Female monarchs have been the norm, not the exception, in recent British history. In celebrating her Diamond Jubilee, Elizabeth II emulates her great-great-grandmother Victoria – and, together, these two queens have clocked up more than twice as many years on the throne as the four kings who came between them. But all isn’t quite as it seems.
Modern monarchs don’t rule: they reign. When Elizabeth II puts on the Imperial State Crown to open Parliament, it’s the words of her government that she speaks, not her own. To find a much-travelled great-grandmother ruling England (as the kingdom governed from London then was) we have to go back more than eight centuries, to the extraordinary Eleanor of Aquitaine, queen of both France and England.
Read the rest of the article at Helen Castor on She Wolves: England’s Early Queens | Radio Times.
In 2015, Queen Elizabeth II, who this year has been on the throne for over 60 years, will eclipse Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest reigning monarch — 63 years.
Her namesake , Elizabeth I, reigned for 44 years — 1558-1603 — and these three women were arguably the most effective monarchs in British history. It’s an argument for passing the Crown to the eldest child, male or female, and not to favor just the male heir. While the two Elizabeths and Victoria are testaments to the value of female monarchs, and as riveting as their individual stories are, there’s another European monarch even more extraordinary than the three British queens: Catherine the Great of Russia.
Read the rest of the article at Don’t forget Catherine the Great | World | News | Toronto Sun.
Story by Peter Worthington – Toronto Sun
ENGLISH nobles threatened “extreme remedies” against the Roman Catholic Church unless the Pope annulled Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, a letter contained in an exhibition of historic documents from the Vatican secret archives revealed yesterday.
The 3ft-wide parchment letter, complete with 81 wax seals and red silk ribbons, was one of the highlights of the exhibition, which chronicles more than 1,200 years of the Vatican’s dealings with kings and conquerors.
Read more of the article at Secret files reveal Henry VIII’s ‘extreme’ threats over marriage – World News – Independent.ie.
Story by Nick Squires
February 6 marks the official beginning of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (celebrating 60 years as Queen of Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, etc.). It is also a sad day as it marks the anniversary of the death of the much-loved King George VI.
The Queen’s father was never meant to be king, ascending the throne after the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII, in 1936. George VI was a brilliant constitutional monarch during one of the darkest periods in Commonwealth history (1936-1952). In fact, it was his hard work during the Second World War that many believe led to his early death at the age of 56.
All the biographies and personal stories that remain of the king emphasize that he was a good man – a loving husband and caring father.
King George VI is a very important Canadian figure. When he was crowned in 1936, the King pledged separately to govern Canada according to its distinct laws and customs (highlighting that Canada was an independent state no longer linked to a “British Crown,” made official by the Statute of Westminster in 1931).
It was as King of Canada that George VI toured this country in 1939, also visiting the United States with his Canadian prime minister (Mackenzie King) as principal advisor. His Majesty gave Royal Assent during this tour, and accepted the credentials of the American Ambassador. Together with his indomitable wife, Queen Elizabeth, the King united Canada as we prepared to plunge into the dark days of the Second World War.
While the Canadian Crown is an ancient institution that stretches back to the very beginnings of a European presence on this continent, it was King George VI who first embodied the idea of a separate Canadian monarch on these shores. It was as King of Canada that George VI proclaimed a common Canadian citizenship in 1947 and issuing the Letters Patent Constituting the Office of the Governor General the same year (authorizing the King’s representative in Canada to exercise most of the Sovereign’s powers).
Queen Elizabeth II is her father’s legacy – a constant in a world of rapid change. She was crowned less than 10 years after the Second World War, so that the history – including Canadian history (43 per cent since Confederation) – Her Majesty has encompassed is staggering. February 6 is a reflective day for the Queen, but with it comes the truth that her father lives on in the remarkable reign of his daughter.
Written by Nathan Tidridge, high school history teacher in Waterdown, Ontario and author of Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy
Were these death of these Vikings the result of the St. Brice’s Day massacre, where the English king Aethelred the Unready order the slaughter of all Danish men in England? The St. Brice’s Day massacre occurred on November 13 1002 throughout England. Nick Collins of the Telegraph reports on the theories behind this mass grave.
The burial site, containing the bodies of 54 young men, was unearthed at Ridgeway Hill near Weymouth in 2009 ahead of the construction of a new road, but the identity of the bodies within has mystified experts.
Because the men’s severed heads were piled up on one side of the pit, it was assumed they had been the unfortunate victims of a mass execution.
Radiocarbon dating showed that the men had been killed some time around the year 1000, and isotope testing on their teeth found that they were from Scandinavia, suggesting they may have been Viking invaders.
Now an archaeologist from Cambridge University has put forward a theory that the men were a gang of Viking mercenaries who were murdered on the order of the English king Aethelred II.
The monarch, better known as Aethelred the Unready due to his difficult reign, was known for using bands of Scandinavian mercenaries to carry out his bidding.