Royal Bastards

by Brian Sanderson

I'm left bemused by the entertaining article, "Girls, boys get equality in line to British throne", published in the CH Oct 29, 2011. So, all the leaders of all the Commonwealth have decided that the first-born should be Monarch, regardless of gender. Male, female --- or in between? --- are all to be treated equally. Hang on a minute mate, not so fast. Why the first-born, why not the last-born or the one with the highest/lowest IQ?

What about Royal bastards? Medieval scholar, Dr Michael Jones, argues that King Edward IV, who reigned from 1461 to 1483, was illegitimate. Edward's mother, Lady Cicely Neville, was apparently deeply engrossed in the company of archer, Monsieur Blaybourne, at the time of his conception. It's perfectly understandable, the good Lady's husband, Richard Duke of York, was five days march away, fighting the French.

Regardless of his parentage, King Edward IV was reputed to have been popular and very able. So my questions to all those Commonwealth leaders are threefold. (1) Does a first-born bastard have first claim to the throne? (2) What makes one arbitrary rule for accession better than another? (3) Why should our Monarch be chosen by an accident of birth, why not a lottery?