The age old MO
Kings’ and courtiers’ playbooks
Divide and conquer
copyright Francis Barker 2020
copyright Francis Barker 2020
copyright Francis Barker 2020
copyright Francis Barker 2020
Edward VIII officially gave up his kingship, his rule over an empire which spanned the earth, on which the sun never set. All because, we are famously told, for his love of an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, a situation which could not be tolerated by the highly conservative establishment of the time. But of course it was a bit more complicated than that.
Like quite a few Britons at the time, Edward was an admirer of certain European dictators. After the abdication he became more than a mere acquaintance of one of them, something which didn’t go down too well in certain parts of the British establishment, as Europe and the world was led inexorably towards war.
As Prince of Wales he had been quite popular with his people back home and throughout the Empire and Commonwealth. He was able to relate to them despite the most privileged upbringing one could get. He was, however, quite shy and perhaps felt somewhat unworthy of the role fate had given him, something which led to several bouts of depression.
For these reasons and perhaps others too, he probably never felt he was not cut out for being a monarch of a vast and populous empire.
Falling in love with Mrs Simpson was only one reason among several which made him feel incapable of carrying on as king, a heavy responsibility which in the end he was forced to leave behind.
copyright Francis Barker 2019
James II of England had come to the throne in 1685 despite being a Catholic, a religion which was very much out of favour in Great Britain at the time due to the conflicts over the previous century and a half.
At first his monarchy was tolerated, perhaps because the populace did not want a repeat of the Civil War which had brought such destruction, resulting in the death of King Charles I in 1648/9.
However, probably due to the birth of an heir in 1688 and the possibility of the creation of a Catholic dynasty, public opinion soon began to turn against James II. His daughter Mary, who was married to his nephew William of Orange, were promoted as obvious replacements and this is how it eventually turned out.
The Battle of Reading itself provided the incongruous spectacle on English soil of King James’ Irish troops pitched against the Dutch forces of Prince William of Orange. Even so, the people of Reading did all they could to support the Dutch.
Casualties were relatively few despite the decisive victory of William, who was soon to become the second king of his name to win the throne of England via a foreign invasion, albeit a very different one.
King James very quickly saw the impossibility of his position and abdicated, fleeing the country for France and then Ireland, where he was still largely supported.
This was a major turning point for Great Britain, where the superiority of Parliament over the Monarchy was truly established. For good – or ill – the birth of modern Britain, politically, culturally, economically, can be traced to this period, and it relied on a Dutch ruler.
copyright Francis Barker 2019
The long nave is quite stunning, with a beautiful roof and with a modern golden image of Christ suspended high as a focal point.
The cathedral is dominated by Norman and early English architecture, with numerous examples of Norman arches, such as these interlacing examples above.
The cathedral is also notable for its association with two famous queens.
The first was Catherine of Aragon, Queen of England when she was married to Henry VIII. Catherine was buried here in 1536 and her tomb is still something of a shrine to her memory, with pomegranates very prominent as her symbol because the fruit appears on her badge. Pomegranates are an ancient symbol for fecundity and regeneration.
Catherine certainly suffered much during her husband’s long and protracted break with Rome, in which she was the innocent victim, her only crime it would seem was not being able to produce a living male heir for Henry to perpetuate the Tudor dynasty. This was how she was treated after being completely dutiful to the king, but Henry had to have his way. Her motto, which translates as ‘humble and loyal’, is a phrase she very much lived up to.
The second queen associated with Peterborough Cathedral is Mary Queen of Scots.
Mary inherited the Scottish throne after only a few days of being born, thrusting her into a world of political intrigue and shenanigans which she was never able to control.
She essentially became a pawn of more powerful rulers and some despicable characters. However, in 1559 she duly became Queen Consort to Francis II of France, solidifying Scotland’s long alliance with France.
Sadly within 18 months the young kind died prematurely. Had he lived, Mary’s life would have turned out entirely differently. As it was, she became a teenage widow and a long series of political and personal disasters ensued when she returned to Scotland. Eventually she fled to England and came under Elizabeth’s control.
After many years’ imprisonment in England, during which the still substantial Catholic faction within England with aid from Spain continually conspired to depose Elizabeth and put Mary on the English throne, she was finally executed at nearby Fotheringhay Castle in 1587.
She was initially buried in Peterborough Cathedral, but her son, James I of England, had her remains transferred to Westminster Abbey in London.
words and photographs copyright Francis Barker 2019
If his birth data is accurate, and I have no reason to doubt it, I think England might well have missed out on a new golden age, something which his father the king had truly hoped for, which is why he had his eldest son christened after the legendary British ruler, Arthur.
Why do I say this? The personality of rulers, especially monarchs who wielded virtual absolute power, would obviously affect the destiny of the nations over which they ruled. So what does Prince Arthur’s birth chart reveal? He was apparently born a month premature but there are not many indications that he was at all sickly at birth, or during his short life.
He was born with Royal Leo rising with his ruler, the Sun, in Libra in house 3 in good aspect to Saturn in Sagittarius in house 5, in challenging aspect to Jupiter in Capricorn in house 6. Venus is also in Leo in house 1 of personality, in good aspect to Mercury and Mars.
Dying so young, Arthur’s character would not have been fully developed, but this suggests an attractive, strong, generous, confident, courteous, diplomatic and responsible person with plenty of charm and probable wit. In what records we do have of him, he was described as very tall, handsome, amiable and gentle.
What is more, his Moon in Gemini in house 11 loosely conjunct Mars, would only strengthen his sociable and witty tendencies. He would have been great company, I feel. However, the Moon is opposite Uranus in Sagittarius, indicating that he could have a sudden, fragile, perhaps nervous temperament, too, which could have seriously affected his friendships.
Looking at his mental potential, is seems to have been excellent, boding well for his future royal court, which might have become legendary, in a similar manner in which we talk of Richard II’s or even Louis XIV’s of France in a future age.
Libra is on house 3 cusp and Aries on house 9. These house rulers, Venus and Mars, are in good aspect to each other in ‘positive’ signs and houses, both in good aspect to Mercury in Libra in house 3. Add his Libran Sun in house 3 and it doesn’t get much better than this, the only things missing being Jupiter (higher mind), who is not exactly in this mix, in Capricorn in house 6.
I am quite certain that he would have been as adept in languages as his brother Henry VII and Elizabeth I, and probably would have exceeded them. He would have been a patron of the arts and literature too, one of the prime considerations when we are talking about cultural significance.
His ambitions as king look equally well starred because Venus and Mars rule the 10th house and MC respectively. I think he would have been a great success in foreign diplomatic matters – he’d already had the good fortune to marry Catherine of Aragon, an important diplomatic move for the English crown and would have surely been the bedrock of his career as King of England.
However, his tendency to overreach himself, as shown by the Sun’s square aspect to Jupiter, perhaps through overconfidence at times, might have presented some problems, especially in military matters.
However, with Saturn in good aspect to the Sun and in mutual reception to Jupiter in Capricorn, this might have somewhat stemmed his potential for over confidence.
Had he lived, I am certain that we are looking here at a great historic personality who would have been much loved by his people, the kind of person who could have introduced a new golden age to England, set the country on a very different course from the one his brother, the future Henry VIII, began.
*If you are interested in getting your own astrological report, or would like one created for a loved one or a friend, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
She became Queen after the attempt to install the unfortunate Protestant Lady Jane Grey on the throne failed.
Mary proceeded to turn England back to the Catholic faith, a religion which was, however, still very much ingrained in most of English society, particularly in the shires and in the north.
What does her birth chart reveal?
We must remember, especially in the days of absolute monarchism, that the ruler’s influence was all pervasive and so their personality (birth chart) would have imposed itself upon the character of the country.
When she was born Capricorn was rising with Mars and Pluto close by on either side of the ascending degree.
In many ways, this symbolises her reputation as ‘Bloody Mary’, Mars (representing fire) rising in Capricorn suggests a powerfully autocratic and rather conservative personality and with Pluto working in tandem, she wasn’t afraid of implementing drastic changes, even if they were ‘reactionary’ in nature, namely the burning of over 300 Protestant martyrs.
What we must remember is that even though her father Henry VIII broke with the church of Rome, he remained essentially a Catholic.
Her brother’s rule over the ensuing six years did see a full blown attempt to make England a Protestant country – but it was only six years. As said earlier, most of the country would have probably welcomed a reversion to the old faith, at least at the beginning of her reign.
Mary’s ruling planet was Saturn and was found in Sagittarius (sign of religion) in house 12 (inner life), in good aspect to a Mercury (mind) Neptune (spirituality) conjunction in Aquarius.
Mary had this sense of spiritual sensitivity ingrained within her mentality and obviously had a very intimate connection to the numinous, quite clearly inherited from her mother, Catherine of Aragon, the former queen.
To strongly underline this, she was a Sun Piscean too, with Venus also in that sign in house 3 (also mind). She was highly sensitive and impressionable with an instinctive love of deeper, spiritual, ritualistic things which she liked to talk about and to simply be around.
However, most importantly, she was born at the exact time of the full Moon, which was found in Virgo in house 9. Here is an essential dichotomy in her nature.
Her deeply spiritual essence was at odds with her naturally fastidious manner, a strong tendency to be critical and to analyse.
This must have made her a very difficult person to deal with at times and this must have contributed to her increasing unpopularity among her underlings and the people at large at the reign went on.
One of the most controversial things she did was to marry King Philip II of Spain, another staunchly Catholic monarch ten years her junior, which brought England very strongly under the influence of this great emerging world power.
Many thought that this would undermine England’s independence, but Mary would have seen this a natural consequence of the marriage, which, had she lived another fifteen years, might well have guaranteed England’s future under what she would see as the wing of Catholicism.
Looking at Mary’s house 7 of marriage, she has an exalted Jupiter (but retrograde) in Cancer in good aspect to the tension created by her Sun and Moon opposition. This hints at good opportunities through marriage and alliance.
Here we can perhaps see symbolised a way out of her predicament of being one of the first female monarchs, with Jupiter representing an opportunity through marriage not only to secure her throne because of her apparent inability to deal with the situation she was in, but to also produce a Catholic heir and secure the faith within the country.
Sadly for her, none of this came to fruition. With Jupiter retrograde, she was only ever likely to ‘succeed’ inwardly in some more roundabout or spiritually satisfying way, not in the grand manner of marrying the most powerful man in the world at that time.
Her reign lasted just five years and with the accession of her canny sister, Elizabeth, England began the long, slow road to becoming a truly protestant nation.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
Unlike his father, Edward was an avowed reformer and protestant, having been tutored by leading religious reformers of the day.
What is more, Edward appears to have very much embraced the new religion, as well as being a keen student of it.
Astrologically, Edward was born with Virgo rising, with Venus and Saturn close to the ascendant. This reveals a very analytical, even highly exacting approach to life, a love of study and detail. Although not too much is known of him, he does appear to have had a somewhat ‘humourless personality’, yet it is difficult to be critical of someone so young.
His ruling planet Mercury is in Scorpio in house 3, which deepens the mind considerably. Here is a penetrating mind, and probably a very good student who would get absorbed in his subjects. Like his father and sisters, he was very good at languages.
However, this Mercury is also square Mars in Leo in house 12, indicating that although he had a lot of mental energy for areas like intellectual debate, there was also tendency for it to show itself through excessive stubbornness or perhaps fits of anger, a tendency he may have inherited from his father.
However, we must also bear in mind that he was a Sun Libran in house 2, so at heart he did have strong sense of companionship and courtesy.
It is known that despite the differences between himself and his eldest sister, Mary, especially in regard to her staunch Catholicism as opposed to his avowed Protestantism, he did show concern for her and wished they could at least get along, even though ultimately this proved to be extremely difficult.
His Moon was in Capricorn square his Sun, which gave him a cool, even calculating disposition, which may have come across initially as reticence or shyness. This would underline the rather analytical and fastidious personality.
Once people got to know him, the essential charm would have become more obvious. This tendency might not have helped his reputation for being rather exacting and humourless, however, as mentioned above, and if he had lived to adulthood, he would almost certainly have had a ruthless, autocratic streak, capable of making difficult, unpopular decisions.
Jupiter in Taurus in house 9 loosely trine his house 1 Saturn, implies an expansive, if rather conservative and very practical interest in philosophy.
After all, we have to remember that Protestantism, though in one sense revolutionary, was in essence a stripping away, an ultra conservative, radical approach to Christianity which resorted to scripture rather than saints.
He was keen to make sure that England’s Protestant transformation became permanent and took a keen interest on the detail, so much so that he agreed to the idea that Lady Jane Grey should succeed him and not his virulently Catholic sister Mary.
Around the time Edward was born, the Uranus Pluto cycle was in opposition, both in positive aspect to Neptune (spirituality).
This cycle is all about social change and around 1537, the fallout from the Dissolution of the Monasteries was beginning, with large numbers of monks and nuns being released into the communities and the former monasteries falling into the hands of the king.
Edward’s ruling planet Mercury and Mars are loosely connected to the Uranus Pluto opposition, forming a tense T-square, another strong indication that he was personally connected to (and took a strong interest in) the changing times he was born into the continuing change after that which enveloped the whole country.
Edward died aged only 15, probably from tuberculosis, although there were rumours of poisoning.
Had he reached maturity and lived a reasonably long life, say to around 56 like his father, it seems clear that England would have become a fully Protestant country much earlier, even though large parts of the country would remain strongly Catholic for a few generations more. This would almost certainly have led to religious turmoil.
What is more, judging from his birth chart, Edward would have taken a strong leading role in to seeing to the imposition of this new religion and would have been as vehemently Protestant as his sister was Catholic.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019
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(a response to Holbein’s sketch,
purportedly of Anne Boleyn)
So, is this really you? Those full lips
well kissed, I have no doubt,
your pretty duckys hidden, fit for ravagers
we call kings. Holbein’s profile, it
simply shines your intelligence, courts
with language, love and ideas,
perhaps a little too much for kings
and enemies to take, at a time
when your sex are meant to be
little more than slaves and vessels
for petulant princes.
But no one can stop me grieving:
I imagine you blink, turn
and smile at me. Oh,
you are strong and keen, yet tender
and kind like all mothers
and lovers should be. No wonder
other men may have dreamed
on those lips, carried away
by your verve, which only victors
ever get to call treason. Now I wish
I could touch your fine chin
and whisper: “Elizabeth—
remember Elizabeth!” My words
vanish into air like justice, while you
stare blankly through Traitor’s Gate;
but this little girl takes the better part
of you, better than any king before
or since, of this abject state
poem © copyright David F. Barker