Saturday, July 4, 2015

Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof

That’s from the Bible, Leviticus 25:10 in the Old Testament. And it is engraved (or cast or however they did it) on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

(“Liberty Bell 2008” by Tony the Misfit on Flickr - Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

The first time I saw the Liberty Bell (in 1955) it was located inside Independence Hall, not out on the mall as it is today. In fact, the first time I saw the Liberty Bell there was no mall at all -- just urban blight. Independence Hall, the place where 56 men pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor when they signed the Declaration of Independence, was surrounded by a rundown, decaying neighborhood. Urban blight had won the day.

The clearing of the eyesores, the creation of the mall itself, and the relocation of the Liberty Bell from where it had been for more than 200 years to its new outdoor home occurred as part of preparing for America's bicentennial celebration in 1976.

I have seen the bell out on the mall too, but the effect just isn’t the same as standing inside the sacred space that is Independence Hall.

In preparing for this post, two questions occurred to me. I have done the research so that you don’t have to do it yourself. I’m sure that both Yorkshire Pudding and Adrian especially appreciate this.

1. What relation is Queen Elizabeth II to King George III?

The answer is that he was either her 3rd great-grandfather or her 4th great-grandfather depending on which line you follow. If you follow the line of succession on her grandfather’s side - George VI (father), George V (grandfather), Edward VII (great-grandfather), Victoria (2nd great-grandmother) , Edward Duke of Kent (3rd great-grandfather), George III (4th great-grandfather) - then he was her 4th great-grandfather. However, her grandmother Queen Mary of Teck was also descended from George III - she and her husband George V were 2nd cousins once removed. If you follow Queen Elizabeth’s line through her grandmother - George VI (father), Queen Mary (grandmother), Mary Adelaide (great-grandmother), Adolphus of Hanover (2nd great-grandfather), George III (3rd great-grandfather) - he is more closely related as her 3rd great-grandfather.

And the most important question of all:

2. Is David Cameron descended from royalty? How close would he be in line to the throne?

David Cameron, the current British Prime Minister, is the great-great-great-grandson of Elizabeth Fitzclarence (Jan 17, 1801 - Jan 16, 1856) who was an illegitimate daughter of William IV and his mistress Irish actress Dorothea Bland who was known by her stage name as ‘Mrs Jordan’. They lived together for 20 years when he was Duke of Clarence and had 5 sons and 5 daughters. When he became heir to the throne William married Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen but they had no surviving children so when he died having no legitimate children his niece Victoria became Queen.

Therefore, David Cameron is the 5th cousin, twice removed of Queen Elizabeth II, but illegitimate lines have no claim to the throne. The Royal Marriage act of 1772, instigated by William IV’s father George III, requires members of the royal family to obtain permission from the monarch to marry. So William and Dorothea would have had to get permission from his brother George IV to marry and it would also have required ratification by Parliament. She was Catholic and would have had to renounce her Catholic faith for William to remain in the line of succession to the throne. In the very unlikely event that they had been allowed to marry and had done so before their children were born then their eldest son George Augustus would have had a claim to the throne. His great-grandson Geoffrey Fitzclarence, 5th Earl of Munster, was a Conservative politician in Winston Churchill’s government. David Cameron’s line through their 3rd daughter Elizabeth would have had only a very remote claim.

Although I am a self-confessed Anglophile, I’m glad we Americans do not have to deal with all that folderol.

I do wish a happy Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day, to all, even to our English friends. Have a cup of tea on us. We put some in Boston Harbor in 1773 especially for you.


  1. That bell doesn't look to have been a very good casting.
    You can have our royals.

  2. It is not too late to renounce your independence and return to Great Britain's forgiving fold. The fact that the bell cracked very early on was surely a sign from The Almighty that independence was not the way forward and look at what's happened in the last 240 years! Al Capone, Mickey Mouse, the electric can opener, Charles Manson, IBM! It has all gone so terribly wrong. President Elizabeth Regina has a nice ring to it.

  3. I'm late here reading this and wishing you "Happy 4th July"!
    All that information about the English royals was very interesting.