Remember when I was going to do a “Friday Five” post every Friday? Yeah, me too. Let’s not talk about it … I’ll face my procrastination sometime after the weekend.
Hey! But, because it’s actually Friday today, and because the royal wedding really wasn’t that long ago, and the history of the British monarchy is so cool (nerd alert!), and because our president and his wife made news over there this week, I give you … the “You May Adress Me As …” edition of “Friday Five”!!
Epic Sidenote: I chose these five out of England’s finest because of personality similarities or likely accomplishments … just want to make it clear that I’m not equating my baby boy with a head-chopping, divorce-crazed guy, okay? Are ya with me?
Robert: William I, aka: “William the Conqueror”. To put it in perspective, this guy lived shortly after history went into four digits (think, 1028 or so). He became the first Norman king of England persuasively through a large scale invasion (ever heard of the Battle of Hastings?). England took to this fairly well … hey, during his coronation they only “boo’d” loudly and set fire to the houses around the church while abandoning the ceremony to loot … classy, huh? His reign saw the introduction of Norman-French culture, widespread reform, and also the first nation-wide survey to determine England’s productivity. Get this! He died from serious abdominal injuries (look out for those horse pommels if you’re ever unseated while riding!) sustained in battle. Oh, but it doesn’t stop there … his burial is even more interesting! Due to length of time and heat, his body bloated and the priests had to literally shove him into the sarcophagus. Again with the classiness. (this is why I love history)
Ellie: Elizabeth I, aka: “Good Queen Bess”. She was the last of the House of Tudor, only daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. (I bet she won the “Interesting Parents” contest every time) Despite parliament whining at her for most of her life, she refused to marry. The “Elizabethan Era” was characterized by military victories (Sir Francis Drake), drama (ever heard of a guy named Will Shakespeare?) and the forging of a national identity (over her 44 years on the throne!). She has been charaterized as short-tempered and charismatic (explaining the lack of marriage?), and supported the spread and strengthening of the English Protestant church. Sidenote: just to be clear, I picked her because of her charisma and accomplishments … NOT her rumored short temper. Just to be clear …
Darcy: Queen Victoria, aka: A National Icon. She gets the award for longest reigning monarch (63 years!) and was also the first Empress of India (see also: “crazy international expansion). The last monarch of the House of Hanover, her reign is marked by significant change and progress. With all 9 of her children and 26 of her 42 grandchildren marrying into royal/noble households, she is often referred to as the “Grandmother of Europe”. How do you like them apples?
Aidan: Edward VII, aka: The Guy They Named the “Edwardian Era” After. Queen Victoria’s oldest son, he was the first and last monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (renamed the House of Windsor by his son due to anti-German sentiment … also, the British might have found it too much to pronounce … oh wait, that part was just me). His reign, falling just inside the new 20th century, is charaterized by great strides in technology and society. Edward is also celebrated for all he did to foster good relations with Europe (particularly France … who still had their feather ruffled over all the times England had tried to take them over … oops!) He was also a pretty good judge of character: he didn’t get on well with his nephew Wilhelm and was known to have thought that Wilhelm was likely to start a war. World War I started four years after Edward’s death and effectively ended the “Edwardian Era”.
Chase: Henry VIII, aka: The Guy With the Bad Temper, aka: I just couldn’t help myself. Of the House of Tudor, Henry was attractive and charismatic and was actually quite accomplished (an author and composer! … gee, I wonder when he found time to do the kinging?) His reign was one of absolute power and he is (of course) best known for 1) Divorcing himself from the Catholic church, and 2) Divorcing himself from half the women in England. Well, maybe not half, but still 6 wives isn’t something to sneeze at! He is generally depicted as a smart, but all around crabby man.
If this whetted an appetite for more on the British monarchy, go grab yourself a 500 page volume of British history for your Memorial Day weekend! Or, if you’re not a total dork like me, at least watch “The King’s Speech” because it’s an awesome monarchy story (about a guy I didn’t even feature today) and is not to be missed.
Have a great weekend, everybody!