A lot of people, and media publicity, has been raving about the end (thankfully!) of “Game of Thrones”. Like the majority of television viewers I’ve never seen it. Apart from the fact that I can’t afford the subscription, nothing in any preview or interview has told me what the series is actually about, so nothing has got me interested in it. What clips I have seen had very little acting in them, and even then it was the worst ham acting that isn’t even worthy of “Scooby Doo”.
However, it does give me
an excuse to celebrate the long-overdue demise of an over-hyped programme by
presenting a follow-up to my “Game of Gay Thrones” article which featured five
lgbt claimants and pretenders to various crowns. There are actually enough lgbt
wannabe monarchs to stretch the theme into three more articles. So here is the
Several of today’s
pretenders can be described as hypothetical. There are different reasons why
they may never have been actual claimants to a throne, but they have, to some
extent, been considered as heirs, one way or another.
Let’s have a look at them
in chronological order.
1) Gaius Nymphidius Sabinus (c.35-68 AD), claimant to the throne of the Roman
Empire. During the reign of Emperor Nero Gaius was a Prefect of the Praetorian
Guard, the elite unit of the Imperial army. Although he was the son and
grandson of freed slaves Gaius managed to rise in power thanks to the
uncovering on a conspiracy to assassinate Nero. After Nero eventually did die
Gaius began claiming to be an illegitimate son of a previous emperor, Caligula.
To secure his claim Gaius married Nero’s widowed male empress Sporus (it is
said that Nero’s body was still burning on his funeral pyre when the marriage
took place, Gaius was obviously wasting no time). While it doesn’t necessarily
indicate that Gaius had any sexual interest in young Sporus, it is known that
Roman emperors indulged in pederastic activity, and as a member of the
Praetorian Guard Gaius may even have formed a sexual relationship with a
younger soldier. Both activities were influenced by the ancient Greeks. As a
Roman soldier Gaius wasn’t allowed to get married anyway, so as soon as Nero
was out of the way he married someone with an imperial title and rank to boost
his claim to the throne. The only other surviving spouse of Nero was a rather
dull woman with no power or influence. However, a rival to the throne, Galba,
was approaching Rome with an army and the Praetorian Guard considered him a
better prospect as emperor than Gaius, so they murdered Gaius and put Galba on
the throne instead.
2) St. Boris, Prince of Rostov (990-1015), regarded by some during his lifetime
as the preferred successor to his father Vladimir, Grand Prince of Kiev. I
wrote a bit about St. Boris twice before, most recently here. Succession to the
throne of Kiev was not by male-preferred primogeniture (as the throne of the UK
was until recently) but was often decided by which of the nearest male
relatives on the reigning monarch was the most powerful. Rivalry between brothers
often resulted in one assassinating the others. This is the case with St.
Boris. Grand Prince Vladimir, who converted to Christianity and founded the
Russian Orthodox Church, had twelve sons. Not all of them shared their father’s
new faith so you can imagine some of them were keen to ensure that their
father’s successor was a pagan (none of the Christian sons had any intention of
killing off their brothers). This meant that any brother who converted to
Christianity was a threat. Boris was a popular ruler in his own principality of
Rostov, a popularity which may also alarmed his pagan brothers. This is what
eventually led to St. Boris’s assassination in 1015 by his brother.
3) Prince Louis de Bourbon, Duke of Condé (1646-1686), claimant to the throne of
Poland-Lithuania – twice. I’ve also written about the Duke before regarding his
attempts to be elected king in last year’s “Around the World in Another 80
Gays”. You can read the details there.
4) Harry Domela (1905-1979)
claimed to be Prince Wilhelm of Germany, grandson and heir to Kaiser Wilhelm
II. He was, in fact, a Latvian-Russian of German ancestry. After World War I
Harry moved to Germany where he began to claim various false identities. He was
imprisoned several times for being an imposter but this didn’t stop him. He
managed to make the acquaintance of several German aristocrats and made such an
impression that they thought he was Prince Wilhelm of Germany travelling
incognito. There was some resemblance between the two and Harry did nothing to
deny it. In fact he willingly went along with it and began adopting the
lifestyle that implied he was the disinherited heir to the German empire. This
was in despite of the fact that the real Prince Wilhelm was studying at the
University of Bonn at the time. Very shrewdly Harry kept well away from people
and places where the real Prince would likely to be known. It wasn’t long
before Harry was uncovered as a fraud and once again arrested in 1926. While in
prison he wrote his autobiography “A Sham Prince”. The courts decided his
imposture was harmless and released him. His book sold well, and he even
starred as himself in a 1927 film and a play. During this period he lodged in
the guest rooms of the Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science in
Berlin. Openly gay and something of an enigmatic figure after the 1930s Harry
had many other adventures, often accompanied by French gay writer André Gide.
I’m sure I’ll write about them in the future. Incidentally, the real Prince
Wilhelm renounced his rights to the German throne in 1933.
5) James Knight Ord III (b.1976), claimed by perpetually unreliable and homophobic “Daily
Mail” and “Mail Online” as the “true heir to the British throne” in an article
in 2016. I debunked this claim in this article in which I give proof with
actual documentary evidence, something any experienced Daily Mail journalist could have researched for themselves. Last year Mr. Ord himself contacted this blog to
welcome my research. He had been aware of his family legend of an illegitimate
descent from King George IV of Britain, but has not paid any serious attention
In October I’ll present
another set of lgbt claimants and pretenders.