Here we are again with another group of
lgbt royal wannabes. Included are a couple of spouses who, for one reason or
another, were prevented from sitting beside their spouses. I never stop being
surprised by the number of queer claimants and disinherited heirs to thrones
past and present there have been, not to mention their spouses. There are even
more to come next year.
|Imperial symbol adopted by the Byzantine emperors|
1) Basiliskianos (pre-846- after 866); named as a
possible Emperor of Byzantium, 866.
The throne of Byzantium has seen more
than its fair share of dethronements, assassinations and claimants.
Basiliskianos became a pawn in the power struggle between Emperor Mikhael III
(840-866) and his lover and co-Emperor Basileios (c.830-886). I explain the
emperors’ relationship in more detail here. Briefly, Mikhael spotted Basileios
at a sporting event and became besotted with him. He later made him co-emperor.
In 866 Mikhael began to show more than a
casual interest in a young courtier called Basiliskianos. After Mikhael won a
chariot race Basiliskianos gave him a lot of enthusiastic praise. The emperor
was wearing the imperial red boots, and he told Basiliskianos to remove them
and wear them himself. This angered co-emperor Basileios and a bit of an
argument ensured. Mikhael said to him “I made you emperor, and do I not have
the power to create another?” He later added, “I am ready to make Basiliskianos
emperor”. He never did, but the possibility was always there and it upset
Basileios enough to assassinate Mikhael. There’s no record of what happened to
Basiliskianos after Mikhael died.
|Imperial emblem on the Joseon kingdom|
Crown Princess Sun-Bin Bong
(1414-after 1436); consort of the future king of Josean.
Sun-Bin was a member of the aristocratic
Haeum Bong clan. In 1429 she married Crown Prince Hi Hyang of the Joseon
kingdom in Korea. The marriage, however, was not a very congenial one, and it
is reported that the king himself told the Crown Prince to take more interest
in his new bride. It didn’t help the marriage, and it deteriorated even more
when Princess Bong got angry after one of the Crown Prince’s concubines became
Another stumbling block in the marriage
was Princess Bong’s habit of giving clothes from the royal wardrobe to her own
family. But what really put an end to the marriage, and any chance of her
sitting on the Korean throne with her husband in the future, was her blatant
over-friendliness towards her female servants, in particular a maid with whom
she confesses to having been intimate with on more than one occasion.
This was too much for the king and he
banished Sun-Bin Bong from court, annulled the marriage, and reduced her to the
rank of commoner. As with Basiliskianos above, there’s no real record of what
happened to her after that.
|Coat of arms the Mervyn, Earl of Castlehaven|
Mervyn Tuchet, 2nd Earl of Castlehaven (1594-1631); consort of the legal heir to King Henry VIII
Before the 1701 Act of Settlement
defined the order of succession to the British throne it was sometimes decided
by the last will of the previous monarch. King Henry VIII’s will of 1546
decreed that after the extinction of his own descendants the throne should pass
to descendants of his younger sister, not his elder sister as would have been
the case under primogeniture rules.
After the last of Henry VIII’s children,
Queen Elizabeth I, died in 1603 the heir to the throne under his will was Lady
Anne Stanley (1580-1647), who should have become Queen Anne. However, parliament
decided to ignore the will and gave the throne to the primogeniture heir, the
gay King James VI of Scotland. Some people considered Anne to be the rightful
monarch though she never pressed her claim.
It is Anne’s second husband, the Earl of
Castlehaven, who is our lgbt royal wannabe. Their marriage was disastrous. I
wrote about it several years ago and it is best to read about it here because
it’s a bit complicated. Thankfully, the whole sordid affair ended in 1631 when
the earl was executed and he never got the chance to be the prince consort to
the lawful (under King Henry’s will) queen of England.
|Coat of arms of the Pinces Sanguszko-Lubartowicz|
Prince Janusz Sanguszko-Lubartowicz (1712-1775); bloodline heir of King Harold II of England.
The most famous date in English history
is 1066 – the year of 4 kings and 2 invasions. King Edward the Confessor died
and was succeeded by King Harold II. Harold faced an invasion led by William of
Normandy. Harold was killed in battle, but before William could take the throne
as the victor one of King Edward’s nephews was declared king. He quickly
abdicated in William’s favour.
Several sites online track Harold’s
bloodline to determine who is his direct heir. None match my own research,
which I believe is accurate. Harold’s bloodline passed through his daughter to
the Kievan royal family, then to the Princes of Warsaw, and finally to the
Counts Potocki, the present heirs. On the way several senior bloodlines became
extinct and switched to surviving junior branches. One such senior line ended
with Prince Janusz Sanguszko-Lubart.
Janusz became Harold’s heir at the age
of 17 on the death of his mother, the previous bloodline heir. Janusz was a bit
of a party animal and squandered his inheritance on parties and his many gay
lovers. In contrast, he was also a great benefactor to local religious
institutions. In 1730 he entered a dynastic marriage, but he showed little
interest in performing his dynastic duty by fathering an heir. His wife soon
left him, and Prince Janusz spent the rest of his life trying unsuccessfully to
have his marriage annulled.
In 1748 his openly gay lifestyle was
forced temporarily into the closet when his father imprisoned his lover for
fraud. Two years later, his father died and Janusz had another vast inheritance
to squander away. Although not interested in politics the king of
Poland-Lithuania appointed him a Court Marshal, among other offices.
When Janusz died in 1775 he was in debt
and there were no close living relatives on his mother’s side, King Harold’s
bloodline, to succeed him. It had to go back to descendants of his
great-grandfather’s younger brother, from which it has passed to today.
|Coat of arms of the Grand Dukes of Baden|
Prince Maximilian von Baden
(1876-1929); heir presumptive to the Grand Duchy of Baden.
The Grand Duchy of Baden was one of the
sovereign states within the Holy Roman Empire and the German Empire until it
was abolished in 1918. The last Grand Duke was Prince Friedrich II (1857-1928).
He was childless and his cousin Prince Maximilian was his nearest living male
relative and heir presumptive.
In the 1890s the British Queen Victoria
attempted to marry Maximilian to her grand-daughter, Princess Alexandra von
Hessen. Alexandra wasn’t interested because she was already in love with the
future Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. I wonder how history would have been
different if Alexandra had married Maximilian. After all, it was Alexandra’s
relationship with Rasputin that was one of the causes of the Russian
In 1900 Prince Maximilian did marry into
the British royal family. His wife was Princess Marie Louise, one of Queen
Victoria’s cousins and a member of the “old Royal Family” (i.e. junior
descendants of King George III), the Cumberlands. This branch of the family
still exists, but most of them sided with Germany in World War I and were
deprived of their British royal titles, Princess Marie Louise included.
Before his marriage Prince Maximilian
was listed in Berlin police records as a homosexual. This fact was only
revealed in a biography of him in 2013. Maximilian and Marie Louise had two
children, both of whom have interesting connections. Their son married the late
Duke of Edinburgh’s sister (he was named after Prince Philipp von Hessen, heir
presumptive of Finland). Maximilian’s daughter married Philipp von Hessen’s
In September 1918, when it seemed
Germany would lose the war, the Kaiser appointed Prince Maximilian as Chancellor
of Germany. The following day the Kaiser offered an armistice to the Allies and
Maximilian advised him to abdicate. Once armistice was accepted a political
“rebellion” against the Kaiser’s appointments forced Maximilian to resign. A
republic was declared, royal titles were abolished, and Maximilian spent the
rest of his life in retirement. On his cousin’s death in 1928 he became the
head of the abolished Baden royal family, and claimed by monarchists as the
rightful Grand Duke of Baden. He died the following year.