimes more.

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The Queen is Officially at Balmoral

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Late summer has officially arrived and, right on schedule, the Queen has taken up occupancy at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands. The residence is open to the public until late July (a relatively recent development) and staff spent last week preparing it for the Royal Family while the Queen stayed nearby at Craigowan Lodge. Now, however, the tourists are gone, Philip’s last engagement is behind him and it’s time for a bit of respite.

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