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Old December 5th, 2012, 05:18 AM   #1

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The Anglo-Dutch-German Empire


The announcement this week that the law in all Commonwealth Realms has been amended to allow the future eldest child of a Monarch to succeed to the throne regardless of gender has raised the old chesnut of WHAT IF? this law had been in place in the past and how it would have changed history.
The most popular WHAT IF? revolves around the fact that Quenn Victoria and Albert's eldest daughter, also Victoria, would have succeeded to the British throne although she barely survived her Mother. By her marriage to Fredrick of Prussia she later became Queen of Prussia and later of Germany, meaning that her son Wilhelm, who became Kaiser Bill would also have suceeded as King of England at the end of 1901.
As heir presumptive to the various British thrones, Wilhelm may have been more English and Anglophile than he actually was in real life (he actually had less of a German accent than his grandmother Victoria) and he would hardly have forged alliances against himself or allowed his two Kingdoms to be enemies, so maybe no WW1, no WW2 and cheaper BMWs today.

Further back, thing get more interesting. If the non-sex law of primogeniture had not been in place, other stuff happens sidelining the Saxe-Coburgs. George II's eldest child was Anna, Princess Royal. She married the Stadtholder of the Netherlands, William IV of Orange and when he died, Anne became Regent of Holland. In our fictional history, she would also have been heir to the British throne and when George II died in 1760, one year after Anne, the throne would have passed to her daughter Caroline, rather than William V of Nassau as did the Stadtholder title.
Caroline would have ruled from 1760 to 1787 meaning that the American Colonists would have been dealing with a Queen and some (hard-headed) Dutch business advisors with a background of rebellion rather than George III-- one wonders what difference that would have made to the late 18th Century geopolitics.
Caroline's eldest two sons predeceased her and her eldest daughter went into a nunnery. The next eldest, Wilhelmine, married into middling German Aristocracy (Heinrich of Greitz) whose descendents became intertwined with most of the noble German families, including the Saxes and Furstenburgs.
Whichever direction one looks in there are Germans (!), so some major German alliance would likely have been formed.
If one starts speculating on the succession of illegitimate children, one becomes totally lost.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:57 AM   #2

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It would have been great for my Belgian ancestors to break away from such a glorious empire.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 06:59 AM   #3
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To begin with, this alternative scenario departs from the ostensibly unhistorical premise that the only natural clash between the competing German and British imperialisms could be entirely explained just from the petty personal family preferences of the Kaiser Wilhelm II.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 07:32 AM   #4

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Originally Posted by sylla1 View Post
To begin with, this alternative scenario departs from the ostensibly unhistorical premise that the only natural clash between the competing German and British imperialisms could be entirely explained just from the petty personal family preferences of the Kaiser Wilhelm II.
It is merely a popular whimsy. In any case the variations of a United Kingdom Of England, Prussia, Scotland and Ireland are far more complex than WW1 alone. You are welcome to provide your own speculation--after all, you usually do.
I think that the Anne and Caroline divergence has more interesting legs even if the Royal ladies themselves didn't.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 07:35 AM   #5

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The answer is that if Princess Victoria had been the heir to the British throne, she wouldn't have married the future Emperor of Germany, and Kaiser Bill would never have been born (to everyone's relief). They probably would have found a prince for her from some minor German state, as in the case of her mother.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 07:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ancientgeezer View Post
It is merely a popular whimsy. In any case the variations of a United Kingdom Of England, Prussia, Scotland and Ireland are far more complex than WW1 alone. You are welcome to provide your own speculation--after all, you usually do.
I think that the Anne and Caroline divergence has more interesting legs even if the Royal ladies themselves didn't.
Actually, it is easily verifiable that I tend to discuss fundamentally historical facts, only exceptionally alternative speculations.

I only noted an obvious major caveat of this particular scenario, namely that the popular whimsy here is extremely naive; even WW1 alone is far more complex than that.

But of course, as free speculation goes, absolutely anything, even pure fantasy, may be included at will in any scenario.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:09 AM   #7

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Though if Germany and Britain had been under the same crown as the speculation assumes, it is hardly conceivable that they would have ended up on opposite sides in a European war.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:46 AM   #8

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Though if Germany and Britain had been under the same crown as the speculation assumes, it is hardly conceivable that they would have ended up on opposite sides in a European war.
It really is quite surprising to me that Victoria and Albert's matchmaking efforts to tie-in most of the Royal Houses of Europe into an Anglo-German family did not have better or more long lasting diplomatic results. There was a BBC-TV mini-series back in the 1970s that showed the relationships between the Kaiser, Edward VII, the Czar and a few odds and sods, such as the Kings of Denmark, Greece, Bulgaria, Portugal etc. One of them, I can't remember who, tried to set up a "League of Emperors" to sort out major problems as family disputes. Obviously by the mid 19thC nationalism had surpassed dynasty as the driver.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 08:49 AM   #9
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Though if Germany and Britain had been under the same crown as the speculation assumes, it is hardly conceivable that they would have ended up on opposite sides in a European war.
Why?

The British monarchs were already just nominal rulers.

Even if Edward VIII would have been the enthusiastic pro-German fan that some people ostensibly would like to believe, that wouldn't have prevented Britain from facing the III Reich as required.

The Hapsburg House under Charles V & Philip II was an eloquent illustrative example on the ultimate limits of pretending to achieve universal monarchy from mere dynastic manipulation.

Last edited by sylla1; December 5th, 2012 at 09:03 AM.
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Old December 5th, 2012, 09:57 AM   #10

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One "what if?" that occured me, if this law happened at the right time for it, was if we would loose our best Queen for England. Though this law would make the Earl of March the successor of Richard II, since it seems the case against the Earl was that he was not in a direct male line of succession.

Last edited by Yōḥānān; December 5th, 2012 at 10:23 AM.
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