Your RDA of Irony

The Recipe for English

On this day in 1066, Normandy’s Duke William the Bastard invaded England in the hope of improving his nickname.

But for him, we would be speaking Old English and sound like we were gargling Wagner. However, the Normans grafted their Norwegian-accented French onto the conquered language, creating the hybrid called Middle English. Its vocabulary was a scramble of French and German, and the language still had that Germanic tendency to elongate words by pronouncing each and every letter as a s-y-l-l-a-b-l-e. Fortunately, the Bubonic Plague and the Wars of the Roses gave people the incentive to speak quickly, producing Modern–recognizable–English.

So, if you happen to see Queen Elizabeth today, thank her for her great,great,etc. grandfather.

  1. zalman says:

    Is Elizabeth Saxe Coburg-Gotha actually descended from William the Bastard (leaving aside the question of Edward III(?)\’s real father)?

  2. I am sorry to say that Elizabeth II got her job through nepotism. She is indeed a direct descendant of William the Conquering Bastard.

    Here is the lineage (spouses omitted): William I, Henry I, his only surviving legitimate child Mathilde, Henry II, John, Henry III, Edward I, Edward II, Edward III (who looked like Edward II), John of Gaunt, his bastard John Beaufort, John Beaufort Jr., Margaret Beaufort Tudor, Henry VII, Margaret Tudor Stuart, James V of Scotland, Mary the Good-Looking Idiot Queen of Scots, James VI of Scotland or I of England,
    Elizabeth Stuart (Mrs. Palatine), Sophia (Mrs. Hanover), George I, George II, Frederick, George III, Edward Duke of Kent, Victoria, Edward VII, George V, George VI and now–Elizabeth II.

    And guess what? Elizabeth II can trace her royal ancestry back to Egbert, King of Wessex in the early 9th century. (Forget it, I am not going to trace her Saxon lineage). Let\’s just say that Edith, the wife of Henry I, was a Scottish/British princess directly descended from the House of Wessex.

    Pedantically yours,


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