Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What every English schoolboy knows.

I mean besides what Daphne posted about the other day.

The significance of the following photograph will become clear later.
(Photo copyright 2010 by Billy Hathorn, used here in accordance with GNU Free Documentation License)

What every English schoolboy knows is the list of English/British monarchs, naturally. Skip over it if you like, but you may miss something interesting. I gleaned all the information, as is my custom, from Wikipedia:

House of Mercia
1. Offa (774-796)

House of Wessex
1. (2) Egbert (802-839)
2. (3) Ethelwulf (839-856)
3. (4) Ethelbald (856-860)
4. (5) Ethelbehrt (860-865)
5. (6) Ethelred (865-871)
6. (7) Alfred the Great (871-899)
7. (8) Edward the Elder (899-924)
8. (9) Ethelstan the Glorious (924-939)
9. (10) Edmund the Magnificent (939-946)
10. (11) Eadred (946-955)
11. (12) Eadwig (955-959)
12. (13) Edward the Peaceful (959-975)
13. (14) Saint Edward the Martyr (975-978)
14. (15) Ethelred the Unready (978-1013) (first reign)

House of Denmark
1. (15) Sweyn Forkbeard (1013-1014)

House of Wessex (restored, first time)
1. (16) Ethelred the Ill-Advised (1014-1016) (second reign)
2. (17) Edmund Ironside (1016)

House of Denmark (restored)
1. (18) Canute (1016-1035)
2. (19) Harold Harefoot (1035-1040)
3. (20) Harthacnut (1040-1042)

House of Wessex (restored, second time)
4. (21) Saint Edward the Confessor (1042-1066)
5. (22) Harold Godwinson (1066)
6. (23) Edgar the Etheling (1066)

House of Normandy
1. (24) William I (1066-1087), also known as Guillaume le Bâtard (William the Bastard) and Guillaume le Conquérant (William the Conqueror)
2. (25) William II (1087-1100), also known as Guillaume le Roux (William Rufus)
3. (26) Henry I (1100-1135), also known as Henri Beauclerc (Henry Beauclerc)
4. (27) Stephen (1135-1154), also known as Étienne de Blois (Stephen of Blois)
5. (28) Matilda (1141), also known as Mathilde l'emperesse (Empress Matilda) (disputed claimant)
6. (29) Prince Eustace (1152-1153) (disputed claimant)

House of Plantaganet
1. (30) Henry II (1154-1189), also known as Henri Court-manteau (Henry Curtmantle)
2. (31) Henry the Young King (co-ruler with his father, 1170-1183), also known as Henri le Jeune Roy
3. (32) Richard I, 1189-1199, also known as Richard Cœur de Lion (Richard the Lionheart)
4. (33) John, 1199-1216, also known as Jean sans Terre (John Lackland)
5. (34) Louis the Lion, 1216-1217, also known as Louis VIII of France (disputed claimant)
6. (35) Henry III, 1216-1272, also known as Henry of Winchester
7. (36) Edward I, 1272-1307, also known as Longshanks
8. (37) Edward II, 1307-1327
9. (38) Edward III, 1327-1377 (born in Windsor Castle)
10. (39) Richard II, 1377-1399

House of Lancaster
1. (40) Henry IV, 1399-1413, also known as Bolingbroke
2. (41) Henry V, 1413-1422
3. (42) Henry VI, 1422-1461 (first reign)

House of York
1. (43) Edward IV, 1461-1470 (first reign)

House of Lancaster (restored)
1. (44) Henry VI, 1470-1472 (second reign)

House of York (restored)
1. (45) Edward IV, 1471-1483 (second reign)
2. (46) Edward V, 1483
3. (47) Richard III, 1483-1485)

House of Tudor
1. (48) Henry VII, 1485-1509
2. (49) Henry VIII, 1509-1547
3. (50) Edward VUm 1547-1553
4. (51) Lady Jane Grey, 1553, also known as The Nine Days Queen (disputed claimant)
5. (52) Mary I, 1553-1558, also known as Bloody Mary
6. (53) Philip (husband of Mary), 1554-1558
7. (54) Elizabeth I, 1558-1603, also known as The Virgin Queen

House of Stuart
1. (55) James I, 1603-1625, also known as The Peacemaker King; he was also James VI of Scotland
2. (56) Charles I, 1625-1649

Between the execution of Charles I in 1649 and the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, there was no reigning monarch. Instead, from 1653 the following individuals held power as Lords Protector, during the period known as the Protectorate.

1. Oliver Cromwell, 1653-1658, also known as Old Ironsides
2. Richard Cromwell, 1658-1659

House of Stuart (restored)
1. (57) Charles II, 1660-1685
2. (58) James II, 1685-1688

Students, you will get extra credit for the course if you pause here to read about The Glorious Revolusion of 1688, when Parliament finally asserted the right to choose whomsoever it pleased as monarch.

3. (59) Mary II, 1689-1695
4. (60) William III, 1689-1702, also known as William of Orange
5. (61) Anne, 1702-1714

In 1707, under the Acts of Union, England and Scotland were united as a single sovereign state, the Kingdom of Great Britain. Anne became its first sovereign, while continuing to hold the separate crown of Queen of Ireland and the title of Queen of France.

House of Hanover
1. (62) George I, 1714-1727
2. (63) George II, 1727-1760
3. (64) George III, 1760-1820

It was during the reign of George III that the American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain.

4. (65) George IV, 1820-1830
5. (66) William IV, 1830-1837
6. (67) Victoria, 1837-1901

House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
1. (68) Edward VII, 1901-1910

The house name Windsor was adopted in 1917, during the First World War. It was changed from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha because of wartime anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom.

House of Windsor
1. (69) George V, 1910-1936
2. (70) Edward VIII, 1936 (abdicated)
3. (71) George VI, 1936-1952
4. (72) Elizabeth II, 1952-present

[end of list]

The current occupant of the White House, Barack Hussein Obama, is the 44th President of the United States. Britain’s 44th ruler, Henry VI, reigned from 1470 until 1472. You Brits (this is directed at you who are Brits) have several centuries lead on us with 72 monarchs and two Lords Protector.

I can’t even imagine what being a schoolboy in China must be like, where there have been (according to trusty old Wikipedia) 557 emperors. Here is a partial list of Chinese monarchs beginning way back in 2852 B.C.

It occurred to me that England’s second king named Ethelred, shown in the list as Ethelred the Unready (978-1013) and Ethelred the Ill-Advised (1014-1016), was England’s version of Grover Cleveland. Grover served as both the 22nd President of the U.S. (1885-1889) and the 24th President of the U.S. (1893-1897). Benjamin Harrison, who was a grandson of William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the U.S., was 23rd President of the U.S. from 1889 until 1893, separating Grover Cleveland’s two terms. England’s version of Benjamin Harrison was one Sweyn Forkbeard (1013-1014), the son of Harald Bluetooth and Gyrid Olafsdottir and the husband of both Gunhild of Wenden and Sigrid the Haughty. I am not making this up. Check it out for yourself.

You could probably make a good argument that Grover Cleveland was also both unready and ill-advised, but I don’t know whether you could argue that Benjamin Harrison was Sweyn Forkbeard. Analogies go only so far before they fall apart.

It could also be argued that people in the British Isles have been getting Offa since the year 774.

Sharp-eyed readers may also notice that King Arthur appears nowhere in the list. If you want to read about him you will have to go elsewhere.

Did I ever tell you that through my paternal great-grandmother, Bloomy Jane Cleveland Johnson (1840-1913), I am related to Grover Cleveland? Well, I am. We are distant cousins. Very distant. He died 33 years before I was born.

If you are not yet completely exhausted from reading, you can learn more about him here.

A word to the wise: If you take everything you learned or could have learned in this post and $1.40 (plus tax if applicable) to your local Waffle House, you will be able to purchase a cup of hot java, either regular or decaffeinated, your choice.


  1. You once again give Jeannelle the Blog-reader a needed laugh. Monarchy is a serious business, but those names from the early centuries are so hilarious-sounding today.

  2. Jeannelle, aren't they, though? But Grover Cleveland and Waffle House would probably sound just as hilarious to the people from those early centuries (to say nothing of Bloomy Jane).

  3. maybe you never wrote about anyone's knickers before, but this post covers many many things not not to be interested in<><><<><>i have no geneology ties to any of those you have so cleverly named droped but haved always had an interest to the female side of that equation you have presented to us

  4. Daniel a.k.a. Putz, writing on your son's login again, huh? I'm unclear -- are you saying this post covers many many things not not to be interested in or many many things not to be interested in? Is hot coffee at the Waffle House also one of the many many things you are not not interested in? It sounds as though you are reserving judgment for the present. Exactly what equation did I present to you, and what do you mean by "the female side" of the equation. Are you talking about my paternal great-grandmother, Bloomy Jane Cleveland Johnson? I'm thoroughly confused.

  5. I may have grumbled about this before but - What exactly is a "Brit"? This term is a relative newcomer promoted by modern mediaspeak and it's a label that I utterly abhor. I don't want to be lumped together with Scots or Welshmen or the Northern Irish. I am English - 100%.

  6. Y.P., it's interesting that you would say that, because Wikipedia has a List of English Monarchs and a List of British Monarchs. The English Monarchs end with Queen Anne and the British Monarchs begin with Queen Anne, all because of the Acts of Union in 1707 that created a Great Britain out of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. But you know all this already.