Because it’s finally December and we need to get jolly (and because I have a terrible sense of humor) I’m posting a Christmas video I made over at JibJab, featuring a bunch of historical people
(click the image to watch it).
Of course, these faces do have a common historical denominator – they all took part in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1713) in one way or the other.
Do you know who they are? Most likely not. They don’t really look like they usually do. But you might have seen the guy in the red bandana looking something like this?
That’s right – I’m talking about Louis XIV of France, aka The Sun King. He made it to this video because in 1701, he decided to let his grandson become King of Spain despite earlier agreeing that all his heirs should forfeit the right to the Spanish throne. Also I included him because he liked the sort of hair they have in that video and because he has this cute little moustache that makes him look like an overaged Casanova from the 1930′s, bless his little heart.
Our next contender had to be the main singer for no other reason than blatant favorism. I adore the Duke of Marlborough, see. I adore him more when he’s young and pretty (because I’m shallow like that), but heck, I adore him old and saggy-chinned as well. The fact that I hold him close to my heart isn’t the only reason I added him though – he was also the British commander for most of the war and kicked French butt on a regular basis, such as at Blenheim and Ramillies for example.
So this is Marlborough’s boss, Queen Anne of England. She supported the ousting of her father James II, had 14 children during her lifetime (none of which survived their childhood) and loved chubby Danish guy to whom she was married. She was also bosom buddies with Marlborough’s wife Sarah until they quarrelled. Queen Anne was the last Stuart monarch and she fought tooth and nail against the idea of recalling her half-brother James and letting him inherit the throne, instead preferring it to pass to distant German relatives.
If I say this is James FitzJames, Duke of Berwick, you’re all likely going to think he’s on the British side. Well, it ain’t so. Young Berwick, you see, was an illegitimate son of James II and he trailed after old Papa after they’d kicked said James out of England during the so called Glorious Revolution. That means that Berwick, half-brother of Queen Anne, was actually a general on the French side during the War of the Spanish Succession; a damned good general too. What makes the story even more quaint is that his mother was Arabella Churchill, sister of the Duke of Marlborough.
Finally, we have the second allied commander of the war – Prince Eugene of Savoy. He was apparently brave and had quite a temper and people would say it was uncanny how he and Marlborough worked together like they could read each other’s mind. The man had a strong personal dislike of Louis XIV for complicated family reasons, and is generally considered one of the most successful military commanders in modern European history. Unfortunately, it seems he didn’t realise how good he’d look in red hair or think to learn to play bass.
And now you’ll never forget who the main players in the War of the Spanish Succession were, right?