User logged in as Johan
It is up to a House to alter rules if the country they once reigned over is no longer occupying itself with those rules.
We have seen in Denmark that HM's first cousins lost their succession rights and titles when they married commoners. When her sons married commoners they kept their succession rights and their wives became princesses.
The last marriage of a Russian dynast before that of Maria Wladimirovna is decades ago. Times have changed. So yes she is the Head of the House because her father and grandfather took their role in their times, she faced with the exctinction of her house may be swayed to alter the rules. Anhalt and Weimar have dropped Salic succession due to no male heirs.
The Grand Duchess could also opt to look in the lines of her aunts Maria and Kira if there is an acceptable heir as they would be next in line after Georgy. A morganatic marriage would not exclude Georgy so in time he'll probably declare his children his heirs.
Had one of the dynastic princes survived Grand Duke Wladimir Kirrilovich he would have succeeded and all things would have been different.
As for hypocrisy. If the current rules of succession in the UK would have been applied from say George I the current Queen would never have been the monarch. Does that mean that altering the UK succession to gender neutral is hypocritical as well?
It's true that they all do, but in Maria Vladimirovna's case the hypocrisy is astounding. For decades she has staked her entire claim to the throne and headship of the house on the principle that all the other branches of the family were products of unequal matches and therefore their issue are not dynastic. The Bagration case is different because a legitimate case can be made that as they are the former reigning house of Georgia Nicholas II erred in not accepting them as equal. Such a claim cannot be made in this case.
The Romanov case is not the only example of hypocrisy, when it comes to inconsistently applying house laws impacting succession. This has happened in both reigning and non-reigning dynasties. But there is a critical difference between the Russian case and the Austrian in 1999.
As everybody knows, Archduke Otto staked his claim to headship of the Habsburg imperial dynasty solely on the basis of the morganatic marriage contracted by his great-uncle, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and Countess Sophie Chotek. The fact is that from a purely genealogical standpoint, the line of Franz is senior to that represented by his nephew Karl, who in 1916 succeeded Emperor Franz Joseph on the throne, becoming the last emperor.
Such a thing would not have been possible, had there not been a house law requiring equality of birth, for a marriage to be dynastically approved. After all, Emperor Karl's father, Archduke Otto (who had died in 1906) had been the second son of Archduke Karl Ludwig, brother of Franz Joseph.
To be sure, it's not always easy to define *equality*: each house has different rules and standards. But the Habsburgs had an official list of dynasties acceptable for intermarriage: until 1900, when the emperor's nephew tried to obtain consent for his marriage to Sophie, the Austrian house rules were official, but non-published. They were made public when Franz Ferdinand demanded of his uncle that they be made known to the public at large -- and moreover, hold future generations of Habsburgs bound to them.
This demand was clearly violated, when in 1999 his great-nephew Otto changed the said house laws, recognizing the marriage of his own elder son (Archduke Karl, the present-day head of the house) as dynastic. In fact, the said change was even made retroactive, thereby impacting the morganatic marriages of other Habsburgs, who had married "unequally".
But not the Hohenburgs, descendants of Franz Ferdinand and Sophie, who had been passed over in the Austrian imperial succession: their marriage obviously was not going to be de-morganatized.
In other cases of descendants of morganatic marriages contracted by other European royals, the said dynasts who had married "unequally" had been genealogically junior members of their respective houses. Russia and Luxembourg are good examples coming to mind.
Of course, in some cases, genealogically senior lines got passed over; but fortunately, the morganatic marriages produced no male issue. An earlier example of Russia comes to mind: Grand Duke Constantine Pavlovich, as the second son of Czar Paul, was due to succeed his older brother, Czar Alexander I, who had fathered two daughters who died in childhood. But Constantine himself married unequally, and the throne passed instead to his brother, who assumed it as Czar Nicholas I.
To be sure, the Fundamental Laws impacting the Romanov imperial succession, as of then, did not require equality as a condition for dynastic marriages: this clause got added only later on. Fortunately, however, the issue was irrelevant for the time being, since Constantine's marriage turned out to be childless.
Interestingly enough, Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (eldest son of Crown Prince Wilhelm), grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm II, also contracted an unapproved unequal marriage which produced no son. His grandfather partially de-morganatized the union, by conferring royal titles upon his great-granddaughters. However, the grandson's place in the succession was not restored: accordingly in 1951, Wilhelm's brother (Prince Louis Ferdinand, who in 1938 married Grand Duchess Kira Kirillovna of Russia) succeeded their father as head of the house.
But the Hohenburgs, like the Merenborgs (a morganatic branch of the house of Nassau) has agnatic descedants. The difference between the two cases obviously lies in the fact that one is a branch of a deposed dynasty, while the other a branch of a reigning dynasty. Everybody knows that it's that much easier to clarify or change the rules of an enthroned house, than of a dethroned one.
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