K is for…..Kings

10th July 2020

and queens. Well not many queens. Of England that is. The internet indicates eight who ruled, but Lady Jane Grey wasn’t crowned. And Mary of William and Mary was only crowned, along with her husband, by a bishop. So not sure that counts, strictly speaking.

Anyway, I thought I give the full list of monarchs and my alternative history, somewhat à la mode 1066. Thank you Sellars and Yeatman.

Alfred the Great – burnt the cakes. While watching the grate. Hence the name.

Edward the Elder – older than the younger one. Obviously.

AElfweard – not crowned, so shouldn’t include him. But as a ‘weird elf’ are we surprised?

AEthelstan – brother of AEthelollie. Not to be confused with Ollie Hardlycanute. AEthelollie was in charge of finance. So named because if money seemed to be missing would cry out ‘Ae! Where’s the lollie!’

Edmund I – rather depressing character. Wrote song ‘Blue Munday’ after a particularly bad day, whilst trying to instigate a New World Order in England. Didn’t succeed (hooray!).

Eadred – apparently ‘…sucked out the juices of his food, chewed on what was left and spat it out’. Invented soups as a consequence. Died a bachelor, hence Batchelor Soups.

Eadwig – bald from birth. Invented the toupée.

Edgar the Peaceful – was always eating legumes. So full of peas. Would go round asking his subjects if they would like a pea. Never fathomed out why they would then say ‘yes’ and disappear behind the nearest bush.

Edward the Martyr – mother was Aelma. Hence Aelma mater (as opposed to Edgar pater, his father – see above). If he needed to learn something would go to his mother. We use a similar phrase today, but context escapes me.

Aethelred – the unready. When he was born, he was, well, red. Wasn’t properly educated. So he was not well read. Or ready. So unready.

Sweyn – aka Sweyn Forkbeard due to his unpleasant habit of putting his fork in his beard for safe keeping. With bits of food on it. Hence the saying ‘You dirty sweyn, you’.

Aethelred – the unready. Yes, same one as before Sweyn. Still hadn’t learnt his lessons, so still not well read. Or ready.

Edmund Ironside – went around in early form of wheel chair. An adapted chariot. Liked playing detective. So became a man called Ironside.

Canute – or Cnut the Great. The ‘C’ of Cnut is hard. Hence, he was a hard nut. Used his head to prove he wasn’t God to his silly courtiers who thought he could do anything. Sat on his chair at Bosham. Commanded the waves to stop. Got rather wet. Not as wet as his courtiers who should have known better. They were wet behind the ears.

Canute reputed to have said ‘Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings, for there is none worthy of the name, but He whom heaven, earth, and sea obey by eternal laws.’

Harold Harefoot – bald, but made up the deficit with his feet. Would be frequently seen with his head down to his toes, grooming them with a comb. His servants couldn’t get his attention, so they said he was com’a toes. Went into the English language denoting someone who is asleep. Like most of the nation at the moment.

Harthacnut – not half the man his father king Cnut was. So, therefore, also known as Hardlycanute, as he was hardly Canute, was he? However, Hartha apparently really does mean ‘tough’ and Cnut means ‘nut’ so he really was a tough nut.

Edward the Confessor – always owning up to things he didn’t do.

Harold Godwinson – incarcerated at Winson Green by his parents for some bad behaviour. Managed to escape by untying the ropes he was bound up in. As he would say ‘Well, you Winson, you loose some’.

William I – aka William the Conqueror. Better than being known as William the Bastard, which no doubt the Saxons called him. As he was illegitimate, this was perfectly reasonable. And he wasn’t entitled to the throne of England – so there, you Normans!

William II – William Rufus. They say he was Rufus because he was ruddy in complexion or had red hair. No. It’s in his name. He was a thatcher, and laid roofs (or rooves if you prefer). Started a family trade. They branched out as more materials became available. You could find reference to the business if you looked it up in the middle ages. You know, that well-known magazine, Wat Tyler.

Henry I – aka Henry Beauclerc. Saxons still not liking Normans, so preferred to keep first letter and last three for more appropriate name (between themselves of course).

Stephen – Wikipedia says he didn’t get on board a ship ‘…out of concern for overcrowding on board the ship, or because he was suffering from diarrhea.’ Why not both? If the weather was choppy, you can imagine if he was feeling sick as well. Which end over the side first?

Henry II – known for suggesting his old friend Thomas the Bucket should be removed from office. Four knights took him up on his word, and did him to death. Henry only wanted him given a kicking, so they rather overdid things. Hence we now say ‘kick the bucket’ for someone dying.

Richard I – Wikipedia says he was besieging the ‘…virtally unarmed castle of Châlus-Chabrol’. And Richard was hit in the shoulder by a crossbow’. That shows how desperate the defenders were. Had run out of quarrels, so in last resort the crossbow was thrown out. Richard wasn’t looking was he? Should have jumped out the way.

John – lost his baggage in the Wash. You probably know the feeling if you go down the launderette and come back and you’re missing your knickers or a bra. Happens to royalty too.

Henry III – or Henry the Third. Saxons still not happy about the Normans. Tended to drop the ‘h’, but not in polite company (and not in front of the Normans). Irish still do, but they didn’t like the Normans either.

Edward I – know as Longshanks. Result of walking in the Wealden clay in winter no doubt. Legs got lengthened whilst trying to extract them from the mud. I found this extract from ‘Map Of A Nation: A Biography of the Ordnance Survey by Rachel Hewitt’. ‘…Sussex men and animals had grown long-legged through pulling their feet through the clay’.

Edward II – well, if you were educated in history you might know the story of the red-hot poker stuck you-know where. There are rumours of a homosexual affair with Piers Gaveston, so perhaps this was considered suitable punishment at the time. In any event, not a good or successful king, apparently.

Edward III – had a son, the Black Prince. Had pictures taken of him, but none came out. All blacked out, hence black prints. The ones of his son in Snowdonia came out, although you couldn’t see him properly as he was too far away. They were called the prints of Wales.

Richard II – Wikipedia entry says of him on his character and assessment Richard’s mind “was losing its balance altogether” and “Richard’s grasp on reality was becoming weaker”. So he became a nut case. Perhaps related to Canute then? Again, Richard’s condition reminds you of most people in lockdown.

Henry IV – as Shakespeare said, he came in two parts. Part A everybody wanted to join. After all everybody loves a part a, right? Part B was not so popular as it didn’t seem to mean anything. He was also known as Henry Ivy. Set up early football matches with the Native Americans. Hence the Ivy League.

Henry V – best know for the phrase ‘Once more unto the beach, dear friends, once more’. Inspired the masses after lockdown. Inspired the masses (probably Saxons) response to the officious officials (probably Normans), who said it was disgusting (crowding together on the beach that is). Same as the archers response to the French at Agincourt. Which is why he is Henry with a ‘V’ sign after his name.

Henry VI – who inherited the 100 years war according to Wikipedia (his father should have left him something better, like gold). It says this war lasted from 1337–1453. Maths not Henry’s strong point. Not a king you could count on. Wikipedia says he “lost his wits, his two kingdoms, and his only son”. And his ability to count. Probably signalled the French like the archers at Agincourt and had fingers cut off. Couldn’t then count to ten, let alone a hundred.

Edward IV – he came in two parts too. Exiled to Flanders, where the Swans came from. Listened to Flanders and Swans to keep himself amused before returning to England. If you are bored as well, go and listen to them on Youtube etc.

Edward V – possibly murdered, possibly not. Might have been practicing ‘V’ sign on the French, who objected violently. Or not.

Richard III – a short reign. Lost his voice at the Battle of Boswell. You know ‘A hoarse, a hoarse my kingdom for a hoarse’. Said by some to be a hunchback. And by his wife. As the courtiers said in Franglais ‘Le hunchback de notre dame’. May well have been maligned by the Tudors. Victors write the history books etc.

Henry VII – not another one! Henry Tudor. As you know Henry Tudor rose. Would have been ok if he’d stopped at the petals but ate the stem as well. Thorns made his mouth bleed and the rose petals red (they had been white).

Henry VIII – had VI wives. Or was it Henry VI who had VIII wives? One or the other. Mmm…. No, it was VI. Let’s see.

        • Catherine of Aragorn. She came, stayed quite a while and then she was gorn.
        • Anne Bowling. She couldn’t stand Henry and lost her head over it. Henry, ever inventive, found her head and used it for Lawn Bowling.
        • Jane Seemore. Despite her name, didn’t see that Henry would always want more (wives). Died in a small sized bed, it seems (it says ‘childberth’ here anyway).
        • Anne of Cloves. Or is it Clothes? Didn’t spice up Henry’s life, or wore the wrong clothes, whatever.
        • Catherine Howard. Came from Howard’s End. And unfortunately met it. Her end that is.
        • And finally, Catherin Parr. Better than average, so above par. Survived Henry (just).

Edward VI – died young sadly. But managed to bring benefits to the nation by introducing potatoes to the country. In several places. Not Sir Walter. Look, he set up schools specially for the purpose. King Edward’s schools. Honestly, I don’t know, peoples’ ignorance.

Mary I – bloody Mary. Drink named after her. Catholic.  Had over 280 dissenters burnt at the steak. The French rolled their eyes up, and shrugged their shoulders at the news. ‘Les Anglais toujours overdo leur viande’.

Elizabeth I – the Virgin Queen. Did lots of good things for England. Set up lots of companies. Amongst others there were two most notable; Virgin Rail (held up her train – frequently) and Virgin Atlantic (Sir Walter Raleigh was deputy in charge, after his failed venture into bicycles). Celebrated for her virginity, apparently. Must have been rare in those days as now.

Sir Francis Drake was a hero in her time. Whilst waiting for the Spanish in their ships (manaña, manaña) he played lawn bowls in Plymouth with a hoe. And was out for a duck. Hence his surname.

James I – aka James VI and I. Which presumably means there were two of him. Vi and I. Sounds schizophrenic to me. Wikipedia has a picture of him as a boy. Looks like a girl. No wonder he was called Vi and I. Guy Forks tried to blow him up (I think Forks related to king Sweyne). Failed miserably. If the Houses of Parliament anything like today, the whole of London would have been destroyed. I mean, all the gas produced in there would have ignited, and BOOM!

Charles I – ultimately responsible for English Civil War. I suppose it was civil, as opposed to uncivil as most wars are, because social distancing was in operation back then. Explains the long pikes so they could reach the enemy. After all, if they got too close and coughed over each other, they might have died from Covid 19, or its equivalent. And they didn’t want to kill the other side as that wouldn’t be civil, would it? Ended up with him loosing his head, having lost his marbles by trying to make people Catholic, or at least more like the Catholics. Twit.

Charles II – had seven mattresses (not sure that’s quite right) which he stuffed himself. He called one Nell Gwyn because it had oranges embroidered on, and it reminded him of something he liked squeezing. Wikipedia says ‘He was the playboy monarch, naughty but nice, the hero of all who prized urbanity, tolerance, good humour, and the pursuit of pleasure above the more earnest, sober, or material virtues.’ So, a celebrity then. And about as useful as one. Another twit. Like father like son.

James II – aka James II and VII. Another schizophrenic. His mother was Henry ate a Maria (French; they eat anything, frogs’ legs, snails, you name it). No wonder he was schizoid. I mean, Maria was probably a baby and if you eat babies that’s mad. Drive you mad anyway.

James became a Catholic. Had Cromwell spinning in his grave. And a lot of others. Once enough people were spinning, or revolving, James was deposed. It was a lady who clinched it, Gloria by name. So the masses called it Gloria’s Revolution in her honour. Which led to..

William III and Mary II – he was Dutch. She wasn’t, but as they reigned together people thought she was. They would often speak at the same time. Which was confusing. Hence the populace said they were speaking double Dutch.

Anne – she suffered a lot according to Wikipedia. 12 stillborn babies. Oh hell. 5 live born children. 4 died before the age of two. Bloody hell. And the other died at the age of eleven. The poor woman. I didn’t know. I am crying……

Wikipedia says ‘She attended more cabinet meetings than any of her predecessors or successors, and presided over an age of artistic, literary, scientific, economic and political advancement that was made possible by the stability and prosperity of her reign.’ Despite everything, despite all the blood and hell, and that can still be said. You brave, brave woman. I bow my head to you. Excuse the bald patch.

George I – German. But we shouldn’t hold that against him, after all, the English originally came out of that area. Saxons from Saxony, the Angles from Denmark. Huh? Oh, I see at the angle of Denmark with Germany, right. It is said he revived the Order of the Bath (Oi, you peasants stink, go and wash! And you nobles!). Wikipedia says of him ‘Cynical and selfish, as he was, he was better than a king out of St. Germains [James, the Stuart Pretender] with the French king’s orders in his pocket, and a swarm of Jesuits in his train.So, better a German king than a king out of St. Germains. Needs must I suppose.

George II – seven years’ war started in his reign. From 1756 to 1763. Apparently arose from issues left unresolved by the 1740 to 1748 War of the Austrian Succession. Which I make 8 years. So that’s deflation for you. Pity all wars couldn’t get shorter and shorter ‘til they disappeared in a puff of smoke from the last shot fired.

Reign known for the ‘South Sea Bubble’ which caused economic disaster. Reminds me of today, putting people into bubbles to keep them safe from Covid 19. Disastrous economically. Still we got over the South Sea Bubble, so there’s hope still.

George III – dubbed ‘Farmer George’. Which means ‘Farmer, Farmer’, or ‘George, George’. Whichever you like. Look, George means ‘earth worker’, from geo meaning of the ‘earth’, like geography. And ‘rge’ meaning ‘rge’.

Well, ok, probably related to ‘urge’ as in ‘I have the urge to go and dig the garden’, or perhaps ‘rage’, as in ‘gardening is all the rage’. I don’t know, I made it up. But might be true. You can always check as I keep saying.

George IV – continued the tradition of many kings by stuffing mattresses (still not sure that’s quite right). Had Brighton Pavilion built with its Indian style ‘onions’ or domes.

Well I say ‘onions’, but they may have reminded him of the mattresses he stuffed, who knows. Or perhaps he was a gardener (secretly) and knew his ‘onions’, and was sending a hidden message to the world.

William IV – according to Wikipedia joined the Royal Navy. Sensible chap. Recorded that he was not given command of a ship when war was declared against France in 1793. Possibly because ‘…he had broken his arm by falling down some stairs drunk.’ Not sure if the stairs were drunk or he was.

Explains why he went into the Navy as, one way or the other, he would get the same experience. Lurching from one side of the ship to the other in a storm. If you get drunk in a storm perhaps this will counter act the effects of the storm. People still take refuge in that today. Don’t think it works ‘tho. Not even in lockdown.

Victoria – also the Empress of India. Which is impressive. Married the Albert Museum and had several children who became Heads of Europe. This resulted eventually in World War I, which led to World War II. Which in turn led to World War III today.

Look, I’m not going to argue with you, this is World War III, lockdown, anti-social distancing, etc, etc, etc. War of words, that’s what it is.

Anyway, lots happened in her reign. Palmerston was prime minister. He was a thinker; you find his thoughts in coastal towns. Misspelt however. They are now known as Palmerston Forts.

Victoria was very sad when the love of her life, her husband, died. Took to wearing black the rest of her days. Became fond of a servant, John Brown. Black depressing, so I suppose Brown a little less so. Had a very long reign (she did, not John). Which is depressing in itself if it rains for over 60 years.

Edward VII – original ‘Teddy Boy’. Enjoyed stuffing mattresses (you know, I’m certain I have misspelt that). Perhaps best known for his In Tent Cordial, which he invented. Most suitable drink when camping out, which he liked to do when stuffing mattresses.

George V – went into Royal Navy. Another sensible chap. ‘V’ designation most appropriate as this time had to be used against the Germans. Waving two fingers eventually worked, but we lost huge numbers of men, good craftsmen, good yeomen, good landed gentry. Hell, a bloody hell. The last veterans of the War have left us.

His cousin, Kaiser Willhelm II, can be seen in old photos wearing a funny hat, a helmet with a white eagle on top. Reminds me of Neville Longbottom’s grandmother’s hat, only she had a vulture on top. She was a bit mad, but didn’t start a war.

Wikipedia says of George ‘When he acted, he did so decisively, but within a well-prepared context and in a way which made the outcome seem natural—a great skill in a monarch….’. Sounds like a good man.

Edward VIII – very short reign. Known mainly for his abduction and marrying Wally Simpson. Was he a wally? Perhaps not. They lived happily ever after I suppose, but not in Britain. Mrs Simpson as she had been (Edward was the third husband it appears, so third time lucky – not that I believe in luck, the Most High guides everything). Suspect she had a child from a previous marriage, Homer.

But she can’t have been a gold digger as such; she was faithful to the end of Edward’s life. She wasn’t after a king, so much as a prince, a real man who won her heart.

George VI – went into the Navy. Yet another sensible chap. Usually good to go into the Navy, helps you navigate the ways of the sea and the ways of Life. Which are rather similar…..no, very similar. Had to wave two fingers at the Germans again, like his grandfather. And, sadly, this time also the Japanese. Took rather longer to finish the battle.

And it is recorded that king and parliament called 7 national days of prayer in the six years of war, three in the first 12 months. And the Most High, who is just above me, heard the cries from His children, his angels. In England, and Wales, and Scotland, and Northern Ireland. And He intervened, as He always does, when ‘We cry unto him’. I have been crying a lot recently, in this crisis, this war of words. Perhaps you have too.

Elizabeth II – still reigning. Longest reigning monarch ever. Despite the wonderful sunshine during lockdown. The Most High was beaming at us, His children. Amazing things have happened in her reign. Man on the moon (unless you believe it is false of course, some do). Internet, without which I would not be sitting on my Cloud writing to you. And lots and lots of lovely music to dance to. Or to which to dance. Whatever.

She made a promise to God at her coronation. It is recorded that, amongst other things, the archbishop asked of her Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel?’ To which, amongst other things, she replied ‘All this I promise to do’.

So, I wonder why she has never refused to sign a Bill of Parliament, of all those contradicting God’s, the Most High’s, laws? There have been a very great many. So, I would like to ask her, why? Why did you sign?

Why?