IT was this day in 1559 when Elizabeth I was crowned Queen of England.
The 25-year-old Greenwich-born daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn was crowned at Westminster Abbey amid celebrations estimated to have cost what would be around £3.5 million in today’s money.
She went on to become one of the most powerful and influential monarchs in British history. The reign of the ‘Virgin Queen’, who died in 1603, coincided with the English Renaissance, the defeat of the Spanish Armada, voyages of discovery to America and beyond and the country becoming a major world power.
In honour of Elizabeth I’s coronation here are 10 pieces of weird royal trivia about other famous monarchs:
- Her hairdresser snipped and Catherine the Great of Russia snapped - so outraged was Catherine to discover dandruff on her collar and so petrified of the news spreading was she that she kept her hairdresser in an iron cage for three years.
- Naked slaves whose bodies were smeared with honey were kept close at hand by King Pepi II of Egypt to deter unwanted flies.
- Henry VIII was playing tennis while his wife Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I’s mother, was being beheaded on his orders for adultery.
- Smoking can seriously damage your health, and never more so than in 17th-century Turkey where ruler Murad IV ordered that anyone caught lighting up be executed on the spot and their bodies be left where they were as a deterrent to others. He also had a party of female picnickers drowned for making too much noise.
- Rarely has there been a more ruthless boss than Gustav I of Sweden who hacked his royal goldsmith to death for taking a day off without asking.
- George IV must go down as one of the ultimate ladies’ men of all time. He would clip a lock of hair from each woman he slept with and keep them in envelopes. More than 7,000 envelopes were found in his bedroom when he died.
- Rarely has there been a more benevolent boss than King John who servant Solomon Attefeld as Royal Head Holder to hold his head steady while at sea to stop him being sick. He was rewarded with the gift of large areas of land.
- Having one’s bottom caned for the royal cause is not how most people show devotion to king and country but it’s what schoolboy Barnaby Fitzpatrick did when Edward VI was an unruly child. It was not permissible to cane Edward so whenever he needed to be punished the unfortunate Barnaby provided a substitute backside and took the beating while the future king looked on.
- Henry IV had his hair closely cropped because it was infested with head lice.
- Rather than reward the architect when he was pleased with the newly built Church of St Basil in Moscow, legend has it Ivan the Terrible blinded him instead so he would not be able to design anything better.
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