German duke who some believe has right to be real king of England

Charles III was proclaimed king due to his position as head of the House of Windsor following the Queen's death.

But what if the claim to be king of the UK could lie with someone else entirely?

What if there was a duke in Germany who some believe have just as much claim to the crown as its new incumbent?

The Jacobite movement has passed its heyday but there remains a small but dedicated following who continue to keep a record of an alternative line of succession dating back more than 300 years.

The TV series Outlander brought the Jacobite row back into popular discussion and some still commemorate the 17th century battles that took place in the row over who was the rightful heir to the throne.

So who were the so-called “pretenders” to the throne — and why is the current would-be heir a German duke?

What is the Jacobite succession?

The Jacobite succession comes from a belief that the descendants of the House of Stuart still have a claim to rule over the UK.

It dates back to trouble for the monarchy in the 17th century.

James II (James VII in Scotland) was a monarch from the House of Stuart who succeeded his brother, Charles II, in 1685.

However, his Catholic religion proved a stumbling block for protestant England and in some parts of Scotland.

James was deposed during the Glorious Revolution in 1688 by his protestant daughter Mary and her husband, William III of Orange, a Dutch ruler.

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Mary took the crown despite James II having a son with his Catholic second wife. The rules at the time said the first male child should be the monarch's heir, even if they are not the eldest.

James II fled the country which was taken as an abdication of the throne. But his supporters argue it was no such thing and that instead, the Stuarts were illegally replaced.

In the years after James was deposed, the Act of Settlement 1701 was brought in banning Catholics from the throne.

Who do Jacobites think should have succession?

Jacobites have kept a record of James Stuart’s line right up to the modern day to determine which living descendent would have the right to claim the throne.

James’ son and grandson kept up their ancestor’s claim, being known as the Old Pretender and Young Pretender respectively.

The royal Stuart line died out in the early 19th century and the succession line has since travelled through royal European families.

It currently sits with Francis II, Duke of Bavaria.

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Known as Franz, he inherited the title when his father Albrecht died in 1996. He is known as the pretender to the Bavarian throne.

Franz Herzog von Bayern does not have children, so his heir presumptive is his younger brother Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria.

The 89-year-old has a longtime partner, Dr Thomas Greinwald, although they have never married.

The duke’s family were anti-Nazi during the Second World War, with Franz spending time in a concentration camp during the 1940s.

Neither Franz nor his ancestors have made a claim to the UK throne

After the war, the German duke went on to become an art collector and remains a devoted Catholic.

Do Jacobites still exist?

Yes, there are still commemorative groups who mark Jacobite history and those who keep track of the Stuart line.

The TV series Outlander (2014 – current) is set during the Jacobite rising in Scotland during the 18th century, helping to renew modern day interest.

There are also groups that re-enact and commemorate battles from the Jacobite rising.

The Royal Stuart Society, which details the line of succession on its website, holds regular talks and gatherings to discuss Stuart and subsequent history.

For an article in 2019 for The Scotsman newspaper, author Stephen Millar said: “It is true that some Jacobites can obsess about whether various obscure European aristocrats with distant links to the Stuart dynasty have a stronger claim to the British throne than Elizabeth II.

“However, the Jacobites I meet are much more concerned about finding out more about the history of the Jacobite era, and educating others about this period of Scottish history.”

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