Trivia Break: Royal Oddities

>> Tuesday, August 11, 2009

OK, I still haven't gotten any new questions (hint hint) so we're keeping with the questions and answers.

If you study European kings as I do, particularly English kings (though I've studied French and Spanish and Russian - more to come). In that frame, of mind, here are some odd tidbit questions.

Who was the first "Anglo-Saxon" king, who founded the dynasty that the Norman over threw in 1066?

William the Conqueror took over England, and married Maud of Flanders. What was unusual about their marriage compared to other royal marriages?

Which English King was beheaded?

Which English king was deposed by his French wife (in the name of her son), supported by her lover?

Ivan the Terrible was not easy to live with. What did he do to earn the "the Terrible" moniker?

How did Catherine the Great (of Russia) inherit the throne?

In what year did the Catholic Spanish rulers finally defeat the remainder of the Moors that had owned all to part of the Iberian peninsula since 711? Which rulers pulled it off?

How many King Louis ruled France the old monarchy was finally eradicated? Which numbered Louis never reigned? (And, no, don't count Louis Napoleon).

What country do the Bourbons still nominally rule today?

Oh, that aught to do.


  • The Mother

    I know a couple of those.

    William the Conquerer wasn't the nicest of guys and it is rumored that he assaulted poor Matilda, forcing her to marry him. Not that that was unusual in those days. What was weird was that they married without the Pope's consent--apparently they were too closely related, but since the Pope was always issuing bulls that allowed cousins to marry, he must have had a craw up his rear about this particular relationship.

    Charles I was beheaded after the English Civil War, when the English finally decided that kings were bad. It didn't last long though, because the Puritan theocracy Cromwell imposed wasn't any fun, either, and they eventually put Charles's son (also Charles) in as king, in what everyone now calls the Restoration. (Interestingly, the Anglican church made him a saint, as a martyr for the Anglican succession. Pity they didn't bother to look at his record as a king, which is what got him into trouble to begin with).

    Ivan the Terrible wasn't the nicest guy, but my understanding is that the nickname is a mistranslation of the Russian, which actually means something like awesome or powerful (incidentally, a traditional use of the English word "terrible," too.)

    Catherine the Great, as did so many women of power, slept her way into the job. She married Peter, the soon to be Czar, who was rumored to be homosexual and was at least very, very weak. When Peter took power, Catherine wrested it away from him in the name of the couple's son, and sent him into a lavish exile at one of their palaces, where he mysteriously died. She was rumored to have had many affairs, mostly with men who could boost her standing (military, wealthy), and bore at least a couple of illegitimate kids, easily concealed in those days by the enormous skirts women wore. She was, however, a pretty smart cookie who is credited with modernizing Russia.

    Isabella and Ferdinand finally ended the Muslim occupation of Spain in the 15th century. They started the Spanish Inquisition to ferret out any last heretics in their midst--which is technically a misnomer, because one can only be a heretic if one is of the religion that is deciding what a heretic is, but that little detail didn't matter to the Spanish Inquisition. Neither, apparently, did innocence.

    The Louis question is a trick--while there was titularly a Louis 17th, since his father was beheaded during the Revolution, he died (rumored to be suspiciously) shortly thereafter and did not actually ever reign. When the monarchy was temporarily restored (the French never learn), a cousin took the name Louis 18th. So 17, the last being Louis 18th. There was a Louis-Phillipe after that (famous for gutting the fabulous Versailles staircase to make room for more downstairs gaming rooms).

    Bourbons: Luxembourg. And there's still a Bourbon on the throne in Spain (incidentally, the Swiss accidentally invaded Luxembourg last year when they got "lost" during a training exercise. We had a grand laugh about that one).

    Best I can do. You've got me on a lot of them.

  • Shakespeare

    Since I am intensely non-trivial... I'll put in a question for Tarot Queen, since someone is WHINING (yes, I hear it, and not just online since I'm visiting her)...

    1. Why is publishing one's writing so difficult (i.e. impossible), and what is the best way to improve the publishing industry?

    2. If you could take a vacation anywhere (with your kids, or not), where would it be?

    3. Does the world need LOVE most of all, or is it something else?

    Hope these can keep you busy! And I hope others come up with better questions... I think The Mother doesn't need to ask any--she's as full of answers as Rocket Scientist. Wow!

  • Boris Legradic

    Ah-ha! Pursuant to our discussion about the nature of faith you mentioned something in passing - an astounding statement I had heard never before. So - why are unicorns, in particular rainbow-coloured ones, lazy? Evolutionary adaptation? Excessive energy-budget for their sparkling, rainbow-coloured fur? Danger of overheating due to their reptilian nature? Enquiring minds want to know!


    The first Anglo-Saxon to rule over a unified England was king Æthelstan, in 927, but the unification was lost several times after.

    Bonus: The last Anglo-Saxon
    William defeated the English king Harold Godwinson at the battle of Hastings, 1066. Although there were some murmurs of irregularities following the rapid coronation of Harold after the death of Edward the Confessor, he was elected properly by the Witengamot.

  • Aron Sora

    I think the House of Bourbons still rule spain... I think

    I have a few questions:
    I'm going to college soon, what are my parents going through? What are they feeling right now?

    I quote TED lectures a lot, could that annoy my readers?

    Do you have any funny/interesting stories from your college days?

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