Getting our monikers in a twist

Roger II
Roger II (L) receiving the crown of Sicily from none other than a levitating Jesus Christ (R).
(Well, they do say Jesus is light!)

Today marks the 916th anniversary of the birth of King Roger II of Sicily. Which makes one want to demand to know, how come we have never had a king named Roger?

It turns out that Sicily has had no less than three King Rogers, as well as a William the Bad, a William the Good, a James the Just, a Frederick the Simple, a Ferdinand the Honest, an Alfonso the Magnanimous, and a Queen Joanna the Mad.

We used to dabble with cool names like these for our monarchs too: Æthelstan the Glorious, Edmund the Magnificent, Edgar the Peaceful, Æthelred the Unready, Edward the Confessor, William the Bastard/Conquerer, Richard the Lionheart. But then we seemed to lose interest and the practice pretty much fizzled out. True, there was Edward Longshanks, and Bloody Mary, and the Virgin Queen (yeah, right!), but these nicknames don't stick to the time-honoured formula:

[Monarch's forename] + the + [adjective or noun]

(Apart from where the adjectives are boring ordinal numbers, obviously: George the First, George the Second, and so on.)

I think it's about time we gave our monarchs past, present, and future some decent monikers. Try these for size:

I see this as a vital first step towards rescuing the moribund British monarchy. Kings and queens with appropriate monikers demand nothing but respect.

Erratum: As ever, for peasant read pheasant throughout.

Richard Carter

A fat, bearded chap with a Charles Darwin fixation.

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