is one who maintains or is able to maintain a claim that they are entitled to a position of honour or rank
, which may be occupied by an incumbent (usually more recognised), or whose powers may currently be exercised by another person or authority. Most often, it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne
is occupied, is claimed by a rival, or has been abolished
"The Young Pretender", Charles Edward Stuart
, Bonnie Prince Charlie
, pretender to the English, the Scottish, the French, and the Irish thrones
The term claimant
is sometimes preferred, but the term pretend
in itself is not pejorative
in this context. The original meaning of the English word pretend
comes from the French word prétendre
(and before that, the Latin praetendo
meaning "to stretch out before"),
and originally meant "to put forward, to profess or claim". A pretender was, therefore, simply one who put forward or professed a claim to a title or, in modern terms, a claimant. Only later did the word acquire its modern sense of professing or claiming falsely.
The term "pretender" may apply to claimants with arguably genuine rights (as the various pretenders of the Wars of the Roses
who regarded the de facto
monarch as a usurper
). It may also be used for those possessing an arguable right to a position who do not
actively claim it
, as well as impostors
with wholly fabricated claims (as pretenders to Henry VII
's throne Lambert Simnel
and Perkin Warbeck
attest). People in the latter category often assume the identities
of deceased or missing royalty to support their claim, and are sometimes referred to for clarity as false pretenders or royal impersonators. A pretender to the title of Pope
is called an antipope
In the Roman Empire
These are customarily referred to as the Thirty Tyrants
, which was an allusion to the Thirty Tyrants
some five hundred years earlier; although the comparison is questionable, and the Romans were separate aspirants, not (as the Athenians were) a Committee of Public Safety. The Loeb
translation of the appropriate chapter of the Augustan History
therefore represents the Latin triginta tyranni
by "Thirty Pretenders" to avoid this artificial and confusing parallel. Not all of them were afterwards considered pretenders
; several were actually successful in becoming Emperor at least in part of the Empire for a brief period.
Following the defeat and death of King James IIIKing of Cyprus
in 1474, his younger and illegitimate brother, Eugène Matteo de Lusignan, also styled d'Arménie
(died 1523) removed to Sicily
, then to Malta
. He was acknowledged as rightful heir to the thrones of Cyprus
, and Antioch
, although he never made serious efforts to pursue the claims. The title of "Barone de Baccari" was created in 1508 for Jacques Matteo (sives Eugene Matteo) d'Armenia with the remainder to his descendants in perpetuity.
Eugene, illegitimate son of King Jacques II of Cyprus, had, when his family were exiled, first gone to Naples, then Sicily, then settled on Malta, marrying a Sicilian heiress, Donna
Paola Mazzara (a descendant of the Royal House of Aragon of Sicily and Aragon), with issue.
The establishment of the First Republic
and the execution of Louis XVI
in 1793 led to the king's son becoming pretender to the abolished throne, styled as Louis XVII
. As Louis XVII was a child and imprisoned in Paris by the revolutionaries, his uncle, the Comte de Provence
, proclaimed himself regent in his nephew's name. After Louis XVII died in 1795, the Comte de Provence became pretender himself, as Louis XVIII.
Louis XVIII was restored to the throne in 1814, and was succeeded by his brother Charles X
Charles X was, however, forced into exile by the July Revolution
. Charles X and his son, Louis-Antoine, Duke of Angoulême
, abdicated their claims in favor of Charles's grandson, Henri, Count of Chambord
; however, their cousin the Duke of Orléans
, a descendant of Louis XIV's younger brother, mounted the throne as Louis Philippe I, King of the French.
For most of the July Monarchy, the legitimists
, as supporters of the exiled senior line came to be known, were uncertain of whom to support. Some believed the abdication of Charles and his son legal, and recognized the young Chambord as king, while others maintained that abdication was unconstitutional in France of the ancien régime
, and continued to recognize first Charles X and then Louis-Antoine, until the latter's death in 1844. On his uncle's death, Chambord claimed the crown, but lived in exile and upon his death in 1883, the direct male-line of Louis XV became extinct.
In 1848, Louis Philippe was himself overthrown by the February Revolution
, and abdicated the throne in favor of his young grandson, Philippe, Comte de Paris
. However, a republic was proclaimed, leaving Paris, like his cousin Chambord, merely a pretender to a no longer existing crown.
Over the next several decades, there were several attempts at a so-called "fusion", to unite both groups of monarchists in support of the childless Chambord as king, who would recognize the Count of Paris as his heir. Those efforts failed in the 1850s, but after the establishment of the Third Republic
in 1870, when a royalist majority was elected to the Chamber of Deputies
, fusion again became the monarchist strategy. As a result, in 1873 the Count of Paris withdrew his own bid for the throne and recognized Chambord as legitimate pretender to the French crown.
In spite of this apparent unity among royalist forces, restoration
of the monarchy was not to be; Chambord refused to accept the Tricolor
flag, which rendered him unacceptable to most Frenchmen as a constitutional king
The monarchists hoped that after Chambord's death they could unite and crown the Orléanist
candidate. But Chambord lived until 1883, while France's royalists had lost their majority in parliament by 1877.
The erstwhile Orléanist Adolphe Thiers
thus called Chambord "The French Washington", i.e. the true "founder" of the Republic.
By 1883 the majority of French monarchists accepted the Count of Paris as rightful pretender to the French throne.
A minority of reactionaries, the so-called Blancs d'Espagne
("Spanish Whites"), continued to withhold support from the House of Orléans
and chose instead Juan, Count of Montizon
, the Carlist
pretender to the Spanish throne, who also happened to be the senior male descendant of Louis XIV
The arguments are, on one side, that Louis XIV's younger grandson, Philip de Bourbon, Duke of Anjou
renounced any future claim to the French throne when he left France to become king of Spain as Philip V in 1700 (the renunciation was ratified internationally by the Treaty of Utrecht
), ostensibly leaving the Dukes of Orléans
as heirs to the throne of France in the event of extinction of descendants of Louis XIV's elder grandson Louis, Duke of Burgundy
, which occurred in 1883.
On the other side, Anjou's renunciation is held to be invalid because prior to the revolution it was a fundamental tenet of the French monarchy that the crown could never be diverted from the rightful (senior line
) heir of Hugh Capet
Moreover, although the Orléans volunteered to defer their rival claim to the throne after 1873, the regicidal
vote of their ancestor Philippe Égalité
in 1789 and the usurpation of Louis Philippe in 1830 are alleged to have extinguished all rights to the throne for the Orléans branch.
The schism has continued to the present day, with supporters of the senior line reclaiming the title of "Legitimist", leaving their opponent royalists to be known, once again, as "Orléanists". The current representative of the senior line is Louis Alphonse, Duke of Anjou
, the senior legitimate living descendant of Hugh Capet (and of Philip V d'Anjou
of Spain) who was born and raised in Spain. The Orléanist line, which returned to live in France when the law of banishment
was repealed in 1950, is represented by Prince Jean, Duke of Vendôme
, senior male-line descendant of King Louis Philippe.
There is much debate over who is the legitimate heir to the Russian throne, and bitter dispute within the family itself. Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna
is considered by some to be the legitimate heir.
She is the only child of Grand Duke Vladimir
who died in 1992, a great-grandson of Tsar Alexander II
, whom some considered the last male dynast
of the House of Romanov
. Some of her opponents believe she is ineligible to claim the throne because she was born of a marriage that would have been deemed morganatic
under Russia's monarchy, which was abolished in 1917.
Others oppose her for reasons similar to those of the anti-Orleanist rationale: her grandfather's perceived disloyalty and dynastic ambition are seen as removing any rights which might otherwise have belonged to her branch of the former dynasty.
Karl Emich of Leiningen, also known under his Christian Orthodox name Nikolai Kirillovich Romanov
England, Scotland and Ireland
After the execution by England of the Stuart
King Charles I
in 1649, his son Charles II
was proclaimed king in Scotland (where he was crowned in 1651) and Ireland; but those two countries were invaded by English forces and annexed to the Commonwealth of England
under Oliver Cromwell
in 1653. Thus, Charles II was pretender to the throne of England from 1649 to the restoration of 1660, and exiled/deposed King of Scots and King of Ireland, 1653 to 1660. He died in 1685 and his brother James II and VII
came to the throne. He had converted to Catholicism but this only became a worry when his second wife bore a son who would precede his two Protestant daughters. James was thus deposed by his elder daughter and his son-in-law (who was also his nephew, son of his sister Mary) during the Glorious Revolution
in December 1688, and was formally offered the English and Scottish thrones by their respective parliaments a month later - which was still 1688 in England (where New Year's Day was 25 March until 1752) but was already 1689 in Scotland (which adopted 1 January as New Year's Day in 1600). James made several attempts to regain the throne before his death in 1701, the most important of which was an effort he made with Irish support - that country having not yet acceded to the succession of William and Mary
- which led to the Battle of the Boyne
and the Battle of Aughrim
, and set the stage for the subsequent Jacobite risings
(or rebellions). These were a series of uprisings or wars between 1688 and 1746 in which supporters of James, his son ("The Old Pretender") and grandson ("The Young Pretender") attempted to restore his direct male line to the throne.
- James Francis Edward Stuart, the Roman Catholic son of the deposed James II and VII, was barred from the succession to the throne by the Act of Settlement 1701. Notwithstanding the Act of Union 1707, he claimed the separate thrones of Scotland, as James VIII, and of England and Ireland, as James III, until his death in 1766. In Jacobite terms, Acts of Parliament (of England or Scotland) after 1688, (including the Acts of Union) did not receive the required Royal Assent of the legitimate Jacobite monarch and, therefore, were without legal effect. James was responsible for a number of conspiracies and rebellions, particularly in the Highlands of Scotland. The most notable was the Jacobite rising of 1715–16.
- Charles Edward Stuart ("Bonnie Prince Charlie"), James Francis' elder son and the would-be Charles III, who led in his father's name the last major Jacobite rebellion, the Jacobite rising of 1745–46. He died in 1788 without legitimate issue.
- Henry Benedict Stuart (best known as the Cardinal-Duke of York), the younger brother of Charles Edward and a Roman Catholic Cardinal, who took up the claim to the throne as the would-be Henry IX of England, though he was the final Jacobite heir to publicly do so. He died unmarried in 1807.
After 1807, the line of James VII and II became extinct. The Jacobites had ceased to have much political significance after the failure of the 1745 uprising, and the movement essentially became completely dormant after Henry's death. Genealogically, the next most senior line to the English and Scottish thrones was through James II's youngest sister, Henriette Anne
, whose daughter had married into the House of Savoy
. To the very limited extent that Jacobitism survived the death of Cardinal York, they supported the claims of this line. Its current representative is Franz, Duke of Bavaria
, though he himself does not claim the title, his secretary having announced once that "HRM (sic
) is very content being a Prince of Bavaria
Other pretenders to the throne have included:
(1349–1416) is probably the best-known Welsh pretender, though whether he was pretender or Prince of Wales depends upon one's source of information. Llywelyn ap Gruffydd ap Llywelyn
, who died in 1282, was the only Prince of Wales whose status as ruler was formally recognised by the English Crown, though three of the four men who claimed the throne of Gwynedd between the assumption of the title by Owain Gwynedd
in the 1160s and the loss of Welsh independence in 1283 also used the title or similar. Madog ap Llywelyn
also briefly used the title during his revolt of 1294–95. Since 1301, the title of Prince of Wales has been given to the eldest living son of the King or Queen Regnant of England (subsequently of Great Britain, 1707, and of United Kingdom, 1801). The word "living" is important. Upon the death of Arthur, Prince of Wales
, Henry VII invested his second son, the future Henry VIII, with the title. The title is not automatic, however, but merges into the Crown when a prince dies or accedes to the throne, and has to be re-conferred by the sovereign.
Nevertheless, it is Glyndŵr whom many remember as the last native Prince of Wales. He was indeed proclaimed Prince of Wales by his supporters on 16 September 1400, and his revolt in quest of Welsh independence was not quashed by Henry IV
until 1409. Later, however, one of Glyndŵr's cousins, Owain Tudor
, would marry the widow of Henry V
, and their grandson would become Henry VII
, from whom the current British monarch is descended (through his daughter Margaret Tudor, who married James IV of Scotland
The various minor kingdoms that came together to form what is today known as the Principality of Wales each had their own royal dynasty. The most important of these realms were Gwynedd
. After 878 the ruling dynasties in these kingdoms each claimed descent from the sons of Rhodri Mawr
who had conquered them or otherwise achieved their thrones during his reign. Merfyn Frych
, the father of Rhodri Mawr, had come to power in Gwynedd because the native dynasty, known as the House of Cunedda
had expired. Merfyn was descended from royalty through his own father Gwriad and claimed ancestors from among the rulers of British Rheged
(in particular Llywarch Hen
). It was acknowledged by all of the realms of Wales after the time of Rhodri Mawr that the House of Gwynedd (known as the House of Aberffraw
) was senior and homage should be paid by each of them to the king of Gwynedd. After the reign of Owain ap Gruffudd
of Gwynedd the realm began to merge with the concept of a Principality of Wales
. This was realised by Owain's descendant Llywelyn ap Gruffudd
in 1267. It was not to last and this new Wales was invaded by England and dismantled between 1277 and 1284. All of the descendants of Llywelyn "the last" and his brothers were either imprisoned or killed.
The business of Irish pretenders is rather more complicated because of the nature of kingship in Ireland before the Norman take-over of 1171. In both Ireland and early Gaelic Scotland, succession to kingship was elective, often (if not usually) by contest, according to a system known as Tanistry
The High King of Ireland
) was essentially a ceremonial, federal overlord
, who exercised actual power only within the realm which was his dynastic seat
. Because of the laws of succession, there could not be a pretender to this title in the sense it is normally understood. From the 5th century onwards the kingship tended to remain within the dynasty of the Uí Néill
until Brian Boru
of Munster wrested control of much of Ireland from Máel Sechnaill mac Domnaill
in 1002. Following his death in 1014 and that of Máel Sechnaill in 1022, the struggle for dominance resulted in Norman intervention from Henry II of England
There were later attempts by Irish rulers fighting against the Normans to revive the High Kingship such as in 1258 when Brian Ua Néill
of Cenel Eoghan was so acknowledged, in 1262 when the crown was offered to Haakon IV of Norway
and in 1315 when an offer was made to the Scottish Edward Bruce
. Effectively, the title fell into abeyance
. Apart from the coronation oath, the title was not even used by the Kings of England, each of whom styled himself Lord of Ireland
. In 1542 Henry VIII
, styled himself "King of Ireland".
, eldest of the sons of Mehmet the Conqueror
born during his reign, claimed the Sultanate after the death of his father, he was defeated in battle months later by his eldest brother (by birth) Bayezid II
. He fled to the island of Rhodes, then eventually to the Papal States. His descendants claimed his rights until Malta defeated the Ottomans
in the 16th century. After the Ottoman Empire was abolished and the Republic of Turkey
came into power, the successive heads of the Ottoman family claimed the throne of the Turkish empire. The latest pretender to the Imperial House of Osman
is Harun Osman, since January 18, 2021.
Kingdom of Jerusalem
The Emperors of Ethiopia
held the title of "King of Zion" through their claim of descent from the Biblical House of David
through his son King Solomon
. Menelik II
dropped the use of this title. The Ethiopian Emperors continued to use the honorific of "Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah" up until the monarchy ended with the fall of Emperor Haile Selassie
Since the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
, many European rulers have claimed to be its rightful heir. None of these, however, have actually ruled over a part of the former Kingdom. Today there are several potential European claimants on the basis of the inheritance of the title. None of the claimants have any power in the area of the former Kingdom. See the article Kings of Jerusalem
for a list of potential claimants.
In the fourteenth century, two lines of the Imperial clan, Northern Court
and Southern Court
, claimed the throne.
Their rivalry was resolved in 1392: while every emperor of the Southern Court enthroned prior to 1392 was established as legitimate, the throne was determined by Emperor Go-Komatsu
of the Northern Court and his successors.
Since 1911, the Japanese government
has declared the southern claimants were actually the rightful emperors despite the fact that all subsequent emperors including the then-Emperor Meiji
were descended from the Northern Court, reasoning the Southern Court retained possession of the Three Sacred Treasures
, thus converting the emperors of the former Northern court into mere pretenders. In other words, six former emperors of the Northern Court have been counted as pretenders instead since then. As a result of this compromise, the present Japanese Imperial Family
is descended of the Northern Court Emperors.
Sultan Hussein Shah of Johor
ceded the territory of Singapore to the British in the 19th century, but their descendants lived in the former royal palace until expelled by the government. They now live in obscurity.
A number of individuals have claimed to be displaced monarchs or heirs who disappeared or died under somewhat mysterious circumstances:
- Bertrand of Rais (or Ray), who claimed to be Baldwin I of Constantinople
- Lambert Simnel, who claimed to be Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick
- Perkin Warbeck, who claimed to be Richard of Shrewsbury, 1st Duke of York
- Yemelyan Pugachev, who claimed to be Peter III of Russia
- False Dmitry I, actually reigned as Tsar of Russia for nearly a year before he was killed in a riot
- Karl Wilhelm Naundorff, who was one of over thirty persons who claimed to be Louis XVII of France
- Kaspar Hauser, who was claimed to be the stillborn son of Karl, Grand Duke of Baden
- False Margaret, who claimed to be Margaret, Maid of Norway
Claimant descendants of royalty
There have also been individuals who claimed to be descendants of royalty:
- Eugenio Lascorz, who claimed descent from the Lascaris of Byzantium
- Anna Anderson, who was one of several persons who claimed to be Grand Duchess Anastasia of Russia
- Alexis Brimeyer, who claimed connections to various European royal houses
- Pierre Plantard, who claimed descent from Merovingian king Dagobert II
- Michel Roger Lafosse, who claims descent from Charles Edward Stuart
- Anthony William Hall, who claimed descent from an alleged premarital son of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, and the throne against George V in the 1930s
- Kumazawa Hiromichi (so-called "The Kumazawa Tenno"), who claimed descent from the last Tenno of Nancho (the Southern Court) of Japan
- Obren Christic, the acknowledged illegitimate son of Milan I of Serbia
- Maria Pia of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha Braganza, claimed as adulterine (but legitimated) daughter of Carlos I of Portugal
- Tauatomo Mairau, recognised heir to the Tahitian throne, who attempted to re-assert the status of the monarchy in court
- Siarke, indigenous Bribri nobleman and nephew of Antonio Saldaña, last king of Talamanca, Costa Rica, who unsuccessfully claimed the title in 1910 after his uncle's demise
- Boris Skossyreff, who claimed connections to the Dutch royal family and attempted to take control of Andorra
References and notes
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Valynseele, Joseph. Les Prétendants aux trônes d'Europe. Paris, 1967, p. 11, 187–190 (French).
- ^ Curley Jr., Walter J.P. Monarchs-in-Waiting. New York, 1973, pp. 4–6, 10. ISBN 0-396-06840-5.
- ^ Cassell's Latin Dictionary, ed. Marchant & Charles
- ^ See for example of revisionist use of the term upon Antipope Christopher.
- ^ Leto Severis, Ladies of Medieval Cyprus and Caterina Cornaro; Nicosia: 1995; ISBN 9963-8102-1-7.
- ^ a b Massie, Robert K. The Romanovs: The Final Chapter. New York, 1995, p. 278. ISBN 0-394-58048-6.
- ^ de Badts de Cugnac, Chantal. Coutant de Saisseval, Guy. Le Petit Gotha. Nouvelle Imprimerie Laballery, Paris 2002, p. 702 (French) ISBN 2-9507974-3-1
- ^ "Presence of the Romanov Family at the Reburial". Reburial of Empress Maria Fedorovna, September 2006. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. 12 September 2006. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008.
- ^ a b c Massie, Robert K. The Romanovs: The Final Chapter. New York, 1995, pp. 239, 251. ISBN 0-394-58048-6.
- ^ a b (in Russian) n:ru:Монархическая партия объявила об обретении наследника российского Императорского престола — Russian Wikinews, 11.06.2013
- ^ Memoirs of Desmond FitzGerald, 1913-1916, Desmond FitzGerald; Routledge & K. Paul, 1968, page 141
- ^ Irish nationalism: a history of its roots and ideology, Seán Cronin, Continuum, 1981, page 255
- ^ Ireland In The 20th Century, Tim Pat Coogan, page 175
- ^ Nussbaum, Louis Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan Encyclopedia, p. 251; n.b., Louis-Frédéric is the pseudonym of Louis-Frédéric Nussbaum, see Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Authority File Archived 2012-05-24 at archive.today.
- ^ Bix, Herbert P. (2000). Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, p. 566.
- ^ Pan-Asia Newspaper Alliance. (1959) The Asia Who's Who, p. 309.
- ^ Lin, Lin; Su, Edgar; Geddie, John. "Cabbies and office workers: Meet Singapore's ordinary royals". Reuters. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
Last edited on 4 May 2021, at 14:33
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