In preparation for the arrival of Britain’s future monarch, I decided to drink copious amounts of tea and read about the history of some of the past leaders of the country. I had quite a hefty selection to choose from — the nation has had many colorful and dynamic monarchs with histories that could rival even the most dramatic plots of “Days of Our Lives” and “ “Game of Thrones,” combined. With that in mind, I settled upon a book about the House of Plantagenet —an early dynasty that ruled England from 1126 to 1399.
While most of world history is filed with murder and mayhem, the Plantagenets saw more than their fair share of it. The fables of Robin Hood are rooted in this era and the cruelty and barbarity of the legend are truly based in fact. For example, when the real Prince John ascended to the throne after the death of his brother King Richard the Lionhearted, he set out to squelch the opposition of his teenage nephew, Arthur, by locking him in a dungeon.
Deciding that wasn't punishment enough, John ordered that young Arthur be blinded and castrated. Sometime after John found out that his bailiff had refused to follow those brutal orders, on Easter a drunken John snapped and killed his nephew with his bare hands and had the boy’s body thrown in a river.
I apologize if you were hoping that Arthur’s story was going to end well. On the bright side, at least, he went to his grave with all his male parts still attached.
Anyway, from what I've learned about the Plantagenets, the newest royal baby, George, should be extraordinarily glad to be born in 2013 and not in 1213.
What a difference 800 years can make.
Elizabette Guecamburu, volunteer columnist for the Irrigator, is a writer and a native Patterson resident. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org