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Eric Shackle's Column

By Eric Shackle

Proud Dynasties in US, UK and Oz

Down the centuries, Britain has recorded its royals by name, followed by Roman numerals. Henry and George are easy winners, scoring eight each. Henry VIII had more wives than George VIII.

Now we notice a similar trend in the US, where one guy boasts the proud name of Griffith Rutherford Harsh V.

He's the wayward son of neurosurgeon Griffith Rutherford Harsh IV and prominent business executive Margaret Cushing "Meg" Whitman, who hopes to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as Governor of California.

Thomas Cruise Mapother IV is the real name of the American film actor and director Tom Cruise. His father was Thomas Cruise Mapother III. His great-grandfather, Thomas Cruise O'Mara, was adopted by a Welsh immigrant named Mapother, and renamed Thomas Cruise Mapother.

Confusingly, one of Cruise's cousins, William Reibert Mapother, Jr.is another American actor who is known by that name.

William Clinton is another dynastic name, harking back to William de Clinton, first Earl of Huntingdon (13041354). An English nobleman,William Henry Clinton (17691846), was a British general from a prominent military family; who served in the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.

Former US president William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III. His father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr., was a traveling salesman who died in an automobile accident three months before Bill was born. Four years later his mother married Roger Clinton, Sr. Although he assumed use of his stepfather's surname, it was not until Billy (as he was known then) was 14 that he formally adopted the surname Clinton.

Stephen Hess wrote about US dynasties in the Washington Post two years ago. "American public life is saturated with them", he said. "Kennedys, Bushes, Clintons. Powerful individuals connected to one another by blood or by marriage who, deservedly or not, take on that most paradoxical of American labels: dynasty."

Another American, George Herbert Walker IV (born April 1969) is Chairman and CEO of Neuberger Berman.

The male children within a single nuclear family are not numbered sequentially, as all members of the larger family are part of the same numbering system. For example, the sons of Prince Heinrich LXVII Reuss of Schleiz were, in order, Heinrich V, Heinrich VIII, Heinrich XI, Heinrich XIV, and Heinrich XVI

In the UK, Tom Green told Yahoo Answers: 'I have the same name as both my grandfather and my (now deceased) great grandfather. I have a different name to my father. Does this still make me Thomas Green III?"

The "best answer": "Generally, no. However, there are specific circumstances where it would. e.g., Queen Elizabeth II was born centuries after Queen Elizabeth I. But, for us commoners, it needs to be in successive generations. So, your grandfather would have been the II (second), but you are not the III (third)."

In Australia, we have a famous family, descendants of William Wentworth, whose great-grandson William Wentworth IV was a member of Parliament 1949-77.

An ABC radio feature in 2003 described William Wentworth I in these terms: "Our greatest colonial dynasty was founded by 'the bastard son of a highway robber by a convict whore': WC Wentworth, the father of colonial self-government and an explorer of the Blue Mountains. But his birthright was hidden by his own family, using its fortune over generations to remake itself into a pillar of the establishment. Today, the money and ancestral estate are gone, the family yet to shake off its maverick legacy."

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Posted Sunday, 25 September 2011 by Eric Shackle at 17:01 from Sidney, Australia to his Nimble Nonagenarians blog.


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