Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Joining a select monarchical club

With her Diamond Jubilee The Queen joins a select monarchical club of monarchs who have reigned for sixty and more years - indeed she has been in relatively select company of her predecessors since her Golden Jubilee having long since passed Queen Elizabeth I, and then, in turn, King Edward III, King Henry III, King James VI and King George III.

How many belong to the 60+ group amongst monarchs? Well it is easy to think of Queen Victoria (63 years 216 days), Emperor Francis Joseph (67 years 355 days) and King Louis XIV ( 72 years 110 days ) , and to think of the King of Thailand who succeeded to the throne in 1946, or famous figures from the distant past such as Pharoah Ramesses II , 1279-1213 BC (66 years and two months).

A quick look on line produces others amongst the sovereigns of Europe and the princes of the Empire and medieval France - including Eleanor of Aquitaine's 66 years and 358 days as Duchess (never mind being Queen of France and then of England...) and includes King James I of Aragon 1213-1276 (62 years 319 days), King Ferdinand III ( I of the Two Sicilies) of Sicily 1759-1825 ( 65 years 90 days) , King Friedrich August I (III) of Saxony 1763-1827 ( 63 years 139 days) and Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein 1858-1929 (70 years 91 days).

Asia and Africa yields even greater examples of longevity, the record being held by the King of Swaziland who reigned from 1899 until 1982. That would, however, have been exceeded by Otto of Austria who, had he been free to exercise his legitimate rights as Emperror Otto I and King Otto II, and had not voluntarily abdicated them due to age, can be deemed to have reigned from his father's death in 1922 until his death last year - over 89 years.

To find a complete list of monarchs with reigns exceeding fify years look at the article here.

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