Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 12.22.04
Quebec City


Introducing Sam Chatto, the (possible) King of the Brits

I don't know how many of you caught the little item the other day about the Royal Family but it's big news.

At least it's big news for the monarchists out there.

Elizabeth II, Queen of all the Britains, Canada, Australia, and a couple of dozen other islands and territories, has agreed to discuss with parliament the whole concept of primogeniture.'

For those of you untutored in the ways of the monarchy, primogeniture is the feudal rule that governs who can be the next to wear the Crown.

As it stands now, much like it did in the seventh century, when the reigning monarch cashes in her chips or her rubies or whatever, the throne goes to her eldest son.

Daughters need not apply. Unless, like Liz, you have no brothers.

What the Mother of Parliaments would like to do is bring the Royal Family somewhere close to the twentieth if not the twenty-first century.

It's not going to be easy.

I went to and looked it up. And as it stands, the rules of succession read like something between a lawyer's brief and the enigma code.

The procedure is roughly as follows. . . And I quote"

"If individual 'a' is dead or ineliglible: 1.look for 'a's' eldest-born male 'b' (if none were born, go to 3).

If 'b' is dead or ineligible, go to 1. With 'b' instead of 'a'.

3.if no candidate meeting the criteria is found return to 'a', find the next eldest-born male 'c'; repeat steps 1-3 with 'c' instead of 'a' until a candidate is found or all of a's male children are exhausted."

I don't know about 'a's' male children but I'm exhausted.

To put it in simpler terms, if Liz II dies, go to Prince Chuck. If Chuck is dead, go to Willy. If Willy, God forbid, is dead go to Harry.

If Harry is dead then it's back to Charlie's brother Andy, Duke of York, to repeat steps 1 to 3.

Only after you've exhausted all the Yorks and brother Eddy, the Earl of Wessex, and his offspring does Princess Anne get a crack, even though she's the second oldest.

To complicate things even more, the heir can't be a Catholic or married to a Catholic and has to be a direct descendent of Sophia, Electress of Hanover.

You may well say who.

Sophia was the nearest qualifier after Queen Anne died back in the seventeen hundreds.

Anne had twelve children but Britain avoided all that "go to a then to b" stuff because none of them survived infancy.

Anyway, short of a natural disaster things, after Elizabeth should be fairly simple.

But Parliament won't be caught with their robes down.

Somewhere in Whitehall there's a gnome who keeps track of this sort of thing.

I checked out the list.

Strangely enough, it's not only prince this or that or the duke of whatever who qualifies.

Number sixteen in line of sucession is somebody named Sam Chatto! And thirty-seventh is actually named Zenouska Mowatt! How's that for a queenly moniker.

My favorite though is number 27 who bears the name Cassius Taylor.

I know at 27 the likelihood of him succeeding to the throne is slim but think of it, King Cassius I.

You have to admit it's got a nice ring to it.