The Queen

The Queen’s intervention in family’s hereditary title feud



Her Majesty The Queen has personally intervened in a feud between two families over the inheritance of a prestigious title. Following The Queen’s intervention, for the first time, DNA evidence could be used to resolve a feud over a hereditary title.

The feud was ignited when an amateur genealogist revealed that a distinguished baronet came from a different bloodline to his relatives, insinuating that somewhere along the line there may have been an illegitimate child. Since the dispute began, the two families have spent thousands of pounds on legal costs to try and prove which is the correct line.

To try and settle the argument, peerage authorities have been called upon to determine if the genetic material could be used to determine who should inherit the Pringle of Stichill baronetcy. The Queen herself has even intervened in the case, by referring it to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, who will rule on whether DNA evidence can lawfully be used to settle the issue of hereditary titles.

The Pringle of Stichill baronetcy dates back to 1683 and the most recent baronet, Sir Steuart Pringle, was the Commandant General of the Royal Marines during the Falklands War and even survived an IRA car bomb. Upon his death in 2013, it was expected that his son, Simon, would become the 11th baronet though Murray Pringle from High Wycombe has claimed that he is the true heir. DNA samples provided by a Clan Pringle project showed that the 10th baronet was not genetically related to his cousins and the wider Pringle family however Murray Pringle is descended from a legitimate branch of the family.

Her Majesty had to sign personally the letter requesting that the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council intervene in the matter. The last case dealt with by a baronetcy Committee of the Privy Council was in 1927.

This case will be heard in November.