Once again, my novel The Stuart Agenda finds itself riding on the cusp of current events thrust from the pages of history. The Prime Minister wants to change the rules on royal succession so that females can take their birth place in the line rather than have to give way to younger brothers. In practise that means tearing up the 1701 act of settlement. Since females have legal equality in almost every other sphere this is hard to argue against and all our female monarchs seem to have done a pretty good job. The secondary aspect of the proposal is the more interesting for me in that it opens the door to the monarch marrying a catholic and perhaps even being one. The publicity surrounding this has shone a light onto the old Jacobite succession so that we can see what might have happened in the absence of that act. The King would be the current Francis of Bavaria a descendent of Henrietta Anne Stuart, youngest daughter of Charles I. Francis has no descendents so the line would pass through his brother to Sophie, Princess of Liechtenstein and her oldest son, Joseph. The Liechtensteiners had a canny eye on history when they chose London as Joseph's birthplace and have parked a few tanks on English playing fields in sending the boy to Malvern College.
Are todays Jacobites stirring in the glens and thinking of raising the standard once again? True, there is now a government petition calling for the restoration of the Stuarts. That would need 100,000 signatures to get a debate in Parliament. Otherwise, Jacobite websites seem to be rather preoccupied by the details of past Stuart glories and the fate of de jure( pretender speak for 'if only') folk across Europe. Hot topics included the birthday of Mary of Modena. My novel was dismissed out of hand on one of the sites, on the grounds that my fictional Stuart family was, well , fictional! This missed the point that the novel lays out a strategic process for having a go at the throne of Scotland. To update what the book says, the current disarray among the Scottish Tories highlights the need and opportunity for a right of centre nationalist party that can compete with the SNP and campaign for an open process for choosing the head of state as opposed to the automatic Hanoverian succession being offered by Salmond. A sane energy policy might also be attractive but I must resist the temptation to write the whole manifesto.
The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder at willowmoonpublishing.com, amazon.com and amazon.co.uk