Dukedom of Cambridge

Lord Norton

The latest issue of The House Magazine comments on the fact that Prince William has been made Duke of Cambridge.  It notes that it is the first time for centuries that a peerage has been created without carrying an automatic right to sit in the House of Lords.  I enjoyed the final sentence of the article:  “Although the Duke of Cambridge could technically stand in a hereditary by-election, given the example set by his family it is highly improbable he would seek to do so.”   Still, interesting idea…

19 comments for “Dukedom of Cambridge

  1. Dave H
    12/05/2011 at 8:47 pm

    Why would he fight for seating with the rest of you when in a number of years he’ll be able to sit in the posh chair at the end?

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      12/05/2011 at 10:03 pm

      Dave H: To get the feel of the place in readiness?

  2. Twm o'r Nant
    13/05/2011 at 7:08 am

    fight for seating with the rest

    First thing in the morning in a large family.

    The last creation of the Duke of Cambridge was QV’s second(?) son, Prince Louis of Hess, but that is not the point. I don’t know how many creations there have been.

    it is highly improbable he would seek to do so.” Still, interesting idea…

    His brother suggested that for a good competition we would invent something called a “Demarchy” which he defined as “democratic monarchy”.

    I suggested that a “Du-archy” or a “Du-marchy” would be better! A President AND a King/Queen, or an elected president with a very low profile monarch indeed. (There must be more discreet ways of getting married for a start)

    The AV system for electing a monarch as a hereditary peer would be a good one…… and if the third Lord Jones got elected instead?

    Would it be a five year term of office?

    It is a question of “medium” and not “message”, so the matter will not arise however sensible it may be. Even weddings are arranged to enhance the royal prerogatives, seriously eroded over the previous 13 years.

    As a former fairly regular member of the Abbey congregation I have given these things a good deal of “thought”, as we all have.

    The thought of Monarchy message is subliminal, and used with great acuity.

  3. 13/05/2011 at 7:14 am


    If he did stand for election and won the seat, how would he resign his seat in the advent of being crowned King at some point in the future?

    Goodness, could this be a way of introducing “retirement for peers” by the back door!

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      13/05/2011 at 11:04 am

      IanVisits: Not very effective unless we have lots of Kings and Queeens!

    • Senex
      13/05/2011 at 1:31 pm

      Ian: It seems to me that he or his wife could enter the Commons as an MP.

      The Monarchy is in a mess or soon will be? Not because anybody it is doing anything particularly wrong, the problem lays with medical science and longevity. The Treasury plans it retirement finances based on the principal that we will all conveniently drop dead some 13 years after retirement. For everybody but the regent this has or had a high probability. The present situation is barbaric, uncivilised and cruel. How is it all going to end I ask? With pipes and plumbing wired into the poor old thing as she is strapped to some Frankenstein like mobile chair because she has more stitches than an army blanket but is still of sound mind? It just absolutely crazy and before anybody mentions abdication it is just not the done thing!

      Let’s consider in concert with the Monarchy a change to the constitution and put the Monarchy on a more civilised footing. To allow the head of state to retire say after the age of 60 and when they think the succession is ready to take the sceptre. Now it could be that an incumbent feels that the succession is not ready nor never will be or it could simply be that family and business commitments don’t allow it and we end up exactly where we are now but it’s a risk worth taking and an encouragement to the succession to shape their lives towards accession.

      What’s it going to be: a Borg Queen or a Queen Mum?

      Ref: Borg (Star Trek)

    • Tim
      13/05/2011 at 6:04 pm

      I understand (from Wikipedia, the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom) that peerages merge in the Crown in the event of their holder becoming King or Queen. Thus the Duke would no longer be eligible, so wouldn’t need to resign.

      • Chris K
        14/05/2011 at 11:59 am

        Going along with the hypothetical scenario of the Duke of Cambridge sitting in the House of Lords as an excepted hereditary peer:

        When he becomes King and thus no longer eligible, would a by-election for a replacement follow? Because Section 2 of the HoL Act 1999 seems to suggest that a by-election can only follow an exempted hereditary’s death.

        Also Section 2 states “Once excepted from section 1, a person shall continue to be so throughout his life (until an Act of Parliament provides to the contrary).” Surely that couldn’t mean that, if elected as an excepted hereditary, he wouldn’t be able to become King? Or would he be both an eligible member of the Lords and the Monarch simultaneously?

    • 14/05/2011 at 9:46 pm

      An heir to the throne being in the Lords would be nothing new. Prince Charles took his seat in the Lords after becoming Prince of Wales. Here is his introduction reported in Hansard. It appears to be a much more elaborate ceremony than an introduction for a life baron!

      The Prince of Wales, along with the other royal dukes and the Earl of Wessex, was offered but turned down a life peerage in 1999. (I don’t think the Earl of Wessex was ever introduced, despite being created an earl a few months before the Act.)

      While there is nothing new in a peer ceasing to be a peer on acceding to the throne, as Chris K points out, the House of Lords Act doesn’t seem to consider what happens in this case.

      Incidentally, there is already one slightly easier way to resign from the Lords, which is to become a “non-dom”. If an elected hereditary peer wishes to retain non-domiciled status, he may resign, and his place is not filled with a by-election; the number of hereditaries is permanently reduced.

  4. MilesJSD
    13/05/2011 at 7:57 am

    I have big problems between the democratic-mind-map group of terms that includes “Rights”, “Needs”, “Duties”, “Responsibilities”, “Response-abilities” “Privileges”, “Privacies”, “Earnings”, “Entitlements” (and so on)
    each of which has both a different sense and a different meaning from any other term;

    how is this (‘my’) problem to be constructively-met ?

    how would you constructively-answer it ?
    You see, an inherent problem is that
    (“) (All) the Upper House seated-peers have the single bounden duty of advocating, representing, and defending the Needs & Affordable-Hows of The People both as a Nation and as Individuals(…)(“)

    isn’t that so ?

  5. maude elwes
    13/05/2011 at 12:58 pm

    What and incredibly stultifying event that would be.

    My goodness the hand kissing would be palpable. Sycophants anonymous would line up in their droves, caps in hand.


    This is this a feeler?

  6. Twm O'r Nant
    13/05/2011 at 3:35 pm

    the problem lays with medical science and longevity.

    The kinds of argument which ended in the wars of the Roses and other things,were based on genealogical claims, as a certain number of claims to property still are.

    Is Senex suggesting that because we may know everybody’s genetic code by blood testing, the monarchy may become chaotic because of it?

    Even with blood samples available, it might still be difficult to decide, but not ‘arf as difficult as when life expectancy was so much shorter, and plagues wiped out a whole generation, at random.

    • maude elwes
      13/05/2011 at 7:12 pm

      How weak will the royal blood line have to be before they no longer pretend to be fit for monarch? For there is little left to really relate to the family tree once William and his wife produce. Should they have children the child will have only a smidgen of true royalty in its blood.

      The rest have all married down likewise. So, what will be left. Noting as far as I can see.

      William’s mother was an aristocrat not of royal blood. And Kate is of mixed background. You never know, they could produce an Uncle Gary. And unless there is a DNA test, you cannot be sure of any of them.

      Except the line of HRH The Queen has a very strong family resemblance. So they all look like peas out of a pod. The Spencers also, carry a strong family resemblance.

      But there it ends.

    • Senex
      18/05/2011 at 2:11 pm

      TON: This is such a shame!

      Like peerages onlookers see the title not the person and there are many in the house that resent this aspect of the peerage.

      The Monarchy is no different if we treat it as an object or a pedigree as you have just done. These are people that deserve some consideration and release from the burdens of duty or at least to manage these burdens so as to strengthen the Monarchy. The entrenched view held by the Monarchy on retirement is as indifferent as a Bishop’s vestments it seems; it is the effectiveness of the head of state that matters and the present arrangement is bad for the Monarchy given the advances in medical science. I sincerely wish that William and his heirs live their lives as normally as possible and when he as King thinks the succession is ready to then pass the sceptre onwards to the next generation.

      I don’t see why a retiring Monarch should not remain as the head of the Anglican Church during their lifetime? After all was it not Parliament that gave the people the ‘Book of Common Prayer’?

      Ref: Vestments Controversy: The Hooper–Ridley Debate

  7. Gareth Howell
    13/05/2011 at 6:32 pm

    The discussion is not as stupid as correspondents are succeeding in making it!

  8. Twm O'r Nant
    14/05/2011 at 7:55 am

    For there is little left to really relate to the family tree once William and his wife produce. Should they have children the child will have only a smidgen of true royalty in its blood.

    The least amount of genetic material passed on from parent to child is 12%; the least amount of genetic material passed on to the next generation is 12% of that 12% which works out at about 1/64 of the grandparent’s genetic material.

    It is entirely possible that the first child
    (in promogeniture) would have the 12% and the second or third say 51%.

    So it might be argued that the child with the most of its grandparent’s genetic material would have the best right to inherit the high chair, and that child would not be the oldest.

    Unfortunately the BMD registers have often been tampered with for the purpose of inheritance (these things were done by a forger at a cost) and the same might well happen to any genetic analysis in the lab.

    Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

    I’m all for executive presidency myself in the same way as France and the USA, and doubtless other states, or super states, too.
    the EU is arguably another, but with three presidents not one.

    I see no reason at all for not having a monarch AND a an ELECTED president, sitting side by side EQUALLY, facing the people.

    Then these normally arcane questions of monarchy would not matter.

    • Lord Norton
      Lord Norton
      14/05/2011 at 4:15 pm

      Twm O’r Nant: I suspect we have had one or two Prime Ministers who think we have an elected president alongside the monarch.

  9. maude elwes
    14/05/2011 at 1:23 pm

    @Gareth Howell: Could have fooled me!

  10. Twm O'r Nant
    15/05/2011 at 4:44 pm

    (Yes it is I Maude!)

    Pointing a finger at the PM and suggesting that he perceives or others perceive him to be a potential elected/actual existing president is not just avoiding the question but evading it!

    I may have said “Abolish the HofL” before the GE, in 2010, but as Jack Straw once remarked “Events changes opinions”.

    A senate of 100 people would be a valuable
    feature of this country’s government, dealing with delegated European legislation, secondary legislation and so on, with good pay!

    A President of it, might well be elected by all of the people of the UK, not just the members themselves.

    A hereditary president in the form of the monarch, and an elected president in the form, (at the moment) of the Lord Speaker.

    A dual presidency.

    If the higher level of Europe can have three then there is no reason why we can not have two.

    There would be no pretending, as with France, and the Duc de Paris.

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