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Author Topic: Women holding titles in their own right.  (Read 9159 times)

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Offline Elkhound

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Women holding titles in their own right.
« on: July 24, 2007, 12:22:51 pm »
In Childe Morgan, we hear that Alyce could not hold her titles in her own right, although they could be passed on through her to her son.  But, in the Kelson books we met some ladies who held titles in their own right.  When was the law changed, or is it something that varies in different parts of the country?

Offline Braniana

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2007, 01:35:42 pm »
Which titles in particular did you notice in the Kelson books that were held directly by women?  I'll admit I can't think of any off-hand, but I might just not have noticed.

In our own world, inheritance does vary by country.  From my own interest in medieval England/Wales, I know that England inherited by primogeniture (the eldest legitimate son got everything), while Wales divided land equally among all acknowledged sons (regardless of legitmacy).  English heiresses (and their husbands) could inherit, but Welshwomen couldn't.  According to Sharon Kay Penman (a writer of this time, who's a good researcher), women and handicapped men couldn't inherit in Wales because of fears they couldn't defend their lands from attack.

This could offer an explanation for Alyce's situation.  Corwyn sat on the border with Torenth, and as the raiders in ITKS proved, it wasn't going to be too difficult for Torenthi raiders, or the Torenthi army, to try to invade there if they really wanted to.  In matters where physical strength, or military action were involved, men were going to be viewed as superior and preferable.  Perhaps this requirement was set up when Corwyn became part of Gwynedd, to keep the title in the original bloodline, rather than a man marrying the heiress for the title, she dies childless, he remarries and passes the title on to the son of his 2nd marriage (meaning no blood connection to the previous ruling line).  Also might be connected to the de Corwyn line being Deryni, something often useful to the Haldane kings.

And in the Deryni world, there was a mixture of inheritance styles: the Lowlands used primogeniture, and the border regions appear to have used a mixture of primogeniture and tanistry (where the most qualified candidate inherits).  Like how Dhugal automatically got the Earldom of Transha because he was thought to be Earl Cauley's son, but it wasn't as certain that he would get the chieftanship.  As Ciard said, Dhugal could have been chosen as the next chief even if he hadn't been a blood relative of Cauley.

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2007, 04:02:42 pm »
I'll have to check, but the two that come to mind were Charissa and Catriona.  Catriona claimed to be Princess of Meara in her own right, and Charissa thought that her Furstan heritage made her lawful Ruling Queen of Gwynned. 

It also said that if anything happend to Morgan, Bryony would become dutchess in her own right. (This was before her brother was born, of course.)

There are a few others, but as I don't have my books here I can't be more specific.

Offline john

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2007, 07:14:19 pm »
In the UK, inheritance of titles depends on how the title was given.  Most titles are given under the inheritance by heirs male.  I believe there are a few English or UK titles thaat can pass through the female line. 

Charissa and Caitrin inherit titles (or claims to titles) that are royal.  Many royal lines (in our world) have allowed female succession (when the male line dies out) even if noble titles in the same land do not.

pax,
john

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2007, 11:17:39 am »
But what about Briony?  The text does say that before Kelric was born, if anything had happened to Alric she would have become Dutchess of Corwin in her own right.  But this contradicts what we see in Childe Morgan of how Corwin's succession laws worked. 

Offline BishopCullen

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2007, 04:44:39 pm »
Actually, there were quite a few.  Just off the top of my head, first up are the MacLain twins.  After the "accidental" death of their father, they were declared co-heiresses, so the titles of Kierney was theirs.  Only after one was murdered by the regents, did Iver McInnes marry the survivor and become Earl of Kierney.  Morag is another.  She was known as the Dowager Duchess of Arjenol, gaining her title after the death of her husband, Lionel.  She was also Duchess of Tolan.
Alister Cullen
Bishop of Grecotha

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2007, 01:01:55 am »
Well, Morag was Torenthi;  Torenthi succession laws may have been different from Gwynnedd's.  (That may explain Charissa, as well; she may have just assumed that Gwynnedd was the same as Torenth.  She was arrogant enough consider a little basic legal research beneith her.) 

Wasn't Sofiana Sovereign Princess of one of the Forcinn States?  (Again, not in Gwynnedd.)

That might explain Catriona, too.  Mearan law might have been different.

Offline Braniana

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2007, 10:57:11 pm »
Several Festillic pretenders were women, though they didn't actively lead attempts to gain their 'rightful' title (Ariella and Charissa were exceptions).
Other of the Eleven Kingdoms do appear to have allowed female succession.  Sofiana probably inherited Andelon because she didn't have a brother and was the elder of two daughters.
With Morag being Dowager Duchess of Arjenol, that just means she was the wife of the dead duke, not that she became Duchess herself (her husband's brother, Mahael, got that title).  And she wasn't Wencit's heir, even though she was his sister; it was her sons who were next in line.  So Torenth appears to permit female succession to noble titles, just not to the throne.
With the MacLean sisters, Richeldis and Giesele.    I know they were co-heiresses to the lands, but wasn't the title going to go into abeyance after their uncle's death, until one of them died too, and then the other would actually inherit the title?  Wasn't that why Giesele was murdered, so that her sister would be the only heir, and married off to a son of a great lord?
The Briony point was one that had struck me too.  Maybe it's something that will be addressed in the last book.  I could see it being proposed given how long Corwyn was without a Duke.

Offline Gyrfalcon64207

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2008, 01:21:44 am »
How hard was it to change the succession laws?  Couldn't Morgan have designated that the title would pass to her in a will or something, just in case?  And wouldn't that mean that he could also designate Richenda regent for Briony the same way?  Would he have been able to choose succession like that any other way without a male heir?

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2008, 12:34:23 pm »
How hard was it to change the succession laws?  Couldn't Morgan have designated that the title would pass to her in a will or something, just in case?  And wouldn't that mean that he could also designate Richenda regent for Briony the same way?  Would he have been able to choose succession like that any other way without a male heir?

In the case of a noble title, the rules of succession would be spelled out in the original patent conferring the title.  For royal or sovereign princely/ducal titles, it would depend on the constitutional processes of the particular country.  In the case of Corwyn, the treaty by which Corwyn was united to Gwynned might have some such provision. 

Offline BalanceTheEnergies

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2009, 08:10:22 pm »
I seem to recall that Corwyn had a degree of autonomy, since it came from the old kingdom of Mooryn (along with Carthmoor and some other areas). There may be some clause in the original treaty that incorporated Corwyn into Gwynedd which applies, or allows the patent to be amended.

There were also civil strictures on Deryni inheriting property. Even as things were eased, Ahern (brother to Alyce, Marie and Vera) had to wait until he was 25 to govern Corwyn in his own right, though the age of majority is 14 and the accolade of knighthood is generally bestowed at 18. I'm sure that when Kelson isn't fighting rebels and Torenthi rivals, he'll have his lawyers remove any of the civil disabilities that remain for Deryni, so something might be done then.
Dubito ergo sum

Offline drakensis

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2014, 03:37:45 pm »
Morag is another.  She was known as the Dowager Duchess of Arjenol, gaining her title after the death of her husband, Lionel.  She was also Duchess of Tolan.
Dowager Duchess more or less means widow of the last Duke and usually mother of the current Duke, Morag never had any direct authority over Arjenol except through her husband.

Very few kingdoms seem to have accepted female succession to royal or even major noble titles. Roisian inheriting Meara was considered unprecedented (and not necessarily superior to the claim of her sisters, despite her father's preference for that). That's not too unusual considering our own world - look at the historical example of Mathilda of England. The French monarchy in fact didn't even recognise succession through a female intermediary.

Llannedd is noted as unusual in allowing Ruling Queens - Gwynedd and Torenth very specifically do not permit it - otherwise Morag could have inherited Torenth from Wencit (or at least taken the lead in regency) and Malcolm inherited Gwynedd from his brother Cinhil although Cinhil had a surviving daughter (Rhetice who disappeared mysteriously years later).

In the case of Cassan we have two cases where succession skipped daughters - from Ambert Quinnell to his grandson Tambert I and from Tambert II to his grandson Andrew. On the other hand, we know that when Hrorik of Eastmarch died the rule of Eastmarch was deemed to be jointly that of his daughter Stacia and her husband Corban. Possibly the Kheldour lords operate on their own customs.

Ultimately the Eleven Kingdoms are ruled by a warrior nobility however, which is going to skew towards male heirs who are trained to arms. There would be grave scepticism at the notion of a woman wielding that power.

Charissa does seem to have been an exception. She inherited the Duchy of Tolan from her father and the Duchy of Marluk from her mother (Marluk appears to have had no less than three ruling Duchesses) as well as the County of Gwernach. She did lose the Duchy of Truvorsk to a male cousin though, suggesting differing laws of succession. Truvork is a fairly central region of Torenth, probably more 'traditional' whereas the other territories are more peripheral and likely had divergent cultural expectations. It's also possible that a deal was cut - after all, she no sooner inherited the lands than she was semi-adopted by King Nimur and before her 13th birthday she was married to Nimur's grandson, the second-in-line to the throne, so to all practical purposes this was supposed to unite these wealthy lands with the Crown. It's entirely possible there was another 'corrupt bargain' when she was widowed - the next king, Wencit, did offer to marry her and when she turned it down she did make it clear she wasn't expecting any further children (at the age of sixteen!) and Wencit was her heir.

Offline Elkhound

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #12 on: November 25, 2014, 07:08:05 pm »
Llannedd is noted as unusual in allowing Ruling Queens - Gwynedd and Torenth very specifically do not permit it - otherwise Morag could have inherited Torenth from Wencit (or at least taken the lead in regency) and Malcolm inherited Gwynedd from his brother Cinhil although Cinhil had a surviving daughter (Rhetice who disappeared mysteriously years later).

I knew about Torenth, but I'm not sure about Gwynedd.  I don't have my copy of KKB here, but I remember that there was a discussion about the Haldane potential in the female line, and someone said that Gwynedd has never had a Ruling Queen---which indicates that it is theoretically possible, it just hasn't come up.

Also, some at least of the Forcinn States allow a woman to inherit in her own right. 

Offline Laurna

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #13 on: November 26, 2014, 10:04:24 pm »
Both Meara and Cassan were not to have any female inheritance do to the treaty that was signed when the two parts of the country split in 770.

Summery from the Codex, Page 60-Cassan- In 762, Prince Janus died with a young son Prince Alphonse. Janus's brother, Prince Armon, however, assumed the throne. For eight years Alphonse's mother held a revolt in the name of her son. In 770 a treaty was signed making Meara and Cassan independent of each other, "but including a provision that, should either branch of the family become extinct in the male line, the other would have succession rights."  Cassan became extinct in the male line in 921 when Ambert died. But due to political support from Gwynedd Ambert's grandson Tambert I was able to retain the title. Which was completely against the treaty. This also happened a second time after Tambert II died in 1025 and the title went to his grandson, Andrew, who was born in 1034.

Now Meara was even worse about upholding the treaty. In 877, Alban dies and his daughter Jorianna takes the title. She marries her cousin and gives the title to her son. In 877 was when the treaty was first broken; right then Cassan should have had rightful inheritance of Meara, but for political alliances, Meara was able to refused the recognition of Cassan's rights.  In 1025, Jolyon II dies and his daughter Roisian was proclaimed his successor. But when she married Malcolm King of Gwynedd, the family declared Roisian abdicated and placed her sister, Annalind, on the throne of Meara. Caitrin assumes the title two generations later in 1109.

From this, I gather that the laws of the north were supposed to be inheritance by male only, but political ties (Cassan to Gwynedd and Meara to Torenth) allowed those laws to be displaced and/or ignored. This is why Caitrin claims to be Queen of Meara, but she truthfully is nothing more than a Pretender. I suspect that Charissa gained her title much the same way, however, I will defer to Drakensis's knowledge, for he has studied that line in some depth.  Territorial greed is a driving factor for most of the wars in the Eleven Kingdoms

At least Corwyn legally allowed daughters to hold the titles in abeyance for their eldest son so that the blood line retained the titles.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2014, 10:28:22 pm by Laurna »

Offline drakensis

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Re: Women holding titles in their own right.
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2014, 03:05:45 am »
We know from the codex that Torenth doesn't allow women to be "girded as Kings" i.e. undergo the killijalay - it's mentioned as a distinction in Charissa and Morag's entries. We don't know that the inheritance rules being applied for King of Torenth and Festillic Pretender are the same and there are some hints they're not.

In the first case there's no example of a male inheriting through a female relative (semi-salic) until Liam and there seems to have been some uncertainty as how succession would work in this eventuality with Wencit being the last male-line descendant of his father Nimur II and grandfather Arkady II. The next most senior Furstan lines were through Arkady's brothers, Nikola had died without issue; Zimri whose last male-line descendant had been Hogun Gwernach, Kirill had a male line grandson Vidar (Duke of Arkadia) and Andruin who entered the church and died without issue. Lionel was of an even more junior branch of the Furstans.

Wencit made a special edict declaring the succession would pass through his sister to her sons which may have upset Vidar a little but he hasn't appeared in any of the books so presumably not to the point of doing anything. (Notably, now that Morag is dead and can't have more sons, Vidar's claim is better than that of anyone bar Ronal-Rurik or children of Stanisha. Teymuraz closest claim is through one of Arkady's sisters and sons pretty clearly take precedence).

In the latter case (the Festillic claim), since the Festil's claim that Ariella's son Marek I wasn't fathered by Imre they clearly accept succession through the female line as valid. If they didn't then their claim would have been inferior to that of a direct male line descendant like Count Festil of Fathane (although it's not clear if Festil's nephew and heir was via a sister or brother). Ariella's ambitious nature may have led to her setting some substantial precedents for her descendants.

In addition Ariella declared herself Queen of Gwynedd in her own right and by accepting that precedent the Festils evidently would be willing to see a woman on the Lion Throne of Gwynedd. Not all of the female pretenders were formally installed as Queens of Gwynedd - Imre III's sister Imriella did but this may have been calculated to establish her precedence over her great-niece Salentina who married a Haldane prince but otherwise had a potentially stronger claim. Otherwise Charissa was the next Festil woman declared Queen of Gwynedd (three of the six female pretenders of House Festil).

After Charissa's death the Festillic claim went to the next most senior descendant of her great-grandmother Chriselle, which was indeed Wencit (although she also specified him as her heir) which is another case of female succession - Wencit's mother Charchelle was Chriselle's daughter - and Morag is the next in line after Wencit in her own right by the logic of House Festil. Ironically the next after Morag, via Chriselle's sister Markella, would have been Markella's grandson Lionel: Morag's husband. Morag and Lionel's children were next of course (although presumably Liam at least has formally renounced Festillic succession), followed by Mahael and Teymuraz.

 

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