How to Become King/Queen of England?
Three Ways to Become King/Queen
Let’s face it, all of us at some point or another have dreamed of themselves as King or Queen… No? Okay, it must just be me then.
But how does one become King or Queen?
To answer this, we need to look back through British history. Which given its length, takes some time.
Now girls you are going to find this a lot easier than us guys. You see, while there is not always a King on the British throne there is always a Queen.
You may be thinking “Um what?” So, let me explain. In royalty, Male titles still outrank female ones. Sorry girls, that’s just the way it is. As a result, when you have a crowned Queen Regent like Queen Elizabeth II, her husband takes the title of Prince Consort, not King Consort. This is why good old Phillip’s title is His Royal Highness Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh and not His Majesty King Phillip. This, however, flips the other way around. If the crowned monarch is a King and not a Queen, his wife is elevated to the title of Queen consort. Normally abbreviated to Queen. This is why there have been three Queen Elizabeth’s, but we are only currently on our second. The second one, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, was the consort of King George VI and not a ruling Queen in her own right. Likewise, when Prince William ascends to the throne his wife Kate Middleton will be elevated from the Duchess of Cambridge to Queen Catherine, an impressive feat for the daughter of an airline pilot and stewardess.
So, girls if you want to be a Queen and aren’t of royal blood there is a way around it. You won’t have the same powers as Queen Elizabeth II, but you will have the title.
Guys, for us there are really only two options. The first is easy, be born royal.
This may seem pretty simple. In short, be born royal but there are a couple of rules that one must still follow if they want to ascend to the throne.
Firstly, until 2012 it was easier for boys rather than girls to ascend to the throne. The line of succession was bound by the rites of primogeniture which had been in place since the reign of Henry VII. Ironically based on our first method of becoming King this was a rule put in place to stop bloody struggles for succession.
This law meant that the throne would automatically pass to the eldest living son of the previous monarch. Emphasis on ‘SON’. Girls were considered unfit to rule for some odd reason. If a girl was born first, then they would take on the title of Heir Presumptive. In short, they would ascend the throne on the death of their father if their parents didn’t later produce a son. In the event of such a child being born, then he would take on the title of Heir Apparent and could only be dislodged from this position by his death or by his conversion to a religion other than Protestantism (something that we shall discuss later).
However, since 2012 when it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were expecting their first child, a child who would at birth be in the direct line of succession, it was decided that parliament would amend the law so that now the throne would pass to the eldest child, not the eldest son. It quickly gained royal accent but didn’t matter as William and Kate's first child was a boy. This law first saw practice on the birth of the couple's third child, Prince Louis, who for the first time didn’t supplant his elder sister Princess Charlotte in the line of succession.
So you may be asking why is it that we have a Queen now?
In short, there were no male heirs left at the time when she came to the throne. Princess Elizabeth was born third in line to the throne behind her father and Uncle. Her Uncle became Edward VIII and famously abdicated while also being childless. Elizabeth’s father then took the throne as George VI and as he only had two daughters Elizabeth, being the eldest, succeeded him.
The second rule is that of religion. This is a simple one. As the monarch is not only the head of state but also of the Church of England by law, they must be Protestant. This means that any heir to the throne must also be baptizedProtestant. Should the first in line decide that actually, they want to be a Catholic then by law the line of succession skips them and would move to the next in line.
But if you aren't that lucky one in 65 million kid to be born to the right parents then how do you become king? Well, there is one more option and it's risky.
Back in the good old days of castles, knights, lords, ladies, and many many wars, this was a common way to become the sovereign of a great state. Some of these conflicts are well known and usually involved many prospective monarchs. The wars of Austrian and Spanish Succession, the Wars of The Roses, (which was fought between the five kings of the houses of Lancaster and York and inspired George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones war of the five kings). But in Britain, probably the most famous was the battle of Hastings during the war of 1066 between King Harold Godwinson of England and William Duke of Normandy. Forever remembered as William the Conqueror (three guesses as to who won).
This was a war fought between not just these two but also King Harold Hardrada of Norway. All three had been promised the English throne by King Edward, (known as Edward the Confessor) upon his death, however, only Harold Godwinson was in position to take the throne and so he did. Immediately, the other two protested and planned for war. Harald Hardrada landed his army first in the north of England and sacked the city of York. King Harold Godwinson marched his army north and defeated Hardrada’s army at the battle of Stanford bridge and killed Hardrada himself. But while he was in the north, William landed in southern England with an army of 7,000 men. This forced Harold to wheel his army south and march to Hastings. In the ensuing battle, Harold was famously shot with an arrow through the eye and died causing the Saxon army to route and William to seize the throne. The French dynasty he installed would rule for almost 300 years in England and he would forever be known as William the Conqueror.
Now, before you start making your invasion plans, you should just be aware of two things. Firstly, nobody of foreign birth has successfully invaded England since William. This hasn’t been for lack of trying, both Hitler and Napoleon tried to cross the Channel. Both failed. And secondly, while it may seem cool to you to try and conquer a nation and impose yourself as king, remember when William crossed everyone believed in the Divine Right of Kings. Now our monarchs are constitutionally bound to parliament. So even if you did try and succeed in invading England the chances of becoming an absolute monarch are slim to none.
So sorry guys, it looks like you are just going to have to be lucky and born into the line of succession. That’s the only way to do it. And girls, you’ve got to find yourself a prince with a direct claim. Unfortunately, at present most are taken though little Prince George is available the only problem is he is only five years old.
If you are more interested in power than position, you may be interested in my other article on how to become Prime Minister. This does have its advantages, you get more control than if your king, you get a nice house in the centre of London (Number 10 Downing Street) and a small country mansion (Checkers) but unfortunately no palaces, no glittering crown, no golden chair, and unlike King, it's not for life.