The Need for a Certainty in the Succession
By the time Charles II took possession of the English throne there was reason to believe that the nation’s struggle for a rule of succession might be over. Not only had the monarchy been restored, the principle of indefeasible hereditary right had for the second time in the century been tested and confirmed. Fifty-seven years earlier, in 1603, James I had been vindicated in his insistence that England’s crown was his by right of birth. Henry VIII’s attempt to deprive the Stuarts of their place in the line of succession had proved futile, and any suggestion that James’s accession was dependent on his having been chosen by Elizabeth or the Council or that he was being admitted to the throne by the consent of a representative of the people had been quickly swept aside. Ignoring all other possibilities of claim, James’s first Act of parliament asserted simply and unequivocally that at Elizabeth’s death the king of Scots was king of England by right of descent, the ‘next and sole Heire of the Blood royall of this realme.’1 Now, in 1660, the same principle was being pointedly reaffirmed.
KeywordsHenry VIII Alien Status Hereditary Succession Popish Plot Royal Estate
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