The Earl of Erroll and his granddaughter the Hon. Persephone Hay

Here are the latest pictures of the Hon. Persephone Hay, taken this week with her father and grandfather.

Persephone Idina Isabelle Hay was born on 10 July 2020, a first child for the Earl of Erroll’s son and heir, Harry, Lord Hay, and his wife Clementine.  The new arrival’s middle names come from her great, great grandmother, Idina, wife of the 22nd earl, and her late grandmother, Isabelle, Countess of Erroll, who sadly died shortly before her birth.

Persephone is now second in line to the Chiefship of Clan Hay and the Earldom of Erroll, immediately after her father.  Like many of the very old Scottish titles, the earldom may descend to a female heir in the absence of a male one.  However, it remains the case that preference is given to younger sons over older daughters, so Persephone’s place in the succession may yet move down a notch, should a little brother arrive in the fulness of time.

Three generations of Hays of Erroll: Merlin, 24th Earl of Erroll, baby Persephone, and Harry, Lord Hay

Should she eventually succeed to the title, she will be the third Countess of Erroll in her own right, following Mary, 14th Countess and Chief of Clan Hay from 1717 to 1758, and her great-grandmother, Diana, 23rd Countess, whose son Merlin is the present chief.

It is now widely discussed that the old system that favours sons over daughters is long overdue for reform.  One of the heralds has observed that, by the time Perephone’s turn comes, it is overwhelmingly likely that the rules will have changed to enable the oldest of the family to succeed to the title, irrespective of gender.  Exactly this change was made to the order of succession to the British throne in 2015.

However, a leading academic lawyer, who specialises in family law and matters of inheritance, has sounded a note of caution: if such a change occurs – as it likely will – it will almost certainly be ‘prospective,’ ie, it will include a provision to prevent the displacement of anybody then alive, in order to protect the interest of those who will have grown up with a reasonable expectance of inheriting.  But for now, Persephone is heiress presumptive to the heir apparent, and we congratulate her parents Harry and Clemmie on her arrival.

© Alan Hay 2020