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30 September 2013 @ 04:10 pm
A thought about history  
I find it increasingly curious that, upon reading British history books, every telling of the tragic fall of a monarch seems to come with commentary about how unprecedented it was, how shocking, how cataclysmic. But they weren't entirely ignorant of their own history, even where it was a simple narrative constructed by monks or whatevs. The Anglo-Saxon kings had their fair bit of shenanigans. After Henry I died, Stephen and Matilda pinched the crown off each other a time or two. John told everyone Richard I had died. John himself was pretty much decrowned, and the throne given to the French. Edward II "abdicated" and died in Mysterious Circumstances. Richard II "abdicated" and died in Mysterious Circumstances. Henry VI had his crown pinched, then given back, then pinched again, then died in Mysterious Circumstances. Edward IV had his crown pinched and then took it back. Edward V if not died then disappeared in Mysterious Circumstances. Richard III had his crown taken in battle by one of his subjects. Charles I had his head chopped off. Charles II, to begin with, had no throne to inherit. James II was deposed.

There were a whole host of different circumstances, but the sanctity of the anointed king was surely never completely beyond question. Surely at some point it had to stop coming as a surprise?
mymatedavemymatedave on September 30th, 2013 04:12 pm (UTC)
That kind of thinking and it's inverse can also be seen in certain aspects of modern life unfortunately.
tree_and_leaf on September 30th, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
Well, Charles I was genuinely shocking, because of the trial aspect (the feeling seems to have been that killing a king in battle, or indeed quietly murdering them, was one thing, but putting them under the judgement of commoners was quite another...)
Miss Squeenie McPimpalot: bard much ado getting a divorcechaletian on September 30th, 2013 08:58 pm (UTC)
Good point - that really marks the intervention of the secular parliament in determining the course of the monarchy (and, as you say, the commoners in parliament as well - it's not just a council of nobles deciding what to do), irrespective of intrinisic godly kingliness (lol terribly sentence, but you know what I mean!). It's interesting how that became more dominant with the accession of William & Mary: curious fact is that they refused to do the king's touch malarkey for their scrofula-ridden subjects (Anne did, but she was the last). I suppose it's at this point, and with the Hanoverians, that the monarchs were truly only ruling at Parliament's choice and no-one could really pretend otherwise.

Sorry, that was all very rambly and incoherent!
katherineakatherinea on September 30th, 2013 08:14 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean but think we are still like it. I'd be pretty shocked if someone deposed Elizabeth and we still have all these "can she abdicate?" questions when Edward VIII did and we seemed to cope.

And most of us are lucky enough to have grown up in a time of peace and relative prosperity and don't think that it will all cock up. But we've had those before and they tend to get followed by catastrophic wars/Black death/collapse of Roman Empire/rise of horrible murderous despot.

It was reading [i]Collapse[/i] by Jared Diamnond that brought home to me how these nice, stable societies where everything has been fine(ish) for maybe hundreds of years just go poof like that..

We're all doomed, I tell you!
Miss Squeenie McPimpalot: bard falstaffchaletian on September 30th, 2013 09:00 pm (UTC)
We are doomed. I have known this all along. I shall wait here, eating oreo cadbury's, until my demise.

I was hoping we might have an apocalypse fueled by the economic collapse, but that didn't happen. Or it's just biding its time...
katherineakatherinea on September 30th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
I'm sure the world is meant to end soon. Or so I've been told. Several times. It's running late.