Saturday 29 May 2021

Homohoax: Politics, Pizza and Ping-Pong

(Homohoax: A hoax, prank, scam, confidence trick, deception or fraud committed by, targeted at, attributed to or significantly involving members of the lgbt community.)

If you were in the US during the 20216 Presidential Election campaigns you’ll probably remember Pizzagate. What you may have forgotten, or were not made aware of, is that a gay-owned business was caught up in its epicentre. You might have thought that it was all over with, but you’d be wrong. Like the anchovies on a pizza Pizzagate keeps returning.

Let’s start at the beginning. The 2016 Presidential Election was between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

In October 2016 Wikileaks began publishing the hacked emails of John Podesta, Chair of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and former White House Chief of Staff. Some people, mainly far-right activists, read them and claimed they contained code words for paedophilia and child abuse. Their claims were later posted on fake new websites and spread by Trump supporters and this created the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory.

But what has it got to do with pizzas? Someone on the social media forum 4chan spotted references in the emails to going out for a pizza, and for some unexplained reason claimed the word “cheese pizza” was code for “child pornography” (c.p.). Several Wikileaks emails mentioned a gay man called James Alefantis, the owner of a Washington DC pizza restaurant and bar called Comet Ping Pong (hence “Pizzagate”). James knew John Podesta’s brother Tony, who had eaten at the restaurant.

From this the 4chan user claimed that the restaurant was the location of a child pornography ring that included senior figures in the Democratic Party associated with Clinton’s presidential campaign. James Alefantis was also the ex-boyfriend of David Brock, a journalist and social commentator and a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter in the media, dragging Clinton even further into the alleged child trafficking ring.

A Reddit user posted a document alleging proof of child sex abuse, inferring that everyone associated with Comet Ping Pong - staff, customers and guest performers - were involved in sex with minors and that performers generated “cultish imagery of disembodiment, blood, beheadings, sex”. It’s no surprise that any mention of sex is guaranteed to get people’s attention and the story was soon picked up by the mainstream media and alt-right activists.

As Pizzagate got bigger so did the lies. It even got to a stage where people pointed to a t-shirt James Alefantis was seen wearing that read “I (heart) l’Enfant”. Twisting James’s name to Jim Alefantis, then to the similar sounding phrase “Je t’aime l’enfants” (“I like children” in French) and finally to “I (heart) l’Enfant” the Pizzagate theorists claimed it was Alefantis’s coded admission to his paedophile activities. In fact, “I (heart) l’Enfant” referred to a bar in Washington named after the city’s 18th century planner, Pierre l’Enfant.

Some of those who fell for the fake news posted photographs from James Alefantis’s social media accounts as further proof of his involvement. In some cases, images were taken from unrelated sources. Alefantis and his staff were harassed and threatened on social media, and Alefantis received death threats. Several bands who had performed at the pizzeria also faced harassment. Other businesses close to Comet Ping Pong received death threats and harassment.

Pizzagate began to get out of control when in December 2016 Edgar Welch from North Carolina went to Comet Ping Pong and fired a rifle three times at the building. He had read about a secret bunker under the restaurant that was used to imprison children and subject them to sexual abuse. Welch wanted to be seen as a national hero - a rescuer of children. He surrendered without further incident after police surrounded the restaurant and he was arrested. It was soon proven that there was no bunker and that photos of it that appeared on the internet were of another unrelated property. Welch pleaded guilty and was sentenced to four years in prison. He was released on 28th May 2010.

The conspiracy theory was soon debunked by fact-checking websites and news organizations. Much of the evidence cited by the conspiracy theorists were taken from entirely different sources and manipulated to fit their theory. On 8th December 2016, Hillary Clinton herself responded to the Pizzagate theory, and about the dangers of fake news.

Despite being debunked, Pizzagate continued to spread on social media. On 25th January 2019, more than two years after Pizzagate began, Comet Ping Pong suffered an arson attack. Employees quickly extinguished the blaze and nobody was injured.

In 2020 Pizzagate was used by the far-right QAnon group who widened the conspiracy to include international figures and an international sex-trafficking ring involving celebrities like Ellen Degeneres, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates. Weirdly, this revival of the theory became popular on the youth-orientated social media TikTok.

Pizzagate theorists then dragged singer Justin Beiber into the conspiracy. At one point in a live Instagram video he adjusted the black beanie hat he was wearing, apparently unaware that someone had earlier posted a comment asking Justin to do just that if he was a child victim of Pizzagate. There’s no indication that Bieber even read this comment among the thousands of others being posted every minute. Eventually, Justin had to make an announcement that he had no connection to the Pizzagate theory or child trafficking.

Will Pizzagate ever leave us? Perhaps not. As long as there are manipulative people with sad little lives based only with delusions of their own self-importance in the world, and as long as there are people gullible enough to believe them, there’ll always be fake news and conspiracy theories. Creating a conspiracy theory is easy. I could start a few myself involving Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion’s choice of neo-Nazi symbolism, or the Black Lives Matter leaders appropriating donations to pay for their own luxury millionaire lifestyles. Hang on, those are actually true…. aren’t they?

Sunday 23 May 2021

Star-Gayzing: Orion's Gender Switch

Its nearly ten years since I wrote my first “Star Gayzing” article lgbt connections in the constellations and I’ve only mentioned in passing what is, perhaps, the most famous constellation of them all, Orion. Lgbt connections in Orion come from its association with the ancient Sumerian myth about the origin of the seasons which I wrote about last year in “Springing Out of Winter”.

Over the centuries and across continents constellations change, not only in their orientation in the sky but also in the interpretation of the patterns they form. Most of the current interpretations derive from the ancient Babylonians and other cultures that originated in the same region of Iraq, and Orion is no exception.

An ancient star catalogue compiled by the Babylonians over 3,000 years ago saw Orion as “The True Shepherd of Anu” and was a representation of the Sumerian deity Ninshubur. Anu is the main god of the sky in the myths of all of the ancient civilisations that flourished in the region.

Ninshubur is one of the characters who featured in that myth about the seasons in “Springing Our of Winter”. She was the senior attendant to the goddess Inanna. She was also the messenger of the gods, a bit like the Greek Hermes or Roman Mercury. In the myth Inanna decides to visit her recently widowed sister, the Queen of the Underworld. Travelling to the Underworld was dangerous and Inanna asked her servant Ninshubur to ask the gods to rescue her if hadn’t returned in three days.

Three days later, with no sign of Inanna, Ninshubur goes to the gods. Only Enki responds and he creates two intersex beings who help to return Inanna to the surface.

So, we have the modern constellation Orion, representing a male hunter from Greek mythology, that had previously represented the female Sumerian deity Ninshubur. But that’s not the gender switch mentioned in this article’s title.

For hundreds of years Ninshubur was regarded as being female. Her official job title was “sukkal”, which was a kind of vizier. It is generally accepted that a sukkal is of the same gender as the deity she, or he, serves. As the sukkal of the goddess Inanna Ninshubur is female. However, during the 20th century BC a change began to take place.

The rise of the Akkadian civilisation that conquered the Sumerian empire led to the spread of Akkadian deities and their worship. Just as Ninshubur had also served as the messenger of the gods the Akkadian’s had Papsukkal, a male deity whose name obviously indicates his role as a sukkal. For several centuries these two messenger deities were regarded as being quite distinct from each other.

Somehow, during the Middle Babylonian era (c.1595 BC-c.1155 BC) Ninshubur and Papsukkal merged into one. This happens a lot in mythology and is termed syncretisation. It happens in more modern times as well. It’s a bit like the way Santa Claus and Father Christmas have, regrettably, become interchangeable names for the same character, even though they have very different characters with different origins and evolution. The gradual merging of Ninshubur and Papsukkal led to the former changing her gender altogether in an unconscious transgenderization (is that a word, or have I just made it up?).

Those Babylonian star catalogues I mentioned earlier depict Ninshubur/Papsukkal as a male figure in the same location as our modern Orion and they gave it the name “The True Shepherd of Anu”. By the time these catalogues were compiled the Akkadian civilisation had been conquered by the Babylonians who had never known of a female Ninshubur. To confuse matters even further the Sumerians had previously called the constellation Sipazianna, and the Akkadians had called it Sitaddalu.

If the gender switch isn’t queer enough there’s more queer associations with another representation of Ninshubur/Papsukkal. In some depictions of the night sky the deity is shown as a rooster. This bird is closely associated with Papsukkal in particular. In instances in which he isn’t represented by a rooster he is shown with a rooster following him. Back in January 2018 I wrote about instances of gender switchesin roosters and chickens. I’m not claiming that the ancient Babylonians ever associated roosters with the gender switch of Ninshubur/Papsukkal, or that they ever encountered gender switching roosters at all in their time, but knowing that this can happen gives and extra queer angle to the constellation.

Below are two diagrams. First is our modern Orion constellation. Below that is my interpretation of how the Babylonians depicted The True Shepherd of Anu. To the right of him is a representation of the constellation Taurus. Above him is the Babylonian representation of our modern constellation Gemini. Below him is his rooster, which is in the area of the modern constellation Lepus.

Tuesday 18 May 2021

William and John: Part 1) Childhood

The gatehouse of Nottingham Castle

Today is International Museum Day, and next month Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery will reopen after two years of redevelopment. I worked at Nottingham Castle for seven years as a tour guide and gallery attendant and the owners of the castle, the city council, never showed any understanding of heritage. They even banned Robin Hood for a few years because he “set a bad example”! So I have little hope that the castle will be “improved” in any way. From what they’ve already shown us I expect and that everything is dumbed down to their level of intelligence.

My links to Nottingham Castle merge with its lgbt heritage through Sir William Neville (c.1341-1391) who was appointed Constable of Nottingham Castle in 1381. I descend from his brother.

Sir William Neville and his partner, Sir John Clanvowe, has been mentioned on this blog several times over the years. To mark the 640th anniversary of Sir William’s appointment and the castle’s reopening I’d like to fill in some of the gaps in their story. Let’s start at the beginning and look at their childhood.

Sir William Neville was born in or around 1341 at Raby Castle, County Durham, into one of the most powerful, and ancient families in northern England. William was the fifth and youngest son of Sir Ralph Neville, 2nd Baron Neville of Raby (c.1291-1367), and his wife Alice (c.1300-1374).

The 2nd Baron, or Lord, Neville was an important courtier during the first years of the reign of King Edward III (the king who made St. George the patron saint of England). Several of Sir William's brothers also went on to become influential, and several of his six sisters married influential lords. William’s eldest brother John Neville (my ancestor), inherited the family title and was a soldier and ambassador. The next brother Alexander became Archbishop of York. William himself became a favoured courtier of King Richard II and received high appointments.

Sir William’s mother, Alice, was the widow of Lord Greystoke and a niece of the Mortimer family who had feudal links to Sir John Clanvowe’s family. Alice had a young son by Lord Greystoke who become 2nd Baron Greystoke when she became widowed in 1323, and he became stepson and ward to Lord Neville.

Our William Neville, being the youngest son of a large family, had little chance of inheriting much from his father's estates so Lord Neville, an ambitious man, came up with a plan.

By the 1340s it looked as if his ward Lord Greystoke, although married and in his 20s, would remain childless. Lord Neville seized the opportunity to ensure that the Greystoke estates would be inherited by one of his children. He entered into an agreement with Lord Greystoke whereby all of the Greystoke estates would be inherited by one of the younger Neville sons if Lord Greystoke died without children. William Neville was about 3 years old at the time and it’s likely that he was being considered as the Greystoke heir. Whichever of the sons inherited the Greystoke lands would be required to adopt the Greystoke name and coat of arms in place of Neville. This was common practice in a lot of aristocratic families. As it happened, Lord Greystoke eventually fathered a healthy son and heir in 1352, and Lord Neville's hopes of providing lands for his younger sons were dashed, and it looked as if young William Neville would be left penniless and landless.

That’s Sir William Neville’s family background. Now let’s look at Sir John Clanvowe’s.

There’s a great deal of uncertainty in establishing Sir John's parentage. His father may have been another John Clanvowe, a Knight of the Shire, a wealthy landowner elected by other landowners to represent Herefordshire in the English parliament of 1347-8.

I believe the family takes its names from Llanveau (or Llanedw), a hamlet near the Welsh coast just four miles east of Cardiff. To me the way the name Clanvowe is spelt obviously derives from the English pronunciation of Llanveau (the Welsh pronunciation of the double “L” sounds very much like “CL”). The first person to have used this English spelling seems to have been Sir Philip Clanvowe. I believe he was our Sir John's grandfather.

The Clanvowes had manorial ties with the most important family of the Welsh borders, the Mortimers. For several generations the Clanvowes had been hereditary bailiffs, the manorial estate managers, of the Mortimer's manor at Gladestry over the border in England, 22 miles from Hereford. Through this strong link to the manor I believe our Sir John Clanvowe may have been born in Gladestry in around 1341, making him the same age as William Neville.

It is not improbable that Sir William Neville and Sir John Clanvowe met when they were children. William's mother was the niece of the Mortimers, and the Clanvowes were bailiffs in one of their manors. During the 1340s and 1350s there would have been several gatherings and celebrations where the Mortimers, the Nevilles, and the Clanvowes would have been able to meet. It is known that tournaments were often held at Hereford Castle and they would be the ideal place for lords and their families to network and form alliances.

During their childhood William Neville and John Clanvowe were exposed to the Black Death, the biggest pandemic which ravaged Europe in the late 1340s. It is shown from medieval records that wealthy families had a better chance of survival than those from poorer backgrounds. But it appears that young William and John were also fortunate to survive because to their age. Analysis by Professor J. C. Russell in 1948 of a sample group of death records show that the young were actually the most likely to survive the plague. This has an echo in our present covid pandemic. Russell calculated that the highest mortality rate, unsurprisingly, was 46% among those over 56 years old. Children between the ages of 6 and 10, which included both John Clanvowe and William Neville, had the best chance of survival. The mortality rate for their age group was just 7%, the lowest of them all. The mortality rate for the 10 to 56 year old age group was 28%.

So, having survived childhood, next month I’ll look at the adult career of Sir John Clanvowe as he became a soldier and fought in the Hundred Years War. The month after that I’ll look at Sir William Neville’s career at the court of the English king.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Designers of an Empire

Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte died 200 years ago last week. He is one of few military leaders who left an artistic legacy that is recognisable and influential, the Empire Style. But he didn’t create it himself. It was crested for him by a couple of French architects and designers who are regarded by many as the original gay designer couple. I mentioned them only briefly in my recent Flower Power article “A Divine Headdress”. They are Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre Fontaine (1762-1853).

Pierre Fontaine was the elder and longest lived of the two. He was born in Pontoise, to the north-west of Paris, into a middle-class family of architects and designers. His father, also called Pierre, was the engineer of the fountains and hydraulic system at the Château de L’Isle-Adam, home of the Prince of Conti (grandson of the Prince of Conti who was elected King of Poland-Lithuania).

Young Pierre was 16 years old when he went with his father to work at the chateau, which was just 10 kilometres from Pontoise. Pierre’s keen interest and natural ability at architecture was noticed by the chief architect of the fountain project and he helped to expand Pierre’s experience by allowing him to copy some of the designs and to join the workmen in the construction work.

In 1779 Pierre went to Paris to study at the Académie Royale d’Architecture. Pierre came second in the Prix de Rome in 1785. This was a competition for the Académie students which offered a five-year scholarship in Rome to the winner. Although he didn’t win in 1785 Pierre was awarded the scholarship in 1787 when the awarding of that year’s prize was delayed. Interestingly, his design that can second was for a sepulchral monument for the kings of France (below). It was influenced by the design for Isaac Newton’s cenotaph, about which I wrote in March.

It was while Pierre was at the Académie that he met Charles Percier who went on to win the Prix de Rome in 1786, the year between Pierre coming second and him being awarded the Rome scholarship.

Charles Percier had a very different upbringing to that of Pierre Fontaine. His mother Marie-Jeanne was a seamstress and laundrywoman and his father Denis was a gate-keeper, but Charles’ childhood was anything but typically working-class. Both of his parents worked for the French royal family. His mother worked for Queen Marie Antoinette and his father worked at the moat bridge near the Tuileries, the palace in Paris.

Charles, like Pierre, showed artistic talents as a child. He could draw the uniforms of the palace guards and soldiers in perfect detail, and he was soon put into the classes of the palace art tutor. This led to him being enrolled into the Ecole Royales Gratuite de Desins at the age of just 7. This was a free school for children from modest or poor backgrounds who had a shown clear aptitude for art and design. Charles soon gained a reputation as a skilled draftsman, even before he entered the Académie Royale d’Architecture at the age of 15.

Even though Percier and Fontaine, as the duo later became known, as if a single entity, met at the Académie it was only when they both began studying in Rome that they started working together. They shared a studio and travelled around the region concentrating on the classical architecture. The neo-classical style was all the rage in Europe and Percier and Fontaine would go on to develop it further. They were so inseparable that fellow students called them “the Two Etruscans”, the Etruscans being the civilisation that evolved into ancient Roman.

Percier and Fontaine made a pact in Rome based on mutual respect and confidence. They pledged to stay single and never marry. It is this pact that forms the basis of the idea that they were, or became, a “gay” couple as we would recognise today.

All was going well in Rome. Then in 1789 the French Revolution threw Fontaine’s life into turmoil. His parents, both reliant on royal employment, were out of work and penniless. Fontaine returned to Paris to try to support them. Percier remained in Rome, but soon hostility towards the French forced him to return to Paris also and he moved in with Fontaine.

Their architectural designs kept them employed until 1792 when Percier was offered the job of scenery designer and supervisor at the Paris Opera. Fontaine, who had recently moved to England to get away from the Revolution, was brought back to France by Percier who insisted that if he was to take the post at the Paris Opera then Fontaine must be appointed with him.

During their four years at the opera Percier and Fontaine continued to work of other projects. This brought them to the attention of one of their neighbours, none other than Josephine Bonaparte, the wife of Napoleon (who had yet to be declared emperor). Together, Percier and Fontaine were engaged to work on Josephine’s residence, the Château de Malmaison outside Paris.

At the start of the project they met Napoleon himself. Napoleon soon became a huge fan of their work and employed them to redecorate the Hôtel des Invalides, a veteran’s home that had been damaged during the Revolution. The success of both projects led Napoleon to appoint Fontaine as official government architect. In a reciprocal manner to the opera position Fontaine said he wouldn’t do it unless Percier was appointed with him.

Between 1801 and 1814, when the post of government architect was abolished and the post of Paris city architect was created, Percier and Fontaine worked on most of the famous buildings that are still familiar to us today – the Louvre, Fontainbleau, Versailles, the Élysée Palace and the Tuileries.

Napoleon dismissed Percier in 1804, which upset and offended Fontaine, but the two continued to work together and Percier was also able to pursue other projects.

Although Fontaine kept to the pact he and Percier made in Rome to remain unmarried he fathered an illegitimate daughter by Sophie Depuis, an artist he and Percier employed to colour the illustrated plates of one of the books they wrote on architecture.

Charles Percier died in 1838 and left Fontaine grief-stricken. Fontaine continued to work as Paris city architect and interior designer at the Louvre and Tuileries until he resigned at the age of 86. He was buried with Percier and another close associate, Clarles-Louis Bernier (1755-1830), who worked with them at the Paris Opera and the Louvre. Their joint grave monument was designed by Fontaine.

Percier and Fontaine perfected the artistic style that became known to us as Empire Style. Evolving from the previously popular Directoire and Ne-Classical styles it became very distinctive. Even when Egyptian elements crept in, Empire Style remained the style that defined the Napoleonic era.

Tuesday 4 May 2021

Game of Gay Thrones 6: Norway, Poland and Portugal

Here we are with five more lgbt people who have been heirs, claimants, candidates, usurpers or imposters of various royal thrones. Their quests to pull their own “sword from the stone” were unsuccessful. Included for the first time are two people who were consorts to those heirs, etc., and would have sat beside their spouse on the royal throne.

1) Prince François Louis de Bourbon, Prince of Conti (1664-1709); titular King of Poland and Prince of Neuchâtel.

Prince François Louis was the nephew of Prince Louis, Duke of Condé, who was twice an unsuccessful candidate for the elective throne of Poland-Lithuania. In 1697 the throne was up for election again and the King of France put Prince François Louis’ name forward. Unlike his uncle Prince François Louis was successful, although it was obtained mainly through bribes. The Prince didn’t seem too eager to occupy his throne. After a couple of months delay he arrived in Poland to find that his rival in the election had seized the throne from him. The Prince just turned around and went back home.

Perhaps Prince François Louis didn’t want a repeat of a previous attempt to occupy a throne. In 1694 he inherited the sovereign principality of Neuchâtel in the will of the previous prince. Unfortunately, this previous prince’s sister thought she was the rightful ruler and Prince François Louis took her to court. The court found in his favour, but the King of France refused to support his claim and ordered François Louis to let the sister keep Neuchâtel.

Prince François Louis was openly bisexual and often blatant about his affairs, which caused tension in his family.

2) Prince Eugen of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Närke (1865-1947); proposed king of Norway.

In 1905 the joint kingdom of Sweden and Norway decided to split. The King and Crown Prince were to remain on the Swedish throne, and a younger son would be the first king of an independent Norway. Of the younger sons Prince Eugen, Duke of Närke was the one considered most favourably, as he was known to be a great Norwegaphile.

Norwegian politicians had been calling for full independence from Sweden since 1814. Prince Eugen had even been suggested as a future King of Norway in 1893, but his father made it clear that he wanted none of his sons on a Norwegian throne. In 1905 the newly independent Norway gave the crown to a Danish prince instead.

Prince Eugen was himself reluctant to accept any throne. He was more interested in art and painting than politics and was a well-known artist. He never married and Scandinavian writers and journalists often include him in lists of famous lgbt Norwegians.

3) Prince Francisco José de Bragança (1879-1919); claimant to the throne of Portugal.

Prince Francisco’s father was Prince Miguel, Duke of Braganza, claimant to the throne of Portugal. Miguel’s father, another Miguel, had usurped the throne from his own brother in 1828 and was himself deposed in 1834. Supporters of Miguel’s restoration to the throne were called the Miguelista.

When Portugal became a republic in 1910 the younger Prince Miguel launched an uprising to regain his father’s throne but was unsuccessful. In an effort to unite the Miguelista and another group supporting a rival monarchist claim Miguel and his eldest son renounced all rights to the throne. The united monarchists considered Miguel’s younger son, Prince Francisco José, as the head of the claim to restore the monarchy with his as King of Portugal.

Scandal followed Prince Francisco José. He was arrested in London in 1902 for gross indecency with a 15-year-old boy. Although he was found not guilty he was accused of a similar crime a few years later in Austria. He was also swindled out of £325,000 in 1909 by someone claiming to be a member of the Vanderbilt family.

During World War I Prince Francisco José fought with the Austro-Hungarian army. He was captured and died, still in captivity, in 1919 at the age of 39.

4) Princess Anna Sforza d’Este (1476-1497); Hereditary Duchess of Ferrara.

Princess Anna is the first of the “Queer Consorts” who missed their chance to sit on a throne beside their spouse. Anne was the daughter of the Duke of Milan. In 1477 her father arranged her marriage to Alfonso d’Este, Hereditary Duke (heir) of the sovereign Duchy of Ferrara. The wedding ceremony took place in 1491.

The marriage was not a happy one. Princess Anna was said to be rather unfeminine in looks and behaviour. She spent most of her time dressed as man and preferred the company of women. It is believed by historians that she had several lesbian affairs, and it is known that she refused to consummate the marriage and shared her bed every night with a female black slave.

Eventually Anna agreed to consummate the marriage in order to provide an heir to the throne of Ferrara. In 1497 she became pregnant but, sadly, died in childbirth at the age of 21.

Anna’s widower, Prince Alfonso, remarried in 1503 to Lucrezia Borgia. Yes, the same Lucrezia Borgia whose life of debauchery and murder is legendary (and probably false). It was Lucrezia who later became Duchess of Ferrera when Alfonso inherited the title.

5) Sir George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628); consort to the heir of the Scottish and English thrones.

Buckingham was the lover of King James I of England, and VI of Scotland. James probably didn’t realise that he also arranged for Buckingham to marry a bloodline heir to both of his thrones. In 1620 Buckingham married the Lady Katherine Manners, daughter of the Earl of Rutland, who brought a lot of money and rich estates with her.

In 1290 the 7-year-old Queen Margaret of Scotland died unexpectedly leaving no close relatives or clear successor. Thirteen men came forward with claims to the throne through various old royal lines. No-one could decided who had the best claim, so the Scottish nobles asked King Edward I of England to chose one. Lady Katherine Manners’ ancestor, Lord de Ros, was the nearest bloodline heir of Queen Margaret through an illegitimate line. King Edward chose someone from a more junior line to be king instead. Lady Katherine became the eventual heir of the de Ros claim and she became Baroness de Ros herself when her father died.

Lady Katherine also had a claim to the English throne through the de Ros line. An earlier de Ros heiress carried the title into the Manners family on her marriage. The Manners were heirs of Princess Anne of England (1439-1476), the eldest sister of Kings Edward IV and Richard III. Anne’s brothers and their descendants were barred from the throne, even (technically) Princess Elizabeth of York who married the Tudor usurper King Henry VII. Various relatives of Anne tried to get the throne back but were unsuccessful. Eventually they gave up. The descendants of Anne carried the senior claim to the English throne through the Manners family to Lady Katherine, Baroness de Ros.