On the last weekend of August, the Crown Prince of Ansteorra (the SCA kingdom that covers Oklahoma and most of Texas) attended the coronation of the new prince and princess of the kingdom of Álendia. The Ansteorran Prince was there as an invited guest, honored as a visiting royal, and made a short speech to “extend an olive branch” to their populace.
Society royals visit other kingdoms all the time, but Álendia isn’t part of the SCA — it’s the sole kingdom of SMA, the Society of the Middle Ages, a splinter group formed in 2021 by folks who felt the SCA was “too woke.” While there are some interesting elements in their organization, the primary difference is one of modern politics: SMA is a haven for MAGA folks, including anti-maskers, Euro-centrists, and those whose racism, misogyny, homophobic, or anti-trans bias leaves them out of synch with the SCA’s efforts to be more inclusive. Notably, among its earliest members are a number of people who were sanctioned or kicked out of the SCA via an R&D (Revocation of Membership and Denial of Participation), as well as their sympathizers.
Unsurprisingly, this visit prompted a fair amount of consternation within the SCA. A significant number of people noted that he hadn’t just attended as an individual, but had gone wearing the regalia that marked him as the Crown Prince of Ansteorra, and was thus acting in an official capacity.
… his actions reflect poorly on the kingdom. An experienced Royal should know not to express such personal feelings and positions while wearing the regalia of the Kingdom when those personal feelings and positions contradict those of the Society and the Kingdom. … He broke faith with the people of Ansteorra who have been working so hard to make this kingdom an inviting, inclusive, fun, and safe place to spend their time and passion. He broke faith with those who have joined on the premise that the SCA in Ansteorra is a safe place for them to be themselves.
Over the last week, the Prince defended his actions, and acknowledged the distress he had caused, but fell short of a full-throated apology. The King and Queen of Ansteorra issued a statement that didn’t explicitly discuss the controversy but did make clear they didn’t support the Prince’s actions, emphasized that they remained committed to the SCA’s inclusion efforts, and mentioned that they had invited a Society investigation.
On Monday, the SCA Board held a special meeting and agreed to remove the Crown Prince from his position; that decision was announced two days later. The next steps are unclear — will the Crown Princess will be seated alone as Queen? — but presumably these’ll be ironed out in the coming weeks.
As with other sanctions, the announcement did not cite any specific grounds for the removal, and it’s not clear which specific rules he’s believed to have violated.
In addition to reacting to the obvious distress of the populace, and supporting the ongoing inclusion efforts, the Board’s decision can also be read as a defense of its power. After all, if you could flounce from the SCA and refuse to play by their rules, but still be considered part of the same community, it would be a pretty clear challenge to the authority of the Society’s leadership. I can’t imagine that the Board want there to be twenty-one kingdoms, twenty of them under Board control and one not.
(As a point of historical comparison, the SCA now has cordial relations with the Kingdom of Acre / MSR, which split off in 1979/80, but it took years to reach that point, and some tensions persisted even after their treaty of friendship was signed seven years later. As far as I know, the Society does not have formal relationships with other groups such as the Adrian Empire, Empire of Medieval Pursuits, etc — and while some of those groups include problematic individuals, none of them seem to be as politically toxic as a whole.)