Once upon a time…
That’s how all great fairy tales begin, and this may be one of the greatest tales of them all. So, once upon a time, there was a king, a very good king. He was so good he eventually became a saint. Like most saints, he wasn’t into the temporal things of life, so, not being into the temporal things of life, he had no children. When he died, his brother-in-law basically grabbed his throne. Another king, from another country invaded the sceptred isle. The new king killed the invading king. And, that should have been the end of it. Except that the sainted king wanted a distant relative to be king, so the other guy, a duke decided he wasn’t going to put up with being kept from his throne. On October 14, the invading duke, known as the bastard, killed the king, and assumed the the throne of…
This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England. (Shakespeare, King Richard II, Act 2 scene 1)
And so… it began. It is a tale of kings, and queens, princes and princesses, dukes, earls, lords and ladies. The conquered Saxons detested the Norman pigs who invaded them. They lost their lands and titles if they did not swear allegiance to the bastard. They were forced to bow down to the hated Normans and their customs. The Normans were so arrogant and so superior to the Saxons, they never even bothered learning the language. They forced those who wished to advance in life speak … oh dear … a rudimentary form of … God Save the Queen … French.
The real power in the civilized world was not in England. It was not in Normandy, it was in Aquitaine. The Queen of France was the Duchess of Aquitaine. The saintly King of France married her because she was richer than he was and far more powerful. He was a boring dud. He did though decided to join a Crusade to Jerusalem. By this time his beautiful queen was so bored with him that she wanted a divorce. He refused to give her one. To protest, she and the women of her court rode bare-breasted into Jerusalem, the Holy City. The divorce was forth coming.
Free from her saintly spouse, the beautiful former queen and Duchess of Aquitaine had the hots for the current hunk of the day, the young Count of Anjou. He was made even more attractive when she discovered he was going to be inheriting quite a bit of property and quite a few titles, among them, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Count of Nantes, and King of England. If she married him, the pair would control a goodly portion of France, with dear, saintly Louis limited to a small parcel of land around Paris. A year after they were married, she became the Queen of England. She also began having sons, many many sons, and quite a few daughters.
William IX, Count of Poitiers
Henry the Young King
Matilda, Duchess of Saxony
Richard I, King of England
Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany
Eleanor, Queen of Castile
Joan, Queen of Sicily
John, King of England
That is how the trouble began. With the exception of Richard, the offspring of Eleanor and Henry had offspring of their own. While Aquitaine was the prize, the lure of the title of ‘king’ was nothing to be ignored, even if it was in a backwater part of Europe. France was far more sophisticated. It was so much more sophisticated none of the offspring of Eleanor and Henry even bothered speaking the harsh native tongue. Their French language was far more sophisticated. Their wines, grown in the lush lands of Aquitaine (now known as Bordeaux) were the best in the civilized world. They had art, music, and poetry.
John Lackland, who became King when his heroic Lionhearted brother died, had a son named Henry. He was 9 when he became king. He had 9 children, with five of them dying quite young. King for 56 years, he wasn’t interested in running his country, but he was into building things, including universities (Oxford, Cambridge and a bunch of cathedrals: Westminster, Salisbury, Wells, Lincoln, Peterborough, Winchester). His oldest daughter, Margaret, married the king of Scotland. His oldest son, Edward I, became one of the greats.
If you think in ‘modern’ terms, Henry III is the person who started the never ending pissing contest between England and France. He returned to England with his tail between his legs. Long story short, after a battle with his barons, imprisonment, and so forth and so long, Edward escaped and helped his dad regain his throne. Edward then decided to go do a little crusading. He used his travels to acquire a bit of sophistication unknown as of yet, in England. He married a Spanish princess. They had 16 children. His son, Edward II was openly gay, or rather bi. He was deposed and his son, Edward III inherited. He was The Man! He also started the Hundred Years War.
It had begun.
He also had numerous off-spring. It should noted that most of us who have that lovely line of English royalty in us are descendants of Edward II. He and his children had that many off-spring. At least 75% of my ancestry comes from one of Edward II’s offspring.
Edward, the Black Prince
Isabella, Lady of Coucy
Joan of England
Lionel, Duke of Clarence
John, Duke of Lancaster
Edmund, Duke of York
Mary, Duchess of Brittany
Margaret, Countess of Pembroke
Thomas, Duke of Gloucester
Had The Black Prince survived, it would have been one of those history changing moments. He did not. His son, Richard II became king. Also gay, Richard committed suicide by ramming a red hot poker up his rear. One of the reason he was deposes is because he hated his powerful uncle, John of Gaunt. John had a son, Henry Bolingbroke, who was banished by Richard. He was forced to leave his young son, Henry, to run amok, while he was plotting his return. He returned and became Henry IV. By the time he sobered up his son, everyone was ready for round two of another nice, long war with France. On St. Crispin’s Day, 1415 he humiliated France. Shakespeare said it best.
What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin:
If we are mark’d to die, we are now
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more, methinks, would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
October 25, 1415 – the Feast of Crispin, saw the obliteration of the nobility of France while approximately 112 English were either killed or wounded. Anywhere from 7000 to 10,000 French died, including numerous members of the nobility.
Fast forward 400 years, to June 18, where the Duke of Wellington defeated Napoleon at Waterloo, near Brussels. The English humiliated the French, who never truly recovered, to the point that they caved the moment Hitler started invading. It was left to the the United States and the Brits to do a reverse conquest and invade the Norman shores on June 6, 1944. On November 1, 1993, the Maastrich Treaty, was ratified without the citizens of the UK ever having a vote on their fate. They literally gave their sovereignty to be ruled over by a socialist dictatorship out of Brussels and subjugated them to the French.
That the story. The more things change, the more they stay the same. This is about history, and the roots of what is going on today. To assume that is all it is about would be foolish. But, not to comprehend a thousand years of history is also quite foolish.
Do you even know what Brexit is about? Please note that the names in black are my direct ancestors. I take this personally!
John by God’s grace king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, count of Anjou, to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, foresters, sheriffs, reeves, officers and all bailiffs and subjects, greeting. Know that for the sake of God and for the salvation of our soul and the souls of all our forebears and heirs, to the honour of God and the advancement of holy church, and the reform of our kingdom, by the counsel of our venerable fathers Stephen, archbishop of Canterbury, primate of all England and cardinal of the holy Roman church; Henry, archbishop of Dublin; Bishops William of London, Peter of Winchester, Joscelin of Bath and Glastonbury, Hugh of Lincoln, Walter of Worcester, William of Coventry and Benedict of Rochester; Master Pandulf, subdeacon and confidant of the lord pope, Brother Eymeric, master of the Knights Templar in England; and the noble men William Marshal, earl of Pembroke, William, earl of Salisbury, William, earl of Warenne, William, earl of Arundel, Alan of Galloway, constable of Scotland, Warin fitzGerold, Peter fitzHerbert, Hubert de Burgh, seneschal of Poitou, Hugh de Neville, Matthew fitzHerbert, Thomas Basset, Alan Basset, Philip d’Aubigny, Robert of Ropsley, John Marshal, John fitzHugh, and others of our subjects:
We have first of all granted to God, and by this our present charter confirmed, for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church is to be free, and to have its full rights and its liberties intact, and we wish this to be observed accordingly, as may appear from our having of our true and unconstrained volition, before discord arose between us and our barons, granted, and by our charter confirmed, the freedom of elections which is deemed to be the English Church’s very greatest want, and obtained its confirmation by the lord pope Innocent III; which we will ourselves observe and wish to be observed by our heirs in good faith in perpetuity. And we have also granted to all the free men of our kingdom, for ourselves and our heirs in perpetuity, all the following liberties, for them and their heirs to have and to hold of us and our heirs.
As a nation, everything we are is based on the Magna Carta.
This is just the opening of the Great Charter, upon which OUR freedom is based. Liberals here in the US, who are demanding the United Kingdom bow to their demands don’t quite comprehend this is a free and independent country, not some third world dictatorship Barack Obama can invade and destroy. It is a free and independent country, a sovereign nation. In order to maintain the liberal world-view, sovereign nations must be obliterated. There are to be no borders, no nationality, and nationalism is now evil. Those who wish to protect their nation, and celebrate its uniqueness are racist. I guess I’m just a racist reactionary. Twenty-three of my ancestors fought for independence. They did not fight for political correctness but freedom. I suspect history is going to hold at fault those who seek to destroy national identities and homogenize us into faceless, mindless worker drones who worship at the altar of democratic socialism.