The Coronation Chair, also known as the St Edward’s Chair or King Edward’s Chair, at Westminster Abbey in London on April 12, 2023
As the son of an Australian farmer, Simon Abney-Hastings would seem an unlikely guest at the coronation of Charles III. But when he attends the historic event at Westminster Abbey on May 6, he will be the only one who can claim the British throne.
Although it seems unlikely, the hypothesis is based on research by British historian Michael Jones.
Two decades earlier he had discovered a document in the French cathedral of Rouen which, in his opinion, proved that the English king Edward IV (1442–1483) was illegitimate.
During the five weeks Edward may have been conceived, Jones claims, his father Richard, Duke of York, was 100 miles away from his wife, Cecily Neville.
Consequently, the investigator argues that Edward was not the rightful heir to the throne and that the line of succession should have been with Edward’s younger brother George, a direct ancestor of the Abney-Hastings.
Although the family-owned no land or home in the UK, the 48-year-old inherited the old Scottish title of Earl of Loudoun, by his descent from Abney-Hastings.
His father, Michael, moved to Australia from the United Kingdom in the 1960s.
He now lives in Wangaratta, in the Australian state of Victoria, and won an invitation to the pompous ceremony by showing that his ancestors traditionally played an important role in the coronations of English monarchs.
– Golden Spurs –
The 15th Earl of Loudoun said on Twitter that he was “delighted and sincerely honored” to carry on the role played by his ancestors at the May 6 ceremony.
Since the 13th century, the Earls of Loudon have been tasked with wearing the Golden Spurs, a ceremonial part of the act of crowning a new king.
Made of gold, leather, and velvet, these are given to the sovereign as a symbol of his role as the head of the armed forces.
In previous centuries, spurs were attached to the feet of the new emperor during coronation, although in recent times this has been limited to formally touching the emperor’s heels before being placed on the altar.
The role was played by the Earls of Loudon at the coronation of King George V in 1911 and King George VI, Charles’ grandfather, in 1937.
Abney-Hastings is one of 13 people or organizations the British government says will play a role in the coronation.
– King Michael I –
The implications of Jones’ discovery came as a shock to the Abney-Hastings family some 20 years earlier.
A team of British documentary filmmakers visited his Australian home in 2004 for the television show “Britain’s Real Monarch”.
And, to the surprise of his entire family, he announces to Michael that he believes he should indeed succeed to the British throne as King Michael I.
Upon his death in 2012 at the age of 69, the rights would pass to his son Simon.
Abney-Hastings’ lawyer and private secretary, Terence Guthridge, told AFP that “he was never of the opinion” that historians think he had a claim to the throne.
He has always been a “loyal and steadfast supporter” of Queen Elizabeth II and her son, the current Carlos III, he said. “Birthday cards or Christmas cards are sent every year,” he said.