It was hardly crowded on the Buckingham Palace balcony the other day. Just the Queen, her eldest son and daughter-in-law, the two grandsons William and Harry and of course Kate; a moment of triumph for those engineers of the modern British monarchy that have decided that the common man can’t keep track of more than ten Royals and regard "down-sizing" as a sacred thing.
Surely, on this glorious day in the Jubilee year there would have been room there for the hard-working Princess Royal, for the Duke of York and his daughters and for the Wessex family, including T.R.H. Princess Louise and Prince James... Not to mention the Gloucesters and the Kents!
Whereas many a Royal family throughout the times have struggled with extinction, rather than over-representation, the Windsors seem to regard the kissing cousins as more of a burden than a resource. True, a few dynasties, including the Habsburgs, the Wittelsbachs and the Romanovs, did at times grow out of proportion, but the largest Royal or Princely families ironically seem to inhabit the smallest countries, e.g. Liechtenstein and Reuss. The latter had so many Henrich’s in the pedigree that they had to number them (they still do...)
Other families have involuntarily downsized to the point of no return, extinction. Such was the case in France at the death of the Duke de Berry in 1820 - but seven months later, his widow gave birth to a posthumous son, the Count de Chambord, at his birth referred to as "l’Enfant du Miracle". Some families, including Schwarzburg, Saxe-Altenburg and Lippe-Detmold have in fact died out and others are nervously close to it. Many families have had to change the rules of succession, allowing for females to carry on the tradition, the Netherlands being the most famous example with now three reigning Queens in a row.
That reminds me of the situation in Holland in the mid- 60’s with youth revolts and uprisings. In Holland the violent youth opposition went under the name "Proovis" and their most active era coincided with the wedding of the heir to the throne, Princess Beatrix, in 1966. A famous Swedish journalist had managed to get an interview with the leader of the Proovis and among other things concluded that they were not too fond of the Royal family and intended to demonstrate on the wedding day;
"So, you do not want Beatrix to succeed her mother on the throne one day?"
"No, indeed not?".
"...and why is that?"
The Proovi leader lifted his eye-brows, looked somewhat mischievously at the journalist and answered:
"Because I want her to be Empress of Europe"