Blast From the Past – 86 Royal Facts About Kings

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26King Abdullah

When the King of Saudi Arabia visited Britain, the Welsh Guards welcomed him by playing the Star Wars Imperial March.


27. The Vikings sacked Paris in 845 and did not leave until King Charles the Bald paid them 5,670 lbs of silver and gold.


28. George V did not want his son Edward VIII to become a King and told his private secretary that 'After I am dead the boy will ruin himself in 12 months.' After George's death, Edward was King for 10 months and 3 weeks before giving up the throne.


29. Pedro, the son of King Afonso IV of Portugal, was forbidden by the king to marry the woman he loved. King Afonso had her murdered to keep them apart. When Pedro became king, he hunted down her assassins and had their hearts torn out, symbolic of what they had done to him.


30. King George V's physician gave the dying king a lethal dosage of morphine and cocaine to hasten his death so that it could be announced in the morning edition of The Times rather than "Less appropriate evening journals."


31King George VI

King George VI was appalled when the South African government instructed him to only shake hands with white people while on his visit there in 1947. He referred to his South African bodyguards as "The Gestapo".


32. Tsar Simeon II of Bulgaria, who ruled from 1943 to 1946 as a child, and was overthrown after the World War 2, was later elected Prime Minister of Bulgaria in 2001. He is the only monarch to have become the head of government through democratic elections in European history.


33. After French soldier Jean Bernadotte showed kindness to a few Swedish soldiers, he became so popular in Sweden that the Swedes decided to make him their king when a vacancy came up, despite him never having set foot in Sweden before. The House of Bernadotte rules Sweden to this day.


34. Tsar Peter III of Russia court-martialed and hanged a rat which had chewed the heads off his toy soldiers.


35. King Gustav III of Sweden, in an experiment, commuted death sentences to a pair of twins. Their sentences were commuted to life imprisonment on the condition that one drank 3 pots of coffee, and the other tea, every day for the rest of their lives.


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36Alexander the Great

While Alexander the Great conquered the known world, he never attempted to attack the city-state of Sparta.


37. Geoffry Chaucer (of Canterbury Tales fame) was granted "a gallon of wine daily for the rest of his life" by King Edward III of England in recognition of his poetic talent.


38. The Russian Tsar Nicholas II and the German Kaiser William referred to themselves as "Nicky" and "Willy" respectively in their personal correspondence.


39. Following a decisive battle, Byzantine Emperor Basil II ordered the blinding of 15,000 Bulgarian captives, while leaving 150 only partially blinded so they could guide the others to Tsar Samuil. On seeing this, the Tsar died of a stroke.


40. King Louis XIV was offered biological weapons by an Italian chemist. He refused to buy and paid the chemist an annual salary to never sell his weapon to anyone else.


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41King Kamehameha

After Hawaiian King Kamehameha was hit in the head with a paddle by a frightened fisherman during a battle, he not only spared the man's life but decreed a "Law of the Splintered Oar" protecting civilians in a war. It is still part of Hawaiian law in the State Constitution.


42. The late King Olav V of Norway used public transport. He was nicknamed Folkekonge, "The People's King".


43. Alexander the Great had Heterochromia Iridum. One of his eyes was blue and the other was brown.


44. There was a Polish King Augustus II nicknamed “The Strong” because he could break horseshoes with his bare hands and loved fox tossing, a sport where you throw foxes with a sling. One of these events had 1235 foxes, hares, badgers, and wildcats. He had several mistresses and fathered as many as 382 children.


45. Queen Elizabeth (an experienced Army driver during World War 2) once took King Abdullah for a drive in her Land Rover. As she accelerated through narrow Scottish roads while talking the King was so nervous that he implored the Queen to slow down and concentrate on the road ahead.


46King Tutankhamun's beard

King Tutankhamun's beard was broken off by museum workers, who glued it back on. The mistake wasn't discovered until months later.


47. A completely random dude known as Stephen the Little convinced much of Western Europe he was Tsar Peter III of Russia (who was actually dead), then brought about unprecedented peace in Montenegro as its leader.


48. In 15 years of conquest, Alexander the Great never lost a battle.


49. Alexander the Great was simultaneously the King of Macedonia, Pharaoh of Egypt, King of Persia, and King of Asia.


50. King Leonidas was actually 60 years old when he fought king Xerxes.

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