Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rules of Succession

I have been thinking lately about the various rules of succession, both historically and presently within monarchies. Some monarchies allow only legitimate male heirs to ascend the throne, while others allow legitimate females as well. Some of the monarchies that allow female heirs do so only if there is no male heir, while others dictate that the eldest child regardless of gender ascend the throne. The common thread among the different rules of succession is succession by blood, but what about adoption?

I must confess that I have been thinking about adoption and succession for a very selfish reason: my wife and I have been unable to conceive and are in the process of adopting a baby. What if I were born a royal and unable to have a biological child? There are certainly enough historical examples of childless royals to make one think about the possibility of adopted heirs. Perhaps many succession disputes (even armed disputes) could have been avoided had a royal couple been allowed to adopt a child and name that child the heir to the throne. It was done in ancient Rome (although the emperor usually adopted a nephew and named him heir), so there is some historical precedent.

I am not one to pay attention to gossip magazines or the tabloids, but when I am in the check-out stand at the grocery store it is hard not to notice them (especially due the the fact that I am an Archie comics fan, and the great Archie Double Digest is often sold right next to the tabloids). I have noticed several tabloids since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge got married alluding to the royal couple having fertility problems. All these rumours may be false, but it does make one think about the topic of royal succession.

So I ask you, my readers, what do you think about royal succession by adoption?


Rob said...

I'm thinking adoption is ok. But I think succession should be through a male because when he gets married (or if), usually the wife takes her husband's name, not vice versa, so the royal family name would then be preserved.

Mateus G. M. F. Tbúrcio said...

I think they can adopt a child, but The British Line of Sucession has more than 2000 people. There are many heirs.
Your blog is very good. Congratulations from Brazil.

Dominus Tecum

Mateus G. M. F. Tibúrcio

Crayshen said...

As a point, weren't the adopted Emperors of Rome considered some of the greatest?

Personally, I find no trouble with this approach if an heir is not available, as the reigning sovereign is head of his household correct? Therefore he is also keeper of the rules of said household and it's policies on inheritance, provided of course that they do not supersede national law.

It would however have the unpleasant effect of alienating existing nobility who WOULD have inherited and might make the successors' reign difficult. Perhaps in that sense, should the incoming family take the name of the outgoing? Hey, it would certainly put an end to the Orleans/Bourbon debate....okay ruminating on that sentence for 2 seconds makes my suggestion sound like a very bad idea.

Still, if the aristocracy was accepting of it and willing to lay those ambitions aside, I would really see no problem with it at all.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking of the same thing around the same time. With male preference in succession, is it a bad move for adoption to insert a male heir in precedence to a female heir? And separately, is it bad for th king to have so much say over who succeeds him?

Anonymous said...

What about Mexico? Emperor Maximilian I adopted the grandsons of Emperor Agustin I.

David said...

I am against adopted children inheriting the throne.
Certainly they should be given a senior title of hereditary nobility.
My objection is that monarchy is, of its nature, traditional. We should not have changed the succession laws for the Monarch of the Commonwealth Realms, not because I'm against queens but because if you undermine tradition you undermine the whole point of monarchy.