Friday, 19 July 2013

Stately Homes of England ... and Aristocratic Succession ...

Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun ...  Noel Coward who penned those words, also wrote a parody on ‘The Homes of England’ ...

The Italianate Gardens, Bowood House, Wiltshire
The poem by Felicia Hemans and was published in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1827 – a publication specialising in a mixture of satire, reviews and criticism both barbed and insightful – appropriate to both Hemans’ contribution to English literature and to Coward’s penmanship ...

The stately Homes of England,
How beautiful they stand,
Amidst their tall ancestral trees,
O’er all the pleasant land!

Coward ‘gently’ changed the lyrics to:

The stately homes of England,
How beautiful they stand,
To prove the upper classes
Have still the upper hand.

Wentworth Woodhouse,
south Yorkshire
Then in the Las Vegas phase of his career, Coward revised his lyrics to:

The stately homes of England,
We proudly represent,
We only keep them up
For Americans to rent ...

The journalists/cameramen sweltering on their pitches outside the hospital are awaiting news of a little soul’s arrival ...

Felicia Hemans
... the Queen is waiting to go on holiday and you’re holding her up little one ... and why are we waiting as the Christmas Carol parody goes ... your time is up ... surely it’s time to blossom?!

The Succession to the Crown Act has been hurried through Parliament so that you, HRH, can inherit the throne regardless of your gender ...

... yet some of your ennobled subjects are excluded from inheriting their stately piles because they are first-born females ...

... the Re-ordering of the Aristocracy (as Channel 4 News described it) is one of the last pieces of gender discrimination enshrined in common law.


Titles have zig-zagged outrageously across family trees in pursuit of male heirs, or simply died out, because women are, by statute, considered unsuitable inheritors.

Julian Fellowes, the English actor, novelist, film director and screenwriter, as well as a member of the House of Lords due to his recent elevation to the peerage, has done most to bring this issue to the public’s attention ...

... making it the central plot device of his Bafta-winning blockbuster Downton Abbey.  (Having not, yet, seen this series, you probably know more than I do ...).

As Fellowes’ states “The point is not whether or not you approve of hereditary titles, but given the fact they do exist, the exclusion of women from them under English Law is absolutely bizarre”.

The clock tower, Belton House
It has taken a while for women generally to get equal rights, and while this is one of those things that doesn’t directly affect every woman, it just sets a culture, that this is acceptable ... that women are second-rate: and the aristocracy should not accede to this tone ...

I hope the rules of succession get changed ... yes it will be complicated ... but I’d like to achieve Equality for Women in the Peerage, keep history and tradition, but with titles dying out, as there is no male heir to inherit, (even using the zig-zag format), the way forward is to allow women to inherit.
Wynnstay, near Wrexham,
north Wales

These ancient titles are a symbol of longevity – some can be traced back over 1,000 years –and as we lose them we are decimating history – our roots.

So from these English shores under the mid-day sun we await a new Royal and we shall see whether Parliament will have the courage to address one of the last bastions of discrimination in our country ...

The Independent article - about the rules of accession for the landed gentry
The lyrics to Noel Coward's "The Stately Homes of England"

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Karen Walker said...

Brilliant, Hillary. And I am so so addicted to Downton Abbey.

Jo said...

I never thought about it in those terms before, it is discriminatory though isn't it? Just think, Henry VIII wouldn't have had to change all those wives!! I enjoy Downtown Abbey, but it is a fact that the laws of inheritance play a big part in the story. Especially as they keep bumping off the heirs.

Julie Flanders said...

I never thought about it either but this is another discriminatory thing that needs to be changed in the modern world. Interesting! And I've always loved that "mad dogs and Englishman" line, it makes me laugh.

Luanne G. Smith said...

Whaaaaaat??!! They still can't inherit? What kind of medieval law is that? Oh, right.

And I'm anxiously awaiting the birth of that little one too. :)

Tara Tyler said...

the royal lineage has always fascinated me, love learning more about the aristocratic history!

Better is Possible said...

So very interesting. I enjoy your blog posts ever so much. I apologize for not commenting more often.

Manzanita said...

Oh yes, being born a woman in a man's world. The change is very slow. The birth of the babe is eagerly awaited by the whole word. The way the poem was changed to fit the times, made me laugh.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Karen - delighted you enjoyed the historical take .. I obviously must watch Downton!

@ Jo - history would be very different if women had been allowed to inherit wouldn't it ..

Downton has now slipped into the main stream of my mind!

@ Julie - it's interesting that the Royal Succession has triggered this debate about Equality for Women in the Peerage ...

Channel 4 News had used the tune for the Stately Homes of England as the background music for their piece on 'Re-ordering the Aristocracy' ... and then I realised how well it fitted and made this post a lighter read ...

@ LG - I know .. such are the laws of our land - ingrained for over 1,000 years and difficult to shift!

No news yet re the HRH sprog ...

@ Tara - the royal lineage is 'even worse' in some ways .. as they had to make sure that a Catholic did not rule -

The Independent's article makes a very interesting read ..

@ Carol - no worries, we comment when we can ... just glad you enjoy visiting and reading ...

@ Manzanita - here those ladies are born into a man's world - thankfully some landed gentry are enlightened and have adjusted their plans ...

Noel Coward was a brilliant wordsmith - and as you mention his words make so many laugh ..

Cheers to you all .. we still wait apparently for the little one - patience is a virtue, isn't it!? Hilary

D.G. Hudson said...

Bravo and kudos to you, Hilary.

Such an archaic law should be struck down everywhere. This type of law may have made sense in tribal days, or when women died early because of 'female' illnesses, but today - it's simply as antiquated as the ideas that brought it about or the man that first penned the law.

Wishing a healthy, and wise little one for the young royal couple! He or she will come when ready. . .

D.G. Hudson said...

BTW - Hilary - like that photo of you in the hat. Looks so summery.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's wild the equality is still pending. It needs to happen.
And I like your new icon photo, Hilary.

Betsy Wuebker said...

Hilary! I can't believe you've not yet seen Downton Abbey! Get thee in front of the telly, woman! Addicts love company... :)

mail4rosey said...

It's funny how the things in history that might be discriminatory we don't really notice sometimes until someone points them out, isn't it?

Janie Junebug said...

I love Downton Abbey. An important part of the show is that Lady Mary can't inherit her father's estate. It had to go to Cousin Matthew. I won't tell you how that turned out in case you want to watch the show. I read somewhere that Julian Fellowes created the show because his wife can't inherit her family's title. I'm thrilled that the royal baby will sit on the throne someday, whether a blue or a pink bundle.


Julia Hones said...

Hilary, I love this post! The poems made me laugh.
I'm glad you are revealing more information about how women are treated like second-rate citizens. We are still struggling to acknowledge that discrimination still exists on many levels.
I invite you to read my latest blog post and the discussion that follows it. I know you will find it interesting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ DG .. it's enshrined in common law - so is not so easy to change, but it looks like it'll be changed somehow.

I too hope all will be well and we have a healthy heir ..

Thanks so much re the new pic! It was hot that day too ..

@ Alex - it's embedded within the Peerage system ... something will happen though ..

Thanks too re the icon photo ..

@ Betsy - well long series were difficult to watch .. and I don't do catch up .. so I never got to sit down and watch .. I will sometime I expect! I gather I'd better - especially if that note on Downton got you here to comment - must be serious!!

@ Rosy - it's not obvious because primogeniture applies to inherited titles and offices and estates of such ..

It's been interesting to learn about it .. The Independent article is quite detailed ..

@ Janie - I know .. so many people around the world seem hooked on Downton .. and I do know some of it .. and that's right re Julian Fellowes' wife ... she cannot inherit her family's title ..

It'll be fun watching the little one grow up ... and I wonder what HRH will be ... boy or girl ..

@ Julia - many thanks .. sadly men aren't that charitable to women are they .. thankfully that is changing - but even now it still occurs .. often as repression.

I'll be over - trying to catch my tail after a busy few weeks ..

Cheers to you all - I think those of us in the northern hemisphere are sweltering in the heat .. keep cool .. Hilary

Suzanne Furness said...

I never really got into the Downtown Abbey thing but strangely my husband did! Another interesting post Hilary thank you. Wonder if that royal little one will arrive this weekend?

Chatty Crone said...

I have not gotten into Downtown Abbey - the only person in the world I know. However I am interested in royalty.

Did you see her waist? Gosh I would die if anything was that tight.

Love, sandie

Unknown said...

I noticed that theme in Downton Abbey and for me it is a legit question of equal rights.

Margie said...

First, I love the new profile picture!
I love hats and wear many!

Always so enjoy your posts, so much to ponder.

So many waiting for the royal baby to arrive.
Love the Noel Coward poems.

Take care

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Ah yes, Noel Coward and his lyrical, poetic revisions. His gentle adjustments are certainly not lost on me.

Equality in peerage should not even be subject to debate. It should be that way, anyway.

And thus, dear friend, I tip my hat in acknowledgement of your new icon photo. Tis radiance I thus see.

Be well and try to stay cool during this incredible heatwave.

Gary of the 'Manor of Speaking.'

scarlett clay said...

I had no idea those sorts of laws were still in existence...seems very outdated in our time doesn't it? Well, I can't believe you haven't seen has one of those 'stately homes' I drool over! Would certainly rent it if I could!! :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Sorry -- as of the last season, I am DONE, DONE, DONE with Downtown Abbey. That said, I was not surprised about the inheritance laws that existed at that time, but I am shocked if there are still some in existence today!!!

A Lady's Life said...

I too am waiting for some good news from England.Hope it comes soon and that Kate doesn't have too rough a time with it.

Diana Wilder said...

I suspect the 'male' inheritance mandate is left over from a time when a Lord (regardless of gender) had to be able to fight, personally, for his lands. (And, on a tangent, I seem to recall within the recent past a fellow challenging the Champion of Scotland to trial by battle on some issue or other. Champion - a past-middle-age man who was not a notable warrior - was flabbergasted, to say the least.

I enjoyed learning that there is snobbism amongst the titled, Lord Stanley, whose title predates many by centuries (didn't he help Henry VII win the throne by defecting from Richard III at Bosworth?) is considered as having more prestige than the Dukes of Devonshire, a title created by one of the Georges. (My grandmother was a Stanley - not in the direct line of succession to the title - and I happen to be a Ricardian. Embarrassing!)

Thank you for yet another lovely discussion! Every little soul, expecting riches or not, deserves a happy welcome into this world!

Diana at About Myself By Myself

Denise Covey said...

Hey Hilary, just saw your comment at Madeleine's and LOVE your new profile pic.

'Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun...' Just saw a report on the 24 hour news channel I watch showing the heatwave in Britain. I was quite gobsmacked...until they said the temp. was 28 degrees and would get even hotter. Maybe that's hot for England, but we get that here in winter sometimes and survive an average of 35 degrees daily in summer. Those early British settlers must have fried when they arrived to colonise Australia. And those poor women in British clothing sweltering madly.

Keep cool and survive Hilary!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Suzanne and Sandie - thank you for not getting into Downton - I expect I will one day ..

Suzanne - interesting your husband did .. one of my friend's husband got into "Call the Midwife" .. I didn't ..

Sandie - I presume that's the corsetted waist - yes I don't start with a good waist .. so corsets would finish me off - especially the herringbone!

@ Clarissa - it's not a law per se .. it's under common law - and our English ways of primogeniture .. see The Independent's article and my note to Rosy above ...

@ Margie - thank you so much .. you have lots of wonderful hair - I love hats, but am not that keen on wearing them ... they fly away!

Delighted you enjoyed the post - this does 'brush' quite a few areas .. Diana Wilder in her comment brings up aspects I don't really know about! Early British history is interesting to say the least ..

No news so far re that arrival! Glad the Coward lyrics resonated ..

@ Gary - I can imagine you'd love Coward and appreciate his words ...

I agree re the peerage aspect .. The Independent article clarifies much ... ie the quagmire of it all!

Thanks re the photo .. radiance?! Well the sun is still shining down here! I am grateful I'm by the sea .. with a gentle breeze ..

Appreciate your comments "Gary of the Manor Speaking" - good one!

@ Scarlett - they are convoluted within our common law of the land .. and no I haven't braved myself into Downton .. I suspect tiredness was to blame ...

... I'd come and visit if you rent one of those stately homes!

@ Dianne - well you've put your marker out - I still have to put my toe in the waters of Downton!

As I mention .. the laws are part of our common law - so not quite so straightforward as legislated laws.

@ A Lady's Life .. we still wait and I as many of us do .. hope all will be well.

@ Diana - well this is a great comment for me to ponder and learn from ... I'll do another comment shortly ... your knowledge is way more than mine!

@ Denise - many thanks re the photo .. taken in the summer sunshine!

I know for many it's not hot per se .. but we just aren't used to these sorts of temperatures and wilt -

- just as much as those early explorers did ... I suffered in South Africa sometimes! Way too hot .. but the temperatures rise .. and we and all around us melt - it sounds like next week will be very difficult ..

I'll be fine down here ..just won't go very far - thank goodness for a quiet week ahead!

Cheers to you all .. now I have to ponder Diana's erudite comment about our history!! What do I know - not a lot from reading Diana's notes ... now I need some more coffee and settle into my history lesson!

Happy weekends everyone .. Hilary

Juliet said...

I enjoyed reading Noel Coward's witty verses, and hearing more of English history. Downton Abbey highlights the issues of hereditary titles very well. The royal baby is being awaited with great interest. Thank you Hilary; I always learn something new from your posts.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diana .. well I had difficulty explaining it .. and The Independent's article is 6 pages long! But it is informative ..

You're right re the inheritance aspect .. relating to being able to raise an army and lead it into battle ...

... and primogeniture which applies to inherited titles and offices and estates of such - landed families with knighthoods etc going back centuries ..

The Scottish story I may know about .. but it doesn't resonate ... it might be about caber tossing .. a sporting contest.

In simple terms .. and from what Wiki tells me! .. Lord Stanley's title (Earl Derby) does go back to the creation of his title in 1139 in the Peerage as Earl of Derby ...

The Duke of Devonshire's title was created in the 1500s - he is a Cavendish ..

A third family - the Cecils (Marquess of Salisbury) influenced political life.

So three families - the Devonshires (Cavendish), the Derbys (Stanley) and the Salisburys (Cecils) are three of the riches and most influential aristocratic families in England.

So (another so!) Diana - you are right in your comment .. and there were defections from one King to another ...

There's a series on BBC by the historian Dr Philippa Gregory on the three women who, by birth, were extremely important as spouses and descendants of the gentry (pawns) at the time of Richard III

Here's an informative article on it:

The first episode was this past week .. and I hope to see the next one this week ...

Back to the Cavendishes - Hugh Cavendish is enlightened .. he has handed over Holker Hall in Cumbria to his daughter ..

Hugh Cavendish is 3rd in the line of succession to the 12th Duke ..

in Wiki - it lists their line of Succession .. interesting reading ..

As a final note ... Eastbourne where I live .. many of the places are called after the Cavendishes, Devonshires and Burlingtons ..

I hope this helps clarify things a little .. The Independent article is very clear, while the two links will provide other information ..

It's been fascinating finding all this out .. as each extra dose of history enlightens me more!

Thanks Diana .. a great conversation piece you've set us ..

@ Juliet - I expect most people wouldn't relate to the issues surrounding hereditary titles - but I must now obviously watch Downton .. and see the way the issue is portrayed ..

Ah - the Royal Baby .. I wonder if HRH will generate a conversation such as this in 500 years time!

Cheers to you all .. Hilary

Marja said...

Love your new picture. Cool hat. It is going to be time for equality for woman. Here people waiting for the royal baby as well
like the poem and it's several versions lol

Sue McPeak said...

Great post, Hilary...interesting about the inheriting of titles and the Royal degree...hope that Royal Little One is a 'QueenToBee'. Loved Nowel Coward's re-writes!

Sue CollectInTexasGal~Today's Post~
Hawaii Cardstock Sticker Shocker

Francene Stanley said...

The English aristocracy keep us entertained, and take our minds off our own poverty.

Rosaria Williams said...

In many ways, discrimination is alive and well everywhere. Time to become more public about our discontent!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

If there are no male heirs, then a woman will have to take the title. Won't that rock a few boats!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Noel Coward is always a charming addition, and it's interesting how he kept updating his lyrics. I love Downton Abbey, and you should try to catch up on all of the episodes if you get a chance. Lovely new photo Hilary!


cleemckenzie said...

Loved the Noel Coward bits and, of course, all your wonderful history.

I'm lagging in my Downton Abbey, but will catch up.

Patsy said...

Making changes whilst holding on to tradition is going to be tricky. It should be done though - equality isn't equality if it excludes some women.

Tina said...

Fascinating. With there being a queen of England, I had no idea that other titles couldn't be passed to females...or did I somehow misinterpret what you said? And yeah, I still haven't watched Downtown Abbey...
Tina @ Life is Good

loverofwords said...

I always learn something from your blog, Hilary! Hope you do watch "Downton Abbey" this fall. Julian Fellowes writes the entire script himself, no stable of writers. I think the reason that Americans are so fascinated by British culture is that there are so many layers to British society, not like here in the US.

Karen Lange said...

So interesting! Cheering for the girls! :) Love your new profile picture!

Have a great weekend!

Goku shrestha said...


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Marja - thanks so much .. the peerage will eventually sort their lines of inheritance out ..

@ Sue - it is interesting how our history works - and certainly I knew a lot of this .. but it has put it into contexr ...

@ Francene - that's also probably true - and all while their piles fall around them ..

@ Rosaria - this dates back to the raising of armies etc so over 900 years and doesn't affect many families ..

@ Diane - no .. they search out the first male who is entitled! It's interesting the primogeniture aspect ... and it's only for landed gentry ... who have large estates and land ...

The Independent article makes interesting reading .. Julian Fellowes' wife couldn't inherit and "her family title" went to a distant male relative ..

So it's just an accepted 'fate' for over centuries ... but the times are a-changing ... it only applies to about a 1,000 families .. but affects many women, or the title simply dies out - and history is then lost ..

@ Julie - Noel Coward's lyrics just tied the whole post together .. the change in tone too ..

Downton Abbey - looks like to I need to do something about watching it! Thanks re the photo ..

@ Lee - the history here is quite convoluted .. but I'm glad I managed to overview it ..

Me too and Downton .. perhaps we need a 'gathering of bloggers' to view Downton!

@ Patsy - being English you understand more than most .. and they are chipping away at it ...

@ Tina - you did get it right .. except it's only a few applicable families ... about 1,000 of them with titles and estates to inherit .. another one to join us lagging bloggers to watch Downton!

@ Tasha - yes Julian Fellowes is an amazing man .. and in writing Downton has brought this discrepancy of inheritance for landed peers to the fore.

We certainly have idiosyncratic mores - that have accompanied us through the centuries ..

You've noted a 'good' reason for other countries' interest in our society ..

@ Karen - ok, yes .. cheers for the girls! Thanks re the photo ..

@ Goku - good to see you ..

Cheers to you all - our cloud of yesterday (came from the east) has disappeared and it's a beautiful sunny morning .. Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

I love those parodies of Hemans' verse. I'm afraid I glaze over during tours round large houses. It's very ignorant of me as I do love social history but there's something about the layout of them and the tour guide's patter that makes them start to meld into one.

MorningAJ said...

....and if anyone spots the Queen of Scots in a hand embroidered shroud......

I LOVE that song!

As an ardent anti-Royalist I don't care about the succession, one way or another. But I realise lots of people do care.

TALON said...

Yes, women should be allowed to succeed and to attain titles held by men. We can't come this far and fall down on something that seems so logical. Mind you, there are so many areas in the world where women still have no voice...scary and sad.

Sandy said...

Love some of those changes to the poems...changing just a few words can say alot about the times and people.

Gorgeous picture of the Fall scene around Wrexham.
Oozing Out My Ears

Inger said...

I like your new picture, that hat is great on you. There's discrimination everywhere, still. They change the inheritance rules of the crown in Sweden, so we now have a crown princess. Finally, you have to watch Downton Abbey, it is really fun.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ros .. I didn't know about Hemans' .. so I was glad this came up. I agree with you - but as I write more blog posts I learn more .. and so there's always something that interests me - yet other than Bateman's I don't think I've been around a house recently ...

I went round Kensington Palace and thought their new set out/exhibition was awful, as did Talli and as did the friend I went with ..

@ Anne - it's a wonderful piece of poetry isn't it .. while lyrics are just so much fun ... I really should use more of it .. to describe English life! No worries re the anti-royalist bit ..

@ Talon - it is logical to have change .. but the way we work in Britain .. it's not so easy or straightforward ..

.. but there are so many women who have no voice and are treated so poorly - I do hope we can get control and power to fade somehow: let's have leaders with true compassion and care ...

@ Sandy - the poem is lovely isn't it .. and I just needed to put a few interesting photos up ..

@ Inger - thanks re my hat! As you mention there's discrimination everywhere ...

I did note the change so that the Swedish Crown Princess can inherit ... sounds like Downton Abbley is on my cards!

Cheers to you all and thanks so much for being here .. Hilary

Connie Arnold said...

The Noel Coward changes to the poem are clever. Always discrimination against women, but hopefully slowly changing as in other areas. Always enjoy your posts, Hilary. Have a lovely week!

Chuck said...

HI Hilary! I have been amazingly busy this last month or so. But I cleared my schedule to take in the Open Championship at Muirfield in Gullane, Scotland. I love watching this golf major the most every year because of the visual tours they show of whatever area of your country is hosting. I really would have given anything to have been there this year!

Your post about the Queen having to put off her vacation until the royal child is born was worth a chuckle...some amount of irony there, yes?

I remember in watching the Tudors series on Netflix how interesting it was regarding the fixation on the line of succession. Not the first born that mattered but whether or not it was male or female. Then the king could change it to anything he wanted (which never lasted long after his death). Kind of like switching channels on TV back and forth.

Since I hadn't been by recently I just had to come and say hi!

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

You always have wonderful information. Love your new photo!

Mary Montague Sikes

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

You always have wonderful information. Love your new photo!

Mary Montague Sikes

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Terrific post! I'm sorry you've been sweltering under a hotter midday sun this summer than usual.

I really love your new picture. That's such a loverly hat you're wearing. You look very... British. (Fancy that!)

Trisha said...

I think it's silly that this still hasn't changed - in this day and age it really does seem so archaic!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Connie - Coward's changes to the lyrics are fun aren't they - I expect the peers will (eventually) sort out the inheritance aspects ...

@ Chuck - delighted you enjoyed the golf coverage - it was the one thing the Brits didn't win this weekend! Oh well Mickelson played really well.

I was in that area just under a year ago .. it is beautiful and I really must go back.

She's still waiting! I do hope all is well though.

Interesting that you picked up the bit about the Succession .. there's a series on at the moment on that period .. I haven't been watching, but am watching the documentary by Dr Philippa Gregory.

Well you've said a wonderful 'hi' - thanks so much!

@ Monty - thanks re the hat ..

@ Susan - it's glorious to have the sun and I mustn't complain .. just glad I'm on the coast! You too - re the hat! and being very British .. well that's a good thing!

@ Trisha - it's the way it is .. not for us lesser mortals .. but for families with estates and titles.

Thanks everyone it's always lovely to see you all .. cheers Hilary

Annalisa Crawford said...

I don't think we should even be discussing equality these days, it should be a given that everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.

CMSmith said...

An interesting post Hilary, and a topic dear to my heart. Women have made large strides, but there is more distance to cover.

I watch the royals with interest, like a novelty. I never quite "get it." But I'm sitting in front of the TV with CNN on, awaiting the announcement.

Unknown said...

What a lovely new blog picture Hilary. I enjoyed hearing your thoughts about the royal family.

I have always been fascinated with the history of the royals and can't wait for the new little one to be born.

Anonymous said...

It has never seemed right to me Hilary, that a female heiress should be discounted. Well said. I have just returned from a planned hospital stay for needed surgery and have been ordered to take 6 weeks to rest. This enforced inactivity is irksome but necessary and I am using it to catch up on my reading and my writing. I returned from portugal expecting to find cooler evenings - yet to materialise but isn't this weather amazing? The Royal baby's arrival will be much welcomed as will that of my next grandson, due in 4 weeks. Too hot for pregnancy! Thanks for a thought provoking, topical post. Debbie X

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

H Annalisa .. that way of life is enshrined in common law and is not as simple to change as we may think (or hope) .. it will happen I'm sure.

@ Christine - we sure have made large strides, just wish the same could be said in many other parts of the rest of the world ..

The world seems to be watching now - the announcement will come in due time ..

@ Jen - thanks so much .. good what a hat will do isn't it!

The new little one is about to make history one way or the other ..

Cheers to you and cheers to our new HRH .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Debbie .. good of you to visit and let me know your news ... I'm glad the surgery is over and you have enforced rest - can never do us any harm ...

As you rightly say - there's always things to do .. and I'm glad you'll be writing ... and reading - books and blogs I'm sure...

Portugal - sounds lovely .. but it sounds like it will get cooler shortly and very wet - heavy storms ..

The Royal baby is on its way ... yes I imagine pregnancy is pretty unpleasant in the heat ...

Glad you enjoyed the post - and what a lovely thought a new grandson in a few weeks ... how lovely - new life ..

Cheers and congratulations - Hilary

Gattina said...

It seems to be the event of the year ! and for the first time the crown prince assists to the birth ! I find it wonderful how he protects Kate, when I think of this poor Diana !

Manzanita said...

I love your new picture profile. The hat looks like a breath of summer.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - they seem to have a lovely relationship, which is lovely to see ... better than his mother was accorded.

@ Manzanita - thank you so much .. appreciate your thought

Cheers to you both ..

Sara said...

I like how Coward changed the lyrics of Felicia Hemans' poem. Although I imagine she wouldn't have appreciated it:~( Today you have a hard doing that since there are programs to pick up any plagiarisms. It makes it challenging for students -- they actually have think, rather than just copy or change a few words here and there.

Like others, I am addicted to Downton Abbey, but was disappointed with the loss of certain characters and how it was handled. Fortunately, we had an advance notice of the happenings.

Hilary, you're telling me they JUST passed the Succession to the Crown Act? I didn't know that. OMG

Hope all is well with you:~)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. I'm sure Hemans wouldn't have liked Coward's take .. but as she was a satirist too - she probably would appreciate it.

Good that students are thinking - and I'm sure many of them do ..but have novel ideas is so important ... we all make up limericks to some degree ..

I'll have to watch Downton sometime ..

In fact surprisingly it's passed here in the UK .. but Canada is putting up a notation against it -but I think it's something that will be dropped some time soon .. so it's not actually official as such -but if this little one is a girl - all will be well in due time.

I'm fine - thank you .. just busy with my new projects ..

Lovely to see you .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful post Hilary. I've always been interested in learning about the Peerage; being American and not having that, for lack of a better word, tradition it's sometimes difficult to comprehend all of the rules. Fellowes' statement of the bizarre is absolutely true, it's amazing how far women have come, yet how far we have left to go.

And yes, Downton Abbey is a must watch!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi MYAZ .. thanks - the 'rules' are complicated to understand ... so it's interesting that Downton was made and included that aspect ..

I'm sure I'll watch Downton - and I expect over time they'll sort the Peerage and women aspect out ..

Good to see you and your great comment .. cheers Hilary