Talk:Line of succession to the British throne/Archive 10

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Dutch royalty

Perhaps this discussion has already been done, but I couldn't find it in the archives. According to the article Anyone who is Roman Catholic, becomes Roman Catholic, or marries a Roman Catholic is permanently excluded from the line of succession..

  • Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is married to Maxima Zorregieta who is a Catholic (see also the Dutch wikipedia entry). This would make him and his children ineligable for the succession?
  • The same holds for Prinses Irene of the Netherlands, who publicly converted to Catholism when she married.

Should they be removed? I hesitate to do this myself.

Cheers, (talk) 19:04, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Hi, correct me if I am wrong, but Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange is already excluded from the Line of succession to the British throne. His name is italicized in the list meaning he is not in line of succession anymore (since he married a Roman Catholic). His children are although still in the line of succession, since they are Protestants, thus not Catholic. They should not be removed. Mr. D. E. Mophon (talk) 19:16, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Changes to intro

Today I have reverted a number of changes made to the intro by User:Happy-melon in order that other editors can discuss the appropriateness of these changes at the very beginning of the article. The changes included:

  1. making the second sentence, "The first seven positions in the line of succession have remained unchanged since the birth of Princess Eugenie in March 1990." IMO, this is trivia which belongs further down, not at the very top.
  2. rearranging the section on regulations (presently arranged as statement about Act of Settlement and RMA followed by four bulleted sub-statements), into three paragraphs.
  3. adding the sentence, "The current monarch, Elizabeth II, is ten generations removed from Sophia, and in some branches the family tree extends up to four generations further; there are consequently thousands of distant descendants, of various nationalities, who take some position in the line of succession." IMO, this is unnecessary commentary in an article which is meant to be about the LIST. If we want commentary, it should appear after the list.
  4. adding a graphical representation showing the children and grandchildren of Electress Sophia.

Please discuss. Noel S McFerran (talk) 17:27, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

For the best application of WP:BRD, which I support, it will be helpful if you present a discussion on all the elements you've reverted; for the things above where you haven't made any comment, I don't know whether you've reverted them because you disagree with them, in which case they need to be discussed, or merely because they were bundled up with edits which you did disagree with. Please clarify.
On the lead section of the article, my changes were to improve consistency with relevant guidelines. Bullet points should not be used for content which can easily be presented in prose. Single-sentence paragraphs should be avoided; correcting that was the sole reason for moving the sentence on the first seven positions to the first paragraph, I have no objection to it going somewhere else but it should not remain where it is now. There was also some rewriting for clarity, such as avoiding appending "and their lines" to every clause in the description of primogeniture: clarity and brevity is preferable here because the concept of primogeniture is explained in its own article, and only a summary is needed here. Conversely, an explanation is needed, and was added, as to why a parent converting to Catholicism sometimes excludes their children and sometimes doesn't, such as with George Windsor, Earl of St Andrews. I make no claim to the rewrite being perfect, but I do consider it to be an improvement on the previous version.
With my changes I was also mindful of WP:LIST and the Featured list criteria. FLs are distinguished by descriptors like "engaging", "visual appeal" and "professional". To move towards FL status requires a move away from an enormous block of names and towards more engaging display formats. Currently the structure is a very simple hierarchical set of nested sections, which rather outstrip the set of headers which are expected to be used. The article suffers badly from the way the level six <h6> tags are smaller than the text that they are supposed to describe, and it is unnecessary to begin the hierarchy at Sophia since, as I wrote a section to explain, everyone with a place in the line is related to George II or Sophia Dorothea. This is not just a list of people descended from Sophia of Hanover, and the fact that the lines came back together is interesting and "engaging". Wikipedia articles should never be just a big list of data, a list is still an article and needs to engage readers in the same way.
I see this list as one with real potential to reach FL status (similar in structure to FLs such as List of poker hands – compare then and now). To make the jump to becoming a really high-quality piece of content, it needs to move beyond just being an accurate list of names, and start engaging the reader with prose and graphical content. Happymelon 20:30, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
I do not think that it is reasonable to discuss FL status at this time. Please read through the archives of this page to see the numerous issues which have been raised - some of which have been addressed or are in the ongoing process of being addressed. There's a great deal more work to be done. The lead paragraphs are not the problem. It does not make sense to compare a list of over 4000 names to a List of 9 poker hands.
I am not an advocate of the use of multiple levels of subheadings; I think that they are confusing to many readers. IMO the section dividers currently used from no. 2113 forward make things much clearer.
Wikipedia:Featured list criteria says "It has an engaging lead that introduces the subject and defines the scope and inclusion criteria." It is not appropriate to give trivia a priority over the list on the grounds that it is "interesting and engaging". Noel S McFerran (talk) 23:40, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

I realize there are multiple issues under discussion here, but as an experienced editor who arrives here with little expertise in the topic, may I suggest a summary along these lines. A first paragraph of 3 sentences: (1) states who is listed, (2) tells us what controls inclusion, and (3) informs us that the list has a secondary use. I've also removed the parenthetical remark from the 3rd sentence as unnecessary. Then I've added a sentence to introduce the principal elements of the rules of succession. I've maintained the bullet points as excusable given the subject matter. The last 2 can be combined without any loss of clarity, so at least there is no one-sentence bullet point.

The line of succession to the British throne lists those eligible to succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. The right of succession is regulated by the Act of Settlement 1701, the Royal Marriages Act 1772 and common law.[1] The line of succession is also used to select the Counsellors of State as well as a regent under the provisions of the Regency Act 1937.[2]

The principal rules governing succession are:

3 bullets.

For past versions of the line of succession, see History of the British line of succession.

Delete as trivia: "The first seven positions in the line of succession have remained unchanged since the birth of Princess Eugenie in March 1990."

The bullet point covering primogeniture reads like the work of a committee. I hesitate to touch it.

Bmclaughlin9 (talk) 21:39, 30 April 2011 (UTC)

I concur with the suggestions made by Bmclaughlin9. The primogeniture bullet point "reads like the work of a committee", because it's a complicated thing for many people. On a royalty discussion group just this week, somebody asked "If Charles died, wouldn't Andrew be first in line?" (thinking that a younger son would come before the line of an elder son). Noel S McFerran (talk) 21:51, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
I think the proposed first paragraph is very good. There is still no need to present the rules as bullet points: they do not form a list (it's not like we're quoting an original source which is divided into clauses) and each bullet point is a substantial phrase in its own right. When the meaning or flow of the section is not really altered by solely removing the bullets, you know there's no real need for them. I agree that the explanation of primogeniture is overcomplicated and difficult to read; what is important here is to provide a brief summary and encourage people to go to the full article for a more detailed discussion.
How about:
Here I've used bolding to draw attention to the primogeniture link; this is also not-inappropriate since the list is a textbook demonstration of primogeniture, and one of the most closely-studied.
Thoughts? Happymelon 22:20, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
The bullet points were added some time ago by an editor (not me, I don't think, but maybe) because of complaints about clarity; there is still a "confusing and unclear" tag on the article. IMO the bullets present the information in a clearer fashion. The points about being Protestant at accession, and excluding Catholics from the succession are two separate points; they should not be joined together in a single paragraph.
The line, "A person may be able to claim a place in the succession from several sources ..." is misleading. A person is only in line a single time; he cannot "claim a place in the succession from several sources". There are a number of editors who have been adamant that every statement be able to be provided with a citation.
I am not an advocate of bolding some links. Noel S McFerran (talk) 23:40, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
Apologies for the delay, I was hoping that we might see some input from other editors; which have unfortunately not been forthcoming.
I'm afraid do not agree with any of your points. As well as being explicitly proscribed by the manual of style ("Do not use lists if a passage reads easily using plain paragraphs"), bullet points do not make the passage any clearer; rather they discourage the use of proper context which actually makes things more difficult to read. The bullets were not, AFAICT, added "because of complaints about clarity"; they've been there far longer than the clarity tag, you could argue that they're part of the problem rather than the solution. Far from being "two separate points", the exclusion of Catholics and requirement to be Protestant are two sides of the same coin; even if they were separate, they are two facets of a larger topic ('religious requirements') that is the ideal size for a single paragraph.
The multiple sources line is stating precisely what you point out: that a person can only have one position in the succession. A person can draw on a claim from more than one ancestor after the reunion of lines, but as you say that only alters the position in the line of succession, not the number of times they appear. An interesting thought experiment is what would have happened if George II had converted to Catholicism before 1687 and then Sophia Dorothea had converted back to Protestantism before marrying Frederick William: Augustus William's claim through his maternal grandfather (which would have put him above his own father in the succession) is extinguished, but his claim through his father remains; ergo both claims remained before but only the more senior one was executed.
As I said, I would welcome some third opinions on this issue. Happymelon 12:37, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I have no subject matter expertise here so my comments are restricted to the readability and presentation of the article. I fully agree with Happy-melon that the proposed changes will improve the quality of the article.
In particular:
  1. I see no reason why an article entitled "Line of succession to the British throne" should consist solely or even primarily of a list of names. It is unhelpful to the general reader that article with a title promising information about succession in the British monarchy consists of little more than a gigantic index of names. In its current format, the article is impenetrable, unapproachable, hard to navigate and (even as a simple data resource) hard to use.
  2. I disagree with Noel S McFerran's opinion that the following sentence is trivia: "The first seven positions in the line of succession have remained unchanged since the birth of Princess Eugenie in March 1990." It is an interesting and relevant observation which is appropriate for the introduction of the article.
  3. The sentence, "The current monarch, Elizabeth II, is ten generations removed from Sophia, and in some branches the family tree extends up to four generations further; there are consequently thousands of distant descendants, of various nationalities, who take some position in the line of succession." is not unnecessary commentary. It is accurate and relevant information which is totally appropriate for the introduction of the article.
  4. A graphical representation showing the children and grandchildren of Sophia would represent a further improvement to the article.
  5. I think the list should be organised into a hierarchical sequence of sub-articles (or hidden templates) with multiple levels of subheadings in place of the current headings which are composed of long repetitive strings. This would make the list itself far more navigable and usable as a data resource.
Rubywine (talk) 00:16, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
  1. This article is a list of the line. There is another article about the Succession to the British throne which is linked to in the first sentence of this article.
  2. The statement about "The first seven positions ..." is unsourced - although undoubtedly true and perhaps even interesting. Provide a source.
  3. Unsourced statement - although undoubtedly true. Provide a source.
  4. A graphical representation of Sophia's family may be appropriate for her article, but this article is a list of the line. None of those people are now in line; they're all dead.
  5. In order to respond to concerns about length I made a very specific proposal in March to divide the article. Not one single editor supported the proposal. Noel S McFerran (talk) 11:19, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
  1. It's a surprise to learn that. The opening sentence ("The line of succession to the British throne lists people eligible to succeed to the throne of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms.") hides the link to Succession to the British throne; it needs signposting. This article should point clearly to Succession to the British throne as the main article. The information about regulations and legal background also obscures the nature of this article, and should be moved to Succession to the British throne. This article should be stripped down to the list itself with a brief introduction/overview of the list and some illustratory graphics; for those purposes, most of Happy-melon's proposals are still directly relevant and appropriate.
  2. It is a simple observation which is directly deductible from the rules of succession and the list itself, both of which are sourced.
  3. It is unnecessary to provide additional sources for a summary of existing content. The generational distance between Elizabeth II and Sophia and the differing nationalities involved are supported by sourced list data. "Thousands of distant descendants" follows from the simple mathematics of human reproduction.
  4. Fair enough.
  5. There's a huge difference between a hierarchical restructure to improve presentation, accessibility and navigation, and your proposal to split the article into two halves, which doesn't solve any problems except length. The list lends itself naturally to a hierarchical structure, and that's the most useful way to present it. Rubywine (talk) 15:07, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
1. "hides the link" Surely this is a new definition for the word "hides". The link is the very first link in the article, and is in the very first sentence of the article. I'll boldface it. Perhaps different phrasing would highlight it.
2/3. There are many simple observations which are directly deducible from looking at the list: all current European monarchs except the Prince of Monaco and the Prince of Liechtenstein are in line; the heads of houses of most former European monarchies are in line; an increasing number of people are not in line on account of being born illegitimate; etc., etc. While all of these statements (and the ones mentioned above) are perfectly true, they are exactly the things which visiting editors cotton on to and then complain about original research and lack of sources. I do not dispute that they make the article more entertaining. But such statements are just a set-up for future criticisms.
5. As far as I can see the vast majority of the article is already structured hierarchically; most of the repetitive strings have been removed (some within the last week by DWC_LR). If Rubywine thinks that this is a priority, then perhaps he would be willing to do the work extending this to the rest of the list. In spite of the fact that I have done lots of editing on this article, I have never figured out how to do the hierarchical structuring. There are currently three different types of section headings; this occurs because bright-spark editors come up with these changes, but then don't implement them through the entire article. We have another such situation presently with the relatively new indenting structure showing family relationships. I hope that this can be completed soon. Noel S McFerran (talk) 16:27, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
1. My earlier comment stands in full. Boldfacing really doesn't suffice.
2/3. I am sympathetic to the fact that this article is facing criticism on multiple counts; it must be annoying. However I don't think the solution is to dig in and refuse all amendments. My arguments were good enough to defend these two specific proposals against the criticism of being 'unsourced'.
On further investigation, any interpretation of primary data without a secondary source to back it up is considered original research under the WP:PRIMARY guidelines. So Noel, I accept your point. Rubywine (talk) 21:58, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
5. Yes alright; I started looking at the article bottom-up, and the long repetitive strings are towards the end. The various partial edits of which you speak have actually made matters worse; the relationships are hard to see; but the main problem in finishing is the enormity of the task for any one person - it's certainly way beyond something I could undertake alone. The first step must be to agree collectively on a good representational format, the second step is for a working group to implement it. The line of succession is essentially a flattened tree; there are many good ways to present tree data. Rather than picking one at random, why not aim a bit higher. I suggest starting out by seeking comments and advice from Wikipedians with experience in genealogical numbering systems. It might also be useful to set up sandboxes with small amounts of data, to evaluate any recommendations. Rubywine (talk) 18:28, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
It's worth having a browse through Category:Genealogy templates and Wikipedia:Family trees. I couldn't find what I was looking for though, which is a sort of reverse ahnentafel. To be practical, given the vast quantity of data, what I have in mind would require a software tool to be written by someone like GregU. Layer upon layer of complexity! I'll just leave this idea here for a while to see what other people think. :) Rubywine (talk) 00:07, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

I have now added a note in italics at the very top of the article with a link to the explanatory article. Anybody got a better idea? Noel S McFerran (talk) 04:21, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

I think it's good. It's exactly what I had in mind. Personally I'd also move the section on laws and regulations into the other article, because I think it's too dry for an introduction, but I don't want to make an issue of it if others disagree. Rubywine (talk) 12:35, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

I am completely in favour of a discussion about making the section headings consistent. But I think that this should wait for a completion of the new indented genealogical format and for a completion of the individual name sources. There are too many unfinished projects to start another one right now. Noel S McFerran (talk) 04:21, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Ok, that's very understandable. Rubywine (talk) 12:35, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Preposterous Parlour Game

If you wish to continue to play this preposterous parlour game, should you not at least agree the rules beforehand? The majority of these 'sources', as you are well aware, have no interest or even knowledge of the underlying legal problems. AnthonyCamp (talk) 09:28, 10 May 2011 (UTC). AnthonyCamp (talk) 15:50, 10 May 2011 (UTC).

Alan, the problem for Anthony and others is that source used is for the genealogy not for the succession. After the first two dozen or so, it becomes unclear how the law would be interpreted, this is why the line here and the line in other sources begins to diverge at that point. DrKiernan (talk) 09:46, 10 May 2011 (UTC)


Above, Opera Hat made this suggestion "I don't see why the same thing couldn't be done with most (all?) of the list itself. Compare List of MPs elected in the United Kingdom general election, 1832, where all the actual lists of MPs are in subpages." I have only just had a chance to inspect the underlying structure. This would remove the single size issue, although not the length. Comments? Should we do the same? (Please refer to this issue - for other issues, start a new section). Alan Davidson (talk) 08:47, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

Looks interesting and promising. There's no problem with continuous numbering in the line; we just start section 2 at a specific number (e.g. 1000 instead of 1); this would have to be manually altered on a regular basis.
I'm not sure how (if?) hierarchical section headings would work. I myself am actually an advocate of the "old" boldface section headings (Sophia → George I → George II → Prince Bob of Hildesheim → Duchess Shelly of Lugnaut) each of which gives the full descent information.
As Alan says, this doesn't address the length issue, but it does address the possible editing problem because of length. And, the page would no longer show up at the top of Special:LongPages attracting unwarranted attention. Let's look into this further. Noel S McFerran (talk) 01:23, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

The illegitimate and their descendants

At present there are three types of names in italics:

  1. those formerly in line, now excluded on account of marrying a Catholic
  2. those formerly in line, now excluded because of being Catholic
  3. those never in line because they only have an illegitimate descent from Sophia

The two first classes are included because their descendants - if not Catholic - are in line. But the third class is totally different. They have not been excluded - because they were never in line, and neither will their descendants. I suggest not displaying the names of the third class. This information is still important - because well-meaning editors may well add the names later. So I suggest that this information be retained using Hidden text. In the editing version this would show as <!-- Leo Lascelles (b 2008) not in line -->, but this text would not display in the regular page. Hidden text discusses the various appropriate uses of this, and it seems to me that this is one of those times. Noel S McFerran (talk) 23:50, 29 April 2011 (UTC)

  • If this were done, it would be possible to list Catholics in italics (with no XP), leaving spouses of Catholics in italics with XM. This would really simplify things. Noel S McFerran (talk) 23:59, 29 April 2011 (UTC)
  • Some editors may ask, "How do we prove that X is illegitimate? What's the source?" We don't have to provide evidence of illegitimacy. We have to provide evidence of legitimacy (i.e. birth after the marriage of the parents). The onus probandi is on those who say X is in line. If there is no evidence that somebody is a legitimate descendant of Sophia, then they can't be listed as in line. Noel S McFerran (talk) 00:04, 30 April 2011 (UTC)
An excellent idea - I agree. Alan Davidson (talk) 12:32, 1 May 2011 (UTC)
I disagree, and think this is a bad idea. This is a sneaky way around supplying a reference. This will cause our list to differ significantly from genealogical lists, and the omitted names will appear to be omitted without reason. Mlm42 (talk) 16:00, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Recent edits

I have removed the numbering of the list, as it is entirely original research (at least after the first hundred or so entries) and likely off by dozens if not hundreds. For such a long list, no matter what we do, readers will assume that the numbers indicate the position in the succession.

I have also removed all entries that were sourced exclusively to Reitwiesner's self-published website. To quote from WP:BLP: "Never use self-published sources—including but not limited to [...] websites [...]—as sources of material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject". There was also consensus at the reliable sources noticeboard that this is not an appropriate source for the BLP information in this article. See WP:Reliable sources/Noticeboard/Archive 91#Line of succession to the British throne.

I expect that any editor who might consider reverting me first familiarises themselves with WP:BLP and WP:RS and gets advice from the BLP noticeboard at WP:BLP/N. Any editor who wants to add better sources for some of these entries will find them easily in the page history.

While removing this badly sourced material, I got the impression that there is even a lot of unsourced material about living people. I hope very much that I have simply overlooked some source that somehow covers this information globally withou specific footnotes. In that case it's still a problem, but it can be fixed by verifying every single entry with the source and adding a footnote which documents that this has been done. Otherwise, the material must of course go, unless a source can be found. Hans Adler 20:50, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

PLEASE read the archives before making significant edits. There's loads of discussion about these matters. Please don't assume that you now everything without reading what other editors have written.
  1. Reitwiesner is NOT self-published.
  2. All the names you removed are in Willis (who includes virtually every name here except for the last year or two) as well as other sources listed at the top of the page
  3. There have been significant efforts in the last few months to add individual citations; those efforts are ongoing. Noel S McFerran (talk) 21:10, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
WTF? You create an article about thousands of living people, many of them unsourced, and then the sourcing attempts spread over months? And as the discussions above show, some people are even working on extending this list before it's sourced. Is there some specific letter of indulgence from Jimbo Wales himself or the Wikimedia Foundation's General Counsel, which makes this article an exception to WP:BLP? Or are you just following the principle that if the crime is big enough it will not be prosecuted?
You claim that Reitwiesner is not a self-published source. The discussion at WP:RS/N came to a different conclusion. The reference is not to a book published by a respected publisher but to a single web page on the domain According to WHOIS, the domain is registered to "William Addams Reitwiesner Genealogical Services". Technical and billing contact for the domain is "William Reitwiesner".
In the discussion archived at Talk:Line of succession to the British throne/Archive 9#Reitwiesner not reliable?, you claimed that Reitwiesner is a reliable sources for the purposes of this article. However, your only argument was the expert exception under which certain self-published sources may be acceptable except for BLP information:
Never use self-published sources as third-party sources about living people, even if the author is an expert, well-known professional researcher, or writer. (bold in the original; from WP:SPS)
Never use self-published sources—including but not limited to books, zines, websites, blogs, and tweets—as sources of material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject. (from WP:BLPSPS)
Hans Adler 21:31, 4 May 2011 (UTC)
A dead person cannot be the publisher of a website. William Addams Reitwiesner is not the publisher of the material on the website. Noel S McFerran (talk) 03:53, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
It's blatantly obvious that this material was originally self-published by Reitwiesner. Someone else has apparently taken over the website now without updating the WHOIS information. That certainly doesn't make it a reliable source. They would at least have to take public responsibility for paying the bill in his name, and it's very doubtful that even that would be enough. Hans Adler 13:07, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I have restored the numbering up to Princess Alexandra, as this is not original research (the numbers are given on the website - though without Savannah Phillips). Opera hat (talk) 00:08, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
You should read the Wikipedia provisions on synthesis. The point was made above this is a list which is numbered; the article itself does not state that the numbers correspond with the position in succession. The answer to the next question is - "it is a list!!". Alan Davidson (talk) 00:18, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
So, if I'm interpreting correctly from the 2 recent discussion topics, the big problem Hans has with the article is that the numbers are original research? Really? Of all the problems there may be with the accuracy of the list, you decide to complain about the numbers? Counting items in a list is not original research, nor does having the numbers make the list any more or less accurate. It does, however, make the list easier to read. I'm restoring the numbers. LarryJeff (talk) 00:29, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Thank you Larry. That was my point about synthesis. Listing peple with a number next to them is fine; and I agree it makes it easier to read. Alan Davidson (talk) 01:32, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I think this is a very important point; I also think one of this list's unresolvable problems is the numbering. Having a numbering gives the impression to readers that it is the agreed-upon numbering - when in fact it is not agreed-upon at all! Experts don't agree precisely who to include in the line and who not to (even Reitwiesner conceeded this point, regarding Roman Catholics). Mlm42 (talk) 04:10, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Listing living people with numbers next to them is not fine at all if the numbers are original research and probably off by dozens if not hundreds. Hans Adler 13:09, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree, if that is what the numbers mean; but please read the article and the comments already made - such as the statement "Counting items in a list"; and "the article itself does not state that the numbers correspond with the position in succession"; and "synthesis"; and "nor does having the numbers make the list any more or less accurate". It's a list. Alan Davidson (talk) 13:44, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Hans, I'm sincerely trying to understand your position on the numbers. Let's say for example, I'm making a list showing the order of the letters in the alphabet. Further, let's say I (incorrectly) give the first 5 items in my list as A, B, D, E, C; and I also number the items in that list. Now how does the fact that the letter C has the number 5 in front of it make my list any worse than an un-numbered list which has the letter C in the 5th position? It's not the number that tells the reader "C is the 5th letter"; it's the fact that there are 4 other letters listed ahead of C that tells the reader "C is the 5th letter".LarryJeff (talk) 15:05, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Frankly I would say both of the lists in your example would be incorrect. The letters of the alphabet have a well-known ordering, and the put them in the wrong order is highly misleading to an uninformed reader. The difference between your alphabet example and this list, is that reliable sources disagree on exactly which entries should be included (not so for the alphabet). For example, Roman Catholics (which are sometimes included in the line by sources) we have italicized, but haven't given a number. Even if we don't explicitly say it, readers will assume the numbers mean something. If editors here are now claiming the numbers don't mean anything, then why all the fuss about removing them? Mlm42 (talk) 15:54, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
"reliable sources disagree on exactly which entries should be included" Which are these sources which disagree? All reliable sources - other than Reitwiesner - exclude Catholics. Even Reitwiesner does not say definitively that Catholics are in line. Mlm42 asserts that Reitwieser is not a reliable source. So which are the reliable sources which disagree? Noel S McFerran (talk) 18:40, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Noel, perhaps you should reread the history of this talk page? There are plenty of examples. I think this first contentious one is Albert Windsor, who is included by the Monarchy's official website (and also in our list at number 30), but was baptized a Roman Catholic. Mlm42 (talk) 20:53, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Still, in all this, the real issue is who is and who is not in the list and numbers (or lack of) does not change that. Using the issue of Catholics, which you raised above, if they were included in the list (as it is in the article) they would also be numbered. They're not included, so no numbers. As the list in this article stands now, whether there are numbers or not, those individuals identified as Catholic would not be included (or counted) in either case. Once again, the numbers do not define the list, but they do make it much easier to read. LarryJeff (talk) 21:56, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
The list will be much easier to read once the mountain of original research has been removed and the list is cut down to a reasonable length. I am not opposed to a reasonable extrapolation of a list that appears in a reliable source (preferably in several independent ones), to make it up to date. Then even numbers are OK. But it appears that not a single reliable source has compiled such a list with thousands of entries. And that's no wonder, as it's completely devoid of any interest except for those whose ego might be stroked because they are on such an unreasonably extended list. Hans Adler 23:40, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
Please refrain from pejorative personal comments. On the "single source" comment; if there was such a source then this article could be criticised for simple duplication. Please read the Wikipedia section of Synthesis. I would encourage a debate on each of the issues of concern; but might I suggest a seperate heading in this talk page so discussion can follow a single thread cogently for each. Alan Davidson (talk) 23:50, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
"completely devoid of any interest except for those whose ego might be stroked" These comments show very clearly that this is just another editor who is against the concept of this article. He pretends to be concerned about numbers, sources, original research, but his real goal is to get rid of the article. We've seen it all before. Noel S McFerran (talk) 00:05, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Hans brings up a point that many others have raised on this talk page: Why do we have such a long list? I don't think there is any intrinsic value of having a lengthy list (after all, these people don't actually have any chance of becoming the king or queen of the UK).. but I do think it is interesting to see how royal families of other countries are related to each other.. on the other hand this list isn't the best way to understand that.
Noel, he is not "pretending to be concerned". He is like many other editors who have seen this page: he is concerned this article is violating Wikipedias policies and standards, and should be cut down so that Wikipedia's integrity is preserved. I agree with him. But Noel, you are brushing off our opinions. Mlm42 (talk) 00:12, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Does it matter if these people have a chance of becoming king, the succession includes all legitamte descendants of Sophia of Hanover as I am sure everyone knows, and that is as you know why we have a long list. People complain about no sources, Noel Mcferran tirelessly adds sources for people addressing people’s concerns. He has also been adding sources for people who are Catholic addressing yet another complaint raised. I think it’s disrespectful right to say Noel Mcferran is ‘brushing off’ your opinions when he is actually actively addressing them in the article. I am sure Hans Adler is very concerned about ‘nobility cruft’ as he has called this type of royal succession article. - dwc lr (talk) 01:35, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
This article "Line of succession to the British throne" is about a finite topic. The article should cover the entirety of that topic, not just part of it. It would be ridiculous to have an article "Fifty states of the USA", but only to list the first ten. Thanks to the efforts of several editors (especially dwc lr) this article now (as of a week or two ago) finally covers the entire topic; the last person in line according to UKGBNI law (Karin Vogel) is now listed and there are no significant gaps. It is disingenuous for an editor to pretend to be concerned about numbers, sources, and original research, when what he really wants is an article on a fraction of the topic. If that was his goal, then he should have said that at the very beginning. Noel S McFerran (talk) 02:52, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Everyday this list (which is dynamic, so that its names and their relative positions will always change) gets better: more accurate, formatting improved, better sourced. So Wikipedia's "integrity" is preserved by the diligent efforts, largely those of Noel McFerran recently, to improve an article whose value is demonstrated by the expressed interest in it of those who have argued, year after year, to keep it despite nearly relentless attempts to obliterate a work whose compilation and improvement consists of thousands of hours of work -- quite likely more than has gone into any other single work in the encyclopedia. Much of this article pre-dates the increasingly strict standards for inclusion of material in Wikipedia -- yet rather than remaining static, efforts to bring it up to a bar that keeps raising are sincere and ongoing. If the genuine desire here is to remove work that is frivolous and frivolously compiled -- an embarrassment to Wikipedia -- we all know there are thousands of candidates which have fewer sources, less expressed interest, less demonstrated commitment to accuracy, reflect less meticulousness, have been less thoughtfully re-vamped to save space or to present facts in a logical and friendly format, are updated far less frequently, and violate far more of Wikipedia's standards and rules. We know because each of us visits such articles and moves on, leaving them untouched, every day. Genuine concern about this article's accuracy is certainly legitimate, is eventually met with willingness to work together toward addressing constructive concerns, and has resulted in a consistently improved article. Determination to destroy most of it is all too often accompanied by open or barely concealed contempt for those who find it interesting and its content worth salvaging (as evidenced by the sneering attitude toward the late William Reitwiesner's genealogical research, which is widely respected and cited in highly reputable publications). Working with the former is a responsibility and is worthwhile. Why the latter's determination to invoke Wikipedia's various rules to humiliate those who've contributed to it or care about it should not be met with invocation of IAR simply escapes me. Keep up the good work, Noel. It is a tribute to this article (and to your efforts) that its substantial destruction has become a trophy prize sought by those determined to prove that at Wikipedia trying counts for nothing. FactStraight (talk) 03:32, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
There are other venues to pursue this kind of hobby. This huge list is original research, and Wikipedia is not a place for that. Here is how such things are properly addressed:
  1. Do the research.
  2. Get it published in a reliable source.
  3. Put it on Wikipedia.
Obviously Wikipedia is a convenient environment for doing the first and third steps simultaneously. But that's not allowed. If you want to do the research collaboratively, find a different host for that. (E.g. Wikia, or rent a server and install MediaWiki there.) It's not Wikipedia's purpose.
The telephone numbers in New York City are also a finite topic. Yet for some reason we don't have an article with a complete list, even though for that topic there is actually a reliable source. Hans Adler 13:37, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Thank you Hans, I'm glad someone else shares my point of view here. Mlm42 (talk) 16:56, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Except that, that is precisely what has occurred. It is being put on Wikipedia from reliable sources. Well put FactStraight. Alan Davidson (talk) 03:48, 7 May 2011 (UTC)
What rubbish! The list can never be "accurate" as nobody knows how the two laws in question would be interpreted. AnthonyCamp (talk) 13:40, 9 May 2011 (UTC).
Please do not use pejorative terms. If you want to return to your issue about the application of the law please start a new heading. This section has been about the use of sources, not the underlying law applied in those sources. You have dealt with that quite well before. Alan Davidson (talk) 01:00, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Anthony's point is valid here, since the list is doing more than simply quoting sources. The editors here are synthesizing information from sources, together with their interpretation of the laws, to obtain a list that is not published anywhere else in the world. Some people would say "well done, you're working together to discover new information!". Others would say "Wikipedia is not the place for original research" (as per official Wikipedia policy). Obviously there are editors on both sides who have commented on this talk page. Mlm42 (talk) 16:44, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Rowan Lascelles

Rowan Lascelles was recently "hidden" with the comment that he is illegitimate. But the James Lascelles site says "Lascelles has been married three times. Firstly, on 4 April 1973 in Wortham, to Frederica Ann Duhrssen (born 12 June 1954 Newport, Maine). They had two children before divorcing in 1985: - Sophie Amber Lascelles (born 1 October 1973 Thorpeness, Suffolk) - Rowan Nash Lascelles (born 6 November 1977 Sotherton, Suffolk). Comments? Alan Davidson (talk) 01:41, 5 May 2011 (UTC)

I think that was a mistake by another editor, but it's been fixed. Morhange (talk) 03:34, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
OK thanks. Alan Davidson (talk) 03:50, 5 May 2011 (UTC)
But the second marriage of James Lascelles was in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act and the child of that marriage is illegitimate as regards any claim to succession, regardless of what your cited authorities say. The larger part of this article is, as has been frequently said, entirely hypothetical and worthless, and it should have no place in anything calling itself an encyclopaedia.AnthonyCamp (talk) 20:30, 7 May 2011 (UTC).
This was an brief editing error which was corrected; and was about the first marriage. Alan Davidson (talk) 23:49, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
I refer to the child Tewa who was born subsequently to the marriage in contravention of the Act and has no succession rights. AnthonyCamp (talk) 13:36, 9 May 2011 (UTC).
User:AnthonyCamp states above "But the second marriage of James Lascelles was in contravention of the Royal Marriages Act and the child of that marriage is illegitimate as regards any claim to succession, regardless of what your cited authorities say". Can he cite some specific references supporting his point? rather than just dismissing contrary references?
Arjayay (talk) 12:55, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
Read the above discussion about the illegitimate status of the children of the 2nd duke of Cambridge. AnthonyCamp (talk) 15:39, 10 May 2011 (UTC).
Umm - I'm probably being thick, but a search for the word Cambridge on this page only finds it once - in User:AnthonyCamp's comment immediately above this. Arjayay (talk) 07:45, 11 May 2011 (UTC)
Talk:Line of succession to the British throne/Archive 8? DrKiernan (talk) 07:47, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

Why are we hiding the illegitimate children now? This seems like a sneaky way around providing reliable sources as per the above RfC, which states that each entry should have a source. For example several of the Lascelles family are now hidden. But don't we need a source to justify the claim that they are illegitimate? They are living people, after all, and such a claim should not be taken lightly (as per WP:BLP); if there's no reliable source to back it up, then it really seems like original research.

I also noticed that in the "graphical representation", the illegitimate children are not drawn in, even though the graphic claims to represent the "descendants" (which should include all children, regardless of whether their parents were married). Mlm42 (talk) 16:30, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

I've clearly walked into a minefield, but as an uninvolved outsider reading this, two of Wikipedia's core principles are being totally ignored.
1 - WP:Synthesis opens with:-

Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources.

2 - WP:Verifiability opens with:-

The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material in Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true.

The statement above "regardless of what your cited authorities say", completely ignores this core principle.
With that, I will leave you to get on with your battle. Arjayay (talk) 17:23, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

"Why are we hiding the illegitimate children now? This seems like a sneaky way around providing reliable sources" This page lists people who are in line of succession or who have previously been in line of succession but are no longer (since their descendants will be in line at least temporarily). It does not list the billions of people who have never been in line of succession. Why would we list people who are not and never have been in line? No evidence is required NOT to list people. Evidence is required IN ORDER to list people, i.e. there must be some evidence that a person is a potential heir (i.e. a legitimate descendant) of Sophia. The change was proposed above on April 29; no editor opposed the change; several editors have been implementing it. Noel S McFerran (talk) 02:09, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

The graphic was taken from another site, and is incorrectly labelled. Of course it graphically depicts the people in line listed above the graphic, descended from Edward VII. I will fix that. Alan Davidson (talk) 04:08, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
I have now opposed the idea in the above discussion. The problem is that it causes our list to differ from the genealogical lists for no apparent reason. Since it causes our list to differ from the reliable sources, we need to provide justification for removing the names. Mlm42 (talk) 16:04, 12 May 2011 (UTC)
As Arjayay points out, such a move would violate both WP:Synthesis and WP:Verifiability. Mlm42 (talk) 16:06, 12 May 2011 (UTC)

Shortening of the list

This list was cut down following a discussion on the BLP noticeboard. Please take part in the discussion there, rather than responding here. Mlm42 (talk) 16:07, 13 May 2011 (UTC)

Shortened by MacDonald where he describes it as "seeming" consensus. I will correct this misconception. The issue of length is best seen by reading the archives. Alan Davidson (talk) 01:03, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Just because you are a lawyer, Mr. Alan Davidson Esq., that does not make you an expert at deciding what constitutes a "seeming" consensus at Wikipedia. --Skol fir (talk) 06:13, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
As for the length of the list of successors to the British throne, I need only quote Confucius, who said "He who will not economize will have to agonize." --Skol fir (talk) 07:37, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
I was just quoting MacDonald who said it was a "seeming" consensus; it is not my word. Please avoid personalising this. Alan Davidson (talk) 08:46, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
Shortening the list because it is long is not encyclopedic. Please remove any individual line which is not verified by an authority. The problem with that is, that, position 40 is vaild, so is 41, so is 42 etc etc. I would suggest the artilce be deleted before it is censored and inaccurate. Alan Davidson (talk) 08:55, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

Radiscal truncation to the 39 steps seems overkill -- will proceed with an attempt at a reasonable compromise shortly - as that would appear to be much more in line with WP concepts of consensus. Collect (talk) 11:27, 14 May 2011 (UTC) Cut-off at descendants of Queen Victoria - reasonably well citable, and reasonably short list ensuing. Collect (talk) 11:37, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

It is not well-cited at all. None of the people below Alexandra have a source for their place in the line of succession. The reason the official list stops at Alexandra is because she is the last person in the line who is a member of the British royal family. I think we should follow the official list. DrKiernan (talk) 11:41, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
I agree. --Bookworm857158367 (talk) 15:19, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
I have looked and looked and can not find a policy saying "use official lists" -- I did find one called WP:CONSENSUS. Might you kindly direct me towards the policy which contradicts it on the basis of "official list"? Cheers. Collect (talk) 13:39, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
I didn't mention any policy. You made no explanation at all in your edit summary of why you removed my work on the first 39 in line and the lead. I still don't see any. The article claims, without providing any source, that Catholics are permanently excluded but then lists two in the line of succession because at the official web site they are included. I admit that they are excluded by Debrett's and Whitaker's for the sound reason that they are Catholic and Catholics are usually excluded, but they are included at the official web site. So, I say follow the official web site. It seems that when they are of age they could refuse to confirm or may even join the Anglican church, in which case they would not be excluded even though they were previously Catholic as children. Assuming that this implication of the official web site's inclusion of the two children is in some way correct, then it is necessary to declare your own Catholicism before exclusion, you are not excluded on the basis that both your parents are Catholic or that you have been raised in the Catholic faith.
You seem to have missed my post above of 08:50, 20 March 2011 (UTC). DrKiernan (talk) 14:03, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
The actual words of the Act of Settlement 1701 provide "That all and every Person and Persons that then were or afterwards should be reconciled to or shall hold Communion with the See or Church of Rome or should professe the Popish Religion or marry a Papist should be excluded and are by that Act made for ever incapable to inherit". And you mmake the point very well - the list relies on the sources. Alan Davidson (talk) 14:49, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
In order to make the list cover all of the QV descendants, it was obviously impractical to try melding in the other material. I used the s.q.a. version and removed all but the QV descendants. The aim on Wikipedia is to achieve consensus, not to achieve perfection. I doubt that the consensus here is that 39 is a comprehensive list in any sense at all. Collect (talk) 15:06, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
The purpose of Wikipedia is to write a free online encyclopedia; consensus is the mechanism by which we do that most effectively. Your assertion that "perfection" == "comprehensive" is not axiomatic, indeed the consensus on BLP/N is that verifiability is of greater importance.
Rather than simply extend the list into an area where it already gets slightly fishy, I think it would be better to continue in the form "about x descendants of A; there are no descendants of B; about y descendants of C; about z descendants od D". As we get further away from the lists's head this kind of summarising seems the logical thing to do in an encyclopedia. Hans Adler 15:24, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
I think that would be a reasonable way to proceed. To be able to list specific people requires that reliable sources can be found for the fact that they are on the list, not merely their relation to Sophia of Hanover, which requires synthesis to deduce that they have a place in the line of succession. It does not make much sense to miss out a section of the list due to lack of sourcing but include later sections, so I would say that the defining limit for the list proper should be that it should include everyone for whom there are reliable sources to indicate their exact position (that is, that they and every person above them in the list are reliably sourced); beyond that we should revert to more easily-verified general statements. Happymelon 15:50, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

For those who haven't been watching closely, there appears to be a fairly strong consensus at the BLP noticeboard that this list should be cut down drastically in size. In particular, multiple editors (including Jimbo Wales, see his comment) believe that the list should be cut down to only the first 39 - in particular those which are listed at the Monarchy's website. Some here have noticed that this is inconsistent with the (perceived?) consensus in the past.. but of course consensus can change. The change may, or may not, be due to the heightened sensitivity in Wikipedia on topics relating to living people (hence the WP:BLP policy). Whatever the reason for the change, I hope that the regular editors here will respect the new consensus.

As Happy-melon and others have pointed out, there is still room for adding well-sourced information about people who are in the line of succession further down; we just shouldn't put them in a list, and we definitely shouldn't claim to know their exact position in the line. Mlm42 (talk) 20:50, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

I have argued for some time that this list should be reduced to those who are on the Monarchy website or other authoritative source, which is around 40 places. My main objection is "no original research", a well established Wikipedia policy, there are some complex issues here. PatGallacher (talk) 21:24, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

If the list must be trimmed, then trim it at Queen Victoria's descendants. Why end it at Princess Alexandra when her children and grandchildren will obviously follow her in the line of succession? The official list on the BRF's website has already shown that it's inaccurate considering Albert and Leopold, if they are in the LoS at all, being baptised Catholic, follow Lady Helen Taylor and her children, when the descendants of all sons come before the descendants of all daughters, which is easily seen in the fact that Charles, Andrew and Edward come before Anne's children, and that Viscount Severn comes before his older sister, etc. It would be preferable if anyone could contact the webmaster of the site or someone who is an expert in this law to clear things up, but if the list has to be trimmed, trim it at Victoria's descendants who can be easily verified. Stopping at Princess Alexandra to match the royal website is all well and good, but why not include her children, who are also in line? I have added at least her descendants back to the list. Morhange (talk) 21:36, 14 May 2011 (UTC)
You will probably get reverted as that is ‘original research’.... - dwc lr (talk) 01:34, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Lets take random name on the previous list "Vera Dmoch" who is that? They have a WP entry which just lists who she's living with and the names of her sprogs. So I'm none the wiser. The entries in the list once you get down past the first few dozen are about no one that any one has ever heard of, private people about which there is no information at all, and that only their immediate family care about. Just why do WP editors think they have a right to march in and list details of their family life? John lilburne (talk) 21:52, 14 May 2011 (UTC)

The people are listed in reliable sources, that is where the ‘details of their family life come from’ . The entries actually get pretty notable as you go (went) down. Are you familiar with the Duke of Edinburgh, King of Norway, King of Greece, Queen of Denmark... - dwc lr (talk) 01:34, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
And? For every name like the Duke of Edinburgh there are 20 or more Vera Dmoch's. You wouldn't get away with a "List of X Whatevers" that contained 20:1 people no one had ever heard of. For example if when he was Carriage Driving you'd not be allow to list people that had no other information except a birth, or marriage certificate, on the justification that the Duke of Edinburgh was the 521st bestest EVAR and everyone had heard of him. John lilburne (talk) 07:39, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

This continued discussion and disputation indicates there has been no consensus. Alan Davidson (talk) 03:47, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

There may not be consensus about exactly how giant of a prune is warranted, but I don't really see anyone besides you and DWC arguing that there shouldn't be a pretty large prune. Due to the huge nature of the problems of the original version of the list, I think it would be preferable to start with a very severe prune and slowly add people back where their place in the line of succession can be shown through reliable sources, instead of keeping the bigger list and slowly removing people. Kevin (talk) 03:54, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Alan, you've stated elsewhere that all the objections that have been previously raised to the length of the list have been answered and resolved. How neat. I wish I had the power to resolve issues by simply declaring them resolved. I could cure cancer this afternoon by announcing it no longer exists. Crazy? Well, that's pretty much what your responses are like. The objections have NOT been resolved, which is why these discussions go on and on. Now, you're saying there's no consensus, which we can all agree on. There's no consensus that the list remain in its present gargantuan state. In fact, there's almost universal agreement that it NOT remain in its present gargantuan state. Just exactly how much should be trimmed is the only real question now. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 04:39, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Please don't use words like crazy. Please let your points speak for themselves. These issues have been raised several times before - please see the archives. The result each time was conservative. If there is any entry that is unverifiable, delete it. But entries that are verifiable have been exised. Alan Davidson (talk) 06:37, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Question, would this work as a source? I linked to it during a discussion about whether or not Emily and Benjamin Lascelles were considered illegitimate; according to this article, they weren't included in the list that the royal family issued, so clearly they are out. It's nearly ten years old, so obviously it's somewhat out of date, but it includes mentions of . I propose including all the descendants of Edward VII, as they are all verified and mentioned by this article--the descendants of George V are easily included via the "official" BRF list, the Duchess of Fife's grandson and his descendants are included, and the Norwegian royal family is mentioned, as well as mentioning the potential exclusion of the subject of the article, Ragnhild Lorentzen, who, like both of her elder siblings, married a Catholic and is now out of the line of succession. The Guardian is not a "self-published source" and the author of the article is a reputable staff writer and not a genealogy hobbyist, as others have accused people like Reitweisner to be, so I propose . Either that or, as I've suggested before, someone needs to write an official letter to the Queen's private secretary or whomever would handle this sort of thing, and ask for either an updated, accurate, official list including all of Edward VII or Queen Victoria's descendants or clarification as to how to interpret the rules (ie, whether Catholics excluded by birth, infant baptism or confirmation) Morhange (talk) 07:11, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

This latter proposal is unrealistic in every respect. Would you ask for evidence for the points made? Do you expect the Royal Household to engage in correspondence about hypothetical situations that will never arise? Are they to bastardise the Queen's cousins by openly upholding the unrepealed Royal Marriages Act? Are they to distance themselves from other cousins and create family discord because their parents married Catholics against the express intentions of the unrepealed Bill of Rights and Act of Settlement? And for what purpose? What is achieved by going beyond the point at which these problems first arise? The list should accordingly be further restricted not lengthened. The order of the immediate succession, probably to the end of this century, is clear and that is all that is relevant. AnthonyCamp (talk) 09:45, 15 May 2011 (UTC).

This source is 9 years old, they appear to be copying the Debrett's list, but they do not give it in full. The online lists at Debrett's and the British monarchy website agree down to the Earl of Ulster, but Debrett's then misses 2 children born in May-June 2010, the monarchy site mentions the Duke of Cambridge, suggesting that the latter is being updated regularly and is more reliable. You can write to the Queen's private secretary if you want but he may just refer you to the British monarchy website. The obvious solution is to copy the British monarchy website and leave it there. PatGallacher (talk) 10:33, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

There's nothing wrong with a nine-year-old source, heaven knows we cite sources many times older than that. The criterion for accuracy is verifiability, not truth. It's perfectly reasonable synthesis to note that if one source says John Smith it 55th in line, and another source says he is 57th in line but includes two people who weren't born at the time the first source was published, then the two sources happily agree that he is now 57th in line. It's not reasonable synthesis to assume that John Smith's eldest son is 58th in line, unless a reliable source can be found to say so. Happymelon 10:50, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Minor points: The WP list is not presented as a legal document, so all cavils in that area are moot. The 10K version represents a "98% prune" which is, IMO, excessive. The compromise I proposed was an "85% prune" which is, again IMO, sufficiently substantial to make this no longer one of the longest lists on WP. Collect (talk) 10:53, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

The crucial issue is not the numbers involved, it is that anything beyond the contents of the British monarchy website is original research. A few years ago I flagged up the problem that it was debatable whether Greek Orthodox Christians should be in the list, but the more I looked into it I and other Wikpedians flagged up similar problems, which I could go into. PatGallacher (talk) 11:15, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

What the heck happened with the list by removing more then 85% of its content? A beautiful piece of information is destroyed now! What gave some person the right to obliterate so much of the information???? It was stated that this was done one basis of consensus; well I don't see any consensus in the discussion. What kind of sharks are destroying the efforts of other conscientious hardworking Wikipedians? Mr. D. E. Mophon (talk) 11:23, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
Your questions are answered in the first two sentences of this thread!--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 11:50, 15 May 2011 (UTC)
As per usual the legalistic pedantic bunch that tyrannizes the whole of wikipedia won, thereby alienating a huge swathe of wiki editors. I'm not sure its even worthwhile doing anything anymore with this bunch overruling everybody on everything. Williamb (talk) 23:57, 15 May 2011 (UTC)

Re: alan's suggestion in an edit summary of "maybe we should seek arbitration before we make this change" - although I would not oppose someone seeking arbitration through some method, I do not think it is appropriate to delay the change until after such arbitration is sought or concluded. There are clear concerns about the appropriateness of including most of the people who have been removed from this list, and many of them involve BLP policy stuff. I'm pretty sure BLP policy dictates that we remove questionable material first and then readd it only as we can verify it, not that we allow the questionable material to remain until we can demonstrate that it is unverifiable. (Also, a clear majority of people think that a large cut is needed, and Jimbo weighed in at BLP/N agreeing. I know this isn't a majority rules situation and he's not some sort of magical dictator, but, still...) Kevin (talk) 01:20, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Kevin, thank you for your rationale approach. It seems that there remains disagreement. And in that context the change should not occur until resolved, and arbitration seems to be the Wikipedia method. Curiously the last person to revert the page to the short size used the same argument, that is don't change until there is further discussion. Alan Davidson (talk) 01:42, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I think that since this involves BLP issues, the short version needs (or rather, is required by policy) to be the default version until the issue is settled. WP:BLP explicitly states that it applies to articles that contain information about living people even when those articles are not biographies. It's not like the old version has been oversighted or anything - it can be restored if later deemed appropriate. Kevin (talk) 02:05, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Hello all. It will probably be worth you all reading WP:Arbitration, because the one thing that arbitration will not rule on is the content issue of this list. What they would look at is the behaviour of editors, including whether editors have followed policies such as WP:BLP and WP:CONSENSUS. I suspect they wouldn't even take the case at this point, however, because other forms of dispute resolution, include request for comment or mediation has not taken place. These are likely your best next steps. However, Kevin is correct that per BLP the disputed material should remain out of the article until there is a clear consensus that it should be included which I currently don't see. Slp1 (talk) 02:58, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Roger Reynolds's Who's who in the royal family and Alan Hamilton's The Royal 100 list the descendants of Edward VII alive in the 1980s in succession order. Does anyone have access to either work? They might assist in assuaging fears about reliable sources, and would presumably detail the exclusion of Benjamin, Emily, Tanit, Mark and Martin Lascelles, at least. DrKiernan (talk) 08:24, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Isn't the problem that even if you have an absolutely top hole pukka list from 1980, over the intervening years any number of those on the list that might have become Catholic, or who might have spawned out-of-wedlock, and there is no reliable way of knowing who is and who isn't down the entire list of non-notable people. John lilburne (talk) 08:50, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Two sections to the article?

A first section listing the first 39(or 45 as now) people in the line of succession. And a second one listing living descendants of Electress Sophia, people listed in this section can be reliably sourced, I think they all were. However this second section can make clear that people listed may not necessarily be in line to the throne. What I mean is something similar to what is done at the Line of succession to the former Yugoslavian throne. Where you have in that case: the full line of succession presented, and also other potential living heirs listed. So something along those lines can be done here. - dwc lr (talk) 02:25, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Missing relationships

Beginning with Viscount Linley, the current format of the list is misleading about the familial relationship of the individuals in the list. Since the explanation under Format of the List says that children are below there parents and indented, it would appear that Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto are children of the Queen; there needs to be an explanatory note, or a section heading to identify that they are the Queen's nephew and niece rather than her children. The same for the other "first generation" list, it could be interpreted that they are the Queen's siblings rather than her cousins. LarryJeff (talk) 14:36, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

I think it would be better to describe the relationship between successive people in the list, rather than attempt this diagrammatic form. It is not immediately apparent what it means. DrKiernan (talk) 17:22, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I saw the edit you made, but it didn't really solve the issue I meant to address. By removing one level of indentation, all you did was put Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto into what appears to be the same generational level as the Queen and her cousins. There still should be an explanation of who these people are and why they fit where they do in the line. LarryJeff (talk) 19:13, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I know. DrKiernan (talk) 20:07, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
I believe the indented method was introduced as an attempt to reduce the (then contentious) length of the article. Writing "X, Duke of Y" and then on the next line "Z of Y, son of X Duke of Y" took up (marginally) more space than "X, Duke of Y" then [indent]"Z of Y". Opera hat (talk) 21:41, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Title Misleading

We could argue forever about whether the long list or short list is better and never reach consensus however as the page now stands it is misleading. There needs to be some indication after the Mowatts that there are others in the line of succession further down that have not been listed. i.e that the line of succession is not terminated at no 45 Zanouska Mowat or some explanation why wikipedia has decided to list only up to no 45.Lewisdl (talk) 16:46, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Agree LarryJeff (talk) 17:02, 16 May 2011 (UTC)
Agree about the misleadingness - v.s. for my comment about Lord Harewood. There needs to be at least a mention of those further down the line. Opera hat (talk) 21:36, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

Not necessarily against that, but I would point out that the whole issue of what constitutes the "complete" line of succession to the British throne, or any other throne, is a complex legal, historical, and even philosophical question. PatGallacher (talk) 19:55, 16 May 2011 (UTC)

I think most of this discussion has been focused around the numbered list. I'm not sure anyone has objected having content (written in prose) about people further down the line - especially notable Monarchs of other countries - as long as that information is well-sourced. It seems to me there are two main problems people have with the list: 1) Synthesizing sources to produce an exact number for people (and hence "new" information), and 2) Listing non-notable people. Both of these can be avoided by having well-referenced content written in prose. Mlm42 (talk) 02:25, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

The Harewoods and the Fifes

Since the page is protected, it cannot be edited, but I believe once it is editable, we can include at least Lord Harewood and his three legitimate sons, as well as his brother Gerald and his son. Permission was granted for the marriage of Mary and her husband, as well as both George and Gerald. George's three sons with Maria Stein were all born in wedlock, as was Gerald's son with Angela Dowding.

George's son David received permission to marry AFTER the births of his two elder children, Emily and Benjamin, so there is the source that they are illegitimate. The younger children, Alexander and Edward, were born after their parents' marriage, and so they would be legitimate.

James Lascelles had permission for his first marriage so his children Sophie and Rowan would be included, but evidently did not receive permission for his second marriage (third one is fairly irrelevant as there are no children) Tanit Lascelles is already omitted for being born out of wedlock, so if there was no permission for this second marriage, Tewa would also be excluded. There is no listing on the Royal Marriages Act 1772 page that Jeremy Lascelles received permission for either of his marriages, which would apparently exclude his children.

Gerald Lascalles' only legitimate son, Henry, received permission for his first marriage, where he had a son, Maximilian born in wedlock. The Duke of Fife and his son received permission. Searched the Gazette website but cannot find anything for his daughter's marriage, so her daughter wouldn't be in line, then, unless there is a link elsewhere for her marriage. I can't understand why her brother would ask permission but not her.

Also, I don't know how we might take into account the last paragraph Farran exemption--are the Norwegian royal family, who follow the Fifes, considered British citizens under the Sophia Naturalization Act 1705 because King Haakon was a descendent of Electress Sophia? At any rate, this covers at least most of the descendants of Edward VII, possibly including the Norwegians if they aren't considered British citizens. Morhange (talk) 17:22, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

All of that would be original research. What you need is a reliable source which states their position in the line of succession.--Scott Mac 17:33, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
I fail to see how this is original research--these are official sources published in the Gazette authorizing legal marriages. I can understand for some, which is why I suggested at least including the Earl of Harewood and his eldest son and legitimate grandchildren, because clearly they are going to follow Princess Alexandra of Kent's children, what other position would they be in? Not even the official royal family page is 100% reliable considering the situation with mis-ordering Lady Helen Taylor and her family ahead of her younger brother's children. The previous version of the page had a published source (Robert Hardman, Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work, 2007) that had the line of current succession at that date with all of George V's descendants, including the aforementioned Lascalles. Morhange (talk) 17:39, 17 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with Scott Mac that Morhange's arguments in the first post are original research, due to the synthesis required. In this achrived discussion an editor noticed that it is the quite possible that Hardman used this Wikipedia article for the source of his list - I think this is a legitimate concern, and one of the reasons we should not be perpetuating content of questionable accuracy, especially since it's about living people. After all, there are some elements here that have never been tested with the legal system, and therefore nobody (even "reliable sources") can really be certain they have the right interpretation. Mlm42 (talk) 02:06, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, this is precisely the definition of synthesis, which is prohibited: "Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources. If one reliable source says A, and another reliable source says B, do not join A and B together to imply a conclusion C that is not mentioned by either of the sources." Here, you have one source which indicates that someone had a child, and a separate source for the fact that they were married at the time of having a child, and hopefully a source for the fact that the father is in the line of succession. Putting those three together, to arrive first at the conclusion that the child was legitimate, and subsequently at the further conclusion that they must therefore be in the line of succession, and then at the conclusion that they must be immediately after their father, is three layers of unacceptable synthesis. Happymelon 09:37, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Synthesis is not necessary; there are reliable sources for these persons. Two are: Dan Willis, The Descendants of King George I of Great Britain (Baltimore: Clearfield, 2002) ISBN 0806351721 and Robert Hardman, Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work (London: Ebury Press, 2007), ISBN 9780091918422. Alan Davidson (talk) 12:15, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Do either of these books provide a line of succession? If so they may be added, if properly sourced. But we cannot apply our own interpretation of the laws of succession to information in these books to create our own list. TFD (talk) 19:00, 18 May 2011 (UTC)
Willis is only genealogical information (so no line of succession), and apparently (someone said in this discussion) Hardman only lists the first 50.. and its reliability has been questioned: the author may have used this Wikipedia article as a source. Mlm42 (talk) 00:45, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Was the Hardman book not authorize by the royal family? It's connected to the TV series which was also, obviously, authorized. Do you have any valid proof to the fact that "the author may have used this Wikipedia article as a source" or where it's reliability may have been questioned other than speculation by a Wikipedia user? It's a published book authorized by the royal family--surely if we are using the incorrect version on their website, an authorized book based on an authorized documentary could be used. To be honest, I fail to see how any conclusive agreement on this article is going to be reached when, despite alternative sources being prevented, people still reject their inclusion. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Morhange (talkcontribs) 01:20, 19 May 2011
My objection isn't source, since the rules of succession are pretty clearly laid out (legitimate descendants who aren't Roman Catholic are in the succession; descent can be proven for the Harewoods and the Fifes and some of the other closely related cousins. I guess I do question the length of the article. Right now I'd favor limiting the list to the ones on the official web site. --Bookworm857158367 (talk) 01:32, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I don't really have a reason to question this particular source, other than the general reason that "nobody can really know" what the legal system would decide if any particular person were suddenly next in line.. for example, there are children who the royal family's website lists in their line of succession who have been baptised Roman Catholic; would they be offered the throne if everyone in front of them died? My point is that maybe interpreting the rules is not as simple as you suggest. Mlm42 (talk) 03:15, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
It is up to the full privy councils of each realm to determine who is the rightful heir. There was in fact a delay in 1938, when Ireland waited before accepting George VI. TFD (talk) 03:40, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
At a certain point the issue is purely speculative as the question will never realistically be asked. John lilburne (talk) 12:09, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
At a guess, once you go beyond Prince Andrew, the statistical chances of the question being asked become extremely remote. Once you go beyond Peter Phillips you are into the realm of pure fantasy.--Scott Mac 12:56, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
One wonders whether the Kent's prospects of becoming King where in anyway altered by marrying Catholics. John lilburne (talk) 13:15, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
This should not be a question of speculation, interpretation, guess or wonder. We should use the resources. Alan Davidson (talk) 02:49, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

Reliable Sources

One of the reasons for curtailing the list is the lack of "reliable sources" to verify the information. That then opens up a whole debate about what is a reliable source.

because website/book A gives a list and website/book B gives gives another list how are we to determine which website is reliable. Its already been suggested that some official sites have wrong information so clearly bbeing official doesnt necessarily mean being reiliable.

Can anyone give some definitive guidance or is this just as subjective. Lewisdl (talk) 07:54, 20 May 2011 (UTC)

WP:IRS gives some pretty good guidance. There's also WP:RS/N for seeking advice from uninvolved editors on what is or isn't a reliable source if anyone eventually cares to do so. I would consider the official site definitely a 'reliable source' by the definition we use here, but it still may have incorrect information - reliable doesn't mean infallible. If we can find another reliable source talking about how the website is incorrect, or if we find that a preponderance of the other reliable sources disagree with the official website, then we can talk about about that (or if it's really obvious the website is just flatout wrong, we can probably just follow the other reliable sources without bothering to talk about that.) Kevin (talk) 08:01, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Yes, in addition to WP:IRS, you asked about what to do when two sources differ - this is covered by the policy WP:NPOV, which is summarized as saying: Editors must write articles from a neutral point of view, representing all significant views fairly, proportionately, and without bias. Several months ago, I tried to make the case that this was one of the fundamental reasons why we should cut down the list (see this archived RfC). In cases where the "right" answer isn't obvious (such as this one), it's not up to Wikipedia editors to choose between two differing sources; instead we must represent all significant points of view. Mlm42 (talk) 11:53, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Thank you for the summary. The page should use reliable sources in this manner, and it has done so. If there are specific unsourced entries then those entries should be removed. Notes may need to be entered to represent all. Alan Davidson (talk) 00:45, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
There is a difference between two sources presenting different views and different facts. If for example one source misspelled someone's name, then we would use a source that spelled it correctly. TFD (talk) 23:45, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Strange suggestion

One of the biggest cavils so far is that the exact number in the line of succession is not specifically corroborated by any single source at this point. Suppose we just list the first 45(?) with numbers, and simply remove the numbers from those further down the list of Queen Victoria's descendant? 1. Reducing size from original near 480K to a manageable 80K. 2. Eliminating claims about exact numbering in any case. 3. Retaining the product of a great deal of work which does not make any "sensational" or "conentious" claims about a person being a descendant of QV. Any cavils to this compromise suggestion? Collect (talk) 14:25, 19 May 2011 (UTC)

As has been pointed out in previous sections, the presence or absence of numbers in the list is irrelevant to the accuracy of the list or whether it meets Wikipedia standards. Numbering is simply a tool to make the list easier to read; if I make a list that is out of order, or is missing items, then my list is wrong because the content of the list is wrong--not because I put the number 8 beside an item which should actually be 10. So, just on the basis of making it easier for the reader, all the names in the list (however it is eventually formed) should be numbered. LarryJeff (talk) 15:07, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
The question remains unchanged: are there reliable sources for the information proposed? If there is a RS listing the descendants of Queen Victoria, the list can in principle be included as a list of descendants of QV. It cannot be included as the line of succession to the British throne unless there is a reliable source that says precisely that. And in the absence of that, a list of descendants of QV is of borderline notability. Happymelon 15:29, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
Generally speaking, the births of descendants of QV are generally noted as such (or trivially determinable as such). The birth announcements can not, obviously "rank" any order of succession as it is constantly in a state of flux. But the descendants are determinable, and generally noted as such by reliable sources (births in The Times should be acceptable?) Lastly - the idea is to keep this from becoming an en-dash v. em-dash v. hyphen v. proportional dash v. whatever ArbCom nightmare as quickly as possible. Life is too short to waste on debates which end being of less than even academic significance IMO. Cheers. BTW, [1] makes specific reference to all male lines descended from QV, making this a "notable category" per se (using a common name for the family). We do not even have to say more. Collect (talk) 15:45, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
We could list the descendants of Victoria, if we have a source that lists them all. But that would be a different article, although we could provide a link here. TFD (talk) 16:02, 19 May 2011 (UTC)
The point that we should use reliable sources is underlying point. There are such sources. From the list before it was changed every entry that was unsourced should be removed. But that did not happen. Properly sourced material was removed en masse. Alan Davidson (talk) 02:56, 20 May 2011 (UTC)
Yep. Each time a new birth or a death happened, usually within one of Victoria's descendants or a descendant of a royal or noble family that is more prominent and thus has these things reported, I always make sure to provided a citation. The Prince of Prussia for example, if we were to add back Queen Victoria's descendants, will soon lose his place because his future wife is Catholic [2] [3] [4] and evidently has no plans to convert. Morhange (talk) 16:01, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
This is ridiculous. Encyclopedias are neither newspapers, nor are they telephone directories or other up-to-date databases. When editors work hard to keep a huge list of mostly non-notable people up to date each time someone gets born or dies, then there is something seriously wrong. Beyond the first dozen or so entries neither the order nor the specific names of those on the list are of particular interest, which is why except for that one book published by a publisher of genealogy books there is no reliable source for that stuff. It is not the purpose of an encyclopedia to provide services to people who want to find out whether they are related to someone who, according to plausible but untested speculations, is theoretically at the rear end of the line of succession to the British throne. And it goes without saying that it is also not Wikipedia's purpose to stroke the egos of those who are on the list themselves. (More than 2000 potential editors, each with a conflict of interest.) Hans Adler 16:14, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
As has already been pointed out, a large number of people on this list are very notable. Just because you apparently do not find them so does not make them any less notable. Regardless of the length of this list, it will need to be updated every time an included person is born, dies, converts to or marries a Catholic. When Viscount Severn was born, the list was updated with a source. When Lady Marina-Charlotte Windsor converted to Catholicism, it was edited with a source. Sources must be provided for each update to add or remove a person on this list, which, before this majority of this page was deleted en masse, a large number of them were. There are hundreds of sources, some online, others in print, that provide lists of Queen Victoria's descendants. The rather annoying thing is, in this case, even when reliable sources are presented, someone will find a way to discredit them in any way possible. The descendants of Edward VII are easily verifiable; they are either members of the British royal family, members of British nobility or members of the Norwegian royal family--and most, if not all of these people are listed on their official websites. There is also a list, maintained by Cracroft's Peerage, an respected reference library that exists both in print and online. It mentions an older version of this article at the bottom, but I cannot imagine any respected and published reference source, online or in print, that would actively use Wikipedia as a primary source. I've already sent off correspondence to the author of this site in reference to this, so I suppose I'll report back when I get an answer. At any rate, no one is doing any ego stroking here. I don't think anyone is using this page as some guide to their ancestors--there are other sites, and the like, that would provide much more help in that situation--I doubt, for example, Lyla Gilman will grow up and need to look at this page to find out who her great-great-great-grandmother was. I participated in a lot of editing, yet I'm about 99.9% certain that even if you went as far back through the descendants of the first King of England you wouldn't find any of my ancestors here. And I'm fairly certain that the British Royal Family has more important things to do than editing an article on Wikipedia. I have yet to see any person claiming to represent anyone on this list edit or make a contribution to this discussion in the first place, so I have no idea where you even got that idea. Morhange (talk) 23:31, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
Published reference sources, in all areas are quite capable of quoting a WP article, very few of them have any sense of shame, and quite often one finds that WP are in fact circular references. That said the problem is that outside of the official list no one has any idea who is in the line, or where their position happens to be, particular when you get a few steps away from the official list. In particular one does not know what their religious affiliations are, the Monarch is supposed to be head of the CofE which could be quite difficult if the person concerned is an Atheist, Zen Buddhist, Muslim, or Scientologist. Something that for all the non notable people on the list would be difficult to source one way or the other. Neither does anyone know without WP:OR whether each and everyone of the people on the list are in compliance with the Royal Marriages Act 1772. John lilburne (talk) 08:44, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
The idea that someone from the British Royal Family would be editing here is something that you introduced as a red herring. They don't need to participate in the status-seeking games (adoptions to acquire titles, fake ancestries etc.) that infest nobility-related Wikipedia articles. I am getting the idea about conflict of interest from (1) (possibly accidental) similarities between apparent surnames appearing in user names of users editing here and surnames that appear on the list, and (2) the way in which some editors insist on spending their time on this fuming heap of uninspiring original research that is of no value whatsoever to the general public. Hans Adler 10:04, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
The Prince of Prussia is not in the line of succession - or at least, not by virtue of his descent from Queen Victoria's eldest daughter. The Princess Royal received consent under the Royal Marriages Act to marry Prince Frederick of Prussia in 1857. However, as he was a Protestant and a descendant of Electress Sophia of Hanover, he was British under the Sophia Naturalisation Act, and therefore their marriage was not that of a princess into a foreign family. As a result the children born of this marriage were also bound by the terms of the Royal Marriages Act to seek consent before marrying. As none of these children sought consent from the British monarch for his or her marriage, all of their children were illegitimate under British law, and their descendants have no succession rights to the British throne in right of such descent (though they may have through other lines). You might dismiss such an argument, but for me to so synthesise citable British laws to say they aren't in line is no more invalid under WP:OR as to synthesise citable British laws to say they are in line. Opera hat (talk) 22:38, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

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