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Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982)
Publication:Nov 8 1947
 Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982) - Nov 8 1947
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Elizabeth's wedding affects Court precedence Philip does not automatically become "Royal" While Princess Elizabeth and her husband are still honeymooning, King George VI will, on December 1, draw up and hand to each member of the Royal Family a document important in the etiquette of Court circles. PRINCESS ELIZABETH seeing her sister, Princess Margaret, off to Ireland recently. This is the "Precedence of the Royol Family to be Observed at Court." On stiff white cardboard, folded down the centre and marked "Private," it is circulated each year to those concerned. THIS year, because of the marriage of the Heiress Presumptive to the Throne of England, the order of prece- dence is one of the utmost im- portance. For included in the Royal Family will be a young lieutenant for whom the King will create a special pre- cedence as the husband of his eldest daughter and heir. Having dropped his Royal titles in favor of British nationality, Philip Mountbatten does not automatically become "Royal" because of his mar- riage to Pricess Elizabeth In the Royal Family husbands do not take their wives' titles, and Philip will not take any of Eliza- beth's. He could remain Lieutenant Mountbatten and she would be Prin- cess Elizabeth, Mrs. Mountbatten as simple as that and quite consti- tutional Yet it would so complicate Court etiquette and State functions that the matter of a special precedency is one that requires the most delicate handling. The position of Philip Mountbat- ten, husband of the Heiress Presump- tive, is unique. England has had four married Queens Regent since the Norman Conquest and each has occupied a different status. . Mary I, whose husband. Philip of Spain, was reluctantly accorded the title of King, but he was rarely in England and expressly excluded from exercising the functions of the Crown. . Mary II, who reigned Jointly with her husband. William in, by special dispensation of Parliament. . Anne, whose husband. George of Denmark, became a naturalised British subject, but never enjoyed any official British title or prece- dence. . Victoria, whose husband, Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, was even- tually accorded the title and prece- dence of Prince Consort by letters patent. But Philip Mountbatten does not and cannot become a Prince Con- sort. Only when Princess Elizabeth By ANNE MATHESON, of our London staff, who interviewed a leading constitutional authority QUEEN VICTORIA and her bridegroom, Prince Albert, at their mar- riage service-a drawing from an old souvenir volume. comes to the Throne can she, as Queen, create him her consort. And since King George V restric- ted the title oí His Royal Highness ; to the sons and grandsons of the reigning sovereign. Philip may not become a Royal duke. As the King's son-in-law he is not entitled to H.R.H., unless the King grants a special rank of Royal duke. Princess Mary's husband was never given a Royal title. He kept his own and she became Princess Royal, Countess of Harewood. Should Philip be given the title Duke of Edinburgh, which is the most likely, then Elizabeth's title would be Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh. But without the King granting a special precedency, Philip could not take his place at the side of his wife in Court or at State functions. He would be the last of the dukes created and would take Drecedence in that order. Elizabeth would enter the room first, her husband would be the last, with all other members of the Royal Family en- tering and leaving before him. The Joint Pre- cedence of the Royal Family to be observed at Court (when both husbands and wives are present) is now as follows: H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth. T.R.H. Dilke and Duchess of Gloucester. H.R.H. Princess Royal and Earl Harewood (now deceased). Viscount Lascelles. Honorable Gerald Lascelles. H.R.H. Duke of Windsor. HRH. Duchess of Kent. H.R.H. Princess Arthur of Con- naught. Lady Patricia and Admiral the Hon. Sir Alexander Ramsay. Captain Alexander Ramsay. H-R.H. Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, and the Earl of Ath- lone. Dowager Marchioness of Milford Haven. H.H. Princess Helena Victoria. H.H. Princess Marie Louise. Marquess and Marchioness of Carisbrooke. Marchioness of Milford Haven. Rear-Admiral Viscount and Vis- countess Mountbatten of Burma. Marquess and Marchioness of Cambridge. Duchess and Duke of Beaufort. Lady Helena Gibbs. Lady May Abel Smith and OoL Henry Abel Smith Earl of Southesk. If the King grants a special pre- cedency to Philip Mountbatten, making him a Royal duke, then he would accompany H.R.H. Princess riizabeth in joint precedence. But, in separate precedence, hav- ing no claim whatever to the Throne of England by his marriage, he would be well down on the list, after the husbands of other ladies of the Royal Family. However, whatever the title con- ferred, or even if he remained Lien LIEUT. MOUNTBATTEN salutes as he reports to his course officer at the Royal Navy's Petty-Officers' Training Centre at Corsham, Wilts. He is an instructor there, and returned to duty after leave granted when the engagement was announced. tenant Mountbatten till Princess Elizabeth became Queen and he Prince Consort on her creation, chil. dren of the marriage would all take the title H.R.II. This is because they would be grandchildren of the reigning Sovereign. And they would all be of the House of Windsor, taking their mother's surname, Windsor, and not their father's, Mountbatten. Without a special precedency his children, when they came of age, would take precedence over him. and thus there would be a great deal of confusion in Court circles and at State functions. But it will not be until the day of the wedding, or at the earliest the day before, that Philip Mountbatten will receive his new title. For even in Royal engagements no chances are taken. Once invested with a dukedom, Philip could not bf stripped again of his titles should the "wedding not take place." In the same way he cannot become a Prince Consort, for in the un- happy event of Elizabeth's death BRIDAL RETINUE, 1840, led by the Lord Chamberlain. Queen Victoria follows with her 12 attendants, all carrying her long train. Princess Margaret would ascend the Throne, were there no heir, and her husband would find the Consort title already taken. Elizabeth and Philip, were he not granted special precedency, would ' face a life of constant separation. Not only would he be unable to enter or leave a room with her, but he would be unable to take his place at her side at many public func- tions were other members of tne Royal Family present. As the Princess can never be any- thing but a "working wife," divid- ing her time between her husband and public duties, the position would be extremely awkward and might give rise to as much friction as occurred in the early married days of Victoria and Albert. It was to prevent Albert being separated from her that Victoria had him specially created Royal Highness in 1857. , But Albert had had to fight for his position. On one occasion Queen Victoria's uncle, the King of Hanover, put himself in the position of the ruling personage present. "It almost came to a fight," Prince Albert wrote. It was at the wedding of Princess Augusta of Cambridge to the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg Strelitz. "He insisted on having a place at the altar where we stood," Albert chronicled. "He wanted to drive me away and, all against custom, to accompany Victoria and lead her. I was to go behind. "I was forced to give him a strong push and drive him down a few steps, where the First Master of Ceremonies took him and led hin» from the chapel. Continued on page 22
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