75 votes
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Why was it "acceptable" for Prince Charles to marry a divorced woman, when Edward VIII had to abdicate for marrying divorcee Wallis Simpson?

It is mostly due to the differing social attitudes of the day, but the legal position was also different in 1936. The Wikipedia page is pretty clear about the social attitudes, but I'll try to explain ...
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73 votes
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Which monarch had the longest break in their reign?

Norodom Sihanouk was crowned King of Cambodia on 3 May 1941. At the time, Cambodia was a colony of France, so he was not really a head of state yet. But he remained king, and therefore head of state, ...
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66 votes

Were Egyptian Pharaohs literate?

First, a few general observations: The time period covered here is more than 3,000 years and we know very little about many of the Pharaohs. Also, there were different scripts which evolved over time ...
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59 votes

What is the highest number of brothers who became ruler of the same country?

Here are six brothers, sons of Abdul Aziz (1902-53), who have been (and the most recent still is) Kings of Saudi Arabia: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a3/House_of_Saud_rulers....
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58 votes
Accepted

Why does the King of Spain still claim defunct titles like the King of Hungary?

They're maintained as a matter of tradition, which is not unusual in monarchies. It's used both for prestige and as a relic of an era when European diplomacy revolved around territorial claims of the ...
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55 votes
Accepted

Have any kings ever been serving admirals?

It turns out William IV wasn't called the "Sailor King" for nothing. He was a younger son of George III and thus didn't expect ever to become king. His naval career began at the age of ...
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  • 4,068
53 votes

Were any Kings/Queens who were monarchs as children good rulers?

As Mark C. Wallace's comment points, the answer depends on what you see as a good king. However, there are kings who became kings while children and are still regarded as great kings - at least, among ...
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  • 3,306
44 votes
Accepted

What is the highest number of brothers who became ruler of the same country?

Seven brothers Seven of the sons of Ismail Ibn Sharif of the Morocco Alaouite dynasty were monarchs. Ismail ruled from 1672 to 1727 and had 525 sons and 342 daughters according to Wikipedia (or 888 ...
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  • 2,224
44 votes
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Why is Lady Jane Grey called Lady instead of Queen?

The claim that she was queen was based on the assertion that Mary and Elizabeth were disinherited, and in particular (from Edward's will) that the said ladie Mary and ladie Elizabeth, beinge ...
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40 votes

Which monarch had the longest break in their reign?

This is a little stretch from your question, but Simeon II of Bulgaria ruled as Tsar of Bulgaria from 1943 to 1946, before later serving as Prime Minister of Bulgaria from 2001 to 2005. This is an ...
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  • 5,489
39 votes
Accepted

Was Richard I's imprisonment by Leopold of Austria justified?

The Middle Ages was not particularly known for being a civil and orderly period. Leopold V had no authority of any kind to arrest Richard I. He did it simply because he wanted to, and could. The ...
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38 votes
Accepted

Were any Kings/Queens who were monarchs as children good rulers?

King James VI of Scotland (later James I of England) The existing answers have not given examples of Kings from British History. James VI became King in Scotland as a baby of 13 months, following the ...
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  • 930
37 votes
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Was the insanity of kings used as an argument against monarchy?

Mental illness wasn't perceived as a medical condition until recent centuries. It became notional that it might be during the Enlightenment, and it only captured the popular imagination that it was ...
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37 votes
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Could George I (of Great Britain) speak English?

Yes, George I was indeed able to speak English. Not particularly well, mind you, but also not nearly as incapably as popular history portrays. In fact, he even opened his first Parliament in English: ...
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34 votes

Were any Kings/Queens who were monarchs as children good rulers?

Peter the Great of Russia took the throne at age 10, and Ivan the Terrible (who was terrifying, not incompetent) became Prince of Moscow at age 3. Both of them were successful at centralizing power, ...
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  • 1,461
33 votes

Why was it "acceptable" for Prince Charles to marry a divorced woman, when Edward VIII had to abdicate for marrying divorcee Wallis Simpson?

One thing I'm not seeing in the answers so far is that having been married prior wasn't the only strike against Wallis Simpson. She: Was not nobility Was not British Had been divorced not once, but ...
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33 votes
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Who was the longest lived European monarch of the middle ages?

Among the rulers we're pretty certain about: William IV of Henneberg-Schleusingen lived for ~84 years. Note that Henneberg-Schleusingen was a princely state within the Holy Roman Empire, so whether ...
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  • 95.9k
32 votes

Have any kings ever been serving admirals?

Leotychidas II of Sparta During the Greco-Persian Wars, King Leotychidas II of Sparta (reigned 491 to 476 BC) was appointed admiral in overall command of the Greek fleet in 479 BC, while he was king. ...
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31 votes
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Was there a King of England, or an heir to the throne, in 1831 who idolized Michael Faraday?

According to this book both Prince Albert and Prince Edward (who became King Edward VII) attended lectures by Faraday, but it seems to be Albert who was the real fan. Michael Faraday (1791-1867), a ...
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31 votes
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Was the title "Prince of Wales" originally claimed for the English crown prince via a trick?

tl;dr: No, at least not in the sense suggested. The earliest source of something akin to this story, seems to be the 1584 Historie of Cambria, now called Wales, the first printed history of Wales. ...
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29 votes

When was the last time a reigning monarch personally participated in battle?

During the First World War, King Albert I of Belgium assumed personal command of the Belgian Armed Forces. He wasn't just visiting the front - he went into the fields with his troops and commanded ...
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29 votes
Accepted

Which European monarch of the middle ages died furthest from home?

The Danish King Erik I Ejegod (The Good) died in Paphos, Cyprus, 1736 miles / 2794 km from the then capital of Denmark, Roskilde. Erik, who was born around 1056 or 1060 and reigned from 1095 to 1103, ...
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29 votes
Accepted

Who was the last European king to actively engage in combat?

Perhaps Charles XII in 1713. The king himself killed at least one Ottoman soldier with his sword in hand-to-hand combat when he and Roos came under attack by 3 Ottomans. During parts of the ...
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26 votes
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Why are most monarchies in Europe of German descent?

@SteveBird makes a good point. You would have to go a good way back to find any ancestor of Britain's present Queen who was actually born in Germany. But the reason for so many Germans in the 18th &...
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  • 2,043
24 votes

Which monarch had the longest break in their reign?

Vlad Tepes, 14 years Vlad III first ruled as Voïvode of Vallachia for of couple of months in 1448, then from 1456 to 1462 (after a first gap of 5 and a half years), and reclaimed his throne again in ...
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  • 5,489
23 votes

Why couldn't bastards inherit titles?

Because for society as a whole, a peaceful transition of power is infinitely more important than honoring whatever rights a bastard might claim. The most dangerous time for any kingdom (or nation, ...
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  • 1,753
22 votes
Accepted

When was the last time a reigning monarch personally participated in battle?

King Haakon VII of Norway was present in active combat zones during the German invasion of Norway in 1940. King Michael I of Romania was head of state and the official military commander in chief of ...
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20 votes
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Why has there only been one dynasty in the history of Japan?

In general, people fight over thrones because of the power it represents. For Japan, the tennō was not particularly powerful in the first place, but moreover lost secular power quite early in Japanese ...
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20 votes
Accepted

Was there a case where a king died while the heir to the throne was unborn?

Alexander the Great may be the most famous example. His son Alexander IV was born after his death. What is typically supposed to be done in this case is that the duties of the new monarch are carried ...
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20 votes

Which European monarch of the middle ages died furthest from home?

Very likely Grand Prince Yaroslav II Vsevolodich or one of the many other princes in Eastern Europe who were ordered to go to Mongolia and died there. Mikhail Yaroslavich of Tver was canonized for ...
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