Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Royal Rebellion?
January 10, 2007 10:04 PM   Subscribe

Historically, has there been a member of Royal blood that, for either philosophical, political or religious reasons eschewed the royal lifestyle and struck out on their own?

If so, is there much recorded history of why that happened, the reaction of the monarchy and the results thereof? This doesn't need to be traditional Western European royalty, although that's where I'm assuming the most likely situation would've been. Minor characters in royalty (i.e. Neices and Nephews of Dukes or Duchesses of Dork welcome). Cheers.
posted by Ufez Jones to Religion & Philosophy (37 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
James II and Edward VIII
posted by The White Hat at 10:11 PM on January 10, 2007


The Edward VIII story is pretty fascinating.
posted by jessamyn at 10:19 PM on January 10, 2007


Princess Diana?
posted by hadjiboy at 10:21 PM on January 10, 2007


Siddharta Gautama/Buddha
posted by matkline at 10:22 PM on January 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wikipedia also has a list of "important abdications" most of which are linked to longer explanatory articles. Not all of these are rebellious, but many are.
posted by jessamyn at 10:23 PM on January 10, 2007


hadjiboy - Princess Diana wasn't technically of Royal blood.
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 10:25 PM on January 10, 2007


woops
posted by hadjiboy at 10:32 PM on January 10, 2007


Alright, then. Apparently the word I was looking for was Abdication. Thanks, jessamyn. It'll take me a bit to sort through that list, but I appreciate it.
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:37 PM on January 10, 2007


Wikipedia’s entry on Abdication

(PS. She does come quite close though)
posted by hadjiboy at 10:39 PM on January 10, 2007


Not on the list, Princess Ubol Ratana of Thailand relinquished her royal title after she married and settled in San Diego with her husband in 1972. After they divorced she was accepted again as royalty, but with a slightly reduced title.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:41 PM on January 10, 2007


Take the wayback machine.

Gautama Buddha

"His father was Suddhodana, the chief of the Shakya nation..."

Akhenaten

"He has been called "the first individual in history", as well as the first monotheist, first scientist, and first romantic."
posted by frogan at 10:52 PM on January 10, 2007


Princess Ragnhild of Norway married her bodyguard and moved to Brazil. But she didn't have a shot at the throne unless her brother died.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 10:53 PM on January 10, 2007


Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria, son of Emperor Franz Joseph, doesn't quite fit the bill exactly -- he didn't abdicate, though he commited suicide (or was he murdered for his liberal views? dun-dun-DUN!) in 1889 at age 31, setting up Franz Ferdinand as the new crown prince -- but he was certainly quite progressive for being a Hapsburg and all: he believed in science/education/social programs; deplored the conservatism of Austrian politics and looked to Britain and France, rather than Germany, for political models; counted among his best friends a Jewish journalist at a time when anti-Semitism was still unofficial policy in Austria, etc. Definitely a royal rebel within certain parameters. One of my all-time favorite nonfiction books, A Nervous Splendor, is a marvelous look at the last year of his life against the backdrop of Vienna's changing social and cultural climate.

Additionally, Rudolf's daughter Elisabeth was known as the Red Archduchess for her association with socialist politics, particularly after marrying her second husband, Social Democratic politician Leopold Petznek.
posted by scody at 11:12 PM on January 10, 2007


frogan: While Akhenaten did attempt to radically alter the structure of Egyptian religion (from polytheism to virtual monotheism), I think you're missing the point of the question. Ufez is looking for people who "eschewed the royal lifestyle" - becoming Pharaoh pretty much disqualifies Akhenaten.
posted by anarcation at 11:21 PM on January 10, 2007


Austria absolutely OBSESSES over Sissi, and if she hadn't of been assassinated, she was slowly dismissing her crown entirely from what I hear. She didn't want to do anything anyone wanted her to do, she just traveled around the world avoiding her children & husband for the most part. She's been very romanticized in Austria much like Princess Diana (odd, since she preferred Hungary to Austria), but in truth she was manic depressive & anorexic. (I have read some of her letters & she was kind of a spoiled brat, I thought.) Anyhow, she was also pretty scandalous because not only did she take on lovers, she wore what she wanted to and rode horses like a man. She wasn't very Queen-like... she openly loathed it all.
One of my best friends is Austrian so I've heard a lot about Sissi over the years...
posted by miss lynnster at 11:52 PM on January 10, 2007


No one (including the Wikipedia abdications article) has mentioned Prince Peter Kropotkin.
posted by jeffmshaw at 12:13 AM on January 11, 2007


I don't know what you mean by "strike out on their own". In the middle ages it was quite common for second and third sons of barons and baronets to enter the clergy.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:39 AM on January 11, 2007


Emperor Gong of the Song abdicated to become a monk, though the Mongols rather forced his hand.
posted by Abiezer at 1:00 AM on January 11, 2007


Perhaps that his pro-fascist self might be "offed" imminently?

Does Crown Price Dipendra of Nepal count? He wasn't allowed to marry the person of his choosing and retaliated by shooting almost the entire royal family in June 2001 in a bona fide killing spree, before putting a bullet into his own head.

However -- for about one day before dying from his self-inflicted injury, as the only surviving person in the line of succession, he was declared King of Nepal. So this may disqualify him from the current discussion.
posted by genghis at 1:40 AM on January 11, 2007


The other day I was listening to the radio, and there was a singer (I don't even remember if it was a male or female) who had abdicated their throne to pursue singing. They were either African or Asian, I think. Very helpful, I know.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 1:42 AM on January 11, 2007


Oh. They had been a prince(ss).
posted by gauchodaspampas at 1:43 AM on January 11, 2007


Princess Nori of Japan was required by law to give up her royal title and place in the Japanese court when she got married in 2004.
posted by PenDevil at 3:56 AM on January 11, 2007


As far as the Duke of Windsor goes, it's worth mentioning that he didn't exactly "strike off on his own" or "eschew the royal lifestyle" after he abdicated. He and "That Woman" lived a very regal lifestyle despite the estrangement from the rest of the family, and sponged off of every rich friend, relation, or hanger-on they could for many, many years.
posted by briank at 5:08 AM on January 11, 2007


The other day I was listening to the radio, and there was a singer (I don't even remember if it was a male or female) who had abdicated their throne to pursue singing. They were either African or Asian, I think. Very helpful, I know.


I guess she didn't abdicate anything, and she's not African or Asian, nor much of a singer, but...
posted by bink at 5:46 AM on January 11, 2007


There's a rumour in my town (Kingston, ON) about a British expat living northwest of here on a large chunk of land. He is in his 60's, tattooed quite extensively and used to (and still may) have a huge punk fest on his land every year. The big part of the rumour is that he is a member of the royal family who was exiled here for his punkish yearnings. The only name I've heard associated with him is "Spider" so I guess there's no way to check up on this.
posted by LunaticFringe at 5:59 AM on January 11, 2007


In the 1930s, two Swedish princes both gave up their legal rights to the throne in order to marry commoners.

One was Lennart Bernadotte in 1932, and the other (more famous, since he was a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria, and fought hard in his later years to get his title back) was Sigvard Bernadotte in 1934.
posted by gemmy at 6:19 AM on January 11, 2007


Nitpick: Diana wasn't a princess. The title of 'Princess of Wales' was a courtesy title, as she was married to the Prince of Wales.

Her proper title during her marriage was: Lady Diana, The Princess of Wales; Lady Diana for short.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:28 AM on January 11, 2007


LunaticFringe: Are you sure he's not Lord Lucan?
posted by afx237vi at 8:57 AM on January 11, 2007


afx: Well, I'm not sure of anything as I said it was merely a rumour so it's quite possible that the mysterious "Spider" is Lord Lucan. It's also equally probable that he's not. My understanding of the rumour was that the royals gave him the land with the understanding that he not return to England so I doubt that it would be Lucan as the Royals could then be implicated in aiding a fugitive.
posted by LunaticFringe at 9:08 AM on January 11, 2007


becoming Pharaoh pretty much disqualifies Akhenaten

I think you need to read up on him and consider the question in context. He re-wrote what it meant to be pharaoh, moved the capitol to a different city and turned the dominant religion upside down. If that's not "striking out on one's own," I don't know what is.

It would be as if the King of England replaced Jesus with Thor, moved the castle to France and started calling himself Bubba.
posted by frogan at 10:51 AM on January 11, 2007


You can also add two of Ashoka's children to the list, Prince Mahindra and Princess Sanghamitra, both of whom became Buddhist monastics.
posted by gage at 11:26 AM on January 11, 2007


From my understanding, Akhenaten changed the role of Pharoah by declaring that there was only one god, creating one of the first monoteistic religions. Basically, since there was one god and he was the person most closely aligned to that one god, he was able to become a far more powerful ruler over his people. (His name was originally Amenhotep IV, he changed it to mean "He who is beneficial to the Aten".)
To quote the first link, "...(Atenism) was Egypt's state religion for around 20 years, before a return to the traditional gods so comprehensive that the heretic Pharaohs associated with Atenism were erased from Egyptian records."
posted by miss lynnster at 12:17 PM on January 11, 2007


monotheistic monotheistic monotheistic
posted by miss lynnster at 12:18 PM on January 11, 2007


Lord and Lady Haden-Guest?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:04 PM on January 11, 2007


Legend has it that Emperor Alexander I of Russia faked his own death and went to live a more spiritually fulfilling life as a hermit named Fyodor Kuzmich in Siberia.
posted by posadnitsa at 5:05 PM on January 11, 2007


And of course, there's always Siddhartha, whose departure from a life of royal privilege wound up being rather influential.
posted by scody at 5:49 PM on January 11, 2007


I think you need to read up on him and consider the question in context.

I'm not saying that Akhenaten didn't "strike out on his own." The questioner is asking about figures who "eschewed the royal lifestyle," and I interpreted that to mean ones who gave up power, possessions, or some other advantage of royalty.

Look at the other examples here. Most relinquished their titles to lead a more "common" lifestyle, while Akhenaten had all the comforts that came with being Pharaoh.

It would be as if the King of England replaced Jesus with Thor, moved the castle to France and started calling himself Bubba.

I think it would be more relevant to the question if he had abdicated in order to start a shrimping operation with his buddy Forrest.
posted by anarcation at 8:59 PM on January 11, 2007


« Older What is the "shelf-life&q...   |  I want to do Paris/daytrips (1... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.