Would Charles III be an illegitimate king?

Would Charles III be an illegitimate king?


The son of an Australian farmer, Simon Abney-Hastings, 48, may seem like an unexpected guest for the coronation of Charles III. However, he will be the only one in attendance at Westminster Abbey to have any argument to think about disputing his title with the king. 

It all starts with the disputed research of a British medieval historian, Michael Jones.

Twenty years ago, he discovered a document in the cathedral of Rouen which in his eyes proves that King Edward IV (who reigned from 1461 to 1483) was illegitimate. This thesis is controversial.

According to the historian, during the five weeks Edward was supposedly conceived, his father was actually 100 miles away from his wife Cecily Neville, Duchess of York.

Therefore, argues the medievalist, Edward was not the true heir to the throne and the line of succession should have been through George, younger brother of Edward, Duke of Clarence, direct ancestor of Simon Abney-Hastings.

< blockquote class="twitter-tweet">

In Wangaratta, 150 miles north of Melbourne, Simon Abney-Hastings is a friendly local figure whose mates just call him Simon. But the son of a jackaroo-turned-farmer also has a rather grander title as the 15th Earl of Loudounhttps://t.co/48kYZkjxtZ

— The Times and The Sunday Times (@thetimes) April 24, 2023

Golden Spurs

If the family don't owns no land or stately home in the UK, due to her lineage she inherited the Scottish title of Earl of Loudoun.

Simon Abney-Hastings' father, Michael, left the UK United for Australia in 1960.

Michael inherited the title from his mother, the 13th Countess of Loudoun in 2002 and passed it on her death in 2012 to Simon, who is the 15th Earl.

In recognition of the family heritage, Simon Abney-Hastings is among thirteen guests at the coronation as there is evidence that their ancestors have played a special role in previous coronations.

Twittering, the earl said he was “delighted and sincerely honoured” by to have been invited to play the same role as his ancestors on May 6.

By tradition, the Counts of Loudoun have worn golden spurs since the 12th century during coronations. Made of gold, leather and velvet, these represent the role of the monarch as head of the armed forces.

They are presented to him during the ceremony. In the past, spurs were attached to the feet of the new monarch. More recently, they are simply worn up to the sovereign's heels before being placed on the altar.

“Michael I”

The unexpected implications of the discovery at Rouen Cathedral were brought to the notice of the Abney-Hastings family twenty years ago.

The documentary crew visited Michael Abney- Hastings at his home in Australia in 2004 for a show called 'Britain's New Monarch'.

The family learned that new research argued that Edward IV was illegitimate, meaning he was 'the real King of England”.

Michael Abney-Hastings replied that he was aware of a “distant connection to the royal Plantagenet dynasty but said he was “shocked” to learn that 'he could have been King Michael I.

Based in Australia, the country of which he is a national, Simon Abney-Hastings does not seem to have any claims, his lawyer and private secretary Terence Guthridge explains to AFP .

He has always been an “ardent and loyal supporter” of Queen Elizabeth II and her son: “They send each other birthday or Christmas cards every year”.