longest reign

Two years ago, in 2015, our current Queen, Elizabeth II, overtook her great-great-grandmother in terms of the length of her reign.

When Queen Victoria died in 1901, she had reigned for 63 years, 216 days.

Queen Elizabeth’s reign currently stands at 65 years, 217 days.

Rumours abound about how much longer she may wear the crown of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth.

At the age of 91, it can possibly be understood why these questions might be asked.

Her mother lived to the ripe old age of 101, why should we not think that Elizabeth may survive for another decade, or more?

The most recent rumour that I have read, is that a regency will be set up once she reaches 95, and Charles will take control without the title of King.  Though by that time, the Prince of Wales will be well into his 70’s too, will his abilities be much better??

Many ask if Charles should even still be heir to the throne.  How can a divorced manbe the head of the church?  Besides the fact that he married a divorced woman, the fact which caused the abdication of his great-uncle Edward VIII, less than a decade ago.

Our country has changed dramatically since the abdication crisis, though has the monarchy changed as much?  It is a dated institution, but that is part of the allure.  England has had a monarch for centuries, the longest continual monarchy in world history, should it really change to such an extent to allow Charles’ accession?

Personally I do not have a problem with him becoming regent or King, though I do object to Camilla becoming Queen.  In previous posts I have compared her to Anne Boleyn, the Mistress who married a King and became Queen.  Diana was beloved of the country and many still find it difficult to think of her husband’s mistress wearing the crown that should have been Diana’s.  In my comparison that would make Diana into Catherine of Aragon, I suppose.  She died at the neglect of her husband, Diana is said to have died because her HRH and police protection had been removed, there is some similarity then.

Then there is the train of thought that Charles should be overtaken in the succession by his son and wife.

There was a very interesting drama on BBC recently called Charles III, it looked at a time when Charles took the throne, then was forced to abdicate in favour if William and Kate.  A good watch if you can find it online somewhere.

William would make a popular King, I am sure, but is he ready?  He has started a young family with Catherine in the last few years and another baby is due soon, I read the other day.

(I wish her well with her hyperemesis, I suffered it with all of my pregnancies and know the pain and stress that it causes.)

I think William should be allowed the time with his young family that the Queen did not have.  Her children had to be brought up almost solely by nannies and in boarding schools, how about we let the Cambridge children have a little nearer to normal upbringing?

There are a fine number of heirs to the throne at present, with Charles, WIlliam, George, Charlotte and the new baby on the way.  I doubt that any of them will acceed to the throne at an age to exceed our current Queen’s record for her reign.

At any rate, when she does go, there will be many people who question the future of the monarchy in general.  Queen Elizabeth has been the Queen for most of the population’s lifetimes, she is like everyone’s favourite grandma, and it is difficult to imagine anyone taking her place.

It will be interesting though, to see who actually does win the throne after her, on the strength of popularity, or respect?

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WW2

The 1st September 1939 marked the beginning of World War 2.

When dawn broke, German troops, who had been waiting at the border, began an invasion of Poland.  They also began bombing the Polish city of Warsaw at 6am.

The German forces easily outnumbered the Polish ones, and in a little over a fortnight, Poland was forced to capitulate to their invaders.

Two days after Germany had invaded, The British and French Empires, declared war on the Germans, in defence of their ally, Poland.

Considering that they went to war to defend Poland, neither Britain nor France did anything to effectively save the country from Germany’s clutches.

During the first 6 months of the war, over the winter, not much fighting actually happened.  The Germans made the first attack on the enemy in October 1939, when a submarine snook into Scapa Flow, where the British Navy had a base, and the sub managed to sink one of the Navy’s most important ships, the Royal Oak.

The British Navy retaliated in December 1939 by sinking the battleship Graf Spee in the Atlantic.

And so began one of the biggest losses of life in World history…….

Mountbatten

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Lord Louis Mountbatten, second cousin of our Queen, and mentor to Prince Phillip who took his surname.

His death is remembered because of the way he died.

On a visit to his home in Ireland in 1979, he took his small fishing boat to sea, with seven people on board.  Just a matter of yards from the shore, a bomb that had been hidden on the boat the previous night, exploded.

A local boy, Paul Maxwell, who was on board to help that day died instantly, as did one of Mountbatten’s grandsons, Nicholas.  The twin brother of Nicholas, and his parents were seriously injured but survived.  Lady Brabourne, the mother in law of Mountabtten’s daughter was taken to hispital but died the following day as a reult of her injuries.

Mountbatten himself, was rescued by some local fisherman.  He was pulled onto their boat barely alive, his legs hanging by a thread, and he died before the boat reached the shore.

His funeral took place at Westminster Abbey a week later, attended by the Royal Family and televised for thousands of others to watch.  His body was interred in Romsey Abbey.

The IRA took responsibility for the killing, claiming that he knew what to expect when coming to a war zone.

Mountbatten had led an illustrious career in his younger days.  He was the last Viceroy of India, then became the first Governor General of India when it became independant in 1947.

He was raised to First Sea Lord, soon after his return to Britain.

He played an important part in the meeting and marriage of Prince Phillip and Princess Elizabeth.  He took Phillip under his wing and coached him in British etiquette.  Phillip took the Mountbatten surname, to make himself appear English enough to marry the future Queen.

He also took a lead in coaching Prince Charles for his future role, advising him to enjoy his bachelor days, then marry a young virgin.  We all know where that led……..

Prince Charles was said to be devastated by the loss of his favourite uncle, and read a psalm at his funeral.

My view on this?  I don’t understand why people blow other people up.  In times of war, it seems different, but not many people outside of Ireland thought of the ‘troubles’ as being a war zone.  This assassination brought more people to take notice of the troubles, but I still don’t understand why people think it will get sympathy for their cause to blow up innocent people.  Anyone explain it to me????

Monster !!

Usually as a Ricardian, I would be talking of the Battle of Bosworth today, but my post from last year was quite well recieved, and am not sure I could top that !!

So instead, I thought I might find another topic to write about.

It is legend that the 22nd August in the year 565 (I know the calendar has changed since then but this is a legend after all!!), that St Columba was passing by the side of Loch Ness near Inverness, on his way to preach the Christian message to the Isles of Scotland.

It is said that he saw a monster swimming in the deep waters of the loch.  He became the first person to report a sighting of the now famous Loch Ness Monster!

The legend goes that he saw a monster attack and kill a local man, then try to attack one of Columba’s own missionaries.  The saint is said to have banished the monster to the depths of Loch Ness, never to walk on land again.

Of course we have no evidence that he did this, but the area around the loch has grown a massive tourist industry on the basis of this monster!  There have even been serious scientific investigations done on the loch to see if a monster can be found!!

Let’s all do the monster mash to celebrate……….

Bruce Forsyth

I had this piece for writing tonight all planned, but then I came home from shopping to hear that Bruce Forsyth had died.

I never claimed to be a big fan of his, but memories of watching him on saturday night tv, fill my mind.

I still watch Play Your Cards Right on Challenge, it’s classic mindless tv for when you need to chill out and switch off.

Then there was The Generation Game, no-one told jokes about the cuddly toy on the conveyor belt like he did!

More recently we enjoyed him on Strictly, which I admit is a secret vice of mine.

He was not a relative or friend, but I, among many other people will miss him.  His boundless energy and willingness to laugh at himself, is not found in modern tv hosts.  A true legend of British tv.

He lived to a ripe old age of 89, and must have seen much over those years.  I hope he finds his peace to rest in.

Didn’t he do well!!!!

Execution at the Tower

School holidays are almost over (well in Scotland anyway!), so I can return to my blog!!

Today is the anniversary of a rather important date in the history of the Tower of London.

On 15th August 1941, a man named Corporal Josef Jakobs, was incarcerated in the Tower on a charge of treason.  He was taken to the rifle range, sat on a chair and blindfolded.

Eight resident Scots Guards stood opposite him, rifles loaded.  Five of these men had live bullets in their guns and three had blanks.  A little after 7am, they raised their rifles and executed the condemned man.

He would come to be famous as the last person to ever be executed on the grounds of the Tower of London.

The actual chair that he was seated upon while he was executed is on display in the Tower’s exhibition, the backrest being broken where the shots went through the corporal’s body.  An interesting item of note, if you are visiting the Tower.

What about the man himself?

He was German, though born in Luxembourg.  He had served in the German army during the First World War, and returned to service for the Second World War.

In early 1941, he was parachuted into England with forged papers, to spy for his home country.  Unfortunately, he broke his ankle when he landed, which aided his capture by the Home Guard.

He was transferred to London, where he recieved treatment for his ankle and imprisonment as a traitor.

His military trial took place in early August, about ten days before his execution.

After his execution his body was buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in London.

Stuck in the country that he was sent to spy on, even after his death.

 

Game of Thrones

After a marathon journey through 6 seasons of Game of Thrones, I am almost caught up, there is only the first episode of series 7 to watch.

I did not specifically avoid watching the show before now, I had the idea that it was a sci fi prgramme after watching trailers which included dragons and the like, and sci fi is simply not my type of thing.

On a visit to my mother, though, she had the series available as a pre cursor to the new series beginning.  There was nothing of interest on tv, so we thought, what the hell? we can watch the first episode and see what it is like.

I will be honest, I began watching the first episode with the laptop in front of me, only half interested in watching the screen.

By the end of the first episode though, I wanted to see more.

So with less than a month to the beginning of season 7, we began gathering dvds of the previous 6 seasons, and working our way through them.

Some episodes needed to be watched more than once to understand the gist of some scenes, but we have stuck with it.  In between episodes of peppa pig and paw patrol (it is school holidays!), we have claimed the tv for adults and squeezed in an episode here and there.

It is refreshing to see a series that has kept the same characters and actors for so long.  Love them or hate them, you feel as though they are part of your life after seeing so much happen to them over such a period of time.  Some of the characters have grown with the seasons which makes you feel that you can connect with them and support them.

I have read that season 7 is the penultimate one, so I hope for an exciting series ahead of us.

As a history buff I could, of course, see the historical references throughout.  The battle between Stannis and Bolton, leaving fields full of blood and corpses, could not help but make me think of the descriptions of the Battle of Towton.  It was a strong image.

I will also admit that watching Natalie Dormer was difficult for me, I kept thinking of her as Anne Boleyn.  When she and her brother were imprisoned, when she kept asking about her brother, he on charges of sodomy, made me think of George Boleyn.  I have watched the Tudors wayyyyyyyy too much, methinks !!!!!!

Deanarys has the best shot at unseating Cersei, obviously.  And maybe Jon Snow being built up as a possible husband for her??  The woman has a huge army and 3 dragons, who would bet against her??

Cersei must get her comeuppance, though she has had to watch her 3 children die, is that her karma, one wonders?

My private wish for the throne would be Tyrion and Sansa together.  They have both endured so much shit (excuse the language!) from everyone around them, they both deserve it more than anyone else in the programme, in my opinion.

In the first series, I did not like Tyrion, he was a stuck up know it all, but I have really warmed to him.  Team Tyrion!!!!!! lol

I guess I am now a Game of Thrones addict.

Bring on season 7………………….