There were few Gay Kings and Queen in the history of the english monarchy. If we be specific; there have been six kings and one queen who are believed to have been homosexual or bisexual, they defied the religious homophobic times in which they lived and many paid dearly for it. they may have worn crowns and wielded power but at the end of the day they were human - here are their stories.
William the second Rufus (1087 – 1100)
William was the eldest son of the great William the Conqueror who brought Norman to rule England in 1066. As the eldest William, Rufus as known as the red was given his father's greatest Kingdom, England, while the second son Henry was given Normandy and their younger brother Robert got only 5,000 pounds. None of the brothers were satisfied and all three plotted and fought in attempts to have it all eventually. The brothers got tired of the fray, Robert went on crusade and William and Henry made a tentative peace William was not popular among his people he taxed them heavily and lacked the strength of his father along with it he was a homosexual, a great sin in their religious Middle Ages. It was said that he was addicted to every kind of vice particularly lust and especially sodomy. He filled his court with attractive young men who were fashionable pointed shoes and long hair. William was too busy with his male favorites to contract a marriage or produce an heir so he alone stood between his power-hungry brothers and the throne. while out on a hunting trip with his brother Henry William was shot with an arrow and killed nothing is certain but fratricide seems pretty likely, Williams body was left in the woods until a group of peasants brought it to Winchester in a wheelbarrow, there the King's body was refused Christian burial, When Henry took over his Kingdom, he out stood many of Williams favorites and forced those who remained cut their hair.
Richard The First (1189-1199)
Richard was known as the Lionheart with a handsome warrior and at 6'5 he towered over the men of his age, he was a foolish romantic who pictured himself as a storybook hero. Richard spent much of his childhood in the Duchy of Aquitaine France with his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was estranged from Richard's father Henry the second - King of England. At 22 Richard and his brothers revolted against their father and in order to strengthen his position, Richard allied himself with the teenage King Philip of France. contemporary Rodger Holden recorded that Richard and Philip ate every day at the same table and from the same dish and at night their beds did not separate them and the King of France loved him as his own soul and they loved each other so much that the king of England was absolutely astonished at the passionate love between them and marveled at it historians debate whether this is evidence of Richard's homosexuality or just the courtly language of the time. When Richard's father died he had no choice but to leave England to his prodigal son and Richard became King at 32, he had no interest in the drudgery of governing and left his mother in charge while he went on a crusade to take the holy city of Jerusalem from the Muslims. There is evidence of Richard having affairs with women while on the campaign and he acknowledged one illegitimate son Philip of Cognac, However, he spent as little time as possible in the company of his Queen Berengaria of Navarre and fathered no children by her, Richard's crusade was unsuccessful and on his return home foolishly unguarded and in a weak disguise he was captured by the Duke of Austria who held him for ransom for 100,000 pounds about eight years tax income for the English government Richard's folly nearly bankrupted the country on Richards return to England. he found that his country was at war with his ex-lover Phillipa France during a siege in France. Richard who clearly thought he was invincible was walking around the battlements with no armor when an arrow struck him, the wound became gangrenous and the king died in his mother's arms he had been king for nine years but spent only six months in his kingdom, he got his wish and was portrayed as a hero in the Robin Hood stories while his brother John who became King after him was portrayed as a villain grasping at power.
Edward ii (1307-1327)
Edward was the son of a famous warrior king and hammer of the Scots Edward Longshanks. The son had no interest in war much to his father's devastation, Edward senior tried to change his son's character by taking him on the campaign and assigning him a squire who excelled in tournaments Piers Gaveston, this backfired spectacularly when Edward and Gaveston fell in love. Longshanks banished Gaveston but when the King died the new 23-year-old King Edward invited his lover to return to Galveston. flaunted his influence over the king and whole royal court and the Queen's wedding jewelry to the coronation, this event enraged the nobles so much that a group led by the Earl of Lancaster haunted Gaveston down, ran him through with swords and beheaded him. Edward was devastated, this began several years of armed confrontation between Edward supporters and the Lancaster's. Edward also attempted to stand against the new King of Scotland Robert the Bruce but lost spectacularly on top of that climate change caused a year of devastating famine. Churchmen blamed the country's despair on the King's immorality, Edward allied himself with a powerful dispenser family against the Barons who had murdered his lover. it was rumored that Hugh Despenser the younger son was now the King's lover. Lancaster men captured dispenser hung Drew and quartered him and removed burnt from his private parts as punishment for sodomy. Edward the second hold on to the crown was destroyed, his Queen Isabella of France known as the she-wolf. raised an army with her lover they invaded England imprisoned Edward and had him murdered. He was impaled through the anus with a red-hot poker.
Richard the second (1377-1400)
Richard inherited the crown at the tender age of ten, his father Edward the Black Prince had died of dysentery the previous year so when his grandfather Edward the third died, Richard got the job. The real power behind the throne was Richard's Uncle John of Gaunt with a third of the population of England dead in the wake of the plague, the remaining peasants found that there was more demand for labor than there were people to do it, they abandoned the feudal lands that their families have been enslaved to for centuries in search of better pay and many of them got it, becoming wealthier than ever before this infuriated the nobles who saw themselves as inherently superior so they imposed laws limiting everything from where peasants could live to what types of clothes they could wear. The government issued attacks on every citizen but they didn't understand that the population had shrunk so when they didn't raise as much as they expected, they started taxing everyone again. The peasants revolted against the taxation and demanded the end to all nobility. Experiencing the horrible reality the King John of Gaunt was forced into hiding when the rebel leader wat Tyler finally met the king he was slain by the mayor of London. The rebels drew their bows and the 14-year-old King rode forward to calm them, he made a speech asking them to obey Him and they would be treated fairly, amazingly they believed him and dispersed they shouldn't have trusted the game after this meeting, the rebel leaders were hunted down and ex. Now hated by the people Richard made his nobles hate him as well by pulling out of the war with France, which was keeping them rich. Richard tried to rehab his reputation and was the first King of England to have his portrait made but there was one thing about the king that his medieval people could never forgive, Richard was homosexual and as Kings before him had raised homophobic ire among the nobles. contemporaries wrote of Richards's handsomeness and his effeminate manner and lisping speech, he made his lover Robert de Vere the duke of Ireland. This caused outrage as only members of the royal family were made dukes, not regular nobles, de Vere led Richard's army in battle against their court enemies but fled the field leaving the army leaderless and forcing their surrender, de Vere was stripped of his title and sentenced to death by Parliament but he escaped to the continent he died three years later and King Richard had his body brought back to England. The king ordered the coffin opened and he kissed his friend's hand and gazed upon his face one last time, the nobles have had enough of their King and plotted to have him removed, he was captured by his cousin Henry, who was forced to abdicate then imprisoned and murdered at 32.
James the first (1603 – 1625)
When Queen Elizabeth the first died, her closest relative was James the son of her cousin Mary Queen of Scots, whom Elizabeth had beheaded, Mary had been imprisoned since. James was very little so he didn't really remember her so no need to let that get in the way of him making a nice gesture with Elizabeth and being made her heir, after centuries of English Kings trying to beat Scotland into submission the two kingdoms were finally united under James the sixth of Scotland, now James the first of England and Scotland. James's sexual preferences were apparent from an early age at 13 he fell for his 37-year-old cousin Esme Stuart who he later made Duke of Linux, an observer said James was in such love with him that in the open sight of the people often he would clasp him about the neck with his arms and kiss him. James had been King of Scotland since the age of 1 and when he inherited the throne of England at 36 he was used to Scottish rule where the king was above the law in England. he bristled with the growing urban middle class who didn't want an absolute monarch, James also hated that in England he had to get permission from Parliament to collect taxes permission, they rarely granted. The famous Elizabethan Sir Walter Raleigh was involved in a plot to remove King James Raleigh was found guilty of treason and beheaded during James's reign the British began to colonize what is now Canada and the United States. The colony of Jamestown Virginia was named for him perhaps James's most lasting contribution was the printing of the King James Bible, one of the first written in English the translation had a lasting effect on the Protestant religion and is still very popular today, but James still had plenty of problems to deal with, when it came to religion the fuze Henry the Eighth had lit when he established the Protestant Church of England continued to burn, there was nearly a massive explosion when a group of Catholic conspirators led by Guy Fawkes smuggled barrels of gunpowder under the houses of parliament in an attempt to blow up King James and all the MPs, the Gunpowder Plot was foiled and this act of attempted terrorism is still remembered each year on the 5th of November with fireworks and bonfires on which Guy Fawkes is burned in effigy.
James had a passionate relationship with his wife and a Denmark by whom he fathered 8 children, he had affairs with other women as well but that was expected of a king, it was his male favorites that caused controversy he was flamboyantly bisexual and had several male lovers whom he appointed to powerful core positions, that were above their ability. Once favorite Robert Carr was convicted of poisoning a court rival, James pardoned him causing outrage the King had a secret passageway built linking his bedroom to the river. that of another favorite George Villiers whom he appointed Duke of Buckingham and Lord Admiral Villiers was an incompetent leader and Parliament twice attempted to impeach him, but they were blocked by the king after James died and Villiers no longer had royal protection he was stabbed to death by a disgruntled army officer. While the king was alive the word in London was that Elizabeth had been a king and now they had a queen, those in the growing and extremely conservative Puritan sect of Protestantism did not approve. in fact, James was a hypocrite, he insisted on harsh punishments for sodomy among his people James died at 58 after a 21-year reign, his tomb in Westminster Abbey is flanked by two of his lovers George Villiers and Esme Stuart.
William the third (1689-1702)
After a century of a squabble over the throne between Protestants and Catholics the Protestant majority was settled with a dreaded Catholic King James the second. Parliament wouldn't stand for it so they invited the Protestant William and Mary to peacefully invade the country and depose. James William was the Prince of orange and ruled the Dutch, his mother Mary Stuart was the daughter of King Charles the first, his wife Mary was the daughter of the current King and had a better claim to the throne but she insisted that her husband be her co-ruler, this suited William fine as he was not a man to play second fiddle to his wife because they were ruling at Parliament's invitation. Parliament finally got to call the shots no standing army no raising taxes for no going war. without Parliament's permission and Parliament got to decide who was a monarch, it was called the Glorious Revolution because royal power was redefined free of bloodshed. King James made a bid to regain the crown from his daughter and son-in-law by raising Catholic troops in Ireland but his forces were defeated at the Battle of the Boyne. Williams' victory made him a hero to the Irish Protestants who dubbed King Billy. The orange portion of the Irish flag honors him.
William was more interested in his Netherlands and spent much of his time there so Mary did most of the ruling in England. five years into their joint reign Mary died of smallpox at 32. William deeply mourned his wife's passing but the pair hadn't had any children and after her death rumors of Williams's homosexuality began to spread. he is believed to have had affairs with two dutch courtiers Hans Wilhelm Bentinck and Arnold Joost von couple to whom he gave English lands and titles.
Capel who was twenty years the king's junior raised particular ire among the English nobility as he was promoted from page to earl at lightning speed, the next in line to the throne Queen Mary's sister Anne had no fear that William would marry and produce an heir, she said his heart be not for women and has been taken by a nobleman, and like her sister and was married to a Protestant Prince George of Denmark. he was an indolent alcoholic and she had no interest in sharing power with him and was the first married queen to rule on her own she reveled in the ceremony and majesty of the monarchy. In 1707 Parliament passed the acts of Union which finally made England and Scotland a single sovereign state called Great Britain all monarchs from this point on would be known as British rather than English a combination of the two countries flags called the Union Jack became widely used, as several kings before she had male favorites, Anne had female favorites; the most significant was Sarah Churchill ancestor of the World War Two Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Sarah's husband was a top military commander and Sarah's close relationship with the Queen made her the second most powerful woman in the country, Sarah was beautiful and charming while Anne was plain sickly and shy Sarah often used her influence to her advantage and wasn't afraid to disagree with the Queen. The couple was politically opposed, Sarah supported the progressive Whigs and Queen Anne the religious and conservative Tories and grew tired of Sarah's political lectures and attempts to influence policy particularly in prolonging the war on the continent led by Sarah's husband.
Eventually and transferred her affections to another lady-in-waiting Abigail Marshall who was young and demure, quite the opposite of Sarah, in the midst of this new relationship, Queen banished anna’s first lover from the court. Anna spent some time with her husband because she had 17 of pregnancies tragically most ended in miscarriage or stillbirth it is believed by medical historians that Anne's numerous pregnancy losses were due to her having Hughes syndrome which causes the blood to be sticky and this would explain many of Ann's health problems which confined her to a wheelchair later in life. Sticky blood has a hard time traveling through the veins of an adult but it is near impossible for it to travel through the tiny veins of the fetus and now commonplace medication aspirin would have thinned Anne's blood and saved her baby's lives. Ann's one great hope her son Prince William died at the age of eleven of smallpox. with no clear air to take the throne after Anne it was important that Parliament decide who the next monarch would be so they passed the acts of settlement which laid down the rules by which the British line of succession is still decided today. the rules were; no Catholic will ever again sit on the throne only legitimate children are eligible spouses of the monarch are not eligible and male primogeniture or sons would outrank daughters in the succession. Anne's closest Protestant relative was Sophia of Hanover who despite being in her 80s was determined to outlive the sickly 49-year-old Anne and take the throne, she almost succeeded but a letter from an accusing her of plotting to take the throne so shocked her that she died two months before Anne. The crown went to Sophia's son George and a new German dynasty stepped onto the British stage.
it is tragic that these rulers and many more common people face discrimination and violence for who they loved hopefully any future LGBTQ monarchs or members of the royal family will be met with acceptance in more enlightened times if you enjoyed this article please consider supporting us and help our team make more fascinating blog posts and please sing up and let us know what kind of content you want to read. thank you for watching