The Other Children of Charles I & Henrietta Maria of France

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For all that Charles I led England into a civil war and then lost his crown and, well, head, he was at least one half of a happy marriage. For an institution once upon a time comprised mainly of foreign alliances and quiet desperation, that’s something, no? After a rocky start, Charles and Henrietta Maria of France settled into the kind of complacent domesticity to which political matchmaking aspired, and from this came nine children. Two of those sons – Charles II and James II – would end up kings. A daughter, Mary, would become the mother of another – William III. And another daughter, Henrietta Anne, would marry into the French Royal Family and end up a dazzling fixture at Versailles.

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The Almost Queen: Sophia of the Palatinate

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And so we turn now to one of my faves, Sophia of the Palatinate, a woman who, had she lived only a few weeks longer, would have succeeded Queen Anne on the throne. It is because of her that the House of Hanover was founded and she’s the line’s true matriarch, making her a direct ancestor to the current queen and the rest of today’s Royal Family.

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The Elder Daughters Who Could Have Ruled

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Recently we discussed changes to the succession laws in 2013 that allow the eldest child, not just the eldest male, to inherit the crown. Because the rules aren’t retroactive, Princess Charlotte is the first female member of the British Royal Family to directly benefit from the rule change, meaning that even if she is followed up by a younger brother, he won’t trump her in the line of succession.

So, in honor of that, we’re going to go back and look at the elder daughters who could have ruled if absolute primogeniture had been in place from the get-go – well, from the Norman Conquest.

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