Here’s another entry in our series of blog posts highlighting the many subcategories on Sporcle. Today, we’re talking about Monarchy.
As the world entered the modern age, many nations started to leave behind notions of a powerful, governing monarchy. Some nations abolished their monarchies completely, evolving into entirely new forms of government. Nations in the Western world who ended up maintaining their monarchies usually placed them in the position of figureheads of the state, little more. In this age of dwindling successions, it’s easy to forget that during most of the past two-thousand years the world was governed by those born into leadership, not those elected by the people. A few ruling families set the agenda for at least a millennium. No wonder they went crazy.
Exacerbating the problem was the constant intermarriage and shallow gene pool among those with noble blood. Consequently, every family had its fair share ‘interesting’ characters. Of the French royals alone, some were schizophrenic, some sadists, and some just severely handicapped from all that inbreeding. Carlos II of the Spanish royal family attributed his unfortunate condition to being bewitched. He was born with a deformed body and a face so long and curved that he could not actually close his mouth to eat. His ancestor Juana the Mad of Castile took her husband Phillipe the Handsome with her on a tour of Spain long after he had died, and refused to part with his body. (One wonders where she got her name…)
It would be difficult as a royal of Europe to find a noble to marry to whom you were not related. Just in the past 200 years, the Danish royal family married into royalty or ascended the throne in five separate European nations. The English royals are also a great example of this: having married into almost every house in Europe. The long and fascinating history of the British royals includes war, conquest, treaties, strange baby names, multiple marriages, and religious tensions. While Shakespeare wrote about many of the English kings, but as a Tudor monarch was still on the throne when he was writing it was necessary to speak with caution. (One doesn’t survive through the reign of a queen nicknamed “Bloody” and not learn a thing or two about keeping your mouth shut.)
With such a long and strange history, we’ve just scraped the surface of amazing Monarchy trivia. If you noticed any great Monarchy quizzes we haven’t featured on Sporcle, please be sure to let us know in the comments.