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Fanfic Question
 PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:41 am Reply with quote  
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  Alan Skywalker V
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Sorry if this is the wrong place but I didn't know where to put it.

I'm working on a "Downton Abbey" AU fanfic and I need a question answered.

The basic premise is this: Cora Crawley has a younger sister, Elizabeth, born in 1880. In late 1899, Elizabeth falls in love with a young Bristish aristocrat, David Thorne, who is heir to an earldom. They marry in June 1900 with only a few close friends as witnesses. David's father, the Earl, discovers his son's marriage and is furious; he orders David back to England.

Unknown to the young Viscount, Elizabeth gives birth to his son, Andrew, in June 1901. Elizabeth dies in January 1912(in this story her mother is already dead as well.) Andrew, now 10, is sent to live at Downton Abbey with Cora and Robert, who are his only living(presumed) relatives.

In the meantime David Thorne has succeeded his father as Earl and remarried; Andrew has two young half brothers, Daniel and William. Late in 1912, David visits Downton and meets Andrew; he is struck by the boy's resemblance to his first wife. Eventually the two discover that they are father and son.

Now for the question: Since Andrew is the oldest son, would Daniel automatically be deprived of his presumed status as heir apparent when the truth is revealed, or would the matter have to be settled by a court of law?


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 PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:22 pm Reply with quote  
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  Cerrinea
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I'm no expert here, but I think, with a marriage certificate and a birth certificate for proof, that should settle the matter. Maybe the Brits here on EUC could weigh in.

Also, here's the Hulu link you asked for. It looks like they do have the full episodes of Season 1 although I haven't watched them to verify, but check the time stamp.

http://www.hulu.com/search?query=downton+abbey+season+1&st=0&fs=
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 PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:16 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Well, this is a bit difficult to explain. I'll try my best, but if I mess it up, feel free to ask questions after, and I'll do my best to explain Smile .

Basically, yes, Daniel would automatically be deprived of his presumed status as heir apparent, and Andrew would be given the title.

For aristocrats, it wouldn't so much be a matter of law, but one of duty and honour. As long as the elder Earl didn't bequeath the estate to his son, David, in his will, under certain circumstances (ie, 'you can only be Earl as long as you disavow your wife and any rights and claims she may have' - possible, since he seems a little controlling), and as long as David is explicit in his wording in his own will (ie, 'I recognise my first-born son as my rightful heir' (that would mean his son from his first wife) and doesn't disavow him in other matters), then Andrew will automatically be given the Earldom upon David's death.

His other son, Daniel, would thus automatically lose his right to the Earldom. However, while it was custom to keep these things 'within the family', out of the public eye, and thus not take it to court, if he was a sufficiently petty person then he would take it to court, though I doubt it would be successful. If not, if he held himself to the aristocratic ideals that were popular, then he would figuratively fall on his sword, and he'd be applauded for such a selfless act.
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 PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:30 am Reply with quote  
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  Cerrinea
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Wouldn't the title and the land automatically pass to the closest male heir because of primogeniture? I know for a long time that was in effect to keep the estate and therefore the wealth intact. When the wealth shifted with the industrial revolution, that's when British nobility started marrying American heiresses to maintain the estate (since they were ghastly expensive to maintain). Also younger sons who didn't inherit married American heiresses, which is how Winston Churchill came to have an American mother, Jennie Jerome.
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 PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:50 am Reply with quote  
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  Life Is The Path
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Yes indeedy. That's why Andrew would get it, and not Daniel (unless there's a clause in the previous Earls' will stating otherwise).

I must say, that there's a story arc in season 2 which may be of some interest to Allan ...
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