In the documentary Britain’s Real Monarch, host Tony Robinson reveals a startling bit of information.
England’s King Edward IV (28 April 1442–9 April 1483) was of illegitimate birth and therefore not the rightful king. Instead, his supposed father’s (Richard of York) second legitimate son, George Plantagenet, Duke of Clarence, was the rightful heir to the throne.
Now, in fairness to the current Royal Family, I must add that this conclusion has been challenged by historians. However, it is based on a number of ancient documents. These establish the time of Edward’s conception to a period when his mother Cecily was more than 100 miles away from her husband, Richard of York. This theory asserts that Edward IV was actually fathered by a soldier, an archer, stationed near his mother. At this time Richard was busy waging war in France, trying to relieve an English outpost at Pontoise.
Even during King Edward’s reign rumors of his illegitimacy abounded, mostly on the basis that he looked nothing like his father. Edward was a towering figure, six feet four inches tall and lantern-jawed. His father was of a slight build and had a narrow face.
The “Rightful Heir”
If this conclusion is true, then the English throne is in the wrong hands. It belongs instead to a man named Simon Abney-Hastings, 15th Earl of Loudoun, who lives in the small, New South Wales town of Jerilderie. At the time of the documentary’s production, host Tony Robinson traveled to Australia to speak to Simon’s father, Michael—then the “rightful heir” to the British throne.
When confronted with the news of his royal lineage, however, Michael was unimpressed. He expressed no desire to return to England to stake his claim to the throne—even if the British government should beg him to do so. Michael and his five children were quite content with their small-town lifestyle. Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight—knowing the disappointment and dysfunction which has characterized the Royal Family, Michael had no aspirations to be any part of it. Even the limelight, wealth, and notoriety of the Royal Family pales in comparison to the freedom, friendship, and family they enjoyed in rural New South Wales.
Wisdom from Solomon
As I viewed this documentary, it made me think of something that King Solomon wrote in the Book of Ecclesiastes. In this sometimes puzzling book, Solomon bemoans the “evils” that he witnesses “under the sun.” The pursuit of wealth, power, and knowledge/wisdom all seem to end in irony. All that men sacrifice their health and family to obtain eludes their grasp in the end. Those things inevitably fall into the hands of others.
More tragic is that the men who pursue wealth and power leave this life no differently than a common pauper. As Paul the apostle declared, “We brought nothing into this world and we shall take nothing from it” (1 Tim. 6:7). In the final analysis, Solomon concludes that it is best to pursue God (Eccl. 12:1–7, 13–14), to enjoy one’s work and one’s family (3:22; 5:18; 9:7–10), and to be content with one’s possessions (4:8; 5:18; 7:14). These, Solomon concludes, are the marks of true success.
When the Son of God walked the earth He told us precisely what we should pursue in this life. “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well” (Matt. 6:33, NCV).
Dear Father in heaven, please purify my heart and my appetites. Create in me pure and holy desires. Make me hungry for Your presence and love. Help me to seek Your reign in my life—and to be right with You—so that You may provide to me all the things that this life demands. Amen.
Information from: “Britain’s Real Monarch,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsVzDf-KhXU;
In article photo: Sailor holds his four-month-old son for the first time, along with his daughter, after returning from a deployment by the U.S. Navy licensed under U.S. Govt. Work