Monarchs Of Britain – Snapshots of History For Dunces #1

I’m a dunce at history; so I’ve tried to fix that by reading about British monarchs. Turns out there’s some right old characters. Prince Philip is nothing.

British Monarchy

If you’re anything like me and most of the population of Britain, you know nothing about our history. I’m embarrassed and ashamed of that fact. I’d like to blame my teachers, but I’m pretty sure it’s the hops and barley addling my circuits that is predominantly to blame, that and a penchant for being massively lazy and ignorant. So I have made myself a resolution: to learn a little more about where our country has come from, and I will start with our monarchs. So I’m writing this series of articles for me more than you, but feel free to use these details yourself as you see fit. My aim is to run through the monarchs from present back to pre-history, as far back as I can be bothered to go. Please don’t expect any political insights or life time achievements, all I have done here is picked out whatever took my fancy at random. You would not pass your history GCSE using this as a cheat sheet, OK?

So, I’ll skip the present Queeny because she’s been knocking about for ages, first up….

George VI

Reign: 1936-1952

George VI - Photo Portrait

Georgie (full name Albert Frederick Arthur George) was actually the younger brother of Edward VIII, so not first in line, but he was thrown the throne after Eddy abdicated (more on that next). He was a sickly child, burst into tears a lot, had a stammer and “knock knees”. He admitted to crying when he found out he would be King, he wasn’t up for it all. By all accounts he wasn’t impressive in a Kingly way, but he seems a nice guy in the film with Colin Firth in it so I’m gonna give him a break. He died in his sleep from coronary thrombosis at the age of 56.

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Edward VIII

Reign: Jan 1936-Dec 1936

Edward VIII - Later Life

As the picture above tells you, Edward VIII was a bit of a bounder. He had a thing for older married women and had numerous affairs. He was reported to behave like an adolescent well in to manhood. Once he had become king, after the death of his Dad, he declared his desire to marry an American socialite, Wallis Simpson, who had divorced her first husband and was trying to divorce her second. The Prime Minister told Edward he was being a bit of a nob and he couldn’t do that. The good people of Britain couldn’t stomach the idea of a Queen who had had sex with at least three men, and on top of that, he was supposed to be head of the Christian church, it just wouldn’t do at all. So he abdicated before he’d been a King for a year to marry his foreign floozy (he is the only British monarch to have abdicated under his own steam). In fact his reign was so short he was never actually crowned.

Edward was stationed in France for some of the war where he it was speculated that he had sympathies with the Nazis so he got moved to the Bahamas – gutted, how terrible for him. After the war he spent the rest of his days with his wife in France. His allowance was supplemented by government favors and illegal currency trading. Sounds like a bit of a rogue. He died at 77.

George V

Reign: 1910-1936

George V - Photo Portrait

He was Grandson of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (not the piercing), and second cousin to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany (as a quick aside, isn’t it amusing how much the BNP loves the monarchy as an English tradition, but if you go back a handful of generations they are as pan-European as the immigrants they so detest. Idiots). On tour with the Navy in Japan he got a tattoo of a blue and red dragon on his arm (I bet Prince Harry has some lips tattooed on his arse by now).

He enjoyed the simple life, shooting animals and collecting stamps, he was no intellectual but it seems he was well liked by his people. Later in life he had lung beefs due to heavy smoking and spent some time in Bognor Regis. It is reported by some that upon being told he was nearly well enough to return to Bognor he said “Bugger Bognor”. I hope that’s true. Either way, the ‘Regis’ was added because of his time spent there. In the end he was actually killed by a lethal injection of cocaine and morphine courtesy of his doctors, so that his death would be reported in the morning papers rather than the less salubrious evening rags. To avoid the King’s embarrassment of course.

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Edward VII

Reign: 1901-1910

Edward VII - Portrait Photo

Although educationally he was a bit of a dunce as a youngster, he excelled at getting on well with people and being good humoured. He developed a reputation as a playboy. In one incident whilst he was trying to gain experience as a soldier, an actress was found hidden in his tent by fellow officers. What a dude. His Dad, Prince Albert, although very ill at the time, was well jazzed off at him for the indiscretion and traveled to Cambridge to give him a right royal rollocking. That was just two weeks before Albert died. His mother Queen Victoria blamed Edward for his death and never forgave him. He had a string of affairs throughout his life which his wife Alexandra is said to have “accepted”. These episodes of rumpy pumpy include one with Winston Churchill’s mother and a one with a prostitute. The total number of liaisons has been estimated by some to be as high as 55. In fact there is a small possibility that Camilla Parker Bowles may even be his illegitimate great-granddaughter and as Charles is his great-grandson we would call that incest.


Reign: 1837-1901

Queen Victoria - Younger Days

This little lady was raised pretty much exclusively by her German born mother after the death of her Father and Grandfather and was kept pretty isolated. Despite being 5th in line to the throne at her birth, she hit the throne at the tender age of 18 after her Dad’s three brothers all died. No wonder she always looks so austere is it? She married her cousin Prince Albert and had nine kids who married all across Europe giving her 42 Grandchildren and the nickname ‘Grandmother of Europe’. After Albert’s death she went into permanent reclusive mourning.  Her popularity had its ups and downs thoughout the years, with at least four people trying to shoot her and one ex-army bloke hitting her in the head with a cane, but then she was the longest serving Monarch of Britain clocking up 63 years in all. I can’t like anyone for more than 10 minutes at a time. The last time someone shot at her a couple of chaps nearby hit the assailant with umbrellas until the police came, she is said to have remarked that it was “worth being shot at–to see how much one is loved”.

That’s where I’ll leave it for now, my brain has got wiki-freeze… Tune in next time y’all.

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