It is not often that I feel the need to write about Constitutional Law (I leave that to those who teach or practise in the field) – but a wonderful story in The Guardian today has prompted me. Here is the link to the full story – worth a read.
In 1931, a Shropshire police inspector called King Anthony insisted he had a better claim to the throne than George V. King Anthony, described as tall and impeccably dressed whipped up the crowds at a series of talks/rallies to put his claim. Descended from a bastard son of Henry VIII, King Anthony maintained that James 1 of England was an imposter, James Erskine, whom he dubbed “goggle-eyed Jim”.
Of King George V, King Anthony said: “The King is a German, a pure bred German … I want to become the first policeman to cut off the King’s head.” ranted King Anthony, adding that “he would have no hesitation in shooting the king as he would shoot a dog.” Not surprisingly the Palace was a bit alarmed by this and plans were hatched to have him quietly declared insane. Unfortunately, the doctors would not play ball. The Guardian writer observes wryly “To the disappointment of the police and the Home Office: “His claim that he is entitled to the kingship of this country is not the mere autogenic delusion of the usual man who says ‘I am king’ but is a case of a sort.”
Again.. I quote from the Guardian.. “King George was consulted. He agreed that the full force of the law should be used to “put a stop to the effusions of the impostor”, as long as the monarch’s involvement was kept secret and it did not end in Hall’s imprisonment. ”
Well they finally nailed him. He was arrested for quarrelsome and scandalous language, fined £10 and bound over to keep the peace with a surety of £25 or the alternative of 2 months imprisonment and hard labour. King Anthony died in 1947 with no male heir. The Throne of the United Kingdom was saved.