Tuesday 23 November 2010

The last queen of England

If I had a pound for every time I've heard Kate Middleton referred to as "the future queen of England", I'd have about 8 or 9 pounds by now which is 8 or 9 too many as it's a ghastly solecism - it's about as absurd as referring to Barack Obama as the President of Florida.

The last queen (in the K Middleton sense of being queen-consort, i.e. wife of the king as opposed to sovereign in her own right) of England - a role which can never now be reprised since the kingdom of England ceased to exist in 1707 - was this lady:-

Mary of Modena. She was the second wife of King James II who was the king of England (and of Scotland - of which he was James VII - and Ireland) from 1685 to 1688.

Her main claim to fame is having been the mother of the king's eldest son. That's normally a good thing where queens are concerned except this king and queen were Roman Catholic in Protestant countries and the birth of a son - and the threat of a Catholic dynasty - led to James II (VII) being deposed in favour of his Protestant daughter and son-in-law. They ruled as the only example in British history of joint monarchs, William and Mary. (This was William III, better known as William of Orange. He was Dutch and it's not a coincidence the Dutch national football team plays in orange to this day.) Being childless, W&M were succeeded in 1701 by Mary's sister, Queen Anne, and she was still the queen in 1707 when England and Scotland merged to form the United Kingdom. Thus, there would never again be a "Queen of England". (Ireland joined the UK in 1801 but a chunk of it seceeded again in 1922 and became a republic in 1949 - traitors: they needn't think we'll be bailing them out.)

For non-native English speakers, that cartoon involves jokes about how the Queen speaks - she pronounces proud as "pride", horse as "hawce", girl as "gel" and how as "high". Kate is, in fact, so common, her mother was an airline stewardess: the Royal Family's upper crust friends snigger and whisper "Doors to Automatic" behind her back.

There's been some speculation as to which dukedom William will be given when he marries. They'll have to sift the traditional royal dukedoms which are not already taken (i.e. Edinburgh, York, Kent, Gloucester) carefully to make sure there's no chance of an embarrassment due to the last incumbent having been one of Queen Victoria's numerous offspring who became a serial killer or worse.

 Pictured sitting next to the Fuhrer is the last Duke of Albany, grandson of Queen Victoria. It's a pity because the dukedom of Albany was the Scottish equivalent of the dukedom of York, i.e. the second son of the sovereign. The awkwardness over the last incumbent (above) was likely why the present Queen's second son, Prince Andrew, wasn't created Duke of Albany simultaneously with being created Duke of York when he got married in 1986. Just goes to show sensitive these things are. Perhaps they'd be safest making Prince William Duke of Heathrow, Earl of Gatwick and Viscount Stansted - Kate's lot would appreciate that.


Kathie said...

I thought the last queen of England was Boy George.

Marisa said...


When will you join Facebook? This is for you too Kathie (Urbano is there and many others),even the queen has joined the social net.
That was funny about Boy George, but it was more drag(queen)

Kathie said...

Oh Marisa, I'm already responsible for the care and feeding of TWO websites, as well as trying to get some translating done. So wall due respect to our dear Urbano, I just don't have the extra time and energy to add a Facebook page to my list of duties.


http://www.mycalifornianfriends.com (still needs to be completed, sigh)

Kathie said...

Should read: So wtih all due respect...

Kathie said...

Oooh, the gremlins are getting into my typing tonight: "with," not "wtih" (pounding my head on the keyboard in despair at this juncture).

Marisa said...

That's ok with the "gralhas" it happens to all of us. I Know your websites but FB it's different, and it's not a duty, but it can be a vicious.

Kathie said...

Did those terrible storms last week in Fajãzinha with mudslides and fallen tree-limbs also affect Fajã Grande?
http://liberdadenasflores.blogspot.com (scroll down to last week's posts)

Did you suffer any damage, and/or were you without power? If so, then I hope you're enjoying nicer weather now and that your region's getting cleaned up and back to normal.

Marisa said...

There´s you at the balcony. Happy new year.

Kathie said...

Marisa, não posso abrir :-( O URL é certo?