The names of the monarch of England show an interesting
characteristic, connected with *repeating* names of previous
monarchs. To consider this fully, I shall break down the history of
those monarchs into a number of sections, starting with the days
before The Conquest®™℗.
Section 1: Sexons, Ongles, and such
Long ago, a few Germanic tribes invaded what is now called England. According to the Venerable Bead, they were primarily the Ongles, the Sexons, and the Yutes. They quickly blended together into what we now call the HoldAnglish.
The English, (not the British: yes, I know the difference) in the days of the doughy, stolid HoldAnglish --- excuse me! that's the doughty, solid HoldAnglish --- (see what a difference a wandering letter can make?) had a thing about repeating the names of kings - - - They didn't like it.
For those stolid, dou --- ahem --- solid, doughty HoldAnglish, not repeating a king's name wasn't hard. HoldAnglish names were made by sticking one of the front pieces to one of the back pieces. (there are scholarly names for the two types of pieces; you can thank me for not bothering you with them) This led to names like Aethelred, Aethelfrith, Aldfrith, Ealdred, Ealdwulf, Oswulf, Wifflebat, and so on, being made out of whatever bits & pieces were lying around. Of course, with seven HoldAnglish kingdoms---no wait, five---errrr four----um, nine? (the number of kingdoms changed about once a decade or so) there were a few duplicates. Though this was not well received by the stol --- by the hardy, forthright HoldAnglish, it was tolerated, probably on the basis that no-one could keep track of all the kings of the miniscule kingdoms. Also, some fathers were so fond of their own names, they gave the same name to their sons. But, overall, the hardly --- hell with it, the HoldAnglish --- did not hold with repeating kings' names.
Section 2: The Normal Din-Nasty
However, after William the Conkedout (aka Will the tanner's grandson) shoved his way in, things changed. The Normals had no problem with repeating names. (in part because they knew so few) This was first shown on the Conkedout's death, when he was followed by his son William, sometime called the Rough A**, and more generally as William the Second (or William Again). Will 2 died by getting in the way of an arrow. The archer claimed it was an accident; as he was a Normal, not a HoldAnglish, it's doubtful he felt strongly about repeating a king's name. On the other hand, there were a number of oddities about the whole situation, and a number of silly conspiracy theories have been proposed. (there are numerous silly conspiracy theories clustered around the monarchs of England [you're reading this, aren't you?]) All-in-all, the death of Willy Too was applauded (quietly and in private) by the HoldAnglish.
Bill 2 was succeed by Henry; the HoldAnglish were please that this was a new name. Henry was aware of the HoldAnglish preference, and tried to be followed by his daughter, Matilda. However, the great magnets of England didn't think he had to go so far as to put a woman on the throne, and wanted a *man* with a new name; they settled on Stephen the Blah.
But Matilda wasn't going to take that lying down, (or any other position) and soon there was a civil war in England. (Ever notice how uncivil civil wars are?) Soon Stephen and Matilda were rampaging across England, killing serfs, burning down villages, killing serfs, "appropriating" cattle, grain, fruit, etc., killing serfs, burning down manor houses, killing serfs, and making a huge mess. Things were not helped by the depredations of a woman named Maud, who thought *she* should be monarch, though it's not clear what basis her claims had. (Nothing's clear about Maud, starting with who she was & where she came from).
Eventually, Matilda and Stephan ran out of serfs to burn, grain to kill, etc., and they realized they'd have to declare peace. Which, of course, meant a peace treaty. Which, in its turn, meant resolving the "who gets to wear the crown" problem. (They didn't talk to Maud about any of this) The solution they came up (after consuming goodness knows what) was that Stephan would get to wear the crown, but he would be succeed by Matilda's son, Henry. That's right --- Stephan was told "Well, you can be king, but you'll have to disinherit your children, your siblings, their children, your cousins, and so on, so Matty's kid can be the next king."
This, you would predict, was a formula for disaster, guaranteed to lead to another civil war only too soon. What happened, though, was that when Stephen died, Henry succeeded him with no muss, no fuss. As Mark Twain (unless it was someone else) said, "fiction has to be plausible; reality is not so constained". (By this point, everyone seems to have forgotten about Maud, a course I intend to follow, and recommend you do, too.)
Of course, this meant the new king was another Henry. However, the HoldAnglish (such as were still alive [see "killing serfs" above]) seemed to have been willing to overlook this repeat --- after all, there'd been one (or is it two?) monarchs, and a lot of devastation, since the preceeding Henry, and there had been a few repeats back in the days of the HoldAnglish kingdoms. Or perhaps they were just too tired to care. Neither they nor any of the Normals seem to have cared that Henry Again gave the empress fitz.
Section 3: the Banglers and Planted Gents
Henry the rerun was the son not only of Matilda, but of a fellow named Jeffy who was count of Bangle; thus his din-nasty was called the Banglers. Jeffy was in the habit of sticking bits of greenery in his hat, which he did (he claimed) to make sure he was recognized. He certainly was, leading to conversations like:
Henry 2 seems to have agreed with the idea that repeating a king's name was de classe, as he named his eldest son Richard, who did indeed succeed his father (being eldest son didn't always lead to being the next king). Rich, known as "Collared Lion," taxed England for all he could get, to support his part in a Cruelsade. (the cruelsades were a series of invasions of the eastern Medditeranean carried out by people from western Europe who had nothing worthwhile to do). On Cruelsade, Rick insulted all the German and Eastern European nobles he could find. He then tried to return to England by crossing the breadth of Eastern Europe; he seems to be the only one who was surprised when people who were mad at him caught him and tossed him into durance not-all-that-vile. This lead to him being ransomed by some nobble in Eastern Europe, who turned him over to the King of Germany (after taking the ransom), who ransomed Richard all over again. All this lead to even more taxes in England. Once he got back to England, he immediately headed off to France, where he got in the way of a crossbow bolt, and died. (In all, Rich would spend about 16 days, 4 hours, and 13 minutes [plus or minus some amount] in England)
Richard Collared Lion bankrupted England twice, spent almost zero time in the country, lead thousands to die in the ugly stupidity of a Cruelsade, and (since he never had time for women [well, that was his explanation]), left no heir. The English have loved him dearly ever since. (This tells you a lot about the English.)
As Richard had no children, he was succeeded by his brother, John. The HoldAnglish --- let me interupt myself to point out that by this time the HoldAnglish and the Normals had been living together (well, mostly near one another) and interbreeding (sometimes even intermarrying!) for long enough that they were starting to blend together, into what would come to be called "English." However, they weren't completely blended yet.
Where was I? - - - - Oh yes, John. The Normish HoldAnglish and the Ongl-ish Normals were pleased to see a king with a new name. That was about the only thing anyone was ever pleased about when it came to John. You see, John lost the Bangler parts of France (and the Normal parts, too), lost something more valuable than his socks in The Wash, lost his nephew, Arthur, though it's debated how much he had to do with that (vide "silly conspiracy theories," supra), and lost much of his kingly power when he signed the Maggot Carta. I believe, however, much of the trouble he had was because he named his eldest son "Henry," who would become the first third in (post-Conquest) English history.
The HoldAnglish --- err, the Onglish --- err, the Onglified Normals --- err, let's make that "the people of England" --- were displeased by this extra additional added repeatedness, and grumbled to themselves mightily, (mightily quietly, actually) thinking themselves much put upon. They should have saved their breath, for worse was on its way.
Henry 3 pulled a "new" name out of his hat, which wasn't so new. He named his son Edward, naming him after Edward the Confessor. (So called because every time a major crime hit the news, he went down to the police station and "confessed" to having done it. This mental quirk is seen even today, and affords police forces around the world milliseconds of amusement.) The reference to the days of the HoldAnglish kingdoms was meant to molify Henry 3's Ongl-ish subjects; unfortunately this was not too good an idea, as there'd been a dozen or more Edwards among the various HoldAnglish kingdoms, which repetition hadn't been much liked at the time, nor in retrospect.
Much worse was the fact that this Edward (Edward 1) named his eldest son Edward, and Edward 2 (as he became) named his son Edward, who in time became king Edward 3, and Edward 3 named his eldest son Edward. This last Edward is known as the Blank Prince (due to his usual expression). This latest Eddie, however, never became king; he came down with dysentery, was attended by the best physicians available and, thanks to their efforts, died before his father. Some may think it mere happenstance, but when you consider that the Blank Prince had named his first son Edward, and that this latter Edward (little Ed) died before his father, who died (as I said) before his father, it is clear that someone, or something, was making sure there weren't five consecutive Eddies. I'm not saying that some Ongl-ish-men, fired with the zeal of the ancient HoldAnglish, snuck around offing all the Edwards available; after all, maybe some spiritual force (Wotan, even?) was sick and tired of a superfluity of Eds.
After all this dying off of Edwards, king Edward 3 was succeeded by the Blank Prince's second son, Richard. While there had been an earlier Richard, meaning this was Richard 2, that was a goodly while ago, and anyway the succession of Edwards was over, so things were OK, right?
Richard 2 was (with the possible exception of Henry 6 [yes, there will be more Henries, later]) the most ineffectual and incompetent monarch England was ever afflicted with. Also, where Richard 1 didn't have time for women, (so he said, anyway) Richard 2 didn't have any interest in women. Emphasize "women". He also played favorites, (actually, played with favorites. And don't ask what games they played, lest I tell you. In protracted detail.) giving them political power (about the only thing it's safe to mention him giving them) despite every one of them being at least as incompetant as Richard 2 was. This got the nobbles of England so PO'd that they gladly followed a fourth cousin (or something like that) of Richard 2, who rebelled, eventually deposing Richard and sticking him in prison. Although Richard probably caught some dreadful disease in the cold and wet, and died therefrom, it has long been rumored (vide [again] supra "silly conspiracy theories") that his death was rather more unpleasant. These theories lead to the grotesque but ineradicable joke, "he came to a bad end." (If you don't know what that means, I'm not going to explain it.)
To show you how much Richard 2 was disliked, it is enough to point out that the rebel, who was widely followed (even cheered) was named - - - - Henry. Meaning the Ongl-ish were willing to have Henry the Fourth rather than keep Richard 2.
Section 4: The Lankies
Henry 4 was decended from one of Ed 3's sons, the Duck of Lanky, so the new din-nasty was called the Lankies (and other things in private). The Duck of Lanky was the fourth son of Eddie 3. Remember that the Blank Prince was Ed3's oldest boy; you may wonder what happened to sons number 2 and 3. Son 3 died young, leaving no children. The decendents of Son 2 eventually became the Ducks of Yikes, and were fairly numerous. And Not Happy®™℗. Which eventually lead to the the Wars of Neurosis. But we're not there yet.
Henry 4 was unremarkable (the only remarks being the "other things in private," void supera). His only bad action was naming *his* son Henry. This meant he was followed by Henry the Fifth, You might expect the Ongl-ish to revolt; but, by this point there were only English to be found, and they rather liked things to stay the same, even when they changed (indeed, particularly when they changed, usually). This still characterizes the English.
Also, Hank 5 had an a clever way to getting the English to like him---he went to war and won against the odds. Also against the French. He did have an unfortunate habit of going into walls in his breechs, and telling people to plug it up, and that it was all Crispy. He may have been the first Eccentric English Lord®™℗.
But it all went sour when he died (fairly) young, leaving behind yet another Henry. This was three in a row, and a total of six. And, unlike the three Eds (where the disaster was after the last of 'em), disaster struck during Henny Six's life.
The number of disasters that struck during Hank 6's life is countable, but too many to bother counting. The important one from our point of view is the rebellion of the Duck of Yikes (vide the descendent mentioned supra of Son 2). This Duck, named Richard, died during the rebellion, leaving the leadership in the hands of his son, named Edward. For some unreasonable reason, hysterians have claimed to need a way to distinguish them. Hence, the Duck who died during the rebellion is known as the Old Duck, and the son is known as the Young Duck, or Duckie.
This rebellion was later called the War of Neurosis. By this time, the Normals' lack of names (super video) had ended the HoldAnglish stick-'em-together method, and the HoldAnglish dislike of multiple kings of the same name had disappeared as everyone had finished turning into English by this point.
Section 5: Concussion Conclusion
This article is meant to address the names of the kings, not their characters. Thus, I will say no more about the kings of England, though there is much I could tell you about Ed 4 (aka King "Who did I marry?"), Henry 7 (aka Sneaky Hank), Henry 8 (aka Old Puddingface), Marry 1 (should have married another), Liz 1 (aka the Version Queen), and all the Stewed monarchs, not to mention (because I won't) the monarchs I just skipped.
I believe I have demonstrated a curious point about the names of HoldAnglish/Ongl-ish/English monarchs, and the changing attitudes thereunto of their subjects. Also, I believe I've wasted enough paper, or electrons, depending, and that it's time to stop.