Semi-Finals – Last Chance to Vote!

The voting for the Semi-Finals of the Rex Factor play-offs is nearly finished – you have until the close of play on Thursday 12 June to cast your vote for the three monarchs who you think should make it through to the final. If you’re not sure who to vote for and don’t have time to listen to the three play-off episodes, here’s a quick guide to the 9 monarchs competing for a place in the final as well as links to all the surveys.

Semi-Final A

Contenders: Henry II; Henry VIII; Victoria

Henry II is probably the least famous of these three monarchs but was also the top-scoring in the original episodes of Rex Factor. Henry II ruled the vast Angevin Empire (England, Ireland and “the left of France”) with his relentless movements across Europe, stopping only to quell the rebellions of his sons (including Richard the Lionheart), marry the King of France’s wife (the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine), not entirely intentionally cause the scandalous murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, or make major reforms to law and justice in England (such as the origins of trial by jury). Henry II’s tastes were down-to-earth and humble but Henry VIII represents the ultimate in majestic royalty. Henry VIII is probably the most powerful king in English history and the most famous, changing the nation’s religion in order to divorce his first wife to marry Anne Boleyn. Henry started out as a handsome and noble prince but after an apocalyptic mid-life crisis he had married six times, beheading two of his wives and many of his ministers, and ended up a moral and physical monster. In contrast, Victoria is synonymous with a much more reserved personality that defined the national way of life. Victoria reigned for longer than any other monarch, her role changing from a naive and headstrong young girl, a public-spirited partnership with her husband, Prince Albert, the weeping widow who shunned public life for a decade after the death of Albert and finally the embodiment of Britannia in her final years, the heart and soul of the largest empire the world has ever seen.

So, only one of these three can go through to the final but who will it be? To have your say, click the link below to vote for your favourite:

Click here to take the survey now.

Semi-Final B

Contenders: Athelstan; Henry V; Elizabeth I

Once again, two of the three monarchs are far more well-known but Athelstan should not be overlooked. Athelstan was the first to rule the whole of England as we know it today and also held virtual dominion over the whole of Britain, receiving the submission of York, the north of England, the King of Scotland and the Welsh princes. Like his grandfather, Alfred the Great, Athelstan had a genuine desire to rule well for the good of his people and ruled over a cultured court which attracted clerics and scholars from across Europe where he was a revered figure. His final victory against an alliance of Scots and Vikings in 937 at Brunanburh (an epic in which 5 kings were killed) secured Saxon dominance in Britain. Like Athelstan, Henry V was undefeated in battle: not only one of the most famous victories in English history (Agincourt) but a successful siege campaign in Normandy that led to Henry being named the heir to the French throne, only to die just weeks before the mad old French king. Henry had little time for fun or frolics but was unwavering in his pursuit of his goals, managing to unite the English nobility and practically conquer France in less than 10 years. Elizabeth I is one of the most iconic figures in English history, her reign often seen as a golden age with writers such as Shakespeare and Marlowe and explorers like Drake and Raleigh. Elizabeth brought stability to England following the tumult of her Tudor predecessors, less religiously zealous than her sibilings and avoiding her father’s literal policy of chopping and changing his ministers. As the last Tudor, and only England’s second queen regnant, the odds were against Elizabeth, but she saw off assassination attempts, her Catholic and Scottish cousin-in-exile, Mary Queen of Scots, and most famously the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588.

So, only one of these three can go through to the final but who will it be? To have your say, click the link below to vote for your favourite:

Click here to take the survey now.

Semi-Final C

Contenders: Alfred the Great; Edward I; Edward III

Alfred was the first monarch we reviewed and has a lot to commend him. In 878, England was on the verge of Viking conquest and when Alfred was forced into exile, England and Englishness was all but defeated, but unlike previous kings who went into exile, Alfred re-emerged and defeated the Vikings at Edington. To prevent new Viking attacks, he created fortified towns (burhs) which worked not just as forts but also reinvigorated urban living which had all-but disappeared after the departure of the Romans 400 years earlier. Most famously, Alfred refounded the city of London. Perhaps more than any other monarch, Alfred dedicated himself to improving the lives of his subjects, tackling virtual national illiteracy by learning to read Latin himself so he could translate great works into English. Edward I was a less benevolent character but probably one of the most intimidating and powerful kings in English history – tall and strong throughout his life (even in his 60s he did not stoop or need help mounting a horse), he was so scary in argument that he literally scared a man to death! Edward’s incredible campaigning and castle-building saw the conquest of Wales and English dominance re-established over Scotland (until William Wallace and Robert the Bruce appeared on the scene!) while in England he oversaw the development of Parliament and was known as the English Justinian for the numerous laws enacted in his reign. Finally, his grandson, Edward III, emerged from the shadows of his father’s deposition/murder while just a boy to oversee perhaps the most successful period of rule for any monarch from the 1340s-60s. Edward reunited the nobility with an Arthurian court based on chivalry, tournaments, pageantry and glory in the Hundred Years War. Edward and his knights won incredible victories at Sluys (by sea) and Crecy, with his son, the Black Prince, winning glory at Poitiers despite the inconvenience of the Black Death in the intervening years. Like Arthur, however, Edward suffered a tragic end, unlike Henry V living too long so that he had to see his comrades and children die and his empire fall away, but for 30 years this was as good as it got for medieval knights in armour battleyness.

So, only one of these three can go through to the final but who will it be? To have your say, click the link below to vote for your favourite:

Click here to take the survey now.

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