Glad to be a child of the King
All things considered, I’m glad to not be of royal descent. It just seems way too difficult.
I’ve been mulling over the highs and lows of being a highness — a royal highness, that is — ever since watching a British TV show about King Henry VIII, the much-married medieval monarch.
Sure, there were perks to the position — palaces, feasts, servants and enough jewels to choke a royal cow. Even so, life for the Tudors wasn’t always a picnic.
For one thing, all those royal folks were kind of interrelated, with first and second cousins being wed to one another to ensure both political harmony and a pedigreed bloodline.
Of course, as any geneticist will tell you, the primary thing all that intermarrying really ensures is mutations. This probably explains the prevalence of lords and ladies with three thumbs on each hand and permanently crossed eyes. Just sayin’.
Speaking of political harmony, in Henry’s day it wasn’t particularly easy to come by. The simplest perceived slight could spark a bloody battle, often only ended by the offending party offering his daughter’s hand — all three thumbs included — to the injured party’s heir.
This transaction often took place when the betrothed were mere toddlers, romance taking a decided back seat to practicality.
While being a king had its challenges, being a queen was no bed of royal roses, either.
Take the issue of privacy, for example. Ladies-in-waiting constantly hovered around her royal highness, prepared to attend to her every need.
If you ask me, a little of that would go a long way. I mean, there are times when a gal just wants to soak in a bubble bath with a good novel, sans entourage. In fact, I have a feeling what her royal highness “needed” most was some alone time.
Then there was the attire. The gowns were beautiful, but with all of those layers of satin, velvet and brocade, they must have weighed a ton. On second thought, perhaps that’s what all those ladies-in-waiting were really there for — to hoist her majesty from one room to the other.
Lack of privacy and uncomfortable clothing aside, the real deal-breaker when it came to being a queen, for me, anyway, was the lack of job security.
Kings had a tendency to be fickle when it came to wives. In Henry’s case, specifically, he became infuriated when a wife failed to produce a son. Such a transgression quite often caused a dissolution to the marriage.
In today’s society, an unwanted wife might lose income and support. In Henry’s day she stood to lose something more significant — her royal head.
In fairness, despite what many people believe, King Henry didn’t have all of his wives beheaded; some were simply relegated to quieter existences living in a nunnery or working at Ye Old McDonald’s for life.
Even so, in my opinion it only takes one decapitated wife to render a fellow high-risk husband material.
The Word of God tells us that Christians are part of a royal priesthood. I might not have any Tudor blood coursing through my veins, but I’m a child of the King, just the same.