November 18, 2010
King John I may forever be known as a Bad King following that seminal history textbook 1066 and All That, but according to history authors, it is Henry VIII who should bear the title of the worst monarch in history.
More than 60 writers were surveyed by the Historical Writers Association (HWA), with Henry VIII taking 20% of the vote to find the worst monarch and criticised for a wide range of crimes: he was “obsessive”, “syphilitic” and a “self-indulgent wife murderer and tyrant”, according to respondents.
Robert Wilton, the author of The Spider of Sarajevo, called the Tudor king “a gross man-child, wilfully and capriciously dangerous to everything around him including the country”, adding that psychologically, Henry “barely made it out of infancy, let alone adolescence, and ruled with little more policy than petulant self-gratification”.
Edward VIII was named the second worst, with 14% of the vote, with John I and Charles I joint third, with 8%.
At the other end of the scale, the current queen received just one vote in the HWA’s quest to find the best monarch in history, with Elizabeth I triumphing with 36% of the 62 writers’ votes. Alexander the Great was second, with 10% of the vote, and Henry II third, with 6%.
It's always bunnies.
February 24, 2010
Oh well! I actually don’t think Henry was the worst monarch ever. And please, once and for all, he was not Syphilitic. The rest is true enough. He was obsessive, self indulgent, and he did have two of his wives killed. He is certainly not my favorite king, but I do love trying to figure him out. I think these authors, who from what I could tell from the names listed in the article are fiction writers, believe their own stories.
As to the worse monarch, there were plenty of monarchs who were pretty rotten. John is not one of my favorites. Neither is his brother Richard. These two didn’t seem to care about their people at all. Aethelred the Unready was nasty. Henry VI was incapable of leading. Mary’s reign was quite ugly. Charles I was blinded by his divine right. Richard III, who is another king I can’t figure out. Richard II. This one who became king as a child, and was a lousy leader.
If they are talking about the whole world, there have been plenty of leaders who were worse than Henry. Number 1 on the list, not a monarch, but a dictator, is Hitler. Definitely worse. I like the old question, if you could go back in time and kill Hitler before he came to power, would you? Yes, I would do it without hesitation. And to hell with the space time continuum thing. If I could go back in time to kill Henry? No, I wouldn’t kill him, but I’d get Anne away from him asap.
PS…Excuse me but Matilda was the first Queen of England whether she was crowned or not. Let me emphasize…Queen, not female king. Dumb phrase.
January 3, 2012
I think each monarch has there plus and minus points to be honest. Richard 1st in my mind is one of the worst, he spent most of his time fighting in the crusades, and really only used England as a money bag to fund them.
When he was captured it was the English people who had to pay his ransom, and all he did was put in an appearence say thank you and once again bugger off to fight in the crusades, once again being funded by the English people.
England saw very little of the spoils of war and what little was found barely made a dent in the debt he had racked up over the years.
Then of course he was stupid enough to get himself killed over a clay pot of coins.
King John, like his brother was greedy for power, and ended up alienating the whole kingdom because of it. He possibly murdered his nephew and certainly killed others who he felt got in his way. He was a total bastard towards woman, who he enjoyed abusing in one way or another.
His wife Isabella was only 12 when he married her although it has recently been suggested that, she may have been as young as 9 according to some sources.
The only good thing to come out of his reign is Magna Carta, which at least curbed a lot of his outragious behaviour.
**TITBIT ALERT** When John was faced with the crisis of Magna Carta, he tried everything he could to stop himself from signing it. He even offered to change the religion of the country.
He wrote to the sultan (or whatever he’s called) of the Arabian state, and offered to turn the country into a Muslim country in return for the Sultan’s help (Army wise) to put down the nobles and their Magna Carta.
I agree C1 was bad, but so was J2, he just wouldn’t accept that the people would never again been enslaved to the whims and wills of Rome. To them the Catholic religion was a living hell.
**TITBIT ALERT PART 2** When J2 was driven from England he and his missus set sail to France and Exile from Sheerness, which is about half an hours drive from me.
Matilda, falls into the same catagory as Jane Grey in my opinion, both were declared as Queen although never crowned. However I do feel that both should be referred as Queen, because just for a breif moment in time they were the lawful monarchs of the realm. In much the same way as little E5 was. He is referred to as King E5 even though like Matilda and Jane he wasn’t crowned. He must have been seen as King, because if he wasn’t then H8 son Edward, wouldn’t have been E6 would he?
H8 is in the top 3 for bad monarchs, but I will give the fat git some credit, he did give us the greatest monarch England had ever known “Elizabeth.” apart from that he was pretty damn useless.
Elizabeth had her plus and minus points however, many see her as murderer because of Mary Queen of Scots. However in truth she did everything she could to prevent that. She defended Mary as much as she could from her councillors who were champing at the bit and braying for Mary’s blood the minute she came ashore in Workington. It was only after the Babbington plot Elizabeth realised she had to act and she would have to pay the price for Mary’s death.
Mary Tulip reign was particulary bad because of the way she was, from the start she was determined to have her revenge on all those who she felt betrayed her and her mother. She killed Queen Jane who was really just an unwilling puppet in a Dudley Punch and Judy show which didn’t help, she married unwisely to a man who loathed her. She burned scores of people, including Cranmer, which I believe was the final nail in her coffin where the people were concerned. He was popular with the people and Mary in my opinion killed him purely out of sheer spite.
I believe even Philip felt Mary went too far when it came to burning people too.
I think it’s reasonable to speculate that Mary was a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, and that at times her elevator didn’t quite reach the top floor. I’m kind of reminded of Caligula when it comes to Mary Tulip, the first years of his reign were ok, he had a sort of love affair with his people and always sought to keep them happy. But after his illness which was possibly a mental breakdown of sorts, he had changed, he became a total nutter and killed a person just because he could. If someone had better hair than him he had them killed, or if they looked at him in the wrong way they were fed to the lions, etc.
Semper Fidelis, quod sum quod
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