The Seeds of Kings – Mike Ogden – 14th September 2016

The title only gives a hint of the subject. What we were offered was a learned and complex breakdown of the British monarchs, from the time of Alfred the Great 871 through the ages to our current royals, represented by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her family. Mike Ogden performed an amazing journey in one hour or so, a remarkable performance.

The main theme he was stressing was the continuation of Alfred’s blood line, from that point until now with occasional acknowledgements to actual historical facts from particular reigns. Beginning with the Normans, followed by the Plantagenets, Lancastrians, Yorkists, Tudors, Hanoverians and finally the Windsors. From William I, Battle of Hastings 1066, he didn’t do much to endear himself and his followers to the native English. Henry II, the law maker and organiser, murdered Archbishop Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, which was not a good move. King John, a cruel, vicious tyrant known for the Magna Carta. Richard III, uncle to the Princes in the Tower and killed at the Battle of Bosworth. Henry VII the first of the Tudors and father of Henry VIII with his six wives and the dissolution of the monasteries. Queen Elizabeth I and the Spanish Armada. James I of England and VI of Scotland. Charles I who was beheaded during the Civil War. Protectorate Oliver Cromwell followed by Charles II whose reign was known for the Plague, the Fire of London, Samuel Pepys, Wren, and Newton. The Glorious Revolution which lead to William and Mary, then Queen Anne. The Georges and their problems with Charles Stuart, the Young Pretender and the Battle of Culloden. Later the Napoleonic Wars finally settled at the Battle of Waterloo. Queen Victoria and her husband Albert overseeing the Industrial Revolution and the Great Exhibition. Their children were married amongst the royal families of Europe, leading us to the Royal House of Windsor, created during WW1 etc.

Mike Ogden referred to the liberal scattering of ‘royal seed’ over the centuries so that many of us may well be second cousins, so to speak.

From here on in the monarchy is entering unknown territory. Our Queen has adapted well to parliamentary democracy and has built up good relations with government and former members of the colonies as a reconstructed independent Commonwealth of Nations under her leadership. These are volatile times and one wonders what is to come.

On another matter, lists of Kings and royal houses reminds me of a discussion I had with some teachers of history. My grandson was taking his GCSE exams a few years ago and the history syllabus was ‘The Romans in Britain’, ‘Scientists in the Georgian Period’ e.g. Jenner and the smallpox vaccination, and finally ‘Hitler and Germany.’ All you might think very laudable study items. My point was, what went on in the intervening years – nothing? I appreciate it is not possible to cover all periods but surely at least and understanding of royal dynasties would have provided some sort of framework to hang events upon. I didn’t get very far with the argument, I’m afraid, but the point is still relevant.