WHAT IS THE ROYAL FAMILY’S CLAIM TO THE THRONE?
The Queen derives her right to rule from the House of Hanover – whose head became King George I in 1714.
In 1688 James II, the last Catholic king in British history, was deposed in favour of his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William. They did not have children so the throne then passed to her sister Anne (of The Favourite fame) who also died childless.
There was concern that the throne would pass to James’ son, also called James, whose birth to a Catholic mother had prompted the deposition in the first place. Therefore Parliament passed the Act of Succession in 1701 which forbade any Roman Catholic – or anyone married to a Catholic – from ever taking the throne.
This mean when Anne died in 1714, Parliament offered the throne to her second cousin – the Prince of Hanover in Germany – over many of her closer relatives.
His descendants would keep the Hanover name – and the throne – until 1840 when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert and all their children became known under their father’s last name – Saxe-Coburg Gotha.
During the First World War, with anti-German feeling running high, King George V (the Queen’s grandfather) thought it wise to change it to the much more British sounding Windsor – after their favourite castle.
It goes to show that although royalties may claim they are chosen by God – sometimes they are chosen by Parliament.