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Queen Elizabeth II and Other Rulers

By John I. Blair

Queen Elizabeth II has died after 96 years, 70 of them on the throne. Essentially she is the only British monarch I can remember well, even though I'm only 15 years younger than her. And she rather set the gold standard for the job I think. I had been hoping she would make it to 100 like her mother. At least she died at Balmoral, which was one of her favorite places.


Strikes me (as a history buff) that Great Britain has at one time or another ruled at least 25% of the world, including this country (or at least the eastern seaboard part). When I was a kid lots of world maps were still colored about half pink, representing the Commonwealth. That ended pretty soon afterward, but many of us remember it.


It also strikes me that the new king is now King Charles III -- first Charles since Charles II (1660-1685) who was fairly popular but ran into numerous snags in his 25-year reign -- possibly part of the reason for him being the last ruling Charles for more than 300 years. That and the fact that the family ruling Britain soon changed from the Stuarts to the House of Hanover.


Anyone who can keep straight the succession to the English throne during the later 1600s and early 1700s is a better scorekeeper than I am. During the 19th century of course Victoria ruled most of the time, but although her family continued to rule, they changed their name, first to "Saxe-Coburg & Gotha" and later to "Windsor" because of the anti-German feeling caused by WWI. And Windsor they remain.


Officially, however, the only eligible heirs to the throne have to be "legitimate Protestant descendants of Sophia of Hanover" (1630-1714), a granddaughter of James I (James VI of Scotland), who had succeeded Elizabeth I to the throne. So now you know!


Whatever their current family names the rulers of Great Britain are officially Scottish! Which is why they maintain two homes in Scotland, including Balmoral where the Queen died.


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