Post by Don Phillipson
The real dispute seems whether succession in 1100 AD was
governed more by law (e.g. primogeniture) or personal rivalry
and resources to fight for it. I doubt this was much settled
before Henry VII, perhaps Elizabeth I.
I would say otherwise.
The strictly legalistic approach to succession
was not entirely supreme, but it was dominant.
The great dispute over John's succession to
Richard I was largely because Arthur was the
son of John's older brother Geoffrey.
But there were no disputes between Edward I and
his younger brother Edmund Crouchback, or between
Edward II and his two younger brothers, or between
Edward III and his younger brother John.
Richard II's succession by primogeniture to his
grandfather Edward III was not disputed. _Eventually_,
Richard was replaced by his cousin Henry IV, an action
which was _extremely_ controversial, leading to four
major rebellions during Henry's reign.
Nonetheless, Henry IV did eventually establish his
reign as legitimate, and the succession of his son
was unchallenged, even by Edmund Mortimer, who had
a superior claim. This was probably the biggest
exception to primogeniture in the period between
the Anarchy and Elizabeth.
Later, however, when Henry VI proved a weak king,
the Mortimer claim was taken up by Richard of York.
York's claim was of course made possible by his
wealth and power, but the primogeniture element was
required - no other claimant appeared. Other great
lords and families, such as the Percys and Nevilles,
never presumed to make any attempt for the crown.
Warwick was a Kingmaker, not a Pretender.
Richard III had the power to seize the crown, but
his blatant violation of primogeniture triggered
rebellions leading to his fall.
Henry VII's claim as Lancastrian heir was based
on primogeniture, The suggestion made by Ricardians
that Henry was the real murderer of the Princes of
the Tower is based on the idea that Henry feared
the Princes' primogeniture claim. OTOH, Henry by
marriage to Elizabeth of York united the York
primogeniture claim with the Lancastrian claim; the
Yorkist rebellions against him were in defiance of
The successions of Henry VIII and Edward VI were
not disputed at all. The succession of Mary I _was_
disputed in defiance of primogeniture, but
Northumberland's plot collapsed almost immediately,
due in large part to the perceived illegitimacy of
his candidate Jane's claim.
The real Velvet Revolution - and the would-be hijacker.