The House of Winton was the ruling dynasty of the Star Kingdom of Manticore beginning with the original settlement of the planet Manticore. During the Kingdom's more than 500 year-long history, there were sixteen monarchs of the House of Winton as of 1921 PD, when the Star Empire of Manticore was formed.
Roger Winton, the leader of the Manticore colonization project, was dark skinned and his descendants remained dark-skinned, even after several centuries of Constitutionaly mandated marriage to unrelated commoner stock. Since Winton was deliberately genetically modified, and some traits were dominant (as for instance, mental attractiveness to treecats) the persistent skin tone was very likely dominantly linked as well.
Prior to the departure of the Manticore colonists in 774 PD, Winton set up the Manticore Colony Trust of Zurich. The Trust invested their remaining capital on behalf of the colonists, who traveled on the sublight cryogenic STL colony ship Jason. The Manticore Trust watched over the colonists' interests while they were in transit.
The Manticore Trust did its job well. Upon Jason's arrival in 1416 PD, the colonists found themselves with a very favorable bank balance on Old Earth. A crew of teachers were already on hand (travel technology had substantially improved in the interval) to bring them up to speed with technological advances made during their voyage. Thirty eight years after the colony's founding, a serious plague, resistant to everything available to Manticoran doctors, emerged and, in the ten years before a working vaccine could be created, killed sixty percent of the original colonists.
Replacement colonists were needed, and money from the Trust was used by the surviving Manticorans to finance travel for those willing to immigrate. Being concerned about losing control of the newly expanded colony, the surviving original colonists took measures to ensure they remained in control. Since the colony's founding, Roger Winton had served as Planetary Administrator. Although now more than eighty T-years old, he remained active and his daughter, Elizabeth, was herself President of the Board of Directors. Because the Wintons had served Manticore well, a convention of colony shareholders decided to convert the planetary government from a Board of Directors to a constitutional monarchy with Roger Winton as its first King, Roger I.
The Wintons ruled the Star Kingdom from that point onward. The Constitution gave reigning monarchs limited actual executive power, leaving control of government largely in the hands of Parliament. Primarily the hereditary House of Lords. The original intent was that the Monarch would be a largely ceremonial head of state but Elizabeth I was more capable than expected. By the time of her death, the Monarchy had become an important part of governance, not a mere figurehead. (UHH)
Even though the Star Kingdom did not have an official religion, most members of the House of Winton were communicants of the Second Reformation Roman Catholic Church, and supported construction of King Michael's Cathedral in the capital city of Landing. (HH5)
The Manticoran Constitution also mandated that the Heir to the Throne marry a commoner else lose any Rights of Succession. This was to ensure the Royal Family would "keep in touch" with the general population of the Star Kingdom. (HH8) To enforce this, the Wintons also created a tradition of younger members of the House going into public service early, to make them appreciate the life and problems of the common people. (Companion)
By the time of Queen Elizabeth III's coronation there had been sixteen monarchs of Manticore. Individually and as a group, the Wintons proved to be unusually strong and responsible rulers. (UHH)
- See: Monarch of Manticore