October 16th, 2006


Lady Jane Grey and all that.

We, the English, almost pride ourself on our knowledge of our monarchy. Thus if you ask us to name an obscure English monarch we'll probably mostly think briefly and then have a sure answer. Some will cite William Rufus, or King John.

Others will pull out the traditional argument and cite Edward V or Henry VI part II. Both Matilda§ and Stephen have their supporters and there are those who will look back even further, citing Canute¥ or Partacanute.

Even Arthur and Richard II have their supporters, despite both being immortalised in the media. Oh, and who can forget the odd Jacobite who will insist on Charles III.

But, I think, the most popular answer will be Lady Jane Grey (although some would argue that the most famous obscure monarch is in fact Æthelred the Unready).

Despite all of this, SGO research historians have recently discovered two even more obscure monarchs — Edgar the Atheling and Louis.

Famous for having a red beard, and dying on the hunt.
Who, despite the impression Robin Hood stories tend to give, actually was King for some years after Lionheart's death.
Famous for being locked in the Tower and killed, although noöne can agree by whom.
§ Or is it Maud?
"this and more we suffered nineteen winters for our sins."
¥ Subject of an early attempt at spin involving oceans.
Fabricated out of whole cloth by Sellar and Yeatman.
Famous for mixing burnt cakes and wine in the cup from our Lord's last supper.
Invented by Shakespeare.
Who unfortunately fails on both counts, being neither obscure nor a monarch.
Around whom we appear to have built a kind of underground national history cult.
A pleasingly oxymoronic phrase.
Who was eventually expelled from the Danish Jazz group for taking too long to set up his clarinet.
Who succeeded Harold after the Battle of Hastings, and later abdicated to William the Conqueror before he was crowned.
Who kind of foreshadowed Williamandmary.
One of the main reasons for Footnote 11.

In the main a note to myself.

I have a policy which says, approximately, that if two people independantly and in good faith recommend a book or author to me then I will make a reasonable effort to try and read it.

This state has recently occured with respect of Charlie Stross' The Atrocity Archives. Diziet has offered to lend me a copy once this is more structurally convenient.