How this senior royal almost became King of another country

The Royal Family Trooping the Colour 2017

Hello, and welcome to your regular helping of weird things we didn’t know about the Royal Family until now.

From the Queen’s unexpected morning wake-up call music, to the secret royal ‘booze tunnel’ beneath St James’s Palace (no, seriously, it's a thing), the Royal Family never cease to surprise us with curveball facts about what really happens behind those gilded palace doors.

Indeed, the royals have some rather unusual routines – whether it’s the fact that nobody is allowed to go to bed before the Queen, or the unexpected test the monarch makes staff go through before they can work for her.

But one thing we thought we were pretty certain of when it came to the royals was the line of succession.

Sure, there's speculation that Prince Charles may pass the throne on to Prince William when the time comes (though recent jokes made by the prince suggest he doesn't plan on it any time soon), and then there's the fact that the recent arrival of quite a few royal babies has shifted things, but we never expected to discover that one senior working royal almost became King (albeit, of another country) – despite being 11th in line to the throne.

Yep, we were as confused as you are.

But it turns out that the Queen's youngest son, Prince Edward, was propositioned for the role of King of Estonia back in the 1990s.

How exactly, you ask? Well, according to royal expert Robert Jobson's book The Royal Family Operations Manual, one of the country's political parties penned a letter to the Queen, requesting permission to crown her then 30-year-old son as King.

As per The Sunday Telegraph, the letter called the Duke of Wessex a "young British prince much admired by Estonians", apparently adding: "Edward is perfect – young, royal, artistic and talented. We admire his Royal Highness Prince Edward enormously. We also admire Britain, its monarchy, democracy and culture."

(Insert expected joke about getting someone to admire you as much as Estonia admires Prince Edward here.)

The party's letter added that they "would be most honoured if you [the monarchy] would accept this rare request".

Well, that's unexpected.

Sure, the political party in question was the now-defunct Royalist Party of Estonia, who were largely considered nothing more than a joke party, but it's still a pretty interesting piece of royal history we had no idea about until now.

And while we know that Prince Edward did not, alas, ascend the Estonian throne, just what was Buckingham Palace's response to the request?

A spokesperson at the time called it "a charming idea but a rather unlikely one".


Kate McCusker

Kate McCusker is a freelance writer at Marie Claire UK, having joined the team in 2019. She studied fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins, and her byline has also appeared in Dezeen, British Vogue, The Times and woman&home. In no particular order, her big loves are: design, good fiction, bad reality shows and the risible interiors of celebrity houses.