R for Royal Relations

20 April 2019

Have you started tracing your family tree and discovered a familial branch that’s linked to royalty (like the majority of those with British ancestry!)? You’re not alone. Here are some fun facts about some well known royal monarchs you may just be (slightly) related to.

William I

Royal William The Conqueror

[William The Conqueror (William I) Image source: Westminster Abbey]

 “the swollen bowels burst, and an intolerable stench assailed the nostrils of the by-standers and the whole crowd.” The words of the English Chronicler Orderic Vitalis 

After a not so ‘welcoming’ send off at his funeral, the ‘bastard’ king as he was also known, unfortunately had his coffin made too small, so his body could not fit properly inside. Which resulted in a very unpleasant and bloody outcome – sure to ‘wake’ the dead.

Henry II

Henry II

[Henry II, first Plantagenet King of England Image source: Historic UK]

“freckle faced and bow-legged”

It was recorded that this young king had rode his horse so frequently that he was “bow-legged”

King John

King John of England

[King John of England Image source: History Today]

“The dressing gown king”

According to Latin wardrobe records King John possessed a “supertunicam domini Regis ad surgendum de nocte,” which is translated to a ‘king’s overshirt for rising in the night’. In other words, he was probably the first medieval king to own a dressing gown!

Henry VII

King Henry VII

[King Henry VII Image source: The Bridgeman Art Library]

“..issued coins bearing his image”

The first monarch to have a full portrait of his face stamped into his coins, a groat to be exact (which is the equivalent of four pence nowadays!) in 1507.

James I

King James I

[King James I Image source: The Tudor and Stuart Monarchs]

“James I introduced pet crocodiles, camels and even an elephant to St James’ park…”

It’s worth noting that it was even given a daily ration of red wine in the winter months as it was believed that they were unable to drink water, in any other season apart from the summer.

Now that you’ve read through these fun facts about monarchs you may or may not be related to, you can take a look at an article about kin here. Or, if you’re still in a light-hearted, rosy mood, have a gander at our favourite genealogy jokes here!

Written by Rhianna Selkridge-Carty

Our next blog focuses on those you’re closely related to, rather than the royals, in S is for Siblings.

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