GAY MONARCHS of the UNITED KINGDOM
So over here in the UK, everybody has gone bat-shit crazy over William and Kate Middleton getting married. I kind of missed the Royal wedding myself I’m actually quite ashamed to admit, I was in bed until 4pm with a stinking hangover (kind of regret that now)
Anyway this is just a tenuous link to what I actually am going to blather about in this post – the side of the British Royals that isn’t often talked about, the Kings and Queens that were (alleged to be) homosexual.
There are generally seven British monarchs that are believed by (at least some) credible historians to be gay (one of which is definite), but which is your favourite, all are interesting in their own way (except perhaps death-by-gout-such-an-unglamourous-way-to-die Queen Anne) :
King William Rufus (1087 – 1110)
Son of William the Conqueror, and openly gay. William Rufus was not a popular king. He is described as red-haired, arrogant, intemperate and coarse. Openly gay and always in need of money, he quarrelled with the church about land, taxes and his dissolute lifestyle.
He was, however, an excellent soldier and very successfully consolidated his father’s military successes in England. He died when a “stray” arrow struck him on the head, lots of evidence seems to point at his brother HENRY being responsible for this, as he showed no remorse at his death, and went straight to be crowned as King Henry I in London without seeing William buried.
Richard The Lionheart (1189-1199)
People are divided as to whether he was or not, but he was known for being quite handsome, and great warrior. He fought lots of crusades abroad and ruled not only in England, but Ireland, Cyprus and parts of France also. His homosexuality rumours stem from him spending the night in bed with the King of France (some believe it to be a sign of peace between the two countries, some believe it to be a night of hot blue-blooded man on man action), and there are other stories that he confessed to his church “the sin of sodomy” in just his underwear, and took 5 years to sleep with his wife, and only did so as a penance for his homosexuality. His wife was from a forced arranged marriage. Lionheart was rumoured to have had relationships with other women, but many believe this was just for show, as stories of his homosexuality are rife.
EDWARD II (1307-27)
One of the higher profile gay monarchs, so much so there was a 1991 film based on his little gay life, and he popped up in “Braveheart” as a flamboyantly gay character. By all accounts was quite hot, but was not popular with his people (or his wife). There is lots about Edward II online about his gay affairs (including some really quite bizarre slash fiction) so feel free to google away. But he basically pissed off the whole of his country by dating this guy called Piers Gaveston, the 1st Earl of Cornwall –
Gaveston had a very strong influence on him, and this made him very unpopular. Gaveston was eventually beheaded for being a homosexual (something that was VERY ILLEGAL back in those dark times). The King then went on to have another affair with Hugh Despenser –
who was eventually killed by having his genitals removed and his eyes burnt out (!). Edward himself was eventually murdered by his wife’s lover by having a red hot poker slipped up his bottom probably without lube.
Richard II (1377-1400)
Ascending to the throne at just 10 years old, Richard II sounds like a sensitive fellow. He relished the arts, befriended Chaucer and collected fine objects. He completely flinched at war-making and often sympathised with the victims of his foreign crusades, and was so unpopular with his people he was pelted with garbage at a UK parade.
He was described as not very kingly. He had Westminster Abbey beautified with a new ceiling and paid inordinate attention to his clothes. He not only used (and probably waved) a hanky, he invented the thing! (something that he is probably most famous for). Towards the end of his reign he went a little bit mad, and slaughtered many of his opponents, eventually dying of starvation in captivity.
Mary I (1553 – 1558)
There are a few rumblings online that Mary might have been a lesbian, or at least a repressed lesbian (which might go some way to explain her bloody reign of terror) but I must admit I am unconvinced personally, she seemed pretty devoted to Philip her husband. If anybody knows different please feel free to share the knowledge.
James I (1603 – 1625)
Physically weak, and well known to be quite cowardly, James I is one of the better known gay monarchs – I remember it being vaguely alluded to when I was studying at school it was so obvious. He was first rumoured to have fallen in love with his own cousin Esme Stuart –
at the age of 13, and he late made him the Duke of Lennox. There is quite a lot about him online, so again feel free to google further, I do like this choice quote on him –
James’s sexual orientation was so widely known that Sir Walter Raleigh joked about it in public saying “King Elizabeth” had been succeeded by “Queen James.”
James was rumoured to be fond of young, and pretty boys. He had many lovers including Robert Carr, a poor Scotsman that he made the Earl of Somerset –
and George Villiars, who was made the Duke of Buckingham –
he was said to lavish gifts upon his lovers, something that disgusted his court, not only because of the money he was wasting, but also because James appeared old, bloated, lecherous and often quite literally drooling (!) over his young male objects of his affection.
Anne (1702 – 1714)
Bit of a boring one, despite having a huge amount of miscarriages, she was rumoured to partake in some lady-loving with Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, who was her “lady of the bedchamber.” Which was apparently an actual job, and not just some winking euphemism.
And for now, at least, that is it, although I am sure along the line there have been others, this lot have just been a bit louder about it. May I also add that everything here is ALLEGEDLY, and if anybody wants any pictures taken down just email me.