Or, the only king I hate more than Henry VII
Also, I really like footnotes.
When Edward I smashed Wales in the late 13th century, he left behind the beginnings of a massive building project, most of which you can still see today. There are a collection of ring fortresses around Wales, primarily Flint, Rhuddlan, Builth Wells, Aberystwyth, Harlech, Caernarfon, Conwy, and Beaumaris. They go by fancy names like the “Iron Ring,” (because if you like it, put a ring on it – or if you’re Edward, smash it) but I think of them as a symbol of asshole Evil Eddie swinging his massive dick around, while also being a metaphorical giant dick. When he was done smashing Wales, he went off to be the Hammer of the Scots. Because, as I’ve said, he was an asshole. Edward I is the only English king I hate more than Henry VII.
His eldest son at that point (all of his older sons were dead), Edward of Caernarfon, was then titled Prince of Wales. And almost every designated heir to the throne since then has been titled Prince or Princess of Wales.
Back in 1969, Elizabeth II’s son, Charles, was invested as Prince of Wales. The investiture took place at Caernarfon, one of the best preserved of Eddie’s dick palaces. The ceremony was meant to reflect the original Prince of Wales – Edward II, or Edward of Caernarfon. But it also represented the devastation that Wales faced after Edward I’s conquest.
Prior to the reign of Edward I, Wales had existed under several uneasy peace treaties with the kings of England. Always seen as a sort of vassal of the English, the various princes of Wales constantly fought for control of their own land. Sometimes this was successful, and sometimes this wasn’t. This fighting went all the way back to before the Roman conquest. Prior to that conquest and the invasion by the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes, England/Wales/Scotland had been inhabited by the Celts. Following that invasion and Norman conquest, the Celts had been forced into Wales, Scotland, parts of Cornwall, and Brittany. But successive English kings tried to conquer the entire island of Britain. And by the start of Edward I’s reign, Wales was almost finished.
The last man standing in his way was Llywelyn ap Gruffydd. Llywelyn G was the grandson of Llywelyn Fawr, the last undisputed Prince of Wales. Through a series of familial disputes, peace treaties, and diplomatic maneuvers, Llywelyn Fawr came to rule almost the entirety of Wales. He fought and eventually came to peace with Henry III, Edward I’s father. That peace was extended year by year until Llywelyn Fawr died. And upon his death, all hell broke loose.
Eventually, Edward I became king. And faced off against Llywelyn G. And crushed him. Llywelyn G, sadly, left no descendants. But his granddad sure did. And now I get to my point.
When Elizabeth II dies (which will never happen because I’m pretty sure she’s immortal), assuming Charles doesn’t abdicate, his son, William, will need to be invested as Prince of Wales. And if/when he is, the royal family has an interesting opportunity.
It’s not the 1960s anymore. Scotland made it pretty clear when it tried to secede from the United Kingdom that they’re not super happy being part of it. Now that Brexit is a real thing (seriously, how is it a real thing?!) it’s been made rather clear that being part of something isn’t super funsies either. So if England wants to prevent something like my idea – Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland secede and form The United Kingdom of England Sucks (UKoES) – it would be a better idea to talk about how William is descended from the last real Prince of Wales rather than descended from Mr. Giant Dickface the First+, AKA Edward I.
I drew up a chart that listed some of the major descents from Llywelyn to James I (of England. He was James VI of Scotland). All British monarchs, including Elizabeth II and Prince Charles, are descended from James. At first I tried to chart every descent from Llywelyn to Elizabeth, and then I realized that would be impossible. There are potentially hundreds of unique descents from Llywelyn.*
And yes, that is the Robert the Bruce from Braveheart++. Turns out the kings of Scotland were descended from the princes of Wales. Just gives more fuel for my UKoES idea.
+A note about why I hate Mr. Giant Dickface the First, AKA Edward I. It’s not just that he smashed Wales. It’s not just that he treated the Scots so badly. He also kicked the Jews out of England. He also constantly switched sides and broke oaths during his father’s fight with Simon de Montfort. He was also physically violent on several occasions and was a beautiful example of the Angevin Temper. The only good thing about him was that he loved his wife, Eleanor of Castile, and never cheated on her, which was a rarity for English kings.
*Yes, I do have the math to back that up. Stay tuned for when I talk more about the Hapsburgs.
++A note about Braveheart: It’s a lovely movie. But Mel Gibson is a gibbering, anti-Semitic lunatic, and the movie is hideously historically inaccurate. I’m not going to waste anyone’s time lining out everything inaccurate about that movie; I’ll sum it up by saying you’re better off just starting from scratch and imagining the movie like a lovely fantasy story featuring a gibbering crazy Jew hater.
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