Simon Abney-Hastings, son of an Australian farmer, is the only person present at the coronation of Charles III who could claim the British throne. This hypothesis is based on the research of historian Michael Jones, who discovered a document in the French cathedral of Rouen that, in his opinion, proves that the English King Edward IV (1442-1483) was illegitimate. Jones argues that Edward was not the legitimate heir to the throne and that the line of succession should have passed to Edward’s younger brother George, Abney-Hastings’ direct ancestor.
Although the family has no land or houses in the United Kingdom, Abney-Hastings, 48, inherited the ancient Scottish title of Earl of Loudoun. Earls of Loudon have been charged with bearing the golden spurs, a ceremonial part of the act of crowning a new king, since the 13th century. Abney-Hastings would play this role at the coronation of Charles III.
The implications of Jones’ discovery came as a surprise to the Abney-Hastings family nearly 20 years ago. A British documentary crew visited him at his home in Australia in 2004 for the television program “Britain’s Real Monarch.” And, to the surprise of his entire family, they announced to Michael that they believed he should in fact be sitting on the British throne as King Michael I. After his death at age 69 in 2012, the right would pass to his son, Simon.
Despite historians thinking he has a claim to the throne, Abney-Hastings has always been a “loyal and staunch supporter” of Queen Elizabeth II and her son, the current Charles III, according to his lawyer and private secretary, Terence Guthridge.
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