Rebellious royals, a history of monarchs that didn't fit the mould

Written by sarah nichols | 13/05/2017
Rebellious royals, a history of monarchs that didn't fit the mould
God save the rebellious royal. (Pool/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

Many monarchs have ruled the British Empire, some more favoured than others. Throughout history, rebellious royals have helped shape the UK as we know it today. During their reigns, some brought the kindgom peace and prosperity, whilst others have sent the nation into anarchy. No matter how they ruled, their legacy is legendary.

King Richard I

Rebellious royals, a history of monarchs that didn't fit the mould
Portrait of King Richard I (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

King Richard I (r. 1189-1199) was the eldest son of King Henry II. Known as Richard "The Lionheart," Richard seemed to be more interested in the Crusades than his own subjects. He spent most of his reign outside of England, depleted the treasury and raised taxes to fulfill his thirst for battle. During his coronation a bat was seen flying overhead - this was taken as a bad omen at the time. They really should have acted on that hunch.

King John I

Rebellious royals, a history of monarchs that didn't fit the mould
Portrait of King John I (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

King John I (r.1199-1216) was such a wayward king that the whole kingdom came together to establish rules that he had to abide by. King John went even further than King Richard with raising taxes on his subjects, so much so that it caused a backlash from the country's barons. This instance of rebelliousness served to bring order to the monarchy by insisting that John sign what became known as the Magna Carta.

King Henry VIII

Rebellious royals, a history of monarchs that didn't fit the mould
Portrait of King Henry VIII (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

King Henry VIII (r.1509-1547) may be known for having many wives in an attempt to secure a male heir, but what makes him a rebellious royal is the fact he left the Catholic Church because the Pope would not grant him a divorce from his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Unfortunately, he did not choose this option for his two wives Ann Boleyn and Catherine Howard, who were both beheaded.

Queen Elizabeth I

Rebellious royals, a history of monarchs that didn't fit the mould
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth I (Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images)

As obsessed as King Henry VIII was with having a male heir, his daughter Queen Elizabeth I (r.1558-1603) was just as obsessed with not having an heir. Royals were expected to marry and secure an heir to the throne, but she chose neither. Despite her rebellion, she remains one of the UK's greatest sovereigns.

King Edward VIII

Rebellious royals, a history of monarchs that didn't fit the mould
Picture of Edward VIII with a corronation goblet (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Love was the root of rebellion for King Edward VIII, whose reign lasted only 325 days. Unfortunately for him, he was born in an era where a king could not marry someone like Wallis Simpson. Aside from the fact that she was a commoner, and an American at that, she was also was twice divorced. He was forced to abdicate the throne, but his sacrifice is the reason why Queen Elizabeth II is on the throne today.

Princess Diana

Rebellious royals, a history of monarchs that didn't fit the mould
(Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Princess Diana, or "The People's Princess" as she became known, was an instant hit with the British public but a constant thorn in the side for the traditional monarch. She didn't play by the rules, spoke her mind and ultimately outshone her former husband Prince Charles. During her lifetime she managed to raise awareness on a number of issues, including AIDS and landmines, which earned her global respect and endeared her further to the people. An estimated 2.5 billion people watched her funeral procession in September, 1997.

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