Collecting Autographs of English Kings & Queens
A very interesting area of collecting is English kings and queens. Although Americans fought hard to overthrow the British crown, this was by no means a largely popular notion. George III was viewed by many colonials as a harsh father who overly disciplined his American children and needed to have his vision of the colonies corrected. A change in royal ministers and administrators was necessary so that the King could see the error of his ways and administer the colonies in a just and fair manner. Ah well. The “republicans” won and many royalists fled to Canada where they could continue to honor the English monarchy.
American fascination with Britain’s rulers has extended to our popular culture. For example, films on Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Shakespeare’s plays (and films based upon them), for example, have set up a colorful picture of Britain’s monarchs. American popular culture has also adopted British kings and queens as nearly our own, including Richard the Lion-Hearted, King Arthur (see “Prince Valiant” in your Sunday comic pages!), etc. Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1952 was a major national television event here as well as in Britain and elsewhere. And the courtship of Edward VII and Wallis Warfield Simpson, that led ultimately to the King’s abdication to marry the woman he loved, was followed very closely here. Interestingly, a restaurant named “Mrs. Simpson’s” in Washington, DC, noted for its food, ambience and decor, is devoted to the pair. Autographs of the Duke and Duchess are still widely collected.
Kate Middleton and other members of the British Royal Family are not allowed to give their autographs in-person. If you ask the Duchess of Cambridge for an autograph, she’ll be forced to politely refuse. She isn’t the only member of the Royal Family who will turn you down. Prince Harry, Prince William, the Duke of Edinburgh and even Queen Elizabeth II are forbidden from awarding you the privilege. A long-standing rule remains in place for all royals because of the risk of the signature being forged. It’s just one item on a long list of strict protocols the royals must all follow. Prince Charles reportedly responds to autograph requests with: “Sorry, they don’t allow me to do that.” He did break protocol back in 2010 when he signed an autograph for a victim of devastating floods. He scrawled “Charles 2010” on a piece of paper, but has done nothing of the sort in all the years since. As for official documents, gifts, personal letters, greeting cards and photographs, those are in a different category.
How can we forget the marriage and divorce of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Charles and Diana, and the affect her death had on so many Americans? Our newspapers still devote plenty of ink and paparazzi space to the latest tidbits on the Prince and the two princes, as well as on the late Princess. The autographs of Charles and Diana are still widely collected, he as heir to the throne and she as an icon of our age.
So, let’s take a look, now that hopefully appetites are whetted, and examine some of Britain’s kings and queens whose autographs are obtainable for interested collectors! This article is based on English Royals from Henry VII to the current Queen. Earlier British monarchs are virtually unobtainable to collectors, and for that reason are not mentioned here.
HOUSE OF TUDOR
Henry VIII (ruled 1509-1547) – very expensive in any form
Edward VI (ruled under regents 1547-1553) – extremely difficult in any form
Mary I (ruled 1553-1558) – very difficult to find, very expensive
Elizabeth I (ruled 1558-1603) – very expensive in any form
HOUSE OF STUART
James I (also James VI of Scotland, 1st to call himself King of Great Britain after 1707 Act of Union, ruled 1603-1625) – relatively available, somewhat expensive
Charles I (ruled 1625-1649, beheaded) – relatively available, somewhat expensive
Oliver Cromwell (Lord Protector 1653-1658) – relatively available, somewhat expensive
Richard Cromwell (Lord Protector 1658-1659, resigned)- very difficult to find, very expensive
HOUSE OF STUART (RESTORED)
Charles II (“The Merry Monarch” ruled 1660-1685) – relatively available and affordable
James II (ruled 1685-1688, deposed) – relatively available and affordable
William III (ruled 1689-1702) and Mary II (ruled 1689-1694) – both relatively difficult to find, expensive
Anne (1702-1714) – relatively available and affordable
HOUSE OF HANOVER
George I (created Cabinet system, ruled 1714-1727) – somewhat hard to find, relatively affordable
George II (last King to lead troops in battle, ruled 1727-1760) – available and affordable
George III (America’s last King, ruled 1760 – 1820) – available and affordable
George IV (Prince Regent from 1811, ruled 1820 – 30) – available and affordable
William IV (“The Sailor King”, ruled 1830 – 1837) – available and affordable
Victoria (gave her name to an Age, ruled 1837-1901 – available and relatively inexpensive
HOUSE OF SAXE-COBURG AND GOTHA
Edward VII (also gave his name to an Age, ruled 1901-1910) – available and relatively inexpensive
George V (on throne during WW I, ruled 1910 – 1936) – available and relatively inexpensive
Edward VIII (ruled Jan. 20 – Dec. 11,1936, abdicated) – available and relatively inexpensive as “Edward, Duke of Windsor” particularly
George VI (on throne during WW II, ruled 1936 – 1952) – available and relatively inexpensive
Elizabeth II (current monarch, ruled 1952 – ) – available and relatively inexpensive
We have a number of English monarchs and some of their Queens or consorts in stock. Please call if of interest. Rule Britannia!