Mon 24 Aug, 2009 03:02 pm
Based on my recent reading and studying the hereditary lineage of the BRITISH Royal family, who in fact was the last true English monarch. Since George I they have been German. Before the Stuarts (Stewarts) of Scots descent came the Welsh Tudors who themselves seem to have been an offshoot from the Normans who were in fact rulers of England from 1066 to 1489. Then there was Harold, (who wasn't royalty anyway) and before that came the Danes and Vikings (Edward the Confessor and Canute etc.). For that matter, why do the English refer to themselves as Anglo Saxons when there are so many other races tied up in their lineage.
I think that the English refer to themselves as English
Anglo-Saxons refers to the Angles
, the Saxons
and the always forgotten Jutes
, Germanic tribes who invaded England from the 5th century onwards. And they created the English nation.
The English monarchy traces back the the kings of the Angles and the Scottish kings.
What do you mean here with "races" - they are and were all Germanic (and Pictish).
It's pointless to ask who the last true English monarch was. The European royalty was so intermixed that it really constituted its own nationality. Even the last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold II Godwinson, was half-Swedish (or Danish) on his mother's side.
Right. And another thing to remember is that the Norman King Willliam I was really the first monarch who could claim sovereignty over all of England. All those other so-called Kings, even including the redoubtable Alfred the Great, only ruled their own corners of the island.
What possible significance could there be in identifying the last "true" English monarch? Given the paucity of reliable records, it was probably Edmund Ironsides, who was the son of Aethelred Unrede (Ethelred the Ill-counseled, who has been known as "Ethelred the Unready" since an anonymous scholar wrote that title as a joke on the margin of a manuscript of one of the copies of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, i believe in the 16th century) and an Anglo-Saxon wife. It is noteworthy that Aethelred's second wife was Emma of Normandy, a political marriage to attempt to conciliate the most potent threat to "England" after the Danes. After Edmund Ironsides, who only controlled part of Wessex and part of Kent (the area south of the Thames at London) and has dubious claim as King of England, the Danes under Canute the Great ruled all of the island.
Edmund's claim is not dubious just because he ruled so little of the island, but also because he lasted less than eight months in 1016. Harold Harefoot who succeeded Canute in England, was the son of Canute and an Anglo-Saxon wife (somebody else can look up who that was, if they are sufficiently interested). He was succeeded by a Dane, Hartecanute, who was succeeded by Edward the Confessor, whose father was Aethelred, and whose mother was Emma of Normandy, the tenuous basis upon which William the Bastard of Normandy laid claim to England.
So, probably the short-lived Edmund Ironsides can be claimed to have been the last English "King" of a postage stamp-size England.
There's still a lot of pilgrimage to Waltham Abbey, Essex, England .... where the tombstone of "the last English king" Harold is always decorated with fresh floral tributes ... (I've been more than surprised when I observed that a couple of years ago for the first time - it seems, it became even more over the years.)
The Celts did not have Kings, but elected chieftans, so it was only when the Germanic/Teutonic peoples entered Britain that the idea of kingship occured. The Celts also divided their holding equally between all children, thereby constsntly splitting holdings and having no lineage of primogeniture (first born).
There were no countries at all. The island was split into regions with ever changing boundaries, which would be "ruled" by a local chief. The idea of "Country" only came about when these ares, within what is now Angleland (England) was conquered and pulled together by William the Bastard of Normandy. The first tribal ruler who took homage from allmost all aof Britain was Athelstan, but he was not a "King of Britain".
The reference to the English as Anglo-Saxon is very misleading as less than 5% of English peoples contain any Anglo-Saxon genes. Yet still in Welsh and Scots Gaelic the term for English means Saxon and the language I am using here is "Saesneg". It would appear that the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Friesians etc (that are very closely connected ethnically) arrived from Germanic Europe and imposed their language and ways on the peoples living in what was eastern and southern Britain. The largest group being the Angles who gave their name to the place, Angleland. The Saxons setteld in the south (east Saxons becoming Essex, South Saxons becoming Sussex etc). The Angle people settled in Northfolk (Norfolk) and Southfolk (Suffolk).
All these areas had regional rulers, but no "Kings".
The last ruler of England was Queen Anne, who was a Stuart of Scottish decent. The Stuarts became rulers of England due to the marriage into their family of Margaret Tudor, who was sister of Harri Tydur (Henry Tudor) the Welshman who took control of England in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth.
There has not been a King or Queen of England since Anne. The title is Monarch of Gt Britain, UK and the Commonwealth. There is no such title as "King or Queen of England", which makes one wonder why the English have adopted the "national anthem" of the British monarch whilst the other countries of Britain have a distinct anthem of there own.
Ednumd Ironside, who died in 1016 and goverened only Kent and part of Wessex, was born of a father and mother that were born in what is England. He did not rule the land that is now the country of England but is probably the nearest thing to an English king. He only "ruled" his area of England for 8 or 9 months.
Interestingly, DNA studies show that 83% of the Welsh are decended from people who have been here for at least 9,000 years. The Cornish 79%, the Scottish around 70%. With the ancestors coming from the area of NorthSpain/Southern France, that is the the Basque country. Something like 68% of people in England are related to ancestors that have been here for 6,000 to 7,000 years. They came from another direction originating from the area of the Ukraine/Balkans via the lands now known as German/Denmark.
All of these people walked to what is Briain when the sea levels were lower and we were not an island.
This can be all be tracked as Britain had no one on it during the Ice age, which ended around 15,000 years ago.
Hope I haven't bored you, I find it interesting.
Borders are defined by the areas that were not conquered. The land now called England is so called because the Angles, Saxons, Jutes etc, took it over and subdued the residents. They did not take over the areas which have now become Wales and Scotland. Had those areas been over run by them, then the island would be Angleland. Less than 5% of English people contain Anglo-Saxon genes. There is far more Dane and Viking DNA in the English.
Cornwall, known as West Wales for a long time, was still independent of England for a very long time after the other areas of England had been absorbed. The melding of the names of Kernow (the celtic name of the SouthWest) and Wales (Saxon, meaning "the other people") gives us the name Kern-Wal or Cornwall.
The term "English" was first used by the Venerable Bede, sometime around 535 AD, I believe. And, yes, the English were originally a mix of Germanic races that invaded the Isle. Due to weather changes starting in the Russian Steppes there was a general push of group of people heading Westward across the continents. Then, when the Roman's invaded England (not leaving until 93AD), that added another mix. Later (1066), it was Normans and the introduction of French, which became the Court/International language for a long time. So, the "English" like the language itself, are a mix of historical occurances (and, of course, we must not forget the Vikings (particularly the Danish) who brought the concept of "Freemen" to the Eastern shores of England [East Anglia] ).
As a passing comment, most areas that eventually became known as "countries" had rulers that were not necessarily native to them. I am talking about getting beyond rulers with "tribal" attachments. From earlier centuries onward, it was primarily about "politics" and alignments through marriage and otherwise, which is a fascinating subject of its own! Also, going along with that thought, England, for instance, "owned" a part of what we came to know as France. From King John on and particularly through the Tudors, that territory was the subject of many conflicts and alliances.
A music professor at my university (who also studied history) always says, "There hasn't been an English king in power since 1066."
And what's funny is that, hoping not to sound too daft, the English didn't want a Catholic monarch because they didn't want outside (Roman) influences in the British royal affairs. Yet, they choose a German who doesn't even speak English to rule them. Makes sense right?
We should keep in mind that, in a very real sense, there never was a King of (all) England in all of history. England came into being after the successful invasion of the former Roman province of Britania by a disorganized conglomeration of Angles, Saxons, Jutes and other Germanic tribes. None of the people who set themselves up as "koenings" (kings) ever ruled over the entire island. If there was a powerful king in Kent, there would almost cerainly be another vitually as powerful in, say, Wessex. Certainly not Edward the Confessor nor his heir Harold Godwinson, who lost the throne almost immediately to the invading Normans under their Duke William, could claim to be sovereign rulers over all of England.
One of the great achievements of the Norman invasion was that it did
unite all the shires under one ruler and England became a kingdom in fact as well as in name. And, incidentally, if you look at the blood-lines and the promises made by Edward the Last, Duke William had probably a better legal claim on that throne than Harold ever did. It was a legitimate conquest and no usurpation.