The seventh episode of The Crown season four is titled “The Hereditary Precept,” which on first look appears to be a reference to Princess Margaret’s (Helena Bonham Carter) discovery of her long-hidden cousins, Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon. The cousins have been born with extreme developmental issues and spent their grownup lives in a psychiatric ward. Margaret, who has been struggling along with her personal psychological well being, fears that she could also be doomed to the identical destiny because of genetics.
However actually, the Hereditary Precept refers back to the system that governs the British monarchy and its line of succession. In a hereditary monarchy, the switch of energy is ruled by bloodlines. Per BBC Historical past journal, “energy and titles cross from member of the family to member of the family.” And within the episode, Princess Margaret’s place inside the hereditary hierarchy is diminished when Queen Elizabeth’s youngest son, Edward, comes of age. Under, a primer on precisely what occurred right here.
The place is Princess Margaret within the line of succession?
The royal line of succession runs in start order, that means that on the time of King George VI’s loss of life in 1952, Elizabeth was first in line to the throne and Margaret was second. Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 4 youngsters, Charles, Andrew, Edward, and Anne, have been all born forward of Margaret within the line of succession. Anne is behind her brothers—and their youngsters—due to a sexist custom that was lastly modified in 2013. By 1985, when the episode takes place, Margaret was ninth in line, behind the queen’s 4 youngsters and 4 grandchildren (Charles and Anne every had two youngsters at this level).
How did Prince Edward’s birthday in 1985 affect Princess Margaret’s place within the monarchy?
That is the place the 1937 Regency Act is available in. Because the queen’s personal secretary Martin Charteris explains within the episode, the act created an inventory of senior royals who might be known as on to deputize for the monarch in an official capability; these royals are known as Counsellors of State. Now that Edward has turned 21, he’s thought of to be of age (later variations of the Act amended this to 18), which does not change his place within the line of succession, however does imply he’ll routinely be added to the Regency Act listing—instead of Margaret. The Regency Act restricts the variety of Counsellors of State to only six, per BBC Historical past, and Margaret not makes the reduce; the six who did have been Prince Philip, the Queen Mom, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and Princess Anne.
The Act reads: “An Act to supply that, within the occasion of a Regency changing into obligatory beneath the Regency Act 1937, His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh shall in sure circumstances be the Regent, to supply that the inheritor obvious or inheritor presumptive to the Throne shall be deemed for the needs of that Act to be of full age if she or he has attained the age of eighteen years, so as to add Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mom to the individuals to whom royal capabilities could also be delegated as Counsellors of State, and for functions related with the issues aforesaid.”
Margaret, subsequently, is requested to relinquish her function as counsellor of state. The episode actually sticks the knife in right here, as a result of simply days earlier, Margaret has all however begged the wueen to present her extra duty, not much less. “I’m lastly able to deal with the one factor that gained’t let me down,” she says, in an uncharacteristic second of vulnerability after a romantic rejection. “Us. My place as a royal. My responsibility. I come on bended knee with a well-recognized request: Give me as a lot duty as you’ll be able to. What your sister wants to remain afloat is a way of that means.”
The queen provides her a pained smile earlier than breaking the information days later. In actual life, there is not a lot reporting round how Margaret reacted to the demotion.
Margaret’s in poor health well being additionally performed a task in her stepping again from royal duties.
As depicted within the episode, Margaret underwent a severe lung operation at London’s Nationwide Coronary heart and Chest Hospital in January of 1985. In the course of the surgical procedure, she had a part of certainly one of her lungs eliminated, which was discovered to not be cancerous.
“Princess Margaret underwent an operation yesterday,” the hospital stated in a press release, per AP. “This was to take away a small space of her left lung, which was discovered to be harmless.” However the most cancers scare was notably worrying given Margaret’s household historical past. Her father, King George VI, died of lung most cancers, and she or he had been a heavy smoker all through her life.
In line with BBC Historical past, Margaret’s failing well being led to her being seen extra positively by the press and the general public. “Information editors have been conscious of her private scenario, so handled her extra sympathetically,” the journal quotes royal historian Dr. Ed Owens as saying. “As the general public’s consideration shifted to the actions (and antics) of Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson, Margaret was steadily regarded with larger affection. She disapproved of the conduct of the youthful royal girls, and she or he re-asserted herself in public life as a determine who was dedicated to her responsibility and the queen, taking part in the function of dependable sister and confidante.”
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