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Introduction part I – the sovereigns Quhen Alysandyr oure kyng was dede That Scotland led in luve and le Away was sons off ale and brede Off wyne and wax, off gamyn and gle Oure gold was changed into lede Cryst, born into vyrgynyte Succoure Scotland and remede That stad in its perplexyte
Thus one of the earliest known poems in Scots, lamenting the death of Alexander III, a great King who had made his kingdom strong and prosperous and united Scotland with the Hebrides, until then part of Norway. The contemporary Lanercost Chronicle takes a somewhat different view of the deceased Scottish monarch:
He used never to forbear on account of season nor storm, nor for perils of flood or rocky cliffs, but would visit not too creditably nuns or matrons, virgins or widows, by day or by night as the fancy seized him, sometimes in disguise, often accompanied by a single follower.
But that chronicle was written by monks of a Northern English priory, and from a highly anti-Scottish perspective. Perhaps, though, Alexander really was reliving old habits when, against the advice of his counsellors, on the evening of 18
th March 1286 he left the comfort of Edinburgh Castle to ride through the night to Kinghorn, in Fife, so that he could spend the next day, her birthday, with his new bride Yolande de Dreux, a member of a Capetian cadet line.
He never arrived, but was found the next morning dead on a beach near Kinghorn, his neck broken. He had become separated from his escort in the dark, and his horse had stumbled by the steep incline at the foot of which his body was found, with fatal consequences for the King and, eventually, many more besides.
Yolande was his second wife. He had had three children by his first wife Margaret, a daughter of Henry III of England, but all were now dead with but one grandchild left, the infant Margaret, daughter of the King of Norway by Alexander’s daughter of the same name. She was legal heiress presumptive, but clearly a young child far away in Norway was not adequate insurance for the succession, so after a long widowhood and following his elder son’s death Alexander had made haste to marry again.
Just 44, there seemed plenty of time to produce a clutch of heirs, but time ran out. Yolande was pregnant, but whether through miscarriage or stillbirth no heir eventuated, then young Margaret of Norway died on the journey to her kingdom. Scotland was left in confusion, and with a confusion of heirs through remote lineages, all vigorously asserting their claim. Edward I of England was called in to arbitrate, but his choice, John Balliol, came to be seen as too much his creature.
The whole saga of the Scottish Wars of Independence ensued, ending in the triumph of Robert the Bruce and creating the Scottish national mythology, profoundly embodied in the Scottish psyche even today, and colouring the relationship between the Scottish and English nations despite their 400 years and more of union under the same Crown.
If Alexander III had been less uxorious, had listened to his counsellors* and never gone on that fatal night ride, most likely none of this would ever have happened. He would have been succeeded by a son from Yolande de Dreux (who apart from her lost child by Alexander had
by her second husband Arthur II, Duke of Brittany, so evidently was fertile), Scotland’s history would have taken a different course, and Scotland today would be a different nation. six ***
Alexander III was scarcely old when he died, but was nevertheless the doyen among the monarchs then reigning, having come to his throne and been acclaimed with the traditional ceremonies at Scone aged just seven. The next most senior monarch was Erik V of Denmark, thirty-six or thirty-seven years old at this date and having reigned from the age of ten. Alexander III’s father Alexander II had died of fever while on an expedition to the Hebrides; the death of Erik V’s father Christopher I was more mysterious, taken suddenly ill after attending Mass and shortly thereafter dying, many thought from poison in the wine.
This was plausible, as much of Christopher I’s reign had been spent in conflict with the Archbishop of Lund, head of the Danish Church, the latter wishing to establish the Church as a sovereign power in Denmark, paying no taxes and not subject to the King’s law, and the former naturally resisting, to the extent that the Archbishop at the time of the King’s death was a chained prisoner in a royal fortress.
Nothing was ever proved, but if it was murder then Christopher would have been the third in a row of three Kings of Denmark, all brothers, to die violently. His eldest brother Erik IV had been staying at the court of the middle brother Abel, Duke of Schleswig, when his headless corpse was found floating in the sea nearby. The ambitious Abel was naturally suspected, but was nevertheless allowed to succeed upon taking an oath as to his innocence. A year later Abel was himself dead, killed in the course of a punitive raid against rebellious peasants. So little had his oath been believed that, as was traditional with murderers, his corpse was staked to prevent it becoming a revenant.
Abel af navn, Kain af gavn was the saying: ‘Abel by name, Cain by deed.’
Abel’s sons were able to retain Schleswig, where for several generations they were to be a thorn in the Danish monarchy’s side, but his youngest brother Christopher succeeded in Denmark and following him his son Erik V, despite the best efforts of the vengeful Archbishop on the one hand and his cousins in Schleswig on the other to prevent it. His mother’s regency was as turbulent as his father’s reign had been, and Erik’s adult reign not much better. He was little loved, being seen as grasping and treacherous, and later in that same year of 1286 met his end, stabbed as he slept by assailants who have never been conclusively identified.
Denmark had fallen a long way since the glory days of Valdemar II, father of the brothers Erik IV, Abel and Christopher I and grandfather of Erik V, and was to fall further yet under the latter’s sons Erik VI and Christopher II before Christopher II’s son Valdemar IV brought renewal to the kingdom. After the extinction of Christopher II’s legitimate descent the throne was to pass to a new dynasty, the House of Oldenburg, beginning with Christian I. As shown in the note on posterities the most recent Danish king Christian descended from was Erik V himself, the last monarch of his line from whom there is certainly known descent. Which also accounts for Christopher I, but in fact while remote Christian I’s descents from earlier Kings were abundant, and he descended also from the murdered
and the possibly murderous Erik IV . Abel ***
Daniel of Moscow was only two years old at the death of his father, the storied and sainted Alexander Nevsky, Grand Prince of Vladimir, the premier Russian principality of the day. He did not succeed his father in Vladimir or any other of the major realms of Russia; as the youngest son his meagre portion, as it seemed then, was the new principality of Moscow, while his elder brother Dmitry eventually ascended Vladimir’s throne.
Daniel rather than Dmitry however appears in the charts, as the latter had no recorded issue while Daniel, as well as laying the foundations for the Moscow state’s rise to pre-eminence, was forefather of all its Grand Princes and, later, of the first Tsars. Wise and prudent, pacific by nature and reputed generous and kind, devout as he showed by the foundation of Moscow’s first monasteries, he would follow his father into sainthood, while the Princes of his line erected his legacy, an enlarged, orderly and prosperous principality, into eventual sovereignty over all Russia.
In contrast to these children, Leo II was around thirty-three years old when his father Hethum I abdicated and entered a Franciscan monastery, leaving his eldest and only surviving son to rule the embattled kingdom of Armenia-in-Exile. In the last two decades of the 11
th century Armenian refugees from the original highland realm had settled in numbers along the coastlands of Cilicia, the homeland having fallen under Seljuk sway. Ruben I, claimed to be a member of the Bagratid royal house, erected the newly-settled Armenian lands into a princedom under himself, which his great-great-grandson Leo II raised to be a kingdom, reigning with great splendour as Leo I.
Cilician Armenia’s Golden Age under its first King foundered following his death, as his two marriages had produced but two daughters between them and to compound matters he named the younger as heiress, having previously favoured a great-nephew, Raymond-Ruben of Antioch. The ensuing struggles between Raymond-Ruben, Jean of Brienne, husband of the elder daughter Rita, and the Regent for the younger daughter and nominated heiress Zabel, ended with the capture and death of Raymond-Ruben, the natural death of Rita followed shortly by her only child, thus ending Jean of Brienne’s claim, and the seizure of the Regency, and the person of Zabel, by Constantine, Lord of Barbaron and head of the House of Hethum, greatest of the noble houses of the exile kingdom.
Zabel’s first husband Philippe of Antioch, to whom she had been married when just six years old, was imprisoned and shortly died. Which was suspiciously convenient for Constantine, who then compelled the unwilling Zabel to marry his own son and heir Hethum, who now became joint sovereign with his unhappy bride as Hethum I. He pursued a policy of alliance with the Mongols, who at that time were seeking to establish their power in the region. For a time this was successful and brought the kingdom considerable benefits, but the new power of the Mamluks arising in Egypt proved the land’s undoing.
While Hethum I was away at the court of the Ilkhan in Persia the Mamluks invaded, killing Hethum’s younger son Thoros and capturing the elder, Leo, who had to be ransomed at great cost in both lands and treasure. The kingdom truly was never the same, and Leo II and his successors reigned over an ever-dwindling and ever-weakening realm until less than a century later the Mamluks finally brought it to an end, the Kings of Cyprus as heirs of the Hethumids claiming the title of King of Armenia but ruling at most one or two coastal fortresses, and soon enough not even that.
As I observed in the original version of this introduction, the inclusion of an Asian monarch in this thread does not exactly contribute to either statistical rigour or overall consistency. On the other hand, one monarch among so many is hardly going to make a great difference to the statistical picture, and I just felt that Leo II would be an interesting inclusion. The next monarch to accede was in fact half-Asian himself, his mother having been a pagan princess of the Cumans, a Turkic people forced into Eastern Europe by the pressure of the Mongols from behind, but there can be no quibbles about the inclusion of László IV of Hungary.
We are back to the children, as László was only ten when his father István V died. The unworthy last namesake among Hungary’s Kings of István I, saintly founder of the kingdom, István V’s constant rebellions had troubled and undermined his own father Béla IV’s rule, then he had spent his own two-year reign in constant warfare, external and internecine. In pursuit of one of the latter conflicts the heir László had been taken prisoner by a rebellious nobleman, and was still in captivity when a fever claimed his father and he became King.
Eventually freed and, at fifteen, declared of age, he had not exactly had the best of starts to either his life or his reign, and nothing got better. He did prove quite a capable and successful war leader, but his evident favouring of his Cuman kinsmen alienated him from his Magyar subjects, while the Church excommunicated him for not compelling the large number of Cumans who remained pagan to submit to Christianity.
Pope Nicholas IV was on the verge of declaring a Crusade against what it was strongly suspected was no longer a Christian monarch when three of the Cuman associates he so favoured murdered László and brought an end to what had long been a shadowy rule, he having abandoned court and palace and, without ever formally abdicating, responsibility for the realm to live the life of a nomad. So the last perhaps† of the Árpáds to reign in Hungary reverted to the manner of life of the first, over three centuries before.
Edward I of England was twenty-three and on his way home from Crusade when the news reached him that his father Henry III had died and he was now King. Henry III had been noted more for piety than ability, and much of his reign had been troubled by baronial strife similar to that which had afflicted his father King John, he for a time losing the rule altogether.
However, and in no small part due to the efforts of Henry’s son and heir, the realm had been pacified and royal rule re-established to the point that Edward saw no reason to change the leisurely progress home he had planned. When he landed on these shores for the first time as King, he had already been so for well over a year.
A conscientious administrator, Edward instituted a thorough examination of the government and legal institutions of the realm, subsequently initiating a series of far-reaching legislative reforms. However, it is not for these that he is remembered, but as a man of war who completed the conquest of Wales and spent his last decade on the attempted subjugation of Scotland. The Kings of England had long exercised feudal overlordship over the parts of Wales not ruled directly, and Edward’s assault there was not unprovoked, Llewellyn the Last whom the English king had himself raised to be Prince of Wales being in violation of his feudal duty, but nevertheless after seven centuries and more the name of Edward I of England is still hated amongst the Welsh.
There was precedent also for the King of Scots to do homage for his realm to the King of England. The late Alexander III had refused homage to Henry III while still only a boy, and to his face at that not in an exchange of letters, but some of his predecessors including his grandfather William the Lion had acknowledged English suzerainty. And had Edward left it at the paying of formal homage the Scots would have been willing to accept it, but his intention was to rule the neighbour realm. This its people could never accept, and Edward I’s ambitions began a cycle of warfare that spanned over three decades.
Scotland triumphed, its independence preserved and all claim to suzerainty put aside, but understandably Edward I is remembered there too as the villain of the piece. In England he is seen as a strong King who doubtless would have been victorious had he lived on instead of dying and leaving the conflict to be conducted by his feeble and inept son Edward II. Perhaps he would, but nevertheless it was an unjust war of conquest that he began, certainly in Scotland though as said there is more defence for his Welsh campaign.
And although he was an important legal reformer and transformed the character of Parliament into something beginning to resemble the modern institution, he was not so good at staying within the bounds of his lawful authority in England, several times provoking his barons to near-rebellion through this and through the continual taxation required to fund his continual wars. The expulsion of the Jews, applauded though it may have been at the time, is another blot on his record, and while not in the least Scottish or Welsh but very much English I cannot say that the first Edward‡ is among my favourites on the long roll of English monarchs.
Whether good, bad or somewhere in between, Edward I was certainly an
important monarch. And so too was Rudolf I of Germany. Already fifty-five years old when elected German king, he lived on to what was for that era the good age of seventy-three, and in the seventeen years thus spanned managed to lay the foundations for what became the pre-eminence of his House of Habsburg in the Empire’s affairs. Never Emperor himself, he was the forefather of no fewer than twelve Emperors descended in direct line from him, then three more of the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine.
During his long tenure as Count of Habsburg Rudolf had done nothing but acquire lands and build up the family’s wealth and power, and he saw no reason to change from that as Germany’s monarch. In one of history’s most successful heists, he declared the great territory of Austria, where the ruling House of Babenberg had recently gone extinct in male line, to have reverted to himself as feudal overlord, brazenly awarding the fief to his own son and heir Albrecht. This was clean contrary to the law in Austria, which allowed succession by cognatic heirs of whom there were several, but though it took warfare against Přemysl Otakar II of Bohemia, who had claimed and held the inheritance, with that King’s defeat and death in battle Habsburg rule over Austria was assured. For the next 636 years.
The other thing Rudolf I did to assure his dynasty’s success was to have daughters, six of them. All lived to marriageable age and were duly married off to assorted key princes, forming a web of alliances used to consolidate the Habsburg power and, as often seems to happen, making a monarch whose own connections were tenuous and remote a key connector of later generations – Christian I of Denmark, Gustav I of Sweden and even Christian IX of Denmark come to mind as comparable figures, and there have been others like that over the course of the centuries. Few, though, of as much import as Rudolf I, the first Habsburg ever to reign in Germany, but one who made very sure that he would not be the last.
Continuing in accession order, as I have done up till now and will maintain until the end is reached, the next monarch to consider is an unusual case. As far as we know, Jeanne I of Navarre never once set foot in her kingdom. She may have done as a child, we don’t have a continuous record of her earlier life, but as she was raised at the court of France as the betrothed of the future Philippe IV, then heir apparent to the French throne, it doesn’t seem likely. As an adult she certainly did not, though she regularly visited and directly ruled her other inheritance of Champagne.
She had been regnant Queen of Navarre and Countess of Champagne, in which county she was born, since she was one year old. In 1284 she married Philippe, being then aged eleven, and aged twelve became Queen Consort of France in addition to her own regnal title. Four years older, Philippe had to wait for consummation until his bride reached a suitable age, their first child being born in 1288. They were considered a close and affectionate couple, their marriage productive of three sons that lived to adulthood and were all Kings of France (and absentee monarchs of Navarre) and of one daughter that did, Isabella, wife and nemesis of Edward II of England and mother of Edward III.
Scotland has its Stone of Scone, though the last Scottish King to be acclaimed on it with traditional ceremony was John Balliol in 1292 (and the authenticity of the stone now kept at Scone Abbey has often been questioned). For Sweden, it was the Stones of Mora, though they are more definitively lost, destroyed it is thought in a Danish invasion in the early 16
th century. In 1275 however they were still very much there, and Magnus III was elected King with all due ceremony at the site near Uppsala. His election was due to his having defeated and overthrown his brother Valdemar I, first King of the Folkung or Bjälbo dynasty, as Magnus was the second.
Early Swedish monarchical history is complex to say the least, and just a few generations before this date it becomes ever harder to discern just what is mythology and what history. It is history that two rival dynasties, called respectively the House of Erik and House of Sverker, had in recent times alternated on Sweden’s throne, though it was no peaceful game of musical chairs but rather a continuous and bloody struggle between the two lines. Sverker was a historical personage, Erik may or may not have been. At any rate both lines had expired, the Sverker dynasty with Johan I and that of Erik with Erik XI, Valdemar’s predecessor as Johan was his.
de facto ruler of Sweden during much of Erik XI’s reign was Birger Jarl, himself a great-grandson through his mother of Sverker I and married to Erik’s sister Ingeborg. Their son Valdemar was therefore well-placed to be chosen King on Erik’s death, and to Valdemar’s loss their other son Magnus as well qualified to replace him. First to call himself ‘King of the Swedes and the Goths’, the latter title being assumed upon recovery of Götaland from Valdemar, who had conquered the region in the course of attempting to recover his throne, Magnus was also the first Swedish king since Anund Jakob succeeded Olof Skötkonung in around 1022 to be followed directly by his son.
Who was that Birger overthrown on behalf of his infant nephew Magnus IV that I treat of in the 1330 thread, so the course of Sweden’s succession was not yet running smooth, and in fact could not really be said to do so until after Karl IX came to the throne in 1604 (having seized it from his own nephew Sigismund). As some minor compensation for Valdemar I, displaced so long before, he was an
of Christian I of Denmark and Norway (and briefly Sweden) and so of most of the Kings of Sweden from Karl IX’s son Gustav II Adolf on. ancestor ***
The above-mentioned death in battle of Přemysl Otakar II made his only son King of Bohemia as Václav II at the tender age of six. This was in 1278, so at the thread date he had reached fourteen and still had several years of minority ahead of him. These he terminated decisively four years later by having his Regent beheaded. He ruled as decisively for the remainder of his reign, cut short by his death from disease (believed though not certainly known to have been consumption), then aged thirty-three and his adult reign having lasted only fifteen years.
He packed a lot into that decade-and-a-half, bolstered by the discovery of large deposits of silver in the central region of Bohemia. Václav declared silver mining to be a royal monopoly, and his power enlarged as the treasury swelled. In 1300 he became King of Poland as well as Bohemia, and in 1301 had his eleven-year-old son the future Václav III of Bohemia crowned King of Hungary, as László V. The younger Václav was a grandson of Rudolf I of Germany above, his father having been one of those key princes chosen for a Habsburg bride. This was Judith, Rudolf I’s youngest daughter, who was affianced to Václav II when they were five, the marriage taking place nine years later.
They were to have ten children before Judith died aged just twenty-six, her body worn out by her unceasing pregnancies. Of these four lived past infancy, two of them having children themselves. The two did not include Václav III, murdered aged sixteen by an unidentified assailant, which deed brought the legitimate Přemyslid male line to an end. Then the eldest daughter Anna lived to be twenty-two and was married and briefly Queen of Bohemia, but died childless. Not so the next daughter Elisabeth, wife of the famous John the Blind; their abundant posterity is discussed in the 1330 thread, and included all future Kings of Bohemia. And also not so the youngest daughter to survive, Margarete. She like her sister Elisabeth is a universal ancestress of royalty today, which I will demonstrate by tracing her to, not Christian I of Denmark for a change, but his
. wife ***
Diniz of Portugal had an unusual name for a King, which was not his destiny when born but became so the next year, when his two-year-old elder brother Fernando died. The equivalent of the English Dennis or French Denis and derived from the Greek Dionysius, I cannot think of a single other sovereign who bore it. I can think of several parallel cases to his life, though; an exemplary monarch who ruled humanely, wisely and well, yet whose reign was troubled and legacy marred by dissension among his sons.
There were no sons as yet when Diniz came to the throne at a young age, though being seventeen years old he was not among the many monarchs of the period whose crown descended on a head too small to bear it. He was nine years into his reign when he married the pious, charitable and courageous Elizabeth of Aragón, who reputedly twice prevented a battle by physically interposing herself between the contending armies and was later canonised.
They had but two children together, the future Afonso IV of Portugal and Constança, Queen of Castile as wife of Fernando IV. However Diniz had several children apart from those with his saintly wife, and it was one of these, another Afonso, who quarrelled violently and continually with his legitimate brother, the dissension at times turning into open warfare and even leading the legitimate Afonso to go to war with his own father, whom he believed favoured his elder but bastard son.
All this must have been a great grief to Diniz, who governed his realm so well but could not govern his family. As King, he was a lawgiver, the establisher of Portugal’s first legal code, also making Portuguese for the first time the language of law and government; a promoter of commerce and agriculture, greatly enhancing the realm’s prosperity; a builder, founder of several towns and numerous castles; and a patron of education, founding also the University of Coimbra, Portugal’s first institution of higher learning. Notably pacific, he fought only one external war in the four decades of his reign, and that brief. In short he was in all ways an admirable monarch, and to add to his qualities was a man of culture and learning, the author of several books and numerous poems and songs, many of which survive.
If only he had confined himself to the marriage bed, his glory would be entirely undimmed. But that is a lament that could be made a number of times through history, and in fairness no one particularly expected medieval monarchs to be faithful to their wives. Both the children he did have with Elisabeth of Aragón are universal ancestors of today’s royalty. The bastard Afonso is not, but all descendants of João IV of Portugal (a subject discussed at extreme length in the 1848 thread) are
of his, and that includes the Prince of Liechtenstein, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and King of Belgium. An earlier descendants was Marie de’ Medici, wife of Henri IV of France and mother of his legitimate children, and that makes the King of Spain and the Duke of Cambridge also descendants of the long-ago Afonso, natural son of the great Diniz, King of Portugal. descendant ***
Eirik II was that King of Norway mentioned at the beginning of this introduction as father of the tragic Margaret, Maid of Norway, who inherited Scotland from her mother’s father Alexander III but never lived to reach its shores. It is nothing unusual for the period that following his own father’s death Eirik acceded at the early age of eleven or twelve, or even that he married not much more than a year later, to the twenty-year-old Margaret of Scotland.
The disparity in ages between bride and bridegroom would have been nothing odd the other way round, though an adult bride and child bridegroom was, while hardly unprecedented, not something often seen. The really remarkable thing in the sadly brief marriage was that the younger Margaret was born less than two years after it took place, Eirik having fathered her while still only thirteen or fourteen.
The evidently precocious Eirik was a widower as soon as he was a father, his wife and Queen dying on the same day that their child was born. He married again ten years later, to a second Scottish royal bride, Isabella, sister of Robert the Bruce. Four years after that a second daughter was born, Ingeborg, the union’s only fruit. When after an adult reign preoccupied with unsuccessful warfare with Denmark and the Hanseatic League on the one hand and dissension with the Church on the other§ Eirik died aged not much more than thirty his successor was not Ingeborg, who would only have been considered in the complete absence of male alternatives, but rather his younger brother Haakon V.
I got as far as Diniz before my grave illness earlier this year caused a months-long and currently continuing hiatus in my work on the section. Upon release from hospital I remembered having made a quite good, I felt, beginning on the piece but could not find it anywhere. Then when I did track it down my fitful attempts to continue writing brought only the rather laboured few paragraphs on Eirik II above. That is nine out of seventeen monarchs covered so more than half done in one way, but many of those who remain were rulers of great significance, deserving of far more than the cursory treatment which is all I seem to be up to at present.
Concluding that it could well be yet more months before everything was finished to a satisfactory standard, I decided to post what had been done already rather than leaving it to moulder in one of my computer’s dustier recesses. Hopefully some few at least will find it interesting, and as hopefully I will be able to finish it off sometime before 2015 becomes 2016.
For now, though, I will just mention, as I did in the originally-posted temporary (ha!) version of this introduction, covering only Alexander III in any depth, that there is another reigning sovereign of the day omitted from the charts besides Dmitry of Vladimir. George Terter of Bulgaria had to be left out because we have no clue even of who his parents were, not the best start on establishing relationships. That said, I will continue not with George Terter’s Balkan neighbour Stephen Uroš II of Serbia but rather with the introduction’s second part, introducing the charts and summarising the relationships.
* According to the Lanercost Chronicle, he received similar advice along the way, first from the master of the crossing at Queensferry, then the steward of the salt pans at Inverkeithing, whom the chronicle records as saying ‘My lord, what are you doing here in such a storm and such darkness? Often have I tried to persuade you that your nocturnal rambles will bring you no good. Stay with us, and we will provide you with decent fare and all that you want till morning light.’ The King, the chronicle claims, took no offence at this boldness but also no notice of the advice, saying with a laugh ‘No need for that’, and riding on to his doom.
† László IV’s successor was his male-line
András III, formally the very last Árpád King, but the paternity of András III’s father first cousin once removed was widely questioned. István
‡ Why he was the first when there had been three Edwards (Edward the Elder, Edward the Martyr and Edward the Confessor, for whom he was named) before him is something of a mystery. The perpetuation of the name in his successor was though a matter of chance, not egoism; the future Edward II was not even the heir when born, that being his ten-year-old brother Alfonso who died five months later, and before Alfonso there had been the even shorter-lived John and then Henry.
§ Provoked by the ambitious Jon Raude, Archbishop of Nidaros, similarly to the way in which the Danish primate of the day troubled the reign of this introduction’s second subject Erik V of Denmark.
Registered: 1217151204 Posts: 7,100
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A note on posterities
Of the 20 sovereigns shown in the charts, twelve are universal ancestors of the sovereigns of today, three are ancestors of some current sovereigns, and five of none, having in fact no surviving posterity at all that we know about. George Terter of Bulgaria who is not shown not only had no known antecedents, he also has no known descendants today, though he did have children and as always unless someone died very young it is possible there are descendants we don’t know about.
Those in the first category are Erik V of Denmark, Edward I of England, Rudolf I of Germany, Jeanne I of Navarre, Magnus III of Sweden, Václav II of Bohemia, Diniz of Portugal, the Eastern Emperor Andronicus II, Sancho IV of Castile, Charles II of Naples, Philippe IV of France and Jaume of Sicily, who later as King of Aragón was Chaime II. Chaime incidentally is the Aragonese version of James. Jaume is the Catalan rendering; frankly I was unable to find what form of his name he used as Sicilian monarch, and since he wrote poetry in Catalan reasoned that he may well have thought of himself as Jaume, so used that form.
Nine of the twelve can be dealt with by tracing descent to my old standby the Emperor Ferdinand I, shown in the 1453 note part I to be a universal ancestor. The following table does just that. The exceptions are Erik V, Magnus III and Andronicus II. For all three I will refer you to the 1330 note part II. Richeza, sister of Christopher II of Denmark, is shown there to be an ancestor of Christian I of the same, proved to be a universal ancestor in the 1453 note part I again, and was Erik V’s daughter, as the link there shows. Similarly, descent was traced to Christian I from Euphemia, sister of Magnus III/IV of Norway & Sweden, She was the
of Magnus III (shown as Magnus Ladulås in the linked ancestry). Finally, by way of showing collateral descent from his grandson Andronicus III, the note proves Andronicus II to be a universal ancestor. Now, that table: granddaughter
In all cases there were several routes I could have chosen, and in some of them you would say ‘numerous’ rather than ‘several’. The Emperor’s wife Anna Jagiello was also an option for some of the sovereigns. All the links do however trace to the Emperor himself, following the way by which the descent first entered his male line (for Sancho IV, the succession to the Crown of Castile is used instead, and for Jaume, later Chaime II, the succession to Aragón).
The three sovereigns who are ancestors of only some of today’s monarchs are Daniel of Moscow, Leo II of Armenia and Stephen Uroš II of Serbia. For Daniel, I refer to the 1453 note part III and the descents shown there from his great-great-grandson
. For Leo II, it is the 1330 note part II and his Vasily I Andronicus III. And for Stephen Uroš II it is the same note and his son Stephen Uroš III. grandson
Apart from the aforementioned George Terter, the five monarchs of 1286 without a known posterity today are Alexander III of Scotland himself, the subject in a way of the thread, László IV of Hungary, Eirik II of Norway, Henri II of Cyprus and Alfonso III of Aragón. As mentioned in the introduction part I, Alexander III had two sons and a daughter by his first wife Margaret of England, but the elder son Alexander died childless aged 20, and the younger David aged just eight. The daughter, another Margaret, married Eirik II and produced a third Margaret, who inherited Scotland’s crown but died aged seven.
Alexander III had an illegitimate half-sister Margery, child of his father Alexander II and an unknown mother. Descent is traceable from her to at least one sovereign of today, but I will leave that for another thread and go back a generation to Alexander III’s grandfather William I, ‘the Lion’. His descent through legitimate lines expired with Alexander III’s granddaughter Margaret, but I will trace descent from William I’s illegitimate daughter Ada to
of England, then from him to Edward IV of England and Scotland. All contemporary sovereigns apart from Albert II of Monaco are descended from him; see the 1517 thread post #6 for Albert II’s own descent from Edward IV, via his daughter Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII. James I/VI
László IV had no known children, but descent from his full sister Maria, Queen of Naples, is universal; she was the wife of Charles II of Naples above, so see his link in the table. Apart from his daughter by Margaret of Scotland Eirik II had another daughter, Ingeborg, by his marriage to Isabella Bruce, sister of Robert I of Scotland. She married a Swedish prince and had a son, but he died in infancy. Eirik’s successor was his brother Haakon V, who as can be seen from her ancestry linked above was the maternal grandfather of Euphemia of Sweden, a universal ancestress.
That leaves Henri II and Alfonso III. Henri II had no children, so was succeeded by his nephew Hugues IV, son of his brother Guy, Constable of Cyprus. Hugues IV was shown in the 1330 note part I to be a universal ancestor. Alfonso III was affianced but died before he could wed, and with no known illegitimate children. For a collateral posterity from him see his brother Jaume, covered in the table.