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Monday, December 17, 2007


PLANTAGENET - started from the reign of King Henry II, great grandson of William the Conqueror. The name founded through his father Geoffrey the Count of Anjou who was fond of wearing plantagenet styled hat. The first plantagenet king was known throughout the English history as the most powerful monarch in the christendom. He was not only King of England at that time but owned vast land in France. That dominance in French territory was further strengthened by his marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine(the first wife of Louis VII, King of France), heiress to most powerful Duchies and counties in France. However, towards the end of the King's life, he was embittered and died a broken man. His last years in power were marked with domestic strife and betrayal with his own sons who fought themselves for the throne. His successor, Robert, died fighting his brothers. His wife, who turned against him aided her favorite son, Richard who later became Richard I the lionhearted and succeeded by his brother John lockland, perhaps the worst king in English history. It was during King John's reign that the famous Magna Carta-the great charter of liberties-was approved, when he was forced by the angry Barons to sign the charter in runnymede near Thames river.This royal house ended in the reign of Richard II, the grandson of Edward III-known in world history as the man who initiated the "Hundred Years of War" between England and France that lasted for 116 years-Richard II was deposed due to his tyrannic rule.

LANCASTER-this royal house was founded through the line of Edward III's 3rd son John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. This was conceived through conflict which later known as "the War of the Roses" against rival House of York. Prince Henry, John of Gaunt's son succesfully won the throne after his cousin's (Richard II) exile but his reign marked with struggle with the Yorkists, who headed by the Duke of York, Richard Plantagenet himself the cousin of Henry. Lancaster ended in the reign of Henry VI, the most unfortunate king ever seated in the English throne, he was the youngest to succeed in the two kingdoms of England and France, his father Henry V (called as the Hero King of England)died when he was only 9 months old, as the treaty to end the "Hundred Years of War"stated that Henry V will inherit the French throne(his wife was Princess Catherine, daughter of King Charles VI of France) when the insane French King died. But the English King predeceased Charles VI. Henry V's brother John, the Duke of Bedford acted as regent until the infant monarch reached his adulthood. Henry VI was a deeply religious man but lack strength and resolute character like that of his father to govern a Kingdom and later inherited the insanity illness of his maternal grandfather Charles VI. At the course of the civil war that sweep throughout the kingdom, Henry VI suffered bout of madness that he was reportedly laughing and singing while his soldiers fought for their lives. He was soon imprisoned by his cousin Edward of York in the tower of london with his young heir Prince Edward and later on murdered, his wife Queen Margaret escaped and fled to France.

YORK-After the armed conflict with its rival house, the House of Lancaster, the Yorkists emerged victorious after the death of Henry VI, its leader mounted the English throne as Edward IV but the curse of the "War of the Roses" still haunted the newly build House of York. The unstable kingdom attracted another controversy, this time the private life of the King himself. Edward married Elizabeth Woodville by whom he had 10 children including Princess Elizabeth (the future consort of Henry VII), Prince Edward , his heir and Prince Richard, the Duke of York (the famous Princes of the Tower), they married secretly in the Woodville's home at Northamptonshire which enraged some of his allies. It had been noted that the king had promised himself to marry Lady Eleanor Butler and the promise of marriage at that time was considered a legally binding contract so much so that when the King died his marriage was declared null and void and all his children were declared through an Act of Parliament as illegitimates. His successor the 13-year-old Prince Edward ascended briefly as Edward V but 2 months later, after the declaration of nullity of his parents' marriage he and his young brother Prince Richard, the Duke of York were imprisoned at the Tower of London suspectedly ordered by their uncle Richard, the Duke of Gloucester. The throne is now occupied by their uncle which took the name Richard III.The Princes mysteriously vanished and their whereabouts were unknown, many believed they were both killed in the gloomy tower. Richard III, many years later was killed in the battle of Bosworth field by the troops of Henry Tudor (from the Lancastrian descent), ending the House of York reign.

TUDOR-perhaps one of the most famous royal houses in the history of English monarchy. After the death of the last Yorkist Richard III, Henry Tudor ascended the throne as Henry VII. Inorder to effectively reconcile the warring two houses, he married Edward IV's daughter Princess Elizabeth which earned him the title as "Solomon King of England". The couple's eldest daughter Margaret became Queen Consort of Scotland and produced the future Mary Queen of Scots. Their son Henry VIII, became famous as the King with several wives who didn't hesitate to eliminate some of those women to strengthen his court. He first marry his brother's widow Catherine of Aragon and bore him a daughter later ascended as Mary I. Henry was deeply religious and was initially wanted to become an archbishop, he staunchly fought the teachings of the church which earned him a title "Defender of the faith"a title which the monarch of England still bear up to these days. It was during his petition for the nullity of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon that he broke all his ties to Vatican City. When the Pope refused to annul his marriage he separated from Rome and established the Church of England and declared him as Supreme Head. The last monarch of this house was his daughter Elizabeth who become Elizabeth I. She was known as "The Virgin Queen" because she did not marry and no reported relationship involvement (except at one time that she was linked to the Earl of Leicester, Robert Dudley, her closest friend). She was known with her imperious character and was believed to have sealed the death warrant of her great niece Mary Queen of Scots whom she accused of Treason. Many historians claimed that the fiery Queen refused to name her successor but on her death bed, according to reports, she uttered the name "My cousin in Scotland"referring to Mary Queen of Scots' son King James VI.

STUART-James VI of Scotland was named as Elizabeth I's successor, He ascended the English throne as James I, the first of the Stuarts monarch and the personal union of Scotland and England was born, thus conceiving the geographical name of Great Britain. He was succeeded by his son Charles I, the new king's policy was not popular among the Members of Parliament, his declaration that the monarch will be the ultimate arbiter of the law did not suit well to the masses, the King soon arrested and beheaded by the Cromwellians and its leader Oliver Cromwell became the "Lord Protector of England" for 10 years. When he died, the monarchy was restored and Charles I's son Charles II became King. Charles II had no legitimate children, his wife (Princess Catherine of Braganza)was barren, but he had at least 10 illegitimate children from his various mistresses, 3 of his sons The Duke of Lennox, The Duke of Marlborough and the Duke of Richmond were direct ancestors of Diana, Princess of Wales and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The last monarch of this name was Queen Anne, Charles II's niece, she died without an issue, so the kingdom was passed to her nearest protestant heir, George I of Hanover.

HANOVER-Prince George of Hanover ascended the British throne as George I, he was the son of Princess Sophia of Hanover. He was succeeded by his son George II. It was on the reign of George III that the United Kingdom was established. The third Hanoverian King was neither resolute nor skillful, infact he was partly blamed for losing many of the English territories in America, he suffered from mental illness probably inherited from his ancestor, Henry VI. He was known to historians as severly insane who seen talking and hugging trees at Hyde Park. When his only legitimate granddaughter Princess Charlotte, the daughter of his son and successor Prince George, died from childbirth, his remaining bachelors' son scrambled to get married to insure the continuity of the House of Hanover. This paved the way for his fourth son, Prince Edward the Duke of Kent to propose to the sister of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg Gotha (widower of Princess Charlotte and later King of Belgium), Princess Victoria, she bore him one child the Future Queen Victoria, the Duke then approaching his 50's when his daughter was born did not live long to inherit the crown. Victoria succeeded his paternal uncle William IV to the throne.

SAXE-COBURG-GOTHA- Queen Victoria ascended the British throne in 1837 but could not inherit the Hanoverian crown, because of the salic law prohibiting "a woman nor a claimant through a woman from succeeding". Thus, she used the name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, where both her mother and her husband, Prince Albert-her first cousin, descended. Victoria has the distinction of being the longest monarch ever reigned both in English and British history, she died in 1901. She was succeeded by her son Bertie who reigned for only 9 years as Edward VII. On his death in 1910, Britain finally had a King who could speak English without a German Accent. George V, who represented his country and subjects with his graciousness and punctuality, regarded his family as British with no German traces despite the fact that both her parents and wife are Germans. He effectively buried his German roots in 1917 when he decided to change his royal house name to Windsor. During world war I, his English subjects condemned Germany's tyranny and oppression that every German living in England was either ridiculed or ostracized, the King was no exemption. He finally fed up when one english newpaper called him "alien and uninspiring", cautious to secure his Kingdom, he consulted his advisers of the name changing, his Lord Chamberlain proposed for WINDSOR, the name signifies tradition and pageantry taking from the ancient fortress which had been the home of many monarchs since William the Conqueror. The official declaration was made on July 1917.

WINDSOR-George V declared on July 1917 that all his descendants would be known henceforth as the House and Family of Windsor. He was succeeded by his son Edward VIII but 11 months after his accession he rendered his voluntary abdication in order to marry the twiced divorce American woman Wallis Simpson sending his shy brother Prince Albert, the Duke of York to the throne, he reigned for 16 years as George VI and was succeeded by his daughter Lilibeth who became Elizabeth II in February 1952. In 1960, the Queen declared that unlike any other women in the realm, she would not carry her husband's name but her descendants who are not direct successors to the throne would take the name Mountbatten-Windsor.

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