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Windemere

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Reply with quote  #1 
Here's a little trivia quiz. Who was the first monarch, and head of state, to fly in an airplane, and on what date ?
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AugieDoggie

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Reply with quote  #2 
Hmmm...Edward VIII on 20 or 21 January 1936?
Windemere

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for your reply. Edward VIII, in 1936, might well have been the first British monarch to fly in a plane. Jan.20 was the date of his father's death, and his own accession. But I believe that the very first monarch to fly in a plane was earlier than that.
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Windemere

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Reply with quote  #4 
Here's another little piece of trivia. What two members of the British Peerage (father and son) sat simultaneously in the House of Lords, with the son having a higher rank than the father ?  
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Peter

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Reply with quote  #5 
Field Marshal George Townshend, 4th Viscount Townshend (who had succeeded to that title in 1764) was in 1787 created Marquess Townshend, a title which is still extant. His son, another George Townshend, had in 1774 succeeded to his mother's title of Baron Ferrers of Chartley, and sat in the Lords accordingly along with his father. However, in 1784 Lord Ferrers was created Earl of Leicester in his own right, and therefore was for three years in the Lords as an earl while his father remained a viscount. I don't know whether this is the example you had in mind, or indeed whether there are other examples, but it seems to fulfill the conditions. The 1st Earl of Leicester succeeded his father as 2nd Marquess Townshend in 1807 and was followed by his own son in both marquessate and earldom. What happened next was interesting if unedifying, but the upshot was that the earldom became extinct and the marquessate passed to a cousin.
Windemere

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for your reply, Peter. I was previously unaware of the Townsend titles, and their history with its accompanying complications is actually considerably more interesting than the case I'd had in mind.

I'd been thinking of the Runciman family. Walter Runciman was created 1st Baron Runciman in 1933, and sat with that title in the House of Lords. He passed away in August, 1937. Three months before his passing, his son was created 1st Viscount Runciman of Doxford, and entered the House of Lords in June. And so the father and son overlapped by about 3 months or so.

In the Townsend case, the title ended up with the original biological family for whom the title had been initially created. There's at least one title in the Peerage where the title may have been diverted away from the original family due to a possible non-paternity event.

The Barons of Ampthill are a subsidiary line of the Duke of Bedford Russells. In 1918 John Russell, the Ampthill heir, married Christabel Hart. In 1921, soon after Christabel became pregnant, John filed for divorce, on the grounds that he and Christabel had never consummated their marriage, and he wasn't the father of her child.  He named several possible individuals with whom he believed she'd been intimate . Christabel acknowledged that their marriage had never been consummated (she said that previous to the marriage, due to her aversion to physical intercourse, they'd made a verbal agreement that their marriage would remain platonic) but denied any affairs, and stated that she was a virgin.  She claimed that about 5 or so months before she discovered her pregnancy, she'd shared a  bed overnight with John, and that he'd engaged in "Hunnish practices" (evidently a euphemism for masturbation). The following morning, he took a bath, and used a sponge to cleanse himself. Christabel followed him into the bathtub, and cleansed herself with the same sponge. She felt that her pregnancy was the unforeseen result of utilizing the same sponge.

The courts ruled in favor of John. However, Christabel appealled to the House of Lords, which overturned the court result, and ruled the baby (Geoffrey), born in 1921, to be legitimate, apparently setting a precedent that a child born of a valid marriage couldn't be considered illegitimate, regardless of the circumstances.

In due time, John inherited the title of 3rd Baron Ampthill. He married twice more, and fathered a son (John) in 1950 with his 3rd wife. He passed away in the 1970s. Both Geoffrey and the younger John claimed the title of 4th Baron Ampthill. I imagine despite the earlier case being decided in favor of Christabel, thus ensuring  Geoffrey's legitimacy, the laws governing titular succession may have been different than those which dealt with legitimacy. However, the 1970s legal case over the title was also decided in Geoffrey's favor, and he duly inherited the title. The present holder of the Baron Ampthill title is his son David. David's brother Anthony is the heir. I don't know if their possible half-uncle John  has any heirs or not. If so, John and any possible sons at least must be in the remainder for the Ampthill title. The whole family is likely in the remainder for the Duke of Bedford title, albeit quite distantly.

David's younger brother Anthony recently published a book, Outrageous Fortune, which deals with his and his three sibling's childhood growing up in Leeds Castle, in which he briefly alludes to his paternal family's complicated paternity issues early in the 1900s.



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Peter

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Reply with quote  #7 
When I saw your question I remembered having come across such a case and that it was from a new creation rather than the more obvious route of a peer's son inheriting a higher peerage through his mother, but that was all. Poking around the peerage the Townshend name seemed to ring a bell in that connection, and I found on investigation that the 2nd Marquess fit the bill. So that must have been it, I thought, but it wasn't. It was actually the Runciman case I had half remembered, and the Townshend one was as new to me as to you. It would be interesting to know how many more times this happened, but the peerages of these islands are so vast, even excluding the Irish and at one time Scottish titles ineligible for the Lords, that I can't see any way of finding out for sure.

The Townshend scandal I had known about previously, mainly because the Dukes of Wellington descend from one of the children declared illegitimate, but not the Ampthill story which was if anything even more sordid. I suppose that while the Townshend case is entirely clear-cut and inarguable, there is no way these children could have been Lord Townshend's, there is some sort of possibility that the 4th Baron Ampthill was indeed the biological as well as legal son of the 3rd. These days a DNA test would settle the question one way or the other with a fair degree of confidence, but this happened in those days. Hon John Russell had two sons, though I don't know whether either of them has sons in turn.

The Ampthill line is indeed in distant remainder to the Bedford dukedom, springing as it does from the 6th Duke. On a personal note, you would think that, having grown up in a village near Ampthill and gone to school in the town, I would know all about the Barons Ampthill. But in fact I have never taken any particular interest in them before now. There are and have been so many peers, as I already said above, that it would be a lifetime's work and more to gain familiarity with every family and title, and I would think there's hardly anyone who could claim such knowledge. I sure can't.
Windemere

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks for your reply. According to Anthony Russell's 2013 memoir Outrageous Fortune (Chapter 3), John Russell, 3rd Baron Ampthill  evidently foresaw and supported his acknowledged son's (Hon. John Russell's) upcoming legal case concerning the Ampthill title's succession in the 1970s. Prior to his death, he left behind a blood-sample for Hon. John Russell to use for paternity-testing, with the evidence to be used in court. However, lawyers for Geoffrey Russell argued for the blood sample's testing to be suppressed, on the grounds that, due to passage of time, it could have become tainted or contaminated in the laboratory. The court upheld suppression of the blood-sample, and it apparently was never tested. As Peter stated above, nowadays DNA testing would produce a conclusive result, but back in the 1970s that wasn't available.

It seems that Geoffrey never made any kind of claim on the family resources or finances, and all of that, for whatever it may have been worth, remained with the 3rd Baron's family. His case was limited to the title itself. It seems that he had a long and honorable career in the House of Lords, respected by his peers (though he seems to have kept a French maitresse, whom he married after his divorce from his 4 children's mother). His wealth came from his marriage to his first wife, the mother of his children, and it was from her mother that they inherited Leeds Castle in Kent. The mother also remarried after the divorce. The castle was later turned over to the National Trust, and is publicly owned.

The family had its own measure of tragedy when the middle son, a promising young man who'd just recently graduated from a prestigious English preparatory-school, died in an auto accident. The older son, David, who has 2 daughters, is now the 5th Baron. The youngest son, Anthony, evidently has 1 son, Odo, who is the next heir after himself.

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Dis Aliter Visum "Beware of martyrs and those who would die for their beliefs; for they frequently make many others die with them, often before them, sometimes instead of them."
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