Saturday, October 9, 2010


A Roundhead was a person who supported Parliament back during the English Civil War. Obviously.

But the reason Roundheads got their name may have escaped your memory. Back in those days it was usual for a man to have long hair. A man with short-clipped hair was an oddity. With short hair, his head looked round. At least it looked round to people who had long hair.

The counterpart of the Roundhead (also known as Parliamentarians) was the Cavalier, who were Royalists. That is, they supported Charles I. Charles I had long hair. Guess whether Cavaliers had long hair or short hair? Well, no matter, since they would shortly be losing their heads anyway, right?

Roundheads were mostly Puritans or Presbyterians, although not ALL Puritans had short hair. Come to think of it, not ALL Puritans were against the crown either. And not all Puritans with short hair supported republicanism. Ah, well. There were also other factions that were included in the Roundhead realm, like the Diggers. We'll talk about the Diggers some other time, though.

Henrietta Maria was mainly known by the odd way she carried her hands when she walked. Almost like a ballerina who was about to FLING her arms out at any second. Passersby beware. Some say [citation needed] that she had carpel tunnel syndrome from holding curling irons for extended periods of time. I don't know. It's hard to speculate about something like that. But she sure was Catholic and Mr. Stuart sure did believe in the divine right to rule and lost his head over it.
Well, after the restoration, Charles II resumed, restored as it were, with a FIRM grasp of what the term "Constitutional Monarchy" meant. And on and on it went. The Stuarts are best known in history as the snappiest dressers of all British monarchs. No citation needed, just a fact.

The thing that has always puzzled me, though - and this is probably off the Roundhead topic, though perhaps not - is WHY would a future monarch, having the full 20/20 hindsight of history, still go ahead and name her heir Charles? Have you ever thought of that? Don't any of these people believe in bad luck? I am now visualizing the proud parents, beaming down at their new, rather large-eared infant, and suddenly she says, "I know, Phil, let's call it Charles."

Ah, well. Charles III may never come to pass anyhow. Unlikely he'll outlive her. I'm guessing we may be looking at a William V instead. Or, if he does get to the throne for a year or two, he'll have enough historical sense to call himself King Arthur. Either way, I wish him well, and that's a fact.

(He's the one holding his knees tightly together, not the one picking its teeth.)

You are supposed to already know who Henrietta Maria of France was.


  1. "You are supposed to already know who Henrietta Maria of France was."

    I did.

    The first name of an heir to the throne does not necessarily indicate the King's name as it were. George VI was named "Albert Frederick Arthur George". That might be why they give them so many names, so they can pick one they like. I'm not even sure they're limited to the ones they have.

    The current Prince of Wales might very well turn out to be George VII (if he succeeds) since that's the last of his given names.

    If I remember correctly, John is the only name that hasn't been reused in the British Monarchy, but I haven't checked that.

    And, if I recall, we haven't reused Charles since Charles II (who was already named and alive when his father was beheaded).

  2. So who is the gentleman in the background who's taking it all rather seriously? The King of Spain?

  3. @Stephanie Barr - Yes, Stephanie. That's why I referred to him as the future Charles III unless he uses one of his other names. I suggested Arthur (one of his names) since there has never been a king by that name but everyone thinks there has.

    Todd has never been reused either, btw.

    @A. - The hirsute gentleman in the background with a woman's body is a nearsighted Cavalier. There must always be a Cavalier present whenever there is a Charles about. If only to keep an eye on his horse.

    Some think the once and future is carrying the traditional dagger in his knee-highs, but it is really a flask. And notice the batman signal lapel pin. Posh.

  4. Ohh no, no. No, no, no. One must never assume knees and a necklace belong to a woman. You must have had insider dealings.

  5. @Stephanie Barr - You REALLY knew who Henrietta was? REALLY? That's amazing. I never knew her until I was researching this post.

  6. @A. Actually the hairy guy is somebody famous. I forgot who. :)

  7. I did. Really.

    I get wild hairs now and again and read through the monarchy/royalty of an entire kingdom. Unfortunately, I tend to remember some areas better than others, but I've read through the royal histories of China (convoluted, that, with lots of eunuchs of all things), Japan, Russia, France, Scotland, and England.

    England I've gone through more than once and, though I don't always remember siblings, I do tend to remember monarchs and consorts, particularly for interesting sections, like the unhappy fate of Edward II, the unusual fidelity of William the Conqueror (and Mad King George, for that matter), and the repeated successor nightmare that followed Henry VIII and his children's lack of children. This is all part and parcel. (Just like I can tell you William the Conqueror married Maude of Flanders, Henry II married Eleanor of the Aquitaine, Henry V married Catherine of Valois, Edward II married the ungrateful Isabella of France, Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleaves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr off the top of my head. Mary II married Phillip II of Spain and the short-lived Jane Grey married Guildford Dudley. Without looking them up.)

    My brain stores mostly useless trivia.

    Besides, one of my favorite authors wrote a book on Charles II, and, even though it wasn't my favorite, I did read it.



Related Posts with Thumbnails