Why do Royals inbreed?

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
4,439
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Lol, where would I even begin? There's SO many examples. Henry VIII married several women of no rank at all, he didn't lose his kingship. There's several examples on the morganatic marriages page on wikipedia I linked to - Franz Ferdinand is probably the most popular one - his children did not have the right to inherit the throne, but he himself still did and he did not lose his title of Archduke. The daughter of Henry I, Matilda, was a princess, which outranks her second husband's rank of Count, but she did not lose her titles, nor was she barred from inheriting the throne because of that.

I could go on and on and on.

Nothing in what you quoted says that people lost their own rank when they married ranks beneath them. The concern of preserving their rank was in terms of inheritance, which is exactly what I said.

The Wallis Simpson issue had nothing to do with rank - superficially it was because she was divorced, and the head of the Church of England (the monarch) couldn't marry someone who was divorced (when that person's ex spouse was still living). In reality, it had more to do with the fact that Edward VIII and Simpson were Nazi sympathizers and the government wanted him out.
History Chick--I recommend you read through your Wiki link carefully. There are very few examples of European royals who did not lose rank. Morganatic marriage is an example of loss of rank in that the children couldn't inherit the throne; why would you not think that was not a loss of rank.

First,keep in mind that "back in the day" all marriages--particularly royal marriages-- were arranged. So it was the parents who were concerned with maintaining their children's rank, as the children had no say at all in who they married.

Second, Henry VIII's first marriage was to Catherine of Aragon--daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. That marriage was arranged by his and her parents, and when he became old enough, he divorced her and married several times to try to produce a male heir. By that time he was so powerful that he could wrench the Church in England away from Rome to get his way, so I don't think anyone in Europe was powerful enough to cause him to lose his throne.

Interestingly, Henry's daughter Mary was betrothed or sought to be betrothed several time by her father to European royalty (including to her cousin Charles V), and in fact married Phillip II of Spain, her nephew. The purpose of this marriage was probably to try to bring England back into the Roman Catholic Church.

Third, look at the section in your link to the Kings of France. French kings simply could not marry outside the aristocracy at least officially. Louis XIV did, but his marriage to Madame Maintenon was secret during their lifetimes.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,036
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Why do royals marry cousin to cousin or brother to sister? :zany:
If I think to Ancient Egypt, it happened that they considered the Royal blood so sacred that they preferred to get married among themselves [even father with daughter or brother with sister]. Think to Akhenaten ...
 

History Chick

Ad Honorem
Jun 2010
3,336
Colorado Springs (PA at heart)
History Chick--I recommend you read through your Wiki link carefully. There are very few examples of European royals who did not lose rank. Morganatic marriage is an example of loss of rank in that the children couldn't inherit the throne; why would you not think that was not a loss of rank.
So you're now trying to tell me you were talking about the children not being able to inherit it all along? Please. We all know you were talking about the individual themselves, not their children, and now that you've been proven wrong several times and by several people, you're back pedaling. I admitted from my very first post in response to yours that morganatic marriages often resulted in the children being disinherited, not the parent - so at that point, why didn't you just say "that's what I'm talking about"? Because that's not what you were talking about.
 
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Sep 2014
1,211
Queens, NYC
David Vagamundo, page 4 post 32:

Third, look at the section in your link to the Kings of France. French kings simply could not marry outside the aristocracy at least officially. Louis XIV did, but his marriage to Madame Maintenon was secret during their lifetimes.
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Louis XIV's marriage to Maintenon was known during his lifetime.

By then, he had an heir, who had an heir. Louis had several children. The marriage to Maintenon defied no duty Louis owed. He lost no status, she gained some.
 
Mar 2017
873
Colorado
If I think to Ancient Egypt, it happened that they considered the Royal blood so sacred that they preferred to get married among themselves [even father with daughter or brother with sister]. Think to Akhenaten ...
I think "ancient" Egypt is a bit more complex. The Pharaoh and his wife were the living-god incarnations of Isis-Horus-Osiris in a very convoluted brother/sister/child/afterlife myth. The brother-sister pair was very important to religious ceremonies. I'm not dismissing the bloodline stuff, but their mythos was a major component.

Now, the Greek Ptolemies had no excuse. They gave lip service to Egyptian gods and did some crossover, but they intentionally kept interbreeding. One explanation is not only royal blood but actually "trust." There were a couple of brother pairs. One pair shared power equally with a sister queen (married only to one), until the married brother died and the other one married the sister. Sometimes there were father-daughter and mother-son rulers (although the sons had a very nasty habit of killing the moms). While there were queen mothers, there were also some Ptolemies from concubines/friends. The concubines got no rank, but having a royal father was all the kids needed. Ptolemy XII's mother was unknown, Cleopatra VII's mother was unknown: it didn't stop either of them from ruling.

When Cleopatra VII's (THAT CLeopatra) dad was exiled, her older sister & her sister's mom (not Cleo's mom) ruled as coregents. The mom died, and the Egyptians pressed for a marriage to a royal outsider. The sister had him killed. Maybe they just didn't *LIKE* other people.

On the other hand, there is a lot of Egyptian love poetry on ostraca from Deir el Medina. About 60% of what I've read is about "my beloved sister." Were peasants mimicking royalty? The other way 'round? Was it just a cultural thing? What's good for the religion? Or did the religion come from the culture?



Isn't the Taj Mahal a tribute to a "beloved sister?" Just sayin ....
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,889
Portugal
On the other hand, there is a lot of Egyptian love poetry on ostraca from Deir el Medina. About 60% of what I've read is about "my beloved sister." Were peasants mimicking royalty? The other way 'round? Was it just a cultural thing? What's good for the religion? Or did the religion come from the culture?
From what I recall from my days at the college… and that was a long ago… in the Egyptian poetry “my beloved sister” was a affectionate mode of treatment, not necessarily that the couple they shared a parent.
 
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Jun 2017
454
maine
Brother/sister marriage is quite uncommon in human history; I think that is consensual that its taboo and prohibition is more common than its acceptance. Between cousins it is much more common and it is usually related with power, patrimonial strategies and alliances.
In certain neareastern countries in ancient times, I was told as an undergraduate, kingship went along with the preceding king's heiress. He husband became king. This was a way of ensuring that the ruler would be a fighting man. Certainly it seems to have been the case in Egypt and possibly Israel (to whit Michal--although she was Saul's younger daughter--and even Abishag & Adonijah). The system seems to have been a lot more fluid than the matrilineal one of the Picts. If marriage to the heiress was important, it might explain Judith's being passed along to various sons of Æthelwulf.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,827
SoCal
Brother/sister marriage is quite uncommon in human history; I think that is consensual that its taboo and prohibition is more common than its acceptance. Between cousins it is much more common and it is usually related with power, patrimonial strategies and alliances.
Marrying a double first-cousin like French King Louis XIV did would have the same effect as marrying a sibling would, no? After all, in both cases the resulting children are going to have four great-grandparents rather than the normal eight.