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"Best English Monarch?" Topic


31 Posts

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735 hits since 21 Nov 2021
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Comments or corrections?

ocollens Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2021 11:50 a.m. PST

I heard on the radio (half concentrating) that Edgar Atheling pipped Elizabeth I for this prestigious accolade.
1) Did I hear right? 2) Any comments?

JimDuncanUK21 Nov 2021 11:59 a.m. PST

Is he the one that was never crowned?

Midlander6521 Nov 2021 12:19 p.m. PST

No, it was Aethelstan who won, on the premise that he effectively created England by bringing together Wessex and Mercia then conquering the rest. This is the result of a Twitter poll run by 'The Rest is History' podcast – Tom Holland and Dominik Sandbrook. twitter.com/TheRestHistory

Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP21 Nov 2021 12:21 p.m. PST

I'd go with Henry II

Midlander6521 Nov 2021 12:24 p.m. PST

Personally, I expected Elizabeth I to win but Aethelstan has a good claim, as do a few others. Really though, it is impossible to compare 10th, 16th and 20th century monarchs in any quantitative way and the whole thing was really done as a bit of a laugh and to give the excuse to discuss the different runners and riders. I'd thoroughly recommend giving the podcast a listen – always entertaining and usually informative.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2021 12:50 p.m. PST

2nd Henry II

Cerdic21 Nov 2021 2:15 p.m. PST

Aethelstan is a deserving winner, I reckon. Other contenders: Henry II, Liz I, Edward VII.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2021 2:24 p.m. PST

George III. He very kindly lost the AWI, thus allowing my nation to be free from the monarchy.
evil grin

Nick Bowler21 Nov 2021 2:55 p.m. PST

Surprised no one has said Elizabeth II

Harold didnt last long, and he did lose Hastings, but I always think he had the abilities to be Harold the Great.

I have trouble with Henry II being regarded as best – given his sons continually revolted.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2021 4:05 p.m. PST

George III. He very kindly lost the AWI, thus allowing my nation to be free from the monarchy.

And gave you all those interesting presidents. The US and French political experiences are two reasons why I'm a monarchist.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP21 Nov 2021 8:17 p.m. PST

When you get a bad president, four years later you can vote in someone else. When you get a bad monarch, you're screwed for life.

Cerdic21 Nov 2021 10:10 p.m. PST

True. But at least our monarchs don't have any actual power these days, unlike US presidents.

Talking of power, I'm always slightly bemused by this American thing about George III 'losing' the AWI. Surely by that time Parliament was in charge. It was them that lost the colonies…

Personal logo ochoin Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 1:23 a.m. PST

Some Americans have really weird views on contemporary monarchy.

A few years ago, whilst in the US & talking to a bunch of normal locals, I was asked if I was worried that the Queen's guard might arrest me without warning.

You don't know where to start with a question like this.

Huscarle22 Nov 2021 5:38 a.m. PST

+1 Nick Bowler, Harold could have been a great king as he had certainly done well as under-king to Edward, but Harald Hardrada & William combined proved to be just too much.
Both Elizabeth I & II would certainly be contenders, possibly Victoria too. Henry II not so great, playing off his sons like he did, and finally leaving us with John.
Athelstan is a worthy winner, as he sacrificed his future to unite his discordant family and England.

troopwo Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 7:16 a.m. PST

Alfred.
Only one English king is called, "The Great".

I understand that his place of rest is commemorated as a parking lot.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 9:18 a.m. PST

The best one I have ever seen was several years ago while near York.
The wife and I had just exited the auto and it flew around about us for a couple minutes and then fluttered off.
We both commented that it had the deepest orange orange colors we had had ever seen on a Monarch.

Russ Dunawau

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 9:25 a.m. PST

On a point of order, I think most Americans know that the remaining monarchies in Europe are largely ceremonial. (Though I understand that technically, the British monarch still retains the right to issue decrees or veto an act of Parliament— but it just isn't done. Also, Parliament holds the power of the purse over the Royal Family, and could abolish the same. Of course, I freely admit I might be misremembering those details. Hey, it's been 30 years since my college class on the Comparative Governments of the United States, Great Britain and China— our professor was a Brit who had also lived and taught in Hong Kong, and was an expert on both political systems, so he taught both at the same time. Fascinating course.)
But it took England another century or so after the AWI to finally realize that investing any actual power in an inbred population of limited persons is A Bad Idea.

Midlander6522 Nov 2021 10:27 a.m. PST

'Alfred.
Only one English king is called, "The Great".'

A great English king but never a king of England (which was actually the title of the poll) – only of Wessex. It was his grandson who created the first unified kingdom of England – Athelstan.

chrisminiaturefigs Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 10:39 a.m. PST

Henry V, for winning the most glorious underdog victory in English history!

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 11:34 a.m. PST

Parzival, the British crown does still hold some powers, and those powers are also reflected in many of the constitutions of the Commonwealth nations. The sacking of the Australian government in 1975 is one example of when those powers have been used, this time by the crown's representative rather than the crown itself. The powers are there, and the pollies know it. In the 1976 general election following the sacking the electorate supported the decision by not re-electing the sacked government- many "rusted-on" voters changed their vote simply because the GG had seen it necessary to sack that government. (Forget all the background issues, blaming and conspiracy theories about that sacking- they're part of a different debate).

More often it's the threat of having those powers used that's enough to make a government re-think a course of action. Politicians' careers live and die by votes and polls. If the royal family were to hint at a lack of confidence in a political party then there's a good chance that party would lose the next election.

So while there's rarely any "hard" power exercised by Her Maj, the "soft" power is always a consideration for the pollies. It can and has been an effective brake on the pollies' more stupid acts and policies, because it's independent of party desires/affiliations and is generally backed by the electorate at the next election.

advocate22 Nov 2021 12:20 p.m. PST

Though when a Prime Minister decided illegally to prorogue Parliament, it was the courts that stopped him, whilst the monarch felt obliged to agree to the 'request'. So not all politicians understand their limits.

McKinstry Fezian22 Nov 2021 1:42 p.m. PST

When you get a bad monarch, you're screwed for life.

"I'm not so sure about that."
– Oliver Cromwell

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 3:21 p.m. PST

But it took England another century or so after the AWI to finally realize that investing any actual power in an inbred population of limited persons is A Bad Idea.

Hmmm, by my calculation that would put it smack in the middle of Queen Victoria's reign.
I rather think we had 'reigned' in the absolute power of Monarchs with the execution of Charles the first on 30th January 1649. – at the time of the previously mentioned Oliver Cromwell!

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP22 Nov 2021 8:28 p.m. PST

G'day, Peter.

So not all politicians understand their limits.

Probably most of them are like that, but group survival instincts come into play when the polls are posted.

The system does work most of the time, though. I'd hate to experience what our last 20 years of Prime Ministers would have done, if they had presidential powers.

Cerdic22 Nov 2021 10:29 p.m. PST

The primacy of Parliament over the Monarch really began with the Glorious Revolution of 1688.

Incidentally, the Bill of Rights issued as a result of this event is worth a read. The wording of some of the clauses may sound oddly familiar…

Martin Rapier23 Nov 2021 1:17 a.m. PST

Any monarch after the Act of Union isn't eligible for the poll as the role of King/Queen of England ceased to exist. Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom.

Deucey Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2021 5:27 a.m. PST

Edward 1

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2021 7:16 a.m. PST

But it took England another century or so after the AWI to finally realize that investing any actual power in an inbred population of limited persons is A Bad Idea.

Hmmm, by my calculation that would put it smack in the middle of Queen Victoria's reign.
I rather think we had 'reigned' in the absolute power of Monarchs with the execution of Charles the first on 30th January 1649. – at the time of the previously mentioned Oliver Cromwell!

I said "any power," not "absolute power." But one would hope y'all would find a better solution than bloody civil war followed by executions and repression of political dissenters. (wink, in case anyone failed to realize I'm being facetious in all of this…)

42flanker25 Nov 2021 11:45 a.m. PST

" I was asked if I was worried that the Queen's guard might arrest me without warning."

Obviously, that would be HMRC

Sandinista27 Nov 2021 11:44 a.m. PST

Charles I, but only after January 1649

CFeicht Supporting Member of TMP27 Nov 2021 5:28 p.m. PST

Charles I from 1625

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