REX - The Coronation. What does the future hold for King Charles III, and the Royals.
Updated: May 8
WHAT DEOS THE FUTURE HOLD...
Eight months after Queen Elizabeth II passed away, on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96, after reigning for more than 70 years, and the longest-reigning monarch in British history with her Platinum Jubilee in the summer of 2022, the late Queen’s eldest son has now become King Charles III, with his son William becoming the heir apparent.
As we celebrate the official crowning of our third King Charles, and first Queen Camilla, attention has drawn to the future of the monarchy and how best it can serve the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth, and what influence if any it should or could play in international duties on behalf of Britain and Northern Ireland.
Kings Charles III has made no secret of his desire to overhaul the current institution, reviewing the number of Royals that should be working, the staff, payroll, and how best to bring the monarchy in to the 21st C.
There are many within the establishment that would like to see the status quo, not least as changes in reduction to the overall workings of the regal machine will see their positions untenable.
There is little doubt that the Crown is seen as a valuable “contribution asset” to the country’s future prosperity both from a fiscal position but also from a stance of national identity and stability.
The late Queen was a source of British “soft power” and diplomatic influence throughout her 70-year reign, making countless state visits and foreign tours that brought benefits for national security, influence, and trade.
There are of course some who would be happy to see the back of the Royal family. Shouts of unelected persons in a power of influence, an era past not present or relevant, and individual shenanigans by previous royals haven’t helped their cause. But then again, you can’t please all the people all the time. It’s easy for many to sit on their pious pulpit, puffing on their pontificating pipe and extolling the virtues of a perfect family whilst many make a dog’s dinner of their own lives.
The reality is whilst we know our lives are far from perfect, as much as we believe otherwise, we hope and expect members of the Royal family, above all others, to be a beacon of hope and strength to us all. We ignore the facts that they themselves are just like us, normal human beings born or married into a system that we expect them to perform in a manner, both publicly and privately to be everything we’re not. That’s not going to happen. Let's take a moment and look back at the past monarchs and see what make mistakes,have been made, some with spectacular results!,
MONARCHS OF INFAMY
1. Stephen (r. 1135-1154)
The grandson of William the Conqueror, Stephen seized the throne when Henry I died in 1135. This led to a 15-year civil war between Stephen and Henry’s daughter and heir, Empress Matilda. The war came to be known as ‘The Anarchy’ as England descended into chaos and lawlessness. Eventually, Stephen agreed to name Matilda’s son as his heir in a negotiated peace settlement after their armies fought themselves to a stalemate, passing over his own son in the line of succession. After years of war, Stephen died in 1154 and Matilda’s son, Henry II, became king.
2. Edward II (r. 1307-1327)
Son of Edward I, the fearsome ‘Hammer of the Scots’ Edward II was nothing like his father, relying heavily on the counsel of his unpopular favourite (and suspected lover) Piers Gaveston. This eventually led to Edward being forced by Parliament to agree to a set of humiliating restrictions on his power as well as Gaveston’s execution. After being defeated by Robert the Bruce at the Battle of Bannockburn and losing the Duchy of Gascony in France, Edward’s wife Isabella turned against him. She invaded England with her lover, Roger Mortimer, and forced Edward to abdicate in favour of his son. Edward is believed to have been murdered while being held prisoner at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire in 1327.
3. Henry VI (r. 1422-1461 and from 1470-1471)
The son of the warrior king Henry V and Catherine of Valois, Henry grew up to be timid, quiet, and pious, as well as mentally ill. The life of a monk would have suited him more. Unfortunately, his destiny was to be king, and it was a role he was poorly suited to.
During his tenure on the throne, Henry lost all the territory conquered by his father and the country descended into the bloody conflict known as the Wars of the Roses. Deposed not once but twice by his Yorkist rival Edward IV, Henry was most likely murdered on the orders of Edward in the Tower of London in 1471.
4. Richard III (r. 1483-1485)
Jury is now out on this one, considering new historical evidence that has come to light. What have we been told so far...Richard III seized the throne following the death of his brother, Edward IV, in 1483. Before he could do that, there was the little matter of Edward’s children, Edward V, and his younger brother Richard, who were imprisoned in the Tower of London. Fortunately for Richard, the boys ‘mysteriously disappeared’, clearing the way for him to take the throne. His reign didn’t last long. Richard’s army met that of his rival Henry Tudor at the Battle of Bosworth. Richard was killed in the thick of the fighting, bringing an end to the Plantagenet dynasty that had ruled England since the Norman Conquest. His bones were long thought to have been thrown in a nearby river, but in 2015 they were found under a car park in Leicester.
5. Henry VIII (r. 1509-1547)
One of England’s most famous monarchs was a foul-tempered, gluttonous, bloodthirsty tyrant who, as well as ordering the executions of two of the women who had the misfortune to marry him, had an estimated 57,000 people executed during his 36-year reign. Despite acquiring vast wealth after dissolving the monasteries and breaking with the Catholic Church, Henry VIII’s extravagant lifestyle and fondness for foreign wars brought England to the verge of bankruptcy on several occasions. However, his debauchery is less than his overall achievements and he is the only monarch that appears on our infamy and influence list!!
6. Mary I (r. 1553-1558)
The eldest daughter of Henry VIII was never meant to ascend the throne. Her father went to great lengths to ensure the country was left in the hands of a male heir. However, Henry’s son, Edward VI, died at the age of 16 and, after the very brief reign of Lady Jane Grey, his older sister, Mary, became queen. It did not prove to be a happy time for the people of England. Unlike her brother and her younger sister, Elizabeth, Mary was a fanatic Catholic who sought to bring England back into the fold of the Roman Church. Over 280 religious dissenters were burned at the stake during her five-year rule, earning her the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’. All her attempts to return England to Catholicism were reversed after her death by her much more popular sister, the ‘Virgin Queen’ Elizabeth I.
7. Charles I (r. 1625–49)
Charles was a man who had an unshakeable belief in the divine right of kings to rule a country as they saw fit. The king’s stubbornness and disregard for Parliament led to the English Civil War in 1642, which eventually led to Charles’s capture, imprisonment, trial, and execution.
The monarchy was abolished after Charles’s death, which surely places him at the top of the list of worst English monarchs of all time. After 11 years of unpopular rule by the puritan general Oliver Cromwell and, briefly, by his son Richard, Charles’s son, Charles II, was invited to become king. He proved to be much more popular than his stubborn father.
8. James II (r. 1685-1688)
People were prepared to give James II the benefit of the doubt when he ascended the throne following the death of his brother, Charles II, in 1685. However, it was inevitable that the Catholic king would clash with the Protestant country he governed, and that happened with the birth of James’s son, James Francis Edward Stuart. Following riots in London, James was deposed in favour of his Protestant daughter, Mary, and her husband, William of Orange. James attempted to retake the throne in 1690, but was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne and spent the rest of his life as an exile in France, viewed by his former subjects as a tyrant who had tried to impose his religion on a country that had already rejected it following the bloody reign of Mary I.
9. George IV (r. 1820-1830)
In his younger days, the witty and culturally refined Prince George was well regarded by the public, earning him the nickname ‘the first gentleman of England’. However, his disastrous marriage to (and subsequent appalling treatment of) Caroline of Brunswick and his incredibly lavish, taxpayer-funded lifestyle that left George morbidly obese and riddled with gout, turned him into one of the most despised monarchs ever to sit on the throne. A more contemptible, cowardly, selfish, unfeeling dog does not exist,’ one of George’s courtiers confided to his diary. ‘There have been good and wise kings but not many of them and this I believe to be one of the worst.’
10. Edward VIII (r. 20 January 1936 – 11 December 1936)
A playboy with very little interest in court protocols or the constitutional conventions of the United Kingdom, both Edward’s father, George V, and the country’s prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, worried that he would be a disastrous king. He proved them right when, after just 326 days on the throne, Edward VIII abdicated the throne due to his refusal to drop his plan to marry the American divorcee, Wallace Simpson. Created Duke of Windsor after his abdication, Edward continued to be a liability even after giving up the throne. Suspected of being a Nazi sympathiser who could be a useful pawn for Adolf Hitler, Edward was packed off to Barbados to be the island’s Governor General to get him out of the way. After the war, he lived for the rest of his life in exile, shunned by his family and loathed by many of the subjects he had turned his back on.
HAS HISTORY REPEATED ITSELF
The Royal family have been deeply wounded by Harry’s willingness to wash his dirty laundry in public. Harry’s reasoning of… I want people to gain strength of me airing my concerns and complaints publicly and that its ok to speak our mind to millions of people has been seen in the U.K. with a typically British rebuke.
We all have problems, stop your whinging, and crack on!
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