Friday, August 26, 2016

Royal Names

I think the most popular name for European monarchs (defined herein as kings or emperors) has been Charles. Let's see: two kings of England & Scotland, ten kings of France, one king of Portugal, four kings of Spain, seven Holy Roman Emperors, one (beatified) Emperor of Austria-Hungary, nominally sixteen (actually ten) Kings of Sweden, two kings of Romania, one king of W├╝rttemberg. Did I miss anyone? Oh yes, there's Naples & Sicily which gets complicated because some kings ruled both with different numerals and then the last King Charles (VII/V) subsequently became III of Spain. But if you're ever in a situation where you have to guess the name of a European monarch, you have better odds with "Charles" than any other particular name.

Louis, especially after Louis IX was canonized, was extremely popular in France, going all the way up to XVIII (Woody Allen's character in "Small Time Crooks": "how high do the 'Louis's go? Anyway, it's a top Louis."), but in other countries, we have four Holy Roman Emperors, two kings of Bavaria, one king of Portugal, and one short-lived king of Spain. Not bad I suppose.

Edward unsurprisingly has been the most popular kingly name in England; the numbering only goes up to VIII, but there were additionally three Kings Edward before the Norman Conquest. But the name never really caught on on the Continent; just one king of Portugal.

Henry is another very important monarchical name; obviously, eight Kings of England. Four Kings of France, seven Holy Roman Emperors, four Kings of Castile.

We mustn't forget my own brother's name, William. Four kings of England (and God willing, one future), four kings of the Netherlands (though the present one insists on going by "Willem-Alexander"), two German Emperors, two kings of W├╝rttemberg.

Francis: two Kings of France, two Holy Roman Emperors, and two Kings of the Two Sicilies. (Of course now there's also the pope, but I'm not dealing with popes here.)

Ferdinand was the name of seven kings of Spain, three Holy Roman Emperors (a fourth was king of Bohemia & Hungary but predeceased his father so never became Emperor), two kings of the Two Sicilies, one Austrian Emperor, one king of Romania, one king of Bulgaria.

Philip: six kings of France, six kings of Spain (including the present one), the present king of Belgium.

Leopold: three kings of Belgium, two Holy Roman Emperors.

Maximilian: two Holy Roman Emperors, two kings of Bavaria, one Emperor of Mexico.

Joseph: one king of Portugal, one dubious (Napoleonic) king of Spain, two Holy Roman Emperors.

Alexander: three Kings of Scotland, three Emperors of Russia, one King of Greece, one Prince of Bulgaria, two kings of Serbia/Yugoslavia (though the second did not use "II").

John: one king of England (not a great success), six kings of Portugal, two kings of France, one king of Saxony, one king of Denmark.

Frederick: three Kings of Prussia, nine kings of Denmark, three Holy Roman Emperors.

George: six Kings of Great Britain (III & IV were also kings of Hanover), one additional king of Hanover, one king of Saxony, two kings of Greece.

Peter: four kings of Aragon, five Kings of Portugal (the 4th of whom was also I of Brazil), two Emperors of Brazil, three Emperors of Russia, two kings of Serbia/Yugoslavia.

Otto: four Holy Roman Emperors, one king of Greece, one king of Bavaria.

Harold: two pre-Conquest kings of England, five kings of Norway (including the present one).
This isn't really in any sort of order anymore, is it?

Most other names seem to be associated primarily or exclusively with one monarchy (e.g. Christian in Denmark, Gustav in Sweden, James in Britain).

I'm just typing this, without doing too much research to refresh my memory, on a rainy afternoon for no reason really. Hope someone enjoys it.


Michael E. said...

I enjoyed it--I laughed, though, when you said it wasn't going in any order.

I suppose it makes sense that Charles should be the top name, given Charlemagne ("Charles the Great"): if I'm not mistaken, he is "Charles I" both by the reckoning of Kings of France and Holy Roman Emperors, is he not?

Sean G. said...

Charles the Magne should technically be Charles 0 of France, since there were 11 kings of fRance named Charles. No, really, count from Pepin the Short onwards, they skipped over a Charles when they numbered the Kings of France!

Theodore Harvey said...

I've always that the French numbering for "Charles" seemed a little weird. Not as weird though as the Swedish where they simply made up the first six.