The fact of the matter is that the Governing Documents specify that someone has to complete two reigns in order to be a Duke or Duchess. Section VIII.D.4 of the SCA Governing Documents defines "Dukes and Duchesses" as:
Persons who have reigned over a kingdom two or more times. The title is assumed at the end of the second complete reign.
There is precedent (unofficially called the "Jafar clause" after the Midrealm Crown Prince who died before Coronation) for the BoD to make exceptions to this rule when there are extenuating circumstances, but such exception is not automatic. The fact that the Board has to meet and vote on the issue, rather than this being something that happens automatically, has caused some people to erroneously leap to the conclusion that the BoD is consciously trying to prevent HRM from being made a Duke. The BoD hasn't yet had the meeting, and therefore in fact has not taken a position on the issue at all.
There's a BoD meeting on January 25 (http://www.sca.org/BOD/mtg-sked.html). According to a list post by a Board member, the matter is on the agenda for discussion, though this does not guarantee a decision at all, let alone a particular outcome.
A letter-writing campaign is underway to urge the Board to approve HRM Andreas as an exception to the requirements for the title of Duke. Many people support this proposal because of his departure being for reasons beyond his control, while others say that any exceptions at all will dilute the title's importance and meaning for others who have served two full reigns. Anyone who has feelings about this, for or against, is welcome to write to the Board ("firstname.lastname@example.org" will reach them by e-mail).
When writing to the BoD about this issue, you may wish to bear in mind the following:
- Keep the tone polite, not adverserial. The BoD hasn't tried to block or forbid the exception at all. They simply haven't yet discussed it yet. So it is not reasonable to automatically assume they are against the idea.
- It is not 100% certain that HRM Andreas will not complete his reign. If the situation in Iraq subsides, he could actually end up returning home in time to fulfill the rest of his official duties of office as required by the Governing Documents.
Because of item #2, there is some possibility that the BoD may in fact table the entire issue until such time as it's actually known whether there is really a problem in the first place. If Iraq meets the demands of the United Nations, Andreas may come home and the entire controversy may be moot.