Before exploring the eating habits of our monarchs, its important that we explore how their various reigns happened. As we come across each monarch, we’ll learn more about them. But until then, here’s a brief description of each monarch.
Born: 28 June 1491
Crowned: 24 June 1509
Died: 28 January 1546, aged 55.
Over the course of his reign, Henry managed to transform Hampton Court Palace into a fabulous centre of feasting, hunting, jousting and entertainment. Many people argue that his reign was the most important in English history, but at the very least we can all agree that his was one of the most famous reigns. By creating the Church of England, Henry VIII broke ties with Rome, changed systems of land ownership and power, and transformed England into a Protestant land. With power taken from the hands of the Roman Catholic church, the English Parliament became much more powerful, and England became a major European power.
Through all of this, Henry himself went through six separate marriages in his famous obsession with obtaining a legitimate royal heir, the christening of whom will be explored later in the blog.
Born: 7 September 1533
Crowned: 15 January 1559
Died: 24 March 1603, aged 69.
Henry’s beloved heir, Edward VI, died at 15 years of age, cutting his role as the next King of England short. Before dying, he named Lady Jane Grey as his successor, but she ruled for just nine days before it was decided that Mary should be Queen and Jane was arrested for treason. Mary was crowned as the first true Queen of England.
Having spent a terrifying few months in 1554 locked in the Tower of London by her half-sister Mary I, Elizabeth returned to the tower in January 1559 to become the next Queen of England. Elizabeth became known as the Virgin Queen, and longed for everyone to be in love with her. She was able to single-handedly rally troops to defeat the invading Spanish Armada, heralded in a golden age of poets, playwrights and exploration, and was generally admired by the nation.
Born: 28 May 1660
Crowned: 20 October 1714
Died: 11 June 1727, aged 67.
After a few more rulers from the Stuart dynasty, the line ran out and it was time for a new dynasty to rise to power. These monarchs came from Hanover, Germany, and began with King George I.
King George was rather shy, and wasn’t so keen on the ceremony associated with the life of royalty. He also didn’t really speak any English, so he generally stayed in Germany as much as possible. The one English tradition that King George was keen on was that of drinking chocolate, a love which showcased the king’s life of luxury and power, which we will explore a little later on. George I was followed by his son, George II, and later his great-grandson, George III.
Born: 24 May 1738
Crowned: 22 September 1761
Died: 29 January 1820, aged 81.
George III was the first of his dynasty to actually be born in England, as his predecessor and grandfather loved spending a lot more time in the country than George I had. George was a diligent, serious and strongly religious ruler, whose reputation was unfortunately marred be the rebellious exploits of his children. During his reign, the country lost ownership of the 13 American colonies, and the King was slowly reduced to what was then believed to be madness, though we now believe it was a metabolic disorder known as porphyria. We’ll explore this illness a little later on, and explore what he ate while he was recovering.
Born: 24 May 1819
Crowned: 28 June 1838
Died: 22 January 1901, aged 81.
Niece of William IV, George IV, and granddaughter of George III, Victoria became the next in line to the throne when her predecessor died with no legitimate children. She went on to be one of the longest-ruling monarchs in British history.
As Queen, Victoria supervised a speeding up of cultural and social reform. She ruled the country for longer than anyone else before her, with a reign which coincided with numerous major historical events, making hers the most noteworthy reign of all British monarchs so far. Later in the blog, we will explore Victoria’s time as a princess in Kensington palace, as well as the influence she had on the food we eat today.