Given my fascination with nobility, monarchies, and the recognized noble houses of current republics, I often stumble across web sites for such entities, and those who claim (sometimes dubiously) to be noble. Recently, I found a website1 for David Drew Howe, pretender to the throne of the Isle of Mann. The site overflows with information set forth to establish his claim. The supposition appears to be hinged on the lack of a response from HRH Queen Elizabeth II to a claim to the throne advertised in the London Gazette in 2007:
DAVID DREW HOWEhttp://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/58221/notices/999/date=2007-01-16;page=541
Notice is hereby given that David Drew Howe claims incorporeal hereditament rights to the independent Kingdom of Mann or Man, together with fons honorum through ancestral descendant of Sir John Stanley; through the passing by letters patent of 1405 to his heirs, according to the course of the common law, for the grant itself by letters patent was warranted by the common law in this case: and therefore, if no other impediment existed, the incorporeal hereditament rights in this case have descend to the heirs general, and not to the heir male. All enquiries through Leonard Warner (Solicitor), of Green Wright Chalton Annis, 60 High Street, Steyning, West Sussex BN44 3RD.
“As far as the Isle of Man Government is concerned the Isle of Man’s sovereign is Her Majesty the Queen, as Lord of Mann,” Tony Brown, the island’s chief minister, has said. “I am not aware of any valid alternative claim to sovereignty over the Island.”http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317490,00.html
A nobleman of unquestionable lineage, the Earl of Bradford, maintains a website focused on exposing the purveyance of fake titles. I found no reference to this particular claimant there. I do not postulate however, that a lack of mention be construed as acceptance. I was able to confirm my assumption in an email conversation with Lord Bradford, who said “the King of Man is the Queen”. There are other men who have taken somewhat creative circumnavigations around the legal systems of Britain and Commonwealth to establish claims of nobility:
- Prince Roy of Sealand
- Prince Leonard I of Hutt
- Prince Paul of the Principality of Wy
- Lord Marcher of Trelleck, Mark Roberts
One major difference, however, is that these individuals did not stake their claims based on an ancient lineage, but in what appears to be actual legal loopholes.
A defunct website (unrealroyal.com) published by Michael Andrews-Reading took the Mr. Howes’s claim to task several years ago. It can be resurrected via the WayBack Machine. The latest working instance can be viewed here. I have not validated Mr. Andrews-Reading’s claims, but based on his analysis of pedigree put forth by Mr. Howe, it would appear his claim does not follow the rules of agnatic succession. He also calls into question whether the advertisement in the London Gazette and lack of response from HRH Queen Elizabeth II to contest the claim, serves as legitimization. Moreover, the fact that the site is defunct can be viewed in one of two ways: either Mr. Andrews-Reading conceded to the legitimacy of the Mr. Howe’s claim, or he decided that the claim was so ludicrous that it wasn’t worth the cost of maintaing a site to refute it. Regardless of Mr. Howe’s claim, it would appear that he plans to remain a modern “king over the water“:
Not much has changed day to day for King David of Mann, who lives in an unassuming home with his queen, a pistol-packing monarch named Pamela, and their princess, 5-year-old Grace.
“We’re nobody special,” he said.
His friends jokingly call him King Ralph, from the John Goodman movie of the same name, and he occasionally entertains their requests for an informal title, free of charge.
“They’ll rib me enough,” Howe said. “And then I’ll say, ‘OK, get down on your knees,’ but nothing really formal like that.” (2007, Fox News)
So what is my opinion on the matter? Personally, I find it pure whimsy, especially without direct, agnatic succession. It would be a bit like me pretending to the throne of Morgannwg based on a sketchy pedigree tracing back to Iestyn ap Gwrgant (Any highfalutin barrister interested taking up my cause pro bono: email me). Or like Judge John Hanson Briscoe claiming he should be President of the United States because his ancestor, John Hanson, was the President of the United States [in Congress assembled] under the Articles of Confederation. Mr. Howe’s lack of relocation to the Isle speaks volumes, but given the unpopularity of the notion, I can understand why he remains in America. Even if the claim were to be found legitimate, I cannot fathom how Mr. Howe would be able to assume the throne of a kingdom that was absorbed by the British Monarchy hundreds of years ago.
Further reading from this site:
- Join the aristocracy – become a Scottish Laird, Lord or Lady!
- The heraldic fraud (II)
- More ancient titles for sale
- [Update 4/5/2021] The original website (http://royalty-isleofman.org) appears to have went defunct sometime after April 5th, 2016.