So. I had my Moderna booster yesterday and I feel pretty lousy. I’d bought The Werewolf of Whitechapel, by Suzannah Rountree on . . . Wednesday, October 20, and I felt lousy last night, so I did a bunch of reading. I’m only 25% of the way into it, but I have thoughts.
As you may be able to guess from the reference to Whitechapel, this book is a Jack the Ripper story, only it’s one in which monsters are real, and are members of the royal family of every country except England (we’ll be coming back to this later).
So far, at the 25% mark, we’ve been told that the royal families of Denmark and Greece are Sirens, the royal families of Russia and Romania are Vampires and the royal families of Germany and I can’t remember where right now are Werewolves. Sweden?
Anyway, one of the major characters in the book is Mary of Teck, who was Queen of England for 26 years, during the reign of George V. Mary’s grandfather was a German duke and her grandmother was a commoner. Her father was also a German duke and her mother was English. Therefore she is not a werewolf and thus a safe wife for the future King of England.
And this is where my suspension of disbelief is getting harder to sustain. Because the royal family of England are German, not English. Queen Victoria’s mother was a German princess and her husband was a German prince. Victoria’s paternal grandmother was also a German princess, and it kind of keeps going that way for a while.
I have a copy of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Heming: An American Controversy, by Annette Gordon-Reed and in the book, she says that Jefferson believed that once seven of your great-grandfathers were white, you were white. And, well, something very like that is at work here.
I don’t know if Rowntree knows this, though.
Update: What follows will be a massive spoiler so.
It turns out that the entire royal family of England is werewolves, though it’s not specified that it was because they’re German. Also, this book changes history in a pretty significant way. Mary of Teck cannot cope with the fact that the English royal family is werewolves, and so she doesn’t marry George V after all. And this must change history because Mary of Teck was Queen Elizabeth II’s paternal grandmother.
With a different mother, would George V’s eldest son (a) marry an American divorcee or (b) become a Hitler fanboy (depending on which explanation for his abdication you prefer) and if he didn’t abdicate, then George V’s second son (in our timeline Queen Elizabeth II’s father) certainly wouldn’t have become king in his brother’s stead unless the eldest son died without any children.
Yeah, so basically that’s all screwed up and so, too, would the history of the British Raj, probably. Would George V been crowned Emperor of India without Mary of Teck? Possibly. Maybe even probably. But what about the end of the Raj? George VI was on the throne then, but we’ve all but done away with George VI. Would George V’s alternative elder son given India its freedom? Would Pakistan be Pakistan in that situation?
I mean, I know that the politics and economics of the situation are more than I can really cope with, neither being my strong suit, but I certainly think that something as huge as changing George V’s wife for someone else would have made a huge difference in everything else.
Assuming that George V ever married. If he didn’t, then the throne would have passed to the descendants of another of Queen Victoria’s children entirely.
Basically, I’m tempted to read the rest of the series just to find out if the succession ends up being the mess that I’m afraid it will be.