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Re: Royal cuckoos
User logged in as Damian
What is a Royal Cuckoos?
A ruler or royal personage who is not biologically related to their predecessor or other members of the royal family.
In addition to Jane's list and other examples already discussed, there have been several incidences in Russian history. There were rumours that Peter the Great was not the biological son of Alexei I. He himself may have believed it as he apparently confronted one boyar who was alleged to have been "very close" to Peter's mother and asked him point blank, "Are you my father?". Another famous example is the doubts raised about the true paternity of Paul I (son and heir of Catherine the Great and, officially, her deposed and murdered husband, Peter III).
In France there have been persistent rumours that Louis XIV was not the biological offspring pf Louis XIII given that he wasn't born until 23 years after his parents married and at a time when Louis XIII was in failing health and thought to be impotent or homosexual or both (he died when his "son" was only 4 years old). Cardinal Mazarin, a close confidante of Louis' mother, is often cited as the probable true father.
In England, Edward IV is the most well-known medieval example of disputed paternity. Another was John of Gaunt, founder of the House of Lancaster, who was enraged by persistent rumours that he had been substituted for a dead male baby delivered by Edward III's wife in Ghent (Gaunt) while the King was on a tour of the Low Countries to drum up support for his war against the French. Gaunt was widely hated for his influence over the government and his brutal suppression of the Peasants Revolt and the rumours may have been a form of revenge for these unpopular activities.
The most famous example in English history is probably the warming-pan rumour of 1688 when James II's second wife gave birth to a healthy son after suffering many earlier infant deaths. She and James were staunch Catholics in a country otherwise dominated by radical Protestants and the latter feared an uninterrupted line of Catholic monarchs loomed so they propagated the rumour that the Queen's baby had died just like all the others before it but that someone else's baby had somehow been smuggled into the birthing chamber, apparently unnoticed by all the witnesses present, and presented to the world as the King's son. This rumour was even supported by the King's two daughters (both Protestants) from his first marriage and helped fuel the so-called 'Glorious Revolution' which forced the King and Queen to flee the country with their infant son and be substituted by the King's Protestant daughter and son-in-law. That was probably the only true substitution to have occurred in this bizarre and murky affair.
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