Kate Middleton is having a second baby, and sometimes second royal babies can be the most successful. There have been a number of second royal babies, or spare heirs as some were referred to, that have gone onto be much more successful than their older brothers or sisters. Here are XX many may or may not know.
The first on the list is the most infamous “spare heir,” Henry VIII. While he was the third child, he was the second son. Until the age of 12, he was preparing for a career in the clergy. However, disaster struck on April 2, 1502 when his older brother, Arthur, died from illness. Henry VIII went onto marry his brother’s widow, Catherine of Aragon, and is most well-known for his six wives (executing two of them) and forcing in the protestant religion.
Henry VIII leads onto the next second royal baby; Elizabeth I. She was a disappointment for Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. While technically not a second child for either, she was the second child to survive infancy, and arguably the greatest monarch the country has seen. Known as Good Queen Bess or The Virgin Queen, she refused to marry to prove that women could rule. It was because of her that female monarchs were respected and were trusted to rule in their own right.
James II of England (VII of Scotland) was a relatively successful second royal baby worth mentioning after the announcement of Middleton having a second baby. He was actually the third child, but second son like Henry VIII; making him second in line to the throne at the time. He infamously became a catholic at the time England and Scotland wanted protestant monarchs. Despite having a son of his own, his son never became king.
His daughter and son-in-law deposed James II with support of the English people. It led to the only successful joint ruling monarchs, William & Mary, and also caused the Jacobite rebellion.
George V, the grandfather of the current monarch Elizabeth II, was the “spare heir.” He became king under very similar circumstances as Henry VIII, after the death of his brother. Prince Albert was betrothed to George V’s eventual wife, Mary of Teck, and died of influenza. This successful second royal baby helped to save the royal family during the First World War. Despite Tsar Nicholas II being his cousin, he refused help when it came to the Russian Revolution and changed his House’s name to Windsor to make it sound less German.
The most likely way that Middleton’s second child is likely to take the throne is under similar circumstances to Elizabeth II’s father. George VI is well-known as the stuttering Duke of York. He was likely relieved that he would not become king, until his brother Edward VIII chose love over the crown. Edward VIII wanted to marry American-born Wallace Simpson, but as a divorcee that was not allowed at the time. George VI was left in the position as King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and his daughter became the heir apparent.
Considering the medical capabilities of today, it is unlikely that Prince George will die of a disease. It is more likely that his sibling will only become king or queen should he choose to abdicate. There will also be other ways for Middleton to encourage her second royal baby to become successful.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham