The top ten: Monarchs 1066-1707
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at Queen Mary, University of London, where he teaches contemporary history. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 01 December 2013
Sir Michael Barber, who was head of the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit from 2001 to 2005, suggested this list: monarchs of England 'judged on leaving the country in better shape than they found it', and he provided most of the rankings here...
1. Henry VII Michael Barber's top choice.
2. William I I, for one, welcome our new Norman overlords.
3. Elizabeth I "For declining to make windows into men's souls," says Michael McCarthy.
4. Edward III "Crécy. Black Prince. Bicameral parliament. Treason Act. English used in law. JPs." Nominated by David Head.
5. Henry II "Juries, rule of law." Put forward by Louise McCudden.
6. William III and Mary II Bill of Rights.
7. Henry V Agincourt.
8. Harold II Godwinson. "Defeat of Harald Hardrada meant there was a united kingdom of England for William to inherit." Thanks to John Blake.
9. Edward II "For losing at Bannockburn and thus ensuring 1707 would be a Union not an incorporation." Nominated by Alex Massie.
10. John "For being rubbish, thus giving rise to the Magna Carta." From Ian Silvera.
Next week: Trollemics: 'deliberately over-the-top arguments designed to generate controversy'.
Coming soon: Words used with only one other word (serried, fledged and so on). Send suggestions (by 10 December), along with ideas for any future Top 10s, to email@example.com
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