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101 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Roman emperors have harems?

One key lies in their treatment of illegitimacy, or bastardy. In Roman society, as is typical of the West in general, illegitimate children had no formal link to their fathers. This was true from the ...
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57 votes
Accepted

Who is this young 'Prince'?

I don't know uniforms well enough to be completely affirmative, but all your clues and the physionomy of the boy remind me of French Imperial Prince Napoleon, son of Napoleon III. He was born in ...
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54 votes
Accepted

Did Chinese emperors wear a rectangular hat with suspended gems?

You're describing the mian (冕), a style of classical Chinese head dress that was indeed worn by successive Emperors of China. The basic design consisted of a hat secured to the head with a red string (...
  • 96.4k
53 votes

What is the oldest European royal house?

In terms of continuously dateable genealogy, it is probably the Bagratids of Georgia, the current head of which is disputed between three branches. The Georgian branch was founded by Adarnase in the ...
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34 votes
Accepted

Who said "If I want the opinion of the middle classes, I'll ask Her Majesty"?

This has been quoted a few times, in slight variation, like here, with attribution indeed to Disraeli: — Harry Blamires: "The Victorian Age of Literature", Longman literature guides, ...
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31 votes
Accepted

Has there ever been a true kidnapped princess from anywhere in the world?

Genghis Khan's wife, Börte was kidnapped by the Merkits tribe, and reportedly also given away as a wife. Börte would be Genghis' only empress, though he would take several morganatic wives in addition....
28 votes
Accepted

Why did Peter the Great change his daughters' title to Tsesarevna?

When Peter 'upgraded' the Russian title of 'tsar' (царь) to 'emperor' (император), this meant that the corresponding titles would have to be given a similar jump upwards. The specific issue arose ...
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26 votes
Accepted

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 &...
  • 2,042
26 votes

Has there ever been a revolution backed by a royal or a noble against their own family?

Louis Philippe II the Duke of Orléans, who avidly supported the French Revolution - arguably, the quintessential revolution of the modern era. As First Prince of the Blood, he was one of the most ...
  • 96.4k
25 votes

How did succession in Anglo Saxon England work?

There is a lot that we do not fully understand about the details of the succession in Anglo Saxon England. Indeed, it seems quite likely that the role of the council ('witena ġemōt', or 'Witan', if ...
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23 votes
Accepted

What's the reason behind the 17th century tradition of British monarchs being depicted on coins facing in the opposite direction to their predecessor?

I find the answer given by news outlets to be insufficient, as it still does not answer what the symbolic meaning or reason behind this tradition that began with Charles II is. And correctly so, ...
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20 votes

Was Princess Elizabeth a van/ambulance driver/mechanic during WW2?

According to this article, Once in the Auxiliary Territorial Service, Elizabeth learned how to change a wheel, deconstruct and rebuild engines, and drive ambulances and other vehicles. Joining the ...
19 votes
Accepted

Did Augustus the Strong sleep with his own daughter?

No. there is no evidence to backup this claim. Like it says on Wikipedia: The Countess frequently appeared in men's clothing and even in military uniform. Some sources alleged that August the Strong ...
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18 votes
Accepted

Why are Mary I, Mary II and Anne not as famous as Elizabeth I, Victoria and Elizabeth II?

(Note that there are no Kings and Queens of England anymore. The last person with that title was Queen Anne. Victoria and Elizabeth II are more properly "Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain ...
16 votes

Who was the last English king whose first language was French?

Although Henry V made English the official language of government, there is some debate as to whether it was him or his father, Henry IV, who was the first king to use English as a first language. On ...
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16 votes

Was there a Princess of Wales between 1727 and 1736?

There wasn't one. The Princess of Wales is a courtesy title. That is, its holders are not created princesses in their own right, but rather accorded that honour only by virtue of marriage to the ...
  • 96.4k
15 votes

How did succession in Anglo Saxon England work?

Technically, at that time kings were decided upon by the Witenagemot (assembly). We're not sure how pro-forma that typically was, but this was the accepted way a new King gained their legitimacy as ...
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14 votes
Accepted

Was Princess Elizabeth a van/ambulance driver/mechanic during WW2?

I took taninamdar's advice to look up the sources from the Wikipedia article in order to answer my own question. One reference in the article refers to four other sources: "Bradford, p. 45; Lacey, p. ...
  • 359
14 votes
Accepted

What was Prince Philip’s surname (prior to Mountbatten)?

Prior to the adoption of Mountbatten in February 1947, Prince Philip did not use a surname. In the navy during World War II, he was known as HRH Prince Philip. Thus, while serving as First Lieutenant ...
13 votes

Why didn't Roman emperors have harems?

The Romans had two institutions that the Eastern rulers lacked: monogamy, and primogeniture. Monogamy meant that even wealthy Romans would have only one wife. One might have plenty of mistresses on ...
  • 103k
13 votes

Have there been any efforts by the countries of Europe to restore their monarchies?

There was a referendum to restore the Albanian monarchy in 1997, following a period of severe unrest. The official results of the referendum had the motion failing by a 2-1 margin; the monarchists ...
13 votes
Accepted

Why were the Hecatomnid rulers of Caria permitted to marry their siblings?

Short Answer There is no clear primary source evidence for either why the Hecatomnid dynasty (c. 395 - 334 BC) siblings married each other or why it was 'permitted' (by which I take it to mean why ...
12 votes

Are the ancestors of Saudi royal family Jewish?

If you go back enough in time it's possible, in that pre-islamic religion in the Arab Peninsula was a mix of polytheism, Christianity, Judaism, and Iranian religions. But it's implausible that one ...
12 votes

What is the oldest European royal house?

"The oldest noble family" is a somewhat fictional concept: When a 'House' starts or ends is somewhat arbitrary, and not uniformly handled throughout European history. There were countless exceptions, ...
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11 votes
Accepted

How exactly did Franz Ferdinand hunt?

It is possible to kill a ridiculous number of birds in a day, if you do driven game shooting. The Wikipedia article specifically describes grouse shooting, but pheasant and partridge can be shot in ...
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11 votes

Are the ancestors of Saudi royal family Jewish?

First of all, as Denis noted, the Semitic cultures were often inter-mixed so some Jewish ancestry is not entirely out of question. Now, Let's see the case of House of Saud. House of Saud comes from ...
  • 8,133
10 votes

Have there been any efforts by the countries of Europe to restore their monarchies?

Are you restricting your question to a certain time period? If not, then there are a number of examples, besides those already given in the other answers, which could qualify: France has vacillated ...
  • 2,512
10 votes

Could any Habsburg kings of Hungary speak Hungarian?

The emperors have often spoken many languages and Hungarian was an important one so one may find numerous Habsburg rulers who spoke Hungarian, too. For example, Maximillian II fluently spoke Spanish, ...
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10 votes
Accepted

Was the name "William the Conqueror" (or its translation) actually used in William's lifetime?

https://www.historyextra.com/period/norman/10-surprising-facts-about-william-the-conqueror-and-the-norman-conquest/ No one at the time called William ‘the Conqueror’ The earliest recorded use of ...
9 votes

Did a mob of men dressed in skirts threaten the life of Anne Boleyn?

Perhaps surprisingly, this episode may actually be based events that are reported to have occurred in 1531. In The life of Anne Boleyn by Philip W Sergeant, published in 1923, we read that: ...
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