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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Harte

The (suspected) Gay Monarchs of Britain

Updated: Mar 30, 2021


Hi I'm Dani the Guide, a London Blue Badge and City of London Tourist Guide,

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The LGBTQA+ community Is an extremely diverse one and are a community that have always been marginalised for wanting to exist against the normative values of society. Sometimes however it may not have even seemed that peculiar to have close relationships with the same sex as for centuries men lived in the male sphere and women live in a female sphere where they would collide for marriage, business and to reproduce. I am not saying it was always like this but for an age it seemed the sexes were coexisting to continue the human race.

Love and Sex can be two very different factors in life but when put together can be the most electric sensation a human can experience, and this was no different for some of our Kings and Queens throughout British history who have been rather close to their favourites. (yes I realise this may be a pun on a movie released in 2018 depicting such a "friendship")

Conclusively we cannot say this is a truth but we've had suspicions about many Kings and One Queen of their homosexual tendencies;

William II

Son of the Great William the Conqueror who conquered England in 1066. His son known as William Rufus - Rufus describing his red hair - became King in 1087 upon his fathers death.

He was often described as effeminate with a keen interest in young fashionable men at court.

Edward II

Perhaps the most well known of the homosexual kings, King Edward became King in 1307. He spent much of his time with young handsome men at court and showed no interested in the opposite sex. His closest of friends was a gentleman called Piers Gavestone who held sway of the King. This became very dangerous as the Barons saw Gavestone who began to abuse his power hold too much influence with King Edward II.

The barons forced the King to exile Gavestone but he soon returned to England, but would be captured, put on false trail and brutally murdered in Leek Wootton in 1312. The King was heartbroken and was never the same again.

Richard I

Another King suspected of having homosexual leanings was Richard I, better known as the crusading King Richard the Lion Heart in the stories of Robin Hood. In 1189 he became King and spent much of his time as King on Crusades, leaving his younger brother John un charge of England.

Travelling to and from Crusades would see the King travel through France where it is said that he developed a close relationship with King Philip II of France. There are eye written testimonials from witnesses that said, both Kings ate from the same plate and that their beds did not separate them.

Richard II

King Richard II became King in 1377 at the tender age of 10 years old. His reign began as a successful one but he was deposed by his cousin in 1399 Henry Bollingbroke.

Richard reign is marred by his tyranny and the revolts and bad decision making by his closest advisors. One of the members of the Kings close circle was Robert de Vere, Earl of Oxford, who in this period became a favourite.

Richard's close friendship to de Vere was extremely disagreeable to political establishment, which was further antagonised when de Vere was elevated to the Duke of Ireland.

The chronicler Thomas Walsingham claimed De Vere and the King were in a homosexual relationship because of Walsingham's disliking of de Vere and the establishment.

King James I of England VI of Scotland

King James became King of Scotland in 1567 and of England in 1603. Although he was married to Anne of Denmark and produced 7 living children and wrote the English version of the Bible the King James Bible, the King was known for having relationships with his male favourites.

Three men in particular have been associated with King James; Esmé Stewart (later Duke of Lennox), Robert Carr (later Earl of Somerset), and George Villiers (later Duke of Buckingham)

It was said that courtiers "never yet saw any fond husband make so much or so great dalliance over his beautiful spouse as I have seen King James over his favourites, especially the Duke of Buckingham"

William III

William III was better known as William of Orange, Duke of Orange from the Netheralands. He was invited over to be joint monarch with his wife Mary, the daughter of the unpopular and later exiled King James II.

He never took a mistress which led to rumours from his enemy that he may be homosexual, and he never had any children with his wife which only added fuel to the rumours.

His lovers were supposed to be that of two Dutch courtiers that joined the King from Holland. Hans Willem Bentinck who was granted the English title of the Earl of Portland, and Arnold Joost van Keppel who was granted the English title of the Earl of Albemarle.

Historians has disputed these homosexual allegations as propaganda slurs from King William III's enemies.

Queen Anne

Queen Anne who became queen 1702, was married to George the Prince of Denmark, whom it is said she adored and suffered a great depression when he died. Together they had 17 miscarraiges.

However Queen Anne is now more famous for her "close friendship" formed with Sarah Churchill, they referred to each other in love letters as Mrs Morley and Mrs Freeman.

Sarah began to have politic sway over the Queen, spoke down to her which eventually saw them rift and separate, this is when the Queens affection was soon rumoured to have been transferred to Abigail Masham. You may remember this being portrayed in the film The Favourite staring Olivia Coleman, Rachel Wise and Emma Stone realised in 2018.

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