Most of you probably already know about the English monarchy, since it is still going on. In our age, Queen Elizabeth II is queen, and will be succeeded by Prince Charles soon. Most of you know about ‘bad’ king John, Henry VIII, and ‘evil’ Richard III, along with kings like Good queen Bess(Elizabeth I), Richard the Lionheart, and Alfred the great. With these monarchs, people keep putting the wrong faces on them, for example, Richard the Lionheart once massacred more than a thousand Turk POW(prisoners of war) in the holy land, and Richard III wasn’t terribly evil in they eyes of half of the country. In this series, you will learn the truth about the English monarchs.
The English monarchy truly started at the beginning of the Dark Ages. Once Rome left Britain to defend Italy, the British were left alone, without help defeating the Picts and other raiders. The British had no choice but to get other barbarians to help them; the Saxons. But it all went wrong. Once the Saxons got hold of some land, they decided to get more. Eventually, the Saxons had taken over more than half of England. They split up into different kingdoms, such as Northumberland and Mercia, each with its own ruler.
Eventually, the Vikings came and sized massive lands from the Saxons. After a few years, only one kingdom remained, Wessex. The king there, Alfred, was desperate for supplies and men. Over the winter, he spent his days in the marshes of southern England, planning to defeat Guthrum, the Viking conqueror. As soon as spring came, he started sending out raids on Guthrum’s Vikings, annoying them to no end.
Also, Alfred gathered other nobles in the region, urging them to join him. Soon later, Alfred formed an army to fight against the Vikings. He defeated them, taking huge amounts of land that was taken from the Saxons. Throughout his reign, Alfred worked on taking back land from the Vikings, creating a whole Saxon England, ruled by one king, Alfred the Great, as he was now called. Alfred’s successors continued his work, and eventually claimed Scotland as well, creating the First British Empire.
They were rising so high they were bound to fall, and it came in the form of the succession. In the mid 900s, a new king came to the throne. He became Ethelred the unready. There are many reasons why he was called the unready. First of all is that during his reign, Vikings came and took massive amounts of territory. He may have been unready for the invasion. Another reason comes from the saxon raed, meaning advice. If he was un-raed, he was given bad advice.
When the Vikings came, he paid them large amounts of silver and gold to go away. Naturally, the Vikings didn’t go away, since there was so much plunder if the Saxons could pay them that much. After a long fight, Ethelred fled and the Viking Sweyn took over, but he soon died. Ethelred came back, but also died soon. Sweyn’s son, Cnut, came back to take the throne.
Cnut made peace with England and the Vikings, effectively making one of the largest Viking empires ever. Since he traveled to Norway quite a bit, he left his Earls in charge of large parts of England while he was gone. When Cnut died, Edward, one of the descendants of Alfred the Great, took the throne. Little did Edward the Confessor, as he was called, would change the course of history.