My Claim to Royalty

Last week I learned something interesting about myself. It turns out that my whanau on my mum’s side, is descended from royalty. And some serious royalty. I have a royal whakapapa (genealogy).

It all goes back forty generations to a certain Rollo (Hrólfr, Rou(f)). While his origins are fiercely disputed between Norwegian and Danish historians, he was clearly a Norse Viking, and the first duke of Normandy (c. 846–932).

In the family line he is followed by five dukes of Normandy, William I (Longsword), Richard I, II, III, and Robert I. These reigned Normandy in what is now Northern France from 911 to 1066 when the Duke of Normandy, William, conquered England—the Battle of Hastings. I am thus a descendant of William the Conqueror, otherwise known as “William the Bastard”—not because he was a nasty piece of work, although I am sure he was, but because he was illegitimate. He reigned until 100.

After him in my family line comes Henry I also known as Henry Beaulerc (reigned 1100–1135), Empress Matilda (also Maude) (1102–1167), King Henry II (1154–1189), King John (1166–1216), King Henry III (1216–1272), King Edward I (Edward Longshanks, the Hammer of the Scots) (1272–1307), and King Edward II (1307–1327). He was forced by his son Edward III to relinquish the throne and he reigned (1327–1377) who declared himself king of France and started the One Hundred Years’ War—which of course did not last hundred years, but went from 1337–1453.

After this my family tree moves away from direct line to the English throne but includes princes, earls, countesses, lady’s, sirs, and a few revs.[1] So 24 generations ago, my direct ancestors were kings and queens of England, and 19 to royal blood. Mind you when I put it that way, the royal blood is pretty diluted! Likely half of England can claim the same in one way or another.

Anywhen, I was somewhat shocked when I heard this, having no idea that my forebears were English kings. I have to admit I have mixed feelings. After all, rulers like this were marked by all the usual things that go with ancient royalty—military might, abuse of power, political intrigue, oppression, and so on.

I shared my whakapapa with a Maori friend at Laidlaw. He was taken aback too, and then wondered if it gave license to give me a hiding—colonialism and all that. He told me his whakapapa was full of murderers and worse. I said, “Well we have that in common then.”

I also pondered returning to England to take back what is arguably (very arguably) rightfully mine—England. Or at least, lay claim to some land. Just as William conquered England, it could happen again.

But then I also thought of Jesus’ whakapapa in Matt 1:1–18. His whakapapa is full of kings from David to Jechoniah, and followed by legitimate heirs like Zerubbabel. In fact, he can lay claim to royal blood only 14 generations before he turned up. I then remembered that his whakapapa also has a few interesting characters like the fake prostitute Tamar and the prostitute Rahab. Goodness knows who else is in mine!

Then I thought about how Jesus related to the throne that was (arguably) deservedly his. He didn’t claim it by military power, as indeed everyone expected a Messiah would someday do. Rather, he did so by relentless love, compassion, mercy, non-violence, healing, feeding, and more. Now that is what a king should do.

So, I suppose I won’t gather an army to take England. I am now a bit past it. That would require a good deal of money and forces. No. There’s enough of that sort of thing going on in the Middle East and Africa at present.

Anyway, I am royalty anyway. Having yielded my allegiance to Jesus, Son of David, Son of God, Son of Man, Messiah of Israel, and Lord of the Cosmos, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Firstborn over all creation, Head of the Church, Emperor of the Universe and all Universes, I am by adoption a son of the king of the universe. I am thus a prince. This is achieved not by physical descent (John 1:13), but by God inviting me to be his heir (along with all humanity), my bending the knee in allegiance, and then he fusing me into his being through his Spirit downloaded into my being. So, I am royalty and I don’t need all that worldly kingship stuff. After all, it is mostly associated with the most despicable of injustice and oppression. Indeed, my whakapapa would give a lot of people good reason to come hunt me out and sort me out! 

So, I will content myself with being a son of God with a glorious inheritance in store. Now, back to the work of the kingdom . . .

[1] To be specific: After Edward III—Prince Lionel of Antwerp (1388–1368) (he tried to take over Ireland, woops!), Philippa Plantaganet 5th Countess of Ulster (1355–1382) (should have been Queen, usurped by Henry precipitated by the War of the Roses), Elizabeth Mortimer (1371-1417), Henry Percy 1st Earl of Northumberland (also Henry Hotspur) (1364–1403)—a very famous knight, Henry Percy 2nd Earl of Northumberland (1393–1455), Lady Margaret Percy (1477–?), Sir William Gascoigne (the “younger”), Sir William Gascoigne, William Gascoigne, Margaret Gascoigne, Margaret Wentworth (d. 1614), Anne Darcy/Henry Savile, William Savile, William Savile/Mary West, Mary Savile/William Maude, Mary Maude/Darcy Preston, Rosamond Preston/Rev George Haggitt (1730–1798), Rev D’Arcy (Percy) Haggitt (1796–1835), D’Arcy Haggitt (1763–1850)/Mary Martin (1782/83–1858), D’Arcy Haggitt (1805–1869)/Mary Ann Walters, D’Arcy Haggitt (1842–1927), Cecil Strange Haggitt (1871–1933), Gordon Gunion Haggitt, Nolarae Haggitt (my mum), moi and my sisters Nina and Jill.


Anonymous said…
Yeah The princely manner with which you conducted yourself in lectures was like water off a duck's back to me mate - since I have the same royal connections as you. I am not talking that mucky lot that scrapped over Albion for most of the last two centuries either!Hope all is well in your corner of the vineyard,

Your favourite (no modesty constrains me) your second-favourite Student, Robert Gillard.

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