Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. This afternoon Duchess Kate gave birth to an 8 pound 6 ounce baby boy. One nice thing about being a part of the royal family is that you don’t need to be a genealogist. There are legions of people out there doing the work for you. Would that we were all so lucky.
Now once the American Revolution was over, the new country was faced with creating all of the rules for setting up its own government. One faction wanted to create a monarchy and anoint George Washington the first king. Fortunately Washington himself as well as numerous others were opposed to creating a new monarchy. This turned out to be a good thing, since Washington had no children and his death would have thrown us into a constitutional crisis by 1800.
Despite this, Americans have an uncanny fascination with the British royal family, and royalty in general. Perhaps this is because we have no royalty of our own. The closest we come is the Kennedy family, members of which have served in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate since 1947 (save for the year 2012).
A number of genealogists are interested in royal ancestries as well. And the interest is not limited to the British monarchy. France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, the Low Countries, and more all have (or had) royal families.
For those interested in Royal families, you might find some databases created by Brian Tompsett at the University of Hull to be interesting. From the Roman and Byzantine worlds to modern Europe, he has information on thousands of royal families. Check out his Directory of Royal Genealogical Data (some of the links are broken, but most still work).
The new baby, who has not yet been named, is third in line to the British throne, after Prince Charles and Prince William. He will be the forty-third monarch since William the Conqueror in 1066. Queen Elizabeth shows no signs of slowing down. Remembering what happened to her uncle and her father, she is unlikely to abdicate and will reign until her death. She will likely remain on the throne another 5 to 15 years. If she is still on the throne in January 2017 she will become the longest- reigning monarch in British history, surpassing her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. Prince Charles’ reign will likely be quite short since he is unlikely to ascend to the throne until he is at least in his 70s.
Given the longevity of both of his parents, Charles will likely reign for ten to fifteen years or so. William will likely not ascend to the throne until he is in his 50s, and given the increasing human lifespan will likely reign for four or five decades himself. Barring major illness or accident, this means the child born today is likely to suffer the fate of his grandfather Charles and not ascend to the throne until he is in his 70s. It also means that it will although only fifty years passed between Victoria’s reign and that of Elizabeth II, the monarchy will not likely see another queen on the throne for close to a century after her passing. Today’s new prince may not ascend the throne until 2080 or later. He will be singing “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” for quite some time.