Hot Men from History presents: The Top Five Hottest European Monarchs!

You’d be surprised how often in life I get asked the question I am here going to set out to answer. “Dan” people ask. “Who were the hottest European Monarchs of history?”. Well, they can wonder no more, because the results are in. The votes have been cast. The panel has debated. The ballots have been totted up and I can finally reveal the answer we’ve all been waiting for. I mean, technically there was only one voter and only one panel member and both of those people were me, but whatever.

It should be noted that I am entirely reliant in this quest upon  painted portraits and that before the Renaissance, portraiture was more representative than it was accurate. The earliest vaguely accurate picture of a European monarch we have is of Richard II of England and he was never hot. Various members of the Plantagenet dynasty were described as handsome, but bear in mind that the Plantagenets were a spiky lot and liable to cut the heads off those that offended them. Without accurate portraits, we can only wonder how true these descriptions are.

All that aside, let’s get on with it!

5. Henry IV of France

Henry_IV_en_Herculeus_terrassant_l_Hydre_de_Lerne_cad_La_ligue_Catholique_Atelier_Toussaint_Dubreuil_circa_1600

Also a contender for Best King of Anywhere Ever, the man who promised to rule with “A sword in the hand and [his] arse in the saddle”, It’s Henry IV of France and III of Navarre, shown here having a vanquish over the Lernaean Hydra. I’m not usually one for the greying daddy type, but He’s so marvellously camp as tits in this picture, I can’t help but love him. Henry was the first Bourbon king and sadly his looks and charm were somewhat lacking in his descendants. Got done in by a knife-wielding assassin in a traffic jam for not being catholic enough. Such is the way of things.

4. Alfonso XII of Spain

Alfons_XII_(cropped)

Ruling only from 1874 – 1885 before dying of dysentery and tuberculosis at the age of 27, I’ve mainly included Alfonso for having probably the most outrageous facial topiary of any European monarch. He doesn’t seem to have been a bad man, as kings go, but died too soon to really know. His son, unborn at his death, was an out and out git of the highest order, though.

3. Frederick III of Germany

Oskar_Begas_Kronprinz_Friedrich_Wilhelm_von_Preußen_1867

OK, I take it back. Maybe Frederick’s whiskers were more prodigious than Alfonso’s. Another one who contrived to die only a few months after ascending the throne (of cancer this time) *and* to sire a complete arse in the form of his son Wilhelm II, Frederick was a liberal, who looked set to clash with his highly conservative chancellor; Bismarck. In the end he died before making much of an impression, Wilhelm dismissed Bismarck and all hell was let loose. Just goes to show. Quite what I’m not sure. In the above portrait, I am fairly convinced that Frederick is on his way to apply for a job producing coffee art in an ironic Berlin cafe.

2. William the Silent, Prince of Orange

Antonio_Moro_-_Willem_I_van_Nassau

Also known as William the Taciturn or William of Orange (not to be confused with the other William of Orange, who was his great-grandson), William was not, in fact, entirely silent, which would have made his rule considerably less interesting, I suspect. An adversary of certified hottie John of Austria (who  gets no mention in this list purely by dint of never actually being a monarch of anywhere, much to his chagrin) and his masters Charles V (of amusing jaw fame) and Philip II (of marrying Bloody Mary and Armada fame), he founded the house of Orange-Nassau, brought independence to parts of the Netherlands and was the progenitor of that country’s entire royal family, before being assassinated.

1. Nicholas II of Russia

Nicholas

Becoming Tsar at the age of 26 without the faintest idea of how to do it, Nicky is our hottest of the hot. He seems to have been a nice enough man, if a bit of a twit. He refused to allow greater freedom and a constitutional monarchy in Russia on the grounds that he had taken an oath to be an autocrat at his coronation and, therefore, an autocrat he would be. Unfortunately, being an autocrat was never really in his nature, so he was never very good at it. His father declined to teach him anything of statecraft before he was thirty, which is all well and good, but he died when Nicholas was still only 26. Seemingly impressed by the machinery of democracy, he nevertheless stuck fast to the idea that Russia could only ever be an autocracy, before famously succumbing to the guns of the Russian revolutionaries in 1917. Probably not such a bad man, if he hadn’t been such an idiot. Pretty, though. Let’s have another pic to celebrate.

Nicholas II of Russia
Phwoar

Honourable Mentions

I simply cannot leave this without mentioning a couple of other contenders: William II of Orange. Bit of a weak face, this one. He looks like a china doll, but look at his lovely hair. Henry III of France. Bit pasty, perhaps, and a dreadful king. His brother Charles IX was kind of hot as well. And last but not least. Or maybe least, actually, James V of Scotland. I can never quite make my mind up about James. Hot or not? Perhaps we will never know.

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Wester Ross

I have been to many beautiful places and there are those that equal, but none that surpass Wester Ross in the Scottish West Highlands for sheer beauty and grandeur. There may be bigger mountains in the world, the weather may be a bit tricky and the midges can be a challenge, but there’s nowhere quite like it. If you love walking in the hills, dramatic mountain and coastal scenery and some of the best seafood in the world, I urge you to go there.

Bedham Church

Now, I don’t know how you spend your evenings, but I spend quite a lot of mine looking at Ordnance Survey maps. Mostly, of course, I’m looking for places with rude names (Wellcombe Bottom being a particular favourite), but also I’m looking for places that might be nice for a walk. One such place is an area of open access woodland I noticed to the north of Fittleworth in West Sussex (Fittleworth of course is not a rude name, exactly, but it’s still an awesome one). Today being a nice day, I decided to go and have a look… And found this! Built as a church and a school in 1880, it stopped being used for education in 1925 and for worship in 1959.

Brighton – Rottingdean

One of the best things about living in Brighton is how easy it is to get out to the countryside. Often I drive out to the Downs, or Ashdown Forest or somewhere, but this walk starts at my front door and within ten minutes I’ve left the city and the green fields are all around me.

A Few Extra

A collection of a few pics that, for one reason or another, weren’t part of other sets, or haven’t been posted before. Hover and click for descriptions.

Burnhouse Bostall

Just the other side of the Downs from Brighton is a path that winds up the steep, northerly slopes called Burnhouse Bostall. For thousands of years shepherds lead their flocks up and down from the Weald to the Downs and back, carving these deep paths into the chalk as they went. Now the sheep are no longer driven up these paths, it is left to the rain and the boots of walkers to carry the job on.

Pagham Harbour

Quite by chance and on a whim, I thought I’d go and have a wander around Pagham Harbour. I had only seen it on a map and thought it looked worth investigation. Normal people, I believe, are all in the pub of a Friday night, but not I. As I stood and watched the sun go down, I could hear nothing but the wind in the reeds and the high, lonely calls of the birds, while the clouds like rippled sand spread out above me, taking a little colour for a time from the sun’s dying rays.