280 – King AEthelstan’s Love Life

What is a King’s most important duty?

Is it the defense of the realm? Or perhaps the growth of the kingdom’s borders? What about developing the economy? Fostering strong diplomatic alliances? Shepherding the souls of his subjects to Christ? How about just keeping his subjects happy and healthy?

When it comes down to it, there are a lot of responsibilities that come with the crown, so it’s a bit daunting to choose one as most important. But if I had to pick… and I suppose I do, since I was the one who posed the question in the first place… I’d say that the most important duty of a King in this era was to create an heir and a few spares.

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5 Comments

  1. I love how much you are digging into AEthelstan. Previously he was just a name on a list to me, now after your last few episodes he has become a real person. It seems like he was as important as Alfred, but didn’t have as good a PR firm.

    A couple questions:
    Would the church not have been as likely to comment positively on intentional celibacy as they were to comment negatively on homosexuality?

    Do we know for certain he did not marry, or do we just not have anything that says he did marry? I like the suggested political motivation for not having children, that would me impressive political maneuvering indeed, but I wonder if another good explanation might have been a politically insignificant wife that no one thought was worth commenting on, and either infertility or better yet the good fortune to have only daughters, which of course no one of that time would have thought worth commenting on.

    1. If Athelstan had daughters who survived childhood, I think it’s likely that he would have been seeking politically astute marriages for them and that would have made it into the record.

  2. Every little bit of digging into Athelstan’s charachter makes him more and more fascinating to me. One of the great unkowns of British History. Well done for giving him his due. We have a way to go with his story and I for one can’t wait, bring on Brunanburh!

  3. Do you know who Athelstans godparents were? Seems like he would have considered them as important as his biological parents. Particularly if, as Zee suggests, Edward was a bit of a shit.

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