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Chapter Three The Davidic and Merovingian Bloodlines

AFTER DETAILED AND LENGTHY RESEARCH, THE AUTHORS OF HOLY BLOOD, HOLY GRAIL (MICHAEL BAIGENT, RICHARD LEIGH AND HENRY LINCOLN) REACHED SOME FASCINATING CONCLUSIONS ABOUT THE CHRISTIAN FAITH AND WESTERN HISTORY IN PARTIC­ULAR. THEY DO NOT MAINTAIN THAT THESE CONCLU­SIONS ARE l 00% ACCURATE, BUT THE EVIDENCE THAT THEY MARSHAL IS COMPELLING.

The concept of the Holy Grail being the bloodline of Jesus Christ is one of the basic themes of The Da Vinci Code. Belief in it negates the purpose of the present-day Christian hierarchy and it would be a matter of no surprise that efforts would be made to suppress proof of its existence at any cost. If accepted, it destroys the fabric of the Church itself, challenging not only its doctrines, but its legitimacy as the minister of Christ’s church. Monarchies and governments, past and present, legit­imized throughout history by representatives of the Christian denominations, would be rendered invalid.

Some of the Priory of Sion documents state that the Merovingian pedigree can be traced back to the Old Testament and ancient Troy. They are suspected of being from one Israelite tribe in particular -that which was head­ed by Benjamin. Their territory embraced what is now the area around Jerusalem before the city became the capital of David and Solomon.

However, the Benjamin tribe fell out with the other tribes of Israel who were then forbidden from giving their daughters to a Benjamite man in marriage, because of the Benjamites’ support for the worshippers of the heathen god Belial. This god is often associated with the bull or calf, similar to the Golden Calf that the Benjamites are said in the Bible to have worshipped. The tribe recovered from this problem eventu­ally and went on to supply Israel with its first King, Saul.

Despite their restored position, . by this time it appears that many of the Benjamites had gone into exile, and some evi­dence shows that the place they chose to land was the cen ­tral area of Greece: Arcadia. From there they progressed into present-day Germany and intermarried with the Teuton tribes. Eventually these became the Sicambrian Franks, from whom the Merovingians descended. As discussed in Chapter Two, before Godfroi de Bouillon left on the First Crusade, he was so confident that he would be asked to become King ofJerusalem that he rid himself of all his property. This con­fidence would have arisen through his knowledge that his Merovingian ancestry would place him in a better position than anyone else for the title.

The Benjamites would no doubt have asked their sea-faring allies, the Phoenicians, for help in a~hieving their exile. In The Greek Myths, Robert Graves writes about the myth Belus and the Danaids: “This myth records the early arrival in Greece of the Helladic colonists from Palestine by way of Rhodes, and their introduction of agriculture into the Peloponnese.” The cult of the Mother Goddess Ishtar (known in Phoenicia as Astarte), which originated in Sumeria, became the estab­lished cult of the Arcadian, and thrived for centuries.

Other evidence points to the similarities of the Spartans to the Merovingians. They both believed that their long hair gave them their strength upon reaching manhood, a trait also attributed to the Biblical character Samson. Also, it states in Maccabees 1 that: “It has been found in writing con­cerning the Spartans and the Jews that they are brethren and are of the family ofAbraham.”

Trade routes throughout southern France and up the Rhone had been established by the Phoenicians. Semitic objects found in this area indicate the dynastic alliances that had arisen through the intermarrying of the Phoenician kings and those of Israel and Judah in the ninth century BC.

A Jewish colony was established in Rome between 106 and 48 BC and after the sack of Jerusalem in 70 AD, a large num­ber of Jews escaped to both Italy and France. Additionally, there were many Jewish slaves who had accompanied their masters throughout Europe and who were eventually freed to form their own communities.

The first time that the Magdalene appears in the New Testament with any real significance is when she is described as being the first person to see Christ after the Resurrection -one reason why she is revered as a saint in France and other places where churches are dedicated to her. One of the most persistent stories about the Holy Grail is that it was brought by the Magdalene to France where, according to fourth century legend, she landed at Marseilles. This is the French port city on the Mediterranean where the river Rhone, an established Phoenician trade route, reaches the sea.

The original Grail romance was written by Chretien de Troyes. He was associated with the court of the count of Champagne and his story was called Le Roman de Perceval or Le Conte del Graal. The tale was written in about 1 1 8 8, which was also the year, of course, that the Priory of Sion divided from the Order of the Temple, and the year that Jerusalem fell.

In Le Conte de! Graal, the main character, Perceval, described as the “Son of the Widow Lady,” leaves his mother in search of fame and fortune. He meets a mysterious fisherman, the “Fisher King,” who invites him to stay in his castle for the night. During the course of the evening, the golden Grail appears, studded with gems, carried by a damsel. Perceval does not realize that he is supposed to ask the Grail a ques­tion and the question that he is supposed to ask is “Whom does the Grail serve?” In fairness, he can be excused for there was no way of knowing that this is what was expected of him. However, when he wakes up in the morning, as a result of his omission, which had clearly been taken very seriously, he discovers that the castle is deserted and the sur­rounding land has been destroyed. He also discovers that the “Fisher King” is his own uncle. At this point, it is hard to believe that anyone could blame him for feeling disillu­sioned with just about everything and Perceval says that he can no longer continue loving or believing in God.

Chretien died before the poem was completed. Some say that he died mysteriously in a fire that broke out in Troyes that year, 1188. During the next few years the idea of the Grail spread quickly throughout Europe and became most closely associated with the legend of King Arthur. Until this time, however, it had not been associated with Jesus.

The Merovingians

The Merovingians ruled much of present-day France and Germany between the fifth and seventh centuries. The beginning of this time coincides with not only the Grail sto­ries, but with the era of King Arthur, who was so central to many of these tales. There was never any question that the Merovingians were the rightful rulers of the Franks. They were not “created” as kings. The sons who were entitled became kings automatically on their twelfth birthdays. Their role was not to govern -that was left to the “Mayors of the Palace.” They were simply expected to exist as representa­tives of the role, holding similar power and status to a twen­ty-first century constitutional monarch. They were also allowed the delights of polygamy and sometimes took great advantage of this privilege.

The origin of the Merovingian family name comes from that of their progenitor, Merovee ( also styled “Merovech” or “Meroveus”). The name is reminiscent of both the French word for “mother” and the French and Latin words for “sea.” The legend is that Merovee was born of two fathers ­the story that is told is no doubt allegorical and refers to the alliance of two dynasties through his birth. It was said that his mother was already pregnant by her husband when she went swimming in the sea. She was seduced by a sea crea­ture who impregnated her for a second time. When Merovee was born therefore, the blood of two sources, that of his Frankish father, the ruler, and that of a “sea animal” ran through his veins.

From that time on, the Merovingians had a reputation for the occult and the supernatural. They were looked upon as priest-kings, much as the Egyptian pharaohs were regarded. The healing powers they were said to have possessed extend­ed even to the tassels of their robes, which were believed to be of particular curative powers. As we shall see in Chapter Four, after the death of Berenger Sauniere a procession of people passed by his robed corpse, each removing a tassel from it. The Merovingian kings were said to have had a cer­tain birthmark that took the form ofa Templar type red cross, either over the heart or between the shoulder blades.

King Childeric I was the son of Merovee and the father of Merovingian King Clovis. When his tomb was found in the seventeenth century in the Ardennes region of Belgium, it contained such items of sorcery as a severed horse’s head, a golden bull’s head and a crystal ball.

One of the abiding symbols of the Merovingians was the bee. Hundreds of pure gold bees were found in King Childeric’s tomb. The custom endured through the centuries. When Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804, he made sure that golden bees were attached to his coronation robes. He was fas­cinated by the Merovingians and commissioned their genealo­gies to be compiled in order to find out whether the dynasty had survived after it had been deposed. These formed the basis of the genealogies found in the Priory of Sion documents.

The Merovingians claimed two different origins: from Noah, and from Troy. The latter would explain place names in France such as Troyes and Paris. Also, according to Homer, there were a number of Arcadians at Troy. The bear was considered to be sacred in Arcadia and the forbears of the Merovingians, Sicambrian Franks, also held the bear in great esteem. Another possible connection is that the Welsh word for “bear” is “arth” which may explain the origin of King Arthur’s name.

By the time the Sicambrians had moved into present day France to escape the invasion of the Huns, they had already established themselves as a sophisticated society which had developed along Roman lines. Therefore the Merovingians, who inherited their culture, could be perceived to follow the Roman imperial modal. The culture of the Franks thrived and prospered under the Merovingian dynasty from this point onwards. The Merovingians accumulated enor­mous wealth during this period, and the equal-armed cross that their coins bore was exactly the same as that used dur­ing the Crusades for the Frankish Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Clovis I is perhaps the most famous of the Merovingian monarchs, as it was he who introduced Roman Christianity into France. His Catholic wife had given him more than a little encouragement to go in this direction, but it is likely that there was another reason for his being won over to the idea.

Christianity at this time took many different forms. The Roman Church was in constant conflict with the Celtic Church. In 496 AD, Clovis had a number of secret meetings with Saint Remy. This led to a deal being struck between Clovis and the Roman Church in which Clovis would act as the strong arm of the Church. In return for this, he was to rule over what had been Constantine’s Holy Roman Empire, which the Visigoths and Vandals had destroyed.

It was of enormous importance to the Roman Church that this should work as it would mean a new Roman and Christian Empire, administered by the secular Merovingian dynasty. And so Clovis was baptized by Saint Remy at Rheims in France. In this way, the Roman Church was mak­ing a pact not only with Clovis, but with all ofhis descendants.

Clovis carried out his side of the bargain enthusiastically. He increased the size of his empire to embrace much of what is now France and Germany. He was particularly keen to defeat the Visigoths and eventually did so at the Battle of Vouille. The Visigoths were turned further and further back and they finally established themselves in the Razes area, at Rhedae -the present village of Rennes-le-Chateau.

After Clovis’ death, his realm was divided, according to the tradition at the time, amongst his four sons. This led to a breakdown of the cohesion that had previously existed, and gave the Mayors of the Palace the perfect opportunity to gain more power. However, they had Dagobert II to contend with.

Dagobert was born in 651 and when Clovis, his father, died in 656, all efforts were made to prevent him from inheriting Austrasia, the north-eastern realm of Clovis. The leading Mayor of the Palace of the time, Grimoald, kidnapped Dagobert as soon as his father died and managed to persuade the court first that Dagobert was dead, and second that Clovis had wanted Grimoald’s son to inherit the throne. So convincing was he that even Dagobert’s mother believed him.

However, Grimoald had been unable to bring himself to murder Dagobert and had taken him to the Bishop of Poitiers, who had the child King exiled to Ireland. Here he grew up and was educated at the monastery of Slane near Dublin. He married a Celtic princess, Mathilde, and moved to York in northern England, where he got to know Saint Wilfred, the Bishop of York. At this time, the Merovingian alliance with the Roman Church was not as strong as it had been at the time of Clovis.

Wilfred was very keen to bring the Celtic and Roman churches together, which both sides had agreed upon at the Council of Whitby in 664. However, it seems that Wilfred also recognized the valuable potential of Dagobert -the rightful King ofAustrasia -returning to France and reclaim­ing the land as the militant representative of the Church.

Dagobert’s wife died in 670 and Wilfred was swift to ensure that Dagobert’s next wife was chosen with care. She was Giselle de Razes, the daughter of the Count of Razes-and the niece of the King of the Visigoths. This alliance between the Merovingians and the Visigoths would not only have brought much of France under the same rule, it would have empowered Rome over the Visigoths.

They married at the church of St. Magdeleine in Rennes-le­Chateau. Having had four daughters through his two mar­riages, Dagobert now became the father to a son in 676 -Sigisbert IV.

After living three years at Rennes-le-Chateau, Dagobert was proclaimed the King of Austrasia. He quickly set about re­establishing order throughout his new kingdom and in so doing greatly increased his wealth.
He did not, however, live up to Wilfred’s expectations, angering the Roman Church by attempting to limit its influ­ence in his realm. Through his marriage into the Visigoth dynasty, he also acquired much of what is now the Languedoc region in southern France. The Visigoths had never felt allegiance to Rome. They _preferred the heretical “Arian” form of Christianity which insisted that Christ was an ordinary human being who had been born as all other men and Dagobert seemed to be following their example.

Therefore, inevitably, with his new-found wealth and lands, he developed enemies. He also caused the resentment of the rulers of neighboring Frankish lands, some of whom had connections in Dagobert’s court that could be dangerous to him. One of these was his Mayor to the Palace, the treach­erous Pepin the Fat.

The larger of Dagobert’s two palaces was at Stenay in the Ardennes. Nearby was the Forest ofWoevres, where, as we learned in Chapter Two, Dagobert went hunting on December 23, 679. It was while he was sleeping under a tree that his godson supposedly crept up to him, and under Pepin’s orders, lanced him in the eye, killing him. The mur­dering band then returned to Stenay where, it was believed, they slaughtered the rest of Dagobert’s family. The Roman Church wasted no time in commending the action. However, perhaps through guilt, they canonized Dagobert in 872, when his remains were moved to the graveyard of a church which was renamed “the Church of Saint Dagobert.” They ‘even gave him his own feast day, on December 23rd. This day also happened to be sacred to the Benjamite tribe. The Roman Catholic Church has always been unable or unwilling to explain why he was canonized.

From the day of his burial in the Church of Saint Dagobert, his grave has been a destination of pilgrimage for various significant historical figures including the Duke ofLorraine, the grandfather of Godfroi de Bouillon. The church was destroyed during the French Revolution and most of the relics of Saint Dagobert disappeared. Today only what is believed to be his skull remains, and it is held at a convent at Mons. Curiously some years later, a poem entitled “de Sancta Dagoberto martyre prose” appeared. Its message was that Dagobert had been martyred for some reason and it was found at the Abbey of Orval.

Dagobert’s assassination effectively marked the end of the Merovingian era. After the death of Dagobert, the Merovingian dynasty fell into decline, although they man­aged to hang onto much of their status for nearly a hundred more years. However, many of the monarchs were too young to b·e effective, and were unable to defend themselves against the relentless ambitions of the Mayors of the Palace. Childeric III died childless in 754 and that was the clearest sign that the dynasty’s flame had expired.

Pepin the Fat, who ordered the assassination of Dagobert, had his son Charles Martel placed in a position of leader­ship. Despite his excellent military reputation, and the fact that the opportunity was there for him, he seems to have avoided claiming the throne, perhaps through respect for the rights of the Merovingians. After Charles Martel died in 741 , his son, Pepin III who was Mayor of the Palace to King Childeric III, went to the Pope with a delegation and asked the question, “Who should be King? The man who actually holds the power, or he, though called King, has no power at all.” The Pope agreed that Pepin should be made King and thus broke the agreement that had been established with Clovis. Childeric was sent to a monastery, where he died four years later and Pepin was established firmly on the throne of the Franks.

Pepin Ill’s coronation in 754 was conducted according to new rules which ensured kings would be created instead of simply acknowledged. This was done in accordance with the fraudulent document called the Donation of Constantine, which is discussed fully in Chapter Five on Constantine the Great. The Carolingian dynasty started at this point, named after Charles Martel, although it is more closely associated with his descendant Charlemagne, who in 800 was pro­claimed Holy Roman Emperor -a title that had previously belonged solely to the Merovingian kings.

Just before Pepin III was crowned, he married a Merovingian princess, presumably to legitimize himself in his own eyes, propelling the Merovingian genes once again in their rightful direction. Charlemagne married similarly. In fact his misgivings even seemed to affect his coronation. He seemed determined to give the impression that he was bashful about becoming Holy Roman Emperor. The ceremo­ny had been fixed so that it appeared that the Pope was crowning him without Charlemagne’s prior knowledge. Charlemagne accepted the crown expressing the mock shock that film stars show when being awarded an Oscar. To add credence to the performance he insisted that he would never have entered the Roman cathedral if he had known that was going to happen.

The betrayal of Clovis by the assassination of Dagobert II has been the greatest source of anguish for the Priory of Sion and the Merovingian descendants. However, there seems to have been an attempt to mitigate the insult. Thus the Carolingian royal family (the family of Emperor Charlemagne) married Merovingian princesses in order to legitimize themselves. Dagobert’s son, Sigisbert, was the ancestor of Guillem de Gellone, ruler of the Jewish king­dom of Septimania in southern France and later of Godfroi de Bouillon, who captured Jerusalem during the Crusades. Thereby the bloodline of Jesus Christ, the Davidic line, was restored back to the throne that had been rightfully its own since the time of the Old Testament.

The Conclusion

There ·can be little reasonable doubt that Jesus was actually married. As we see will in Chapter Eight on the marriage of Jesus Christ, the heir to the Davidic line was required by law to marry. Not only that -they were required to sire at least
two sons ( an “heir and a spare,” as they say about the British royal family.) Such present-day lifestyle choices as live-in partners or single-sex relationships simply did not exist in first century Judea. Marriage for those of the Davidic line was ritualized to the extent of making redundant any necessity for romanticism. The necessity of continuing the survival of the line in such a rural and, at the same time, persecuted communi­ty was paramount to all. Jesus and his wife, Mary Magdalene, after fleeing from the Holy Land, had several children who were brought up in a Jewish community in southern France. Jesus had been known as a “fisher” from the time that he was admitted into the priesthood in the Order of Melchizedek, as described in Hebrews 5. In this way the House ofJudah became a dynasty of Priest-Kings who were referred to in the Grail mythology as the “Fisher Kings.” The line of descent from these. Fisher Kings became the French House de! Acqs. The name “Acqs” comes from aquae meaning “waters” and the fam­ily was a major influence in the French area of Aquitaine. The Merovingian dynasty came from this line and were the Counts ofToulouse and Narbonne and the Princes of Septimania Midi in what is now south-west France. In the fifth century, it seems that the descendants of these children married into the royal line of the Franks, bringing about the Merovingian dynasty.

As we have seen before in this chapter, the Roman Catholic Church made a pact with Clovis, one of the Merovingian kings, in 496 AD, in which it pledged itself for all time to the Merovingian bloodline. This was presumably because they recognized the true identity of the Merovingian blood­line. Clovis was offered the title of Holy Roman Emperor (or “New Constantine,” as the title was then phrased), and there­fore did not become King, although of course, by Merovingian succession traditions, he was recognized as such.

It seems conclusive that the Church played a part in the assassination of Dagobert II and was never able to forgive itself for this. This resulted in the betrayal of the Merovingians and it was vital to the Church that this knowl­edge was not widely known, as it would have played straight into the hands of Rome’s enemies. Rome was, how­ever, unable to suppress the truth completely and one of the ways in which the truth of the matter was revealed was alle­gorically, through such literature as the romances of the Holy Grail.

Thus the Holy Grail had two simultaneous identities. The first was that of the “Sang Real”: the “Real” or “Royal” blood of which the Knights Templar were guardians. Second, it would have been the vessel or receptacle of]esus’ blood (or rather semen) -that is, the womb of Mary Magdalene. Thus many of the churches that are supposedly dedicated to the “Virgin” Mary in the form of “Black Virgins” or “Black Madonnas” were in fact been dedicated to the Magdalene.

The Holy Grail may also have been, literally speaking, the treasure that had been taken in 70 AD when the emperor Titus plundered the Temple of Jerusalem. This vast wealth eventual­ly found its way to the Pyrenees mountain range, and is today reputed to be in the hands of the Priory of Sion. As well as this treasure, the Temple of Solomon is likely to have contained birth certificates, marriage certificates and other documents relating to the royal line of Israel. It would no doubt also give evidence of Jesus Christ’s claim to be King of the Jews.

There is no evidence that Titus or his soldiers found such documentation. Logic, however, would lead us to believe that the soldiers would have been happy to carry away the copious amounts of gold and jewels that were available, thus leaving the way clear for the more sensitive documentation to be hidden away.

The descendants of Jesus Christ had reached positions of influence and importance by 1100 in Europe and also, through Godfroi de Bouillon, in Palestine. Even though they may have been well aware of their ancestry, they may not have b~en able to prove it without the documentary or other proof that remained at the Temple of Solomon.5 This would explain the excavations that the Knights Templar made around the area of the Temple at that time. On the basis of the evidence that Leigh, Baigent, and Lincoln found, it appears that not only were the Knights Templar sent to Jerusalem to find something, but that they did, in fact, suc­ceed, and returned with it to England. It is unclear what happened to it then, but it is known that the fourth Grand Master of the Order of the Temple, Bertrand de Blanchefort, concealed something near Rennes-le-Chateau and German miners were brought to construct a hiding place. There is speculation over what this “something” may have been, ranging from Jesus’ marriage certificate and/or birth certifi­cates of his children to his mummified body. Any of these may have been passed to the heretical Cathar sect in the area ofLanguedoc near Rennes-le-Chateau, who were massacred mercilessly by 30,000 of the Pope’s soldiers in 1209. Treasure was hidden at the Cathar stronghold of Montsegur, which was under siege for ten months until March 1244.

5 There was a royal tradition that the bloodline of both Godfroi and Baudouin de Bouillon was “founded upon the Rock of Sion” and equal in status to the foremost of European dynasties. Both the New Testament and later Freemasonry maintain that the “Rock of Sion” was in fact Jesus.

Once the Merovingians re-established themselves in Jerusalem, they could better afford to make the facts known. This explains why the Grail romances, which were associat­ed so closely with the Knights Templar, started appearing at this time. Eventually no doubt the full truth of the Merovingian kings would have come out and they would have ruled extensively over Europe, replacing the Pope and making Jerusalem the capital of the Christian world. If Jesus had been accepted as a mortal prophet, a priest-King and the descendant of the Davidic line by Christians, he may also have been accepted by the Muslims and Jews. That would obviously have changed Middle East history drastically.

However, this was not the course of history and the Frankish kingdom of Jerusalem did not succeed. With the loss of the Holy Land in 1291 to the Muslims, the Merovingians were sidelined and the Knights Templar rendered redundant. Since that time, the Roman Catholic Church has continued to strengthen at the expense of the truth.

The Australian “Royal Family”

On January 3, 2004, Britain’s Channel 4 TV showed a docu­mentary, Britain’s Real Monarch, in which Tony Robinson, per­haps best known for playing “Baldrick” in the BBC TV series Blackadder, presented evidence that had been discovered by the historian Michael K. Jones regarding the ancestors of the pres­ent British royal family.

On the death of Edward IV, his young son, also called Edward, reigned briefly but was never crowned. He and his brother Richard, Duke of York, were taken to the Tower of London, where their uncle Richard, who was to become Richard III, acted as their Lord Protector. It was then pronounced, on dubious grounds, that the young princes were illegitimate. Shortly afterwards, they disap­peared and were never seen again. The accusing finger of history has pointed at Richard III ever since, although there is no conclusive proof of his involvement. However, he is alleged to have had his two young nephews smoth­ered to death and in 1674 two skeletons of boys were found in the Tower and believed to be those of the young princes. The depiction of Richard III as a hunchbacked and evil man is largely the responsibility of Shakespeare and is thought to have originated as Tudor propaganda. For cen­turies the English King Richard III has been the subject of controversy. Some claim that as he was the last Plantagenet King, he was the last “Grail King” of England. This could explain the propaganda in Tudor times, as both Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth I were painfully aware of their comparatively humble ancestry.

The true story, according to Tony Robinson, is quite different. He maintains that Edward IV himself was illegitimate and therefore the crown should have gone to his brother George, Duke of Clarence. The implications for both British and American history are enormous.

The mother of Edward IV was Cecily Neville. She was called “Proud Cis” because of her legendary feisty temper. Dominic Mancici, who was visiting London in 1483, reported that Cecily “fell into a frenzy,” making the incredible, self-depre­cating accusation that Edward IV was illegitimate and that she would be prepared to swear to that effect before a public enquiry. It was an extraordinary thing for a mother to admit to. There had been a rumor that she had had an affair with an English archer named Blaybourne, who may have been the real father. Edward IV was tall and bore no physical resem­blance to either his siblings or his ancestors. He looked, in fact, like a well-built archer. Blaybourne was based in the gar­rison at Rouen in Normandy, France, which is where Cecily and her husband, Richard, the Duke ofYork, lived. According to conclusive evidence in the archbishopric records at the cathedral of Rouen, Cecily’s husband, Richard, was away fighting at Pontoise in another part of France during the five weeks period in which the future Edward IV would have been conceived.

The future Edward IV therefore appears to have been the result of the relationship that Cecily had with Blaybourne. However the matter was never taken very seriously and historians have said that the incident arose because of two reasons. First, Cecily wanted to blacken Edward’s name because she hated his wife, Elizabeth Woodville. Second it is said that she was bullied into the admission by her other son, also called Richard, to enhance his chances of becoming King Richard III.

Edward was born in Rouen on April 28, 1442, and although he was the eldest son, he was not legitimate, and therefore not entitled to inherit the throne. Edward IV had his younger brother George, Duke of Clarence, tried for treason and he is thought to have met his end by drowning in a vat of malmsey wine in order to avoid the shame of execution. This means that Richard was the only true heir and succes­sor to the throne immediately following his brother George’s death and it helped clear the way for Richard to come to the throne. His cause was therefore a source of inspiration to his soldiers on the field of battle.

The descendants of George, Duke of Clarence were treated despicably. His daughter, Margaret Pole, who should have been Margaret I of England, was beheaded at the age of 68 during the reign of Henry VIII in 1541, based on trumped­ up treason charges. Other members of her family were left to waste away in the Tower of London. Her last words were: “Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” At the time, the regu­lar executioner was unavailable. His unskilled deputy was unable to perform the execution properly and cleanly, and so just chopped away at her neck until she was dead.

Despite this unseemly death, her bloodline has continued in a direct line from this point on. Non-regal names such as Edith, Barbara and Ian abound in their family tree and the present “King” of England is, in fact, Michael Hastings, a portly Australian man who voted against the continued British constitutional monarchy in Australia, and for a repub­
lic. He was neither fazed nor excited upon Tony Robinson telling him of his illustrious title. He left England in 1960 for Australia at the age of seventeen and joined a stocking station agency that traded in livestock and property. He has lived in Jerilderie, New South Wales, which has a population of 1100, since 1966. These days he works at the Australian Rice Research Institute. He and his wife Noelene have five children and five grandchildren -all, like their father, staunch repub­licans. Michael’s eldest son, Simon, is his heir.

We have to consider and accept the fact that monarchy can exist only as a bloodline in modern times. Otherwise it has no significance whatsoever and certainly no connection with what we understand to be democracy. As if the damag­ing legacy of the Donation of Constantine were not enough to contemplate, the illegitimacy of Edward IV means that none of the monarchs of Britain have reigned legitimately!
For example, George III, who was the monarch of Britain at the time of the American War of Independence, was in no position to lose the war in his name. However, since previ­ous monarchs had been unable to hold the colony in their name for the same reasons, perhaps the argument is merely academic.

In turn this means that none of the laws that British monarchs have rubber-stamped or endorsed have any legal meaning. The monarchy has a rough ride in the British press at times but nobody has seriously suggested before that their presence is not valid from the point of view of their bloodline! They should perhaps be grateful that the “legal” occupiers of the British throne are, ironically, so anti-monarchist that their position is likely to remain unthreatened.
It would be interesting, perhaps, to see what Dan Brown would make of this story.