Looking back at our history can sometimes be a bit...well, depressing. Certainly advances have been made, socially and otherwise. Yet, some historical figures still stand out as incredible innovators and role models, stunning specimens even by today's standards. As tomorrow is Father's Day, it's only appropriate that we find inspiration in the royal daddies of the past.
Alfred the Great (849-899)
This father of five earned not only the respect of his countrymen, but that of historians everywhere. Some even consider him "the most perfect man in history". While not fighting off a viking invasions, Alfred found time to translate ancient books that he considered "most necessary for all men to know" (yes ladies, brains AND brawn). With his wisdom and fortitude, he greatly improved the lives of his people, and lay down the structure for what would one day become England.
"I desired to live worthily as long as I lived, and to leave after my life, to the men who should come after me, the memory of me in good works." - Alfred
HENRY II (1133-1189)
Though he's not the best known King Henry, he's certainly the one that made best impact. This father of ten is said to be the "most effective monarch" to ever sit an English throne. He used his incredible energy and razor-sharp smarts to revolutionize British laws and institutions.
Fun fact: he was also the first Brit to use a heraldic design - his was a signet ring, decorated by either a leopard or a lion. Over the years, this design evolved into what is now the royal English coat of arms.
Edward III (1312-1377)
During the reign of Edward III, England was ravaged by the Black Death. You might think the type of king shaped by this stress would be cruel and sinister, especially if he were crowned at the age of fourteen. Instead, Edward became famed for his mercy and unusually chivalrous nature. He fought to restore his kingdom to greatness, and made impressive improvements in legislation and the legal system. Despite his clemency, he also made tremendous military victories, restoring the relationship between the English people and their rulers.
King George VI (1895-1952)
George VI is known as the "reluctant king". His charismatic older brother gave up his kingship to pursue a scandalous love, forcing the shy and modest George into the spotlight.
Another man might have wilted under that pressure, but not our George. He famously overcame his stutter to rise as a pillar of leadership and strength, providing morale to his nation during WW2. He suffered the same dangers as his citizens during the war, remaining in London despite the food restrictions and bombing raids.
There's a lot you can learn from a lion, but even more you can learn from a mouse.
We hope you found these royal role models inspiring- and remember, it's not a bad time to tell your own dad how he inspires you.
Illustrations copyright Anista Designs 2015 - not to be used elsewhere without permission.