Simon Abney-Hastings, the 15th Earl of Loudoun, is set to attend King Charles III’s coronation. Although his family does not have any lands or stately homes in the UK, they inherited the title of Earl of Loudoun due to their lineage. An unlikely scenario has arisen due to research by British medieval historian Michael Jones. He discovered a document in Rouen cathedral in France that he argues proves King Edward IV was illegitimate. Jones believes that Edward’s younger brother George, Duke of Clarence, is the rightful heir to the throne and a direct ancestor of Abney-Hastings. The earls of Loudoun have traditionally been the bearers of the golden spurs, signifying the monarch’s role as head of the armed forces, since the 12th century.
Abney-Hastings’ father Michael emigrated from the UK to Australia in 1960 and inherited the title from his mother, the 13th Countess of Loudoun, in 2002. The title passed on to Simon after his father’s death in 2012. Simon Abney-Hastings is one of just 13 individuals carrying out ceremonial roles at the coronation due to their ancestors’ previous roles. He will be performing the same role as his ancestors on May 6.
The Rouen cathedral discovery had surprising implications for the Abney-Hastings family almost 20 years ago. A British documentary team visited Michael Abney-Hastings at his home in Australia for the 2004 programme “Britain’s Real Monarch.” They told him that new research pointed to Edward IV being illegitimate, which meant that he was the rightful king of England. Abney-Hastings responded that he had been aware of a “distant” link to the Plantagenet royal dynasty but confessed that the news that he might have been King Michael I was “a bit of a shock.” Although historians may believe he has the right to inherit the throne, the 15th earl has never held this view. He has always been a loyal and staunch supporter of both Queen Elizabeth II and her son.