Which of these are your favorite British monarchs?
Total votes: 143.
Edmund the Martyr
Alfred the Great
Edward the Confessor
William I ("Conqueror")
Richard I ("Lionheart")
James VI and I
James II and VII
I'm Irish and allergic.
It's a BA, Price. Sheesh.
A mixed bag of gentlemen and ladies, and a mixed vote. First, who's not there: Henry II (The Lion In Winter and all that), Edward III, Henry VII. All worthy and intriguing in their own way, but there's only so much space, both in my memory and for the poll.
Now to the vote.
#2 in the vote: Irish.
You people do realize there's a reason it's called a paddywagon, don't you? I would have been devoutly irritated had that been No. 1. My kids are part Irish, so I suppose this is what I can expect from now on? Thank you, last vote for Alfred.
Now on to the individual results (my votes in bold):
A. Edmund the Martyr. Should have had more votes--one of the most popular English saints, he was a good king and an unlucky soldier. Then again, even good soldiers could be unlucky against the bloody Vikings. Even the next guy on the list.
B. Alfred the Great. If you don't know, learn. He's the only English monarch called "the Great," and for good reason. A just and far-sighted ruler, brilliant soldier, and canny Christian diplomat, he rallied Christian civilization in England in its darkest hour.
C. Canute. I like him if only for the reason that the wave story is always mistold. Canute wasn't being fatuous, he was rebuking yes-men.
D. Edward the Confessor. Another popular English saint, but I've never quite warmed to him. Kinda James Buchanan-ish in the face of a grave crisis.
E. Harold. A great soldier with the potential to be a great king, he fought two titanic battles in three weeks a couple hundred miles apart. The first, Stamford Bridge, repelled the last great Norse assault, and is almost forgotten. He came within a hairsbreadth of winning the second, at Hastings. History would have been changed beyond recognition had he won.
F. William the Conqueror. Give the man his due--the bastard son of a tanner's daughter became one of the most important figures in history.
G. Edward I. Four of you didn't like Braveheart very much. The Hammer of Scots and the conqueror of Wales, his legacy still stands in the latter place, with his great fortresses at Caernarvon and Harlech.
H. Richard I. I dunno--I think the Lionheart is a bit overrated. But he fought Saladin to a draw, which is no mean achievement.
I. Henry V. Immortalized by Shakespeare, and for good reason. A great soldier-king died too young. Even another ten years would have done the hapless Henry VI a world of good.
J. Richard III. Ah, the partisans of the White Rose are still among us! Face it: he had the Princes in the Tower killed.
K. Henry VIII. This is a Catholic blog, you know.
L. Elizabeth I. Gloriana had her undeniable virtues. But I'm a big fan of St. Edmund Campion.
M. James VI and I. Fine, if you like your kings putting from the tee, if you know what I mean. More seriously, a decent king, just not a member of the pantheon of greats. Sure, momentous things happened during his reign--the colonization of America, the Authorized Version--but that was coincidental, not driven. Still, he was smart enough to know the difference between "pick your fights" and "pick a fight." Unlike his son.
N. Charles I. Inflexible and pig-headed, he was a good family man who defended himself and faced death with remarkable courage. In fact, the way he spent the last few months of his life did more to rekindle monarchist sentiment than the rest of his reign.
That, and he irritated equally pig-headed Presbyterians, which has to count for something.
O. Charles II. I like the Restoration in general and the Merry Monarch in particular. Yes, he was a cad, but he loved his wife in his own grossly inadequate way and made sure his illegitimate children were provided for. And he converted to Catholicism on his deathbed. After the grey bloodbath of Cromwell, Charles II was a necessary man.
P. James II and VII. Victor's right--James II was a disaster on the throne.
Q. George III. The first truly English king of the Hanoverian line, he was a model husband and father. King--not so much. Then there's that "years of gibbering insanity" thing.
R. Victoria. We are amused. Or at least like her a lot. When your name defines an age, that says it all.
S. Edward VII. His name at least defines furniture and architecture. And his example means the big and tall types don't have to do up both the buttons on the suitcoat--thanks, Ed!
T. Edward VIII. One romantic fell for the Wallis Simpson fiasco. Sorry, but both of them were godawful twits who deserved to be marooned on Bermuda. He was a dimwitted Nazi sympathizer and she was an airheaded bimbo.
U. George VI. One of those rare situations where the little brother has it all over the elder. Everything Edward VIII wasn't: duty-minded, serious, family-oriented, and stable. Maybe we owe Wallis a thanks after all.
V. Elizabeth II. Her father's daughter. The Queen.
W. Hey, I have to put the history major to use somehow. Might as well show off here.