A Bit of (Non) Random History

For some reason, the American media just gets all sweaty and shaking when the British royal family comes up for discussion.  That same media also loves a juicy family scandal, so when the two can be combined that sweaty-and-shaking thing turns into a flat-out orgasm pretty damned fast.

So, Harry and Meghan have been in the news lately, thanks to an Oprah interview session artfully crafted to maximize their future earning power as US-based influencers and celebrities.  Yes, that does in fact make them pretty much the Kardashians, but that’s what the public wants, so…

The historical snark in me, however, just can’t let the mediagasm pass without a bit of historical perspective.  Hey, I indulged my space-nerd side a couple of posts ago, so why not let my poor history-nerd side out of its cage for a few minutes?!

Let’s list, for just a moment, some of the — ahem — highlights of Prince Harry’s family history, shall we?

Henry I (very likely) murdered his eldest brother and (very definitely) imprisoned his middle brother for 30 years in order to sit his throne…

As prince, John conspired with the king of France to keep Richard I (the Lionheart) locked up indefinitely in a German prison.  Later, as king, that same John got drunk and personally murdered his 16-year-old nephew in order to secure his grip on the crown…

Edward III seized all goods and possessions from the Jews, then expelled them from England on pain of an agonizing death…

Richard II used to make people — well, nobles and rich commoners — sign blank confessions which he would keep handy in case anyone got uppity, or failed to send him enough money…

As regent and protector, Richard of Gloucester murdered his nephews — the 12-year-old King Edward V and 9-year-old Richard of York — in order to seize the throne and become Richard III… {And you wonder why “Richard III“ is in the top three of Shakespeare’s plays?! I am currently watching on Amazon, by the way, Ian McKellan’s fantastic version of this play}

Henry VIII…well, good ol’ Harry 8 executed pretty much anyone and everyone who possessed so much as a single drop of old Plantagenet blood besides himself and his kids (including a 9-year-old boy and a 70-year-old woman)…

Speaking of his kids, Queen Mary I very much lived up to the nickname that history has since surrendered to an alcoholic haze: Bloody Mary.  She was so ardent a catholic, in the days of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, that in her five year reign she burned at the stake more protestants than did the Spanish Inquisition in its entirety…

And let’s not leave the recent royal kids out of the loop, shall we?  Edward VIII, who popular fiction and perception has romanticized as abdicating the throne because of a love affair with an American divorcee, was (quite literally) a fascist who said — after WW2, mind you — that Adolf Hitler “wasn’t such a bad bloke.”

And Prince Andrew…err, let’s just skip Epstein and underage hookers until things like criminal charges and prison sentences are settled… [Edit: sorry to Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, for screwing up the reference — it’s little Andy that is the creeper, not Edward]

Oh, and that list above leaves aside some of the most remarkable — and bloodthirsty — women in history, who sat not on the throne but behind it as Queens Consort:

Eleanor of Aquitaine, who spurred and guided her sons to rebel — repeatedly — against her husband, and their father, Henry II… {Yep, Eleanor and Henry are in fact the two main characters in one of my favorite movies: “The Lion in Winter”}

Margaret of Anjou who, quite literally — and quite accurately — was the model and inspiration for Circe Lannister…

Hell, looking back at that list, it’s pretty much Charles and William who need to watch their backs, not Harry and Meghan.  Given the family history with siblings and close relations — and Meghan Markle’s full-bore Kardashian-ness — one has to wonder just how long it will be until someone goes all Corleone…

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