Current European Monarchies

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I love maps! I just discovered a great WordPress plug-in that lets you create and customize various maps. Here at MBR, I am working on more. Below, the current monarchies/duchies/principalities of Europe. Place your cursor over the country of interest for more. Also included but hard to see: Liechtenstein (Prince Hans Adam II) and Monaco (Prince Albert II) Also note the highlighted area in Cyprus – those indicate Britain’s two military bases on the island.

Current Monarchies: Europe/Scandinavia Placeholder
Current Monarchies: Europe/Scandinavia

Queen Elizabeth II Longest Reigning Monarch in British History

Queen of United Kingdom (as well as Canada, Au...

Queen Elizabeth II, long she has reigned! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The moment that once seemed so distant has now arrived: Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch in British history.

People all across the UK – and the world – are celebrating the Queen’s record-breaking achievement, well aware that this is not something every generation gets to see.

As a long-time fan of the Queen, I have to say that I am extremely proud of this moment. This is history that will be talked about for generations, and it is unlikely that another British monarch will reach this milestone for a very long time.

Despite this momentous occasion, the Queen herself is not celebrating the milestone. At least, not publicly. Elizabeth is sticking to her business-as-usual repertoire because A.) she doesn’t want to be seen as being triumphant over her great-great-grandmother, the venerable Queen Victoria.  We must also note that B.) the Queen publicly celebrates her 90th birthday in 2016. With barely a year between events, combined with her reverence for Victoria, Elizabeth is right in keeping this year’s milestone low-key.

Elizabeth has personified grace and decorum since her earliest days, and her time as queen is no exception. Not only is she impressive on the surface, underneath the glamour of pageantry and tiaras lies a solid work ethic and devotion to representing her people. After a life of service, it seems as though there is nothing that the Queen doesn’t know or hasn’t experienced. More to the point, it has been a life of duty and tradition under a bright spotlight, something that only a handful of people could tolerate. Where most would crack, the Queen carries on.

It is hard to say what hasn’t already been said. Reams of paper and columns of digital space have been devoted to Her Majesty’s record-breaking for days. I think, however, I can speak for all of us as I wrap up: Queen Elizabeth II has been, and will continue to
be, a distinct figure upon whom the hopes of better days can be seen. Long she has reigned, and may she continue to do so.

Richard III Reinterred in Leicester

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Over 500 years have passed since King Richard III was killed during battle at Bosworth Field in 1485. He was buried in a monastery, but it had been destroyed long ago. The rumor persisted that his bones had been tossed into the nearby river and washed away forever.

Today the mystery has been put to rest and now, in the year 2015, the king gets a second burial. Richard III has been reinterred in Leicester Cathedral in a simple oak coffin after a procession and proper funeral.

It all began in 2012 when excavation was underway in a parking lot in Leicester, England. While digging, human bones were discovered by workers. Grisly, to say the least.

When it was discovered where they were digging, archaeologists raced to the site of the excavation to determine who had been buried. After removing the bones and reassembling them, they saw that the spine had a curve that attested to the real Richard, described in life as a “hunchback”.

After tracking down descendants of Richard’s sister, Anne, scientists took DNA from cheek cells to ascertain the identity of the bones. Could it be?

The monastery in which the king had been buried was dissolved and the church was demolished in 1536. Richard’s remains were rumored to have been tossed into a nearby river, never to be seen again. Their whereabouts were one of the biggest historical mysteries in the world.

Philippa Langley, a screenwriter and researcher of Richard III, was convinced that Richard’s grave had not been desecrated during the dissolution of the monastery. She proposed that he still lay where he had been buried, and she was correct.

After the tests returned, the announcement was made: the king had been found, five centuries after his death.

Wax replicas of the king have been made to recreate his likeness. A recent figure contends that Richard III was actually blond and blue-eyed. Excitement grew over the discovery and the plans to reinter the king. Unfortunately, as excitement grew so did arguments. Where should the king be buried? The towns of Leicester and York disputed the other’s claim over the king. After judicial review, it was settled that Leicester would be the home of the remains.

Today the king was carried back to Leicester in an emotional but dignified procession, a more pleasant and modern-day recreation of the journey the king’s body originally made from the battle site.

In a wonderful and touching conclusion to the king’s reburial, it has been revealed that Michael Ibsen, a descendant of Richard’s sister, has made the king’s coffin.

Canadian-born Ibsen is a cabinet-maker by trade. After providing DNA from a cheek swab to identify Richard, Isben helped make history. For his contribution, Isben was asked to be further involved in the process of Richard’s reburial by putting his skills to work making the king’s coffin. It is a high honor, indeed.

Says Isben: “”When you’re working away you just focus on joining two bits of wood, but at the end of the day when you stand back and think ‘I’m building Richard III’s coffin,’ it’s incredible.”



Richard III Reburial Celebration – LiveScience

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