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Old December 28th, 2015, 12:22 PM   #1
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Which British\English monarch has history been most unfair to?


Which British\English monarch has history been most unfair to?


Personally i think Mary I, For one thing her name " The Bloody" is an unfair name. And she was probably the least bloody of the Tudor monarchs. Both her father, sister and brother were more bloody than her. I am not sure about her Grandfather. And from all the ruling monarchs of England\Britain she was not close to be the most bloody.

Now i am not claiming she was a good monarch. Clearly she was not but i still thing that the English\British monarch history has been most unfair on is Mary I.

Who do you think ?
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Old December 28th, 2015, 01:51 PM   #2

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King John, because the story of his reign presented in high school classrooms is usually truncated in order to paint him as a ruthless villain and sets up the romantic tale of the Magna Carta.
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Old December 28th, 2015, 02:49 PM   #3

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King John, because the story of his reign presented in high school classrooms is usually truncated in order to paint him as a ruthless villain and sets up the romantic tale of the Magna Carta.

Richard III
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Old December 28th, 2015, 03:21 PM   #4

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Edward II has one of the poorest reputations, and yet the closer you look at the man, his times and troubles, the less certain his faults seem to be. He doesn't compare well with either his father, Long Shanks, or his son Edward III. They were lucky and mighty warriors, whereas III's major fault seems to have been wanting to be loved. Like his grandfather, Henry III, Edward III made the mistake of not keeping a firmer hand on his government. It was a common fault to shower wealth and power on Court favorites, and both of Edward's primary favorites were despised by the great barons. The gulf that developed between Huge Despenser and the politically savy, and greedy, Queen Isabella was the final straw. When Edward permitted his son to join his Mother at the French Court, he was left without any cards to play. Mortimer and Isabella returned to England with Edward III safely in hand. Edward III, and his guardians, were joyfully welcomed ashore and most of the Baron's deserted the King and the hated Despenser.

Whether Edward was brutally murdered in captivity, or if he lived for years in an Italian monastery is great soap opera, but the focus shifted to Edward III who was a lucky warrior, and generally loved by his people. Of course there were a few holdouts only looking for an opportunity to regain power at the expense of the English King. Ian Mortimer has done an exemplary biography on Edward III, and that is on top of his early work denigrating Mortimer as the true villain of the piece. Both are good books that have value for students of the period, but keep in mind Ian Mortimer's baises.
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Old December 28th, 2015, 04:58 PM   #5

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George III certainly gets a bad rep here in America, when in fact most of the problems were with Parliament. A monarch made a good figure to demonize, though.
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Old December 28th, 2015, 05:40 PM   #6

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Edward II has one of the poorest reputations, and yet the closer you look at the man, his times and troubles, the less certain his faults seem to be. He doesn't compare well with either his father, Long Shanks, or his son Edward III. They were lucky and mighty warriors, whereas III's major fault seems to have been wanting to be loved. Like his grandfather, Henry III, Edward III made the mistake of not keeping a firmer hand on his government. It was a common fault to shower wealth and power on Court favorites, and both of Edward's primary favorites were despised by the great barons. The gulf that developed between Huge Despenser and the politically savy, and greedy, Queen Isabella was the final straw. When Edward permitted his son to join his Mother at the French Court, he was left without any cards to play. Mortimer and Isabella returned to England with Edward III safely in hand. Edward III, and his guardians, were joyfully welcomed ashore and most of the Baron's deserted the King and the hated Despenser.

Whether Edward was brutally murdered in captivity, or if he lived for years in an Italian monastery is great soap opera, but the focus shifted to Edward III who was a lucky warrior, and generally loved by his people. Of course there were a few holdouts only looking for an opportunity to regain power at the expense of the English King. Ian Mortimer has done an exemplary biography on Edward III, and that is on top of his early work denigrating Mortimer as the true villain of the piece. Both are good books that have value for students of the period, but keep in mind Ian Mortimer's baises.
Despite historical bias if we are to judge Edward II by the standards of his times then I find it hard to come to any other conclusion than he was a failure. I accept your premise that the chroniclers of the day gave him a bad press by hinting at unnatural relationships with favourites, such as Piers Gaveston, and following un-kingly pursuits like thatching and sailing. Even the tale of his death seems to represent a moral judgement rather than a verbatim account, but the fact is he failed in two of the most vital areas of medieval Kingship, namely the ability to work with his nobles and protecting the realm.

His alienation of great peers like Warwick weakened his efforts to crush the Scots resulting in the humiliation at Bannockburn and, despite his own personal courage, his military shortcomings would have been perceived as a judgement of God by his people. Couple this with the deprivations of the Scots under Bruce in the North of England immediately after the battle, which Edward was unable to prevent, then one can only perceive him as a pathetic King by the standards of the time. Decent chap he may have been, but the strong King his people needed at that moment in history he was emphatically not.
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Old December 28th, 2015, 07:41 PM   #7
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Bloody Mary is called bloody because the protestants won.

Richard III was clearly demonized by the Tudors to justify their claim. He was an unscrupulous usurper like Henry VII, but I don't believe the way he was presented in Holinshed, More, and Shakespeare.

Edward II was awful. He was a disaster militarily. Whatever his sexuality, he gave his young favorites way too much power.
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Old December 28th, 2015, 08:08 PM   #8

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James II. I'll go into full detail tomorrow, but James II for sure.
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Old December 28th, 2015, 08:53 PM   #9

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Old December 28th, 2015, 09:26 PM   #10

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I will cast a vote for John as well. The Angevin Empire, which he inherited from the Lionheart upon the latter's untimely demise was never really an "empire" in the sense of a unified polity...it was a feudal conglomeration doomed to failure by the fact that the nobles in its territories had to choose, ultimately, between a king across the channel and the burgeoning power of the Capetians.

As those territories drifted back under the orbit of France, the revenues that came to England and her nobles were of course going to decrease. This in turn affected the English economy, and the nobles of course blamed the King for their own losses. The effect of the inevitable return of French provinces to France also meant economic hardship for John and his officials as well, resulting in his need to raise sums from the barons at home. Magna Carta is seen as some noble endeavor to extend human rights and create democracy, no, really, it was just a power grab by the nobles determined to protect their rights and their revenues.

John inherited an almost impossible situation, and was saddled with the blame for events really out of his control. Really, his greatest crime was the blinding and later murder of his nephew Arthur of Brittany, who by primogeniture had the better claim to the throne, but who would have been alien to the English and probably have precipitated another civil war a la Maud/Stephen which would have cost many more lives than that poor kid's individual one.
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