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Shawn McNulty
Acrylic and Pumice on Canvas

Monarch is an original abstract painting on canvas by visual artist Shawn McNulty. This painting is is 1.5″ deep, gallery wrapped with painted edges, and ready to hang with wire on the back.

Fun Fact: Monarch has a regal feel to it which inspired the title. Perhaps it refers to a king or queen dressed in traditional attire. This painting was part of my Striations exhibition at Rosalux Gallery.

The Most Eccentric British Monarchs: Unconventional Rulers of the Realm

Throughout the annals of British history, eccentricity has occasionally taken center stage in the monarchy. From peculiar behaviors and fashion choices to unconventional hobbies and interests, some British monarchs have made their mark as the most eccentric rulers to ever sit on the throne. In this article, we’ll delve into the lives of some of the most intriguing and unconventional British monarchs.

1. King George III (1738-1820):

George III, who reigned from 1760 to 1820, was known for his eccentric behaviors, which are often attributed to his struggles with mental illness. His bouts of madness, believed to be due to a genetic blood disorder, made him one of the most enigmatic monarchs in British history. During his reign, the king had moments of delusion and aggression, even conversing with imaginary friends. He also exhibited a fascination with agricultural pursuits, earning him the nickname “Farmer George.”

2. King George IV (1762-1830):

The eldest son of King George III, George IV, was another eccentric figure in the monarchy. He was known for his extravagant lifestyle, penchant for lavish clothing and jewelry, and a peculiar love of excess. His eccentric tastes in art and architecture can be seen in the extravagant Royal Pavilion in Brighton, an ostentatious example of the Regency style. Despite his indulgent lifestyle, George IV was not well-loved by the public during his reign.

3. Queen Victoria (1819-1901):

Queen Victoria, who ruled from 1837 to 1901, might not be the first name that comes to mind when thinking of eccentric monarchs, but her mourning attire and mourning rituals were certainly unconventional. After the death of her beloved Prince Albert, Queen Victoria wore black for the rest of her life, setting a standard for mourning fashion that extended to the general public. Her obsessive mourning and continued communication with her late husband through séances were seen as unusual by many.

4. King Edward VII (1841-1910):

Edward VII, known as Bertie, had a reputation for indulgence and excess. He was fond of fine dining, entertaining, and luxurious living. Despite being the heir to the throne, he spent much of his life in a hedonistic manner and pursued numerous extramarital affairs. His eccentricity lay in his penchant for breaking social norms while still maintaining popularity.

5. King George V (1865-1936):

George V, in contrast to his father Edward VII, was known for his obsession with punctuality and routine. He was so committed to his daily rituals that he was once described as “the epitome of punctuality.” He often counted his steps and insisted that meal courses be served at precise intervals. George V’s extreme punctuality and meticulous routines have led to the perception of eccentricity.

6. King Edward VIII (1894-1972):

King Edward VIII’s reign was one of the shortest in British history, lasting just 326 days. His eccentricity was not so much about behavior as it was about his determination to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. This relationship led to his abdication in 1936, a decision that shocked the nation. Edward VIII’s determination to marry the woman he loved, despite the opposition of the government and church, was seen as highly unconventional.

7. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1900-2002):

The beloved Queen Mother had her own eccentric habits, including an affection for drinking gin and Dubonnet. She was also known for her love of horse racing and the fun-loving spirit she brought to her royal role. Her penchant for wearing large hats and extravagant attire also made her a fashion icon with a distinct style.

In conclusion, the history of British monarchy is not just a tale of regal traditions and decorum but also one of eccentricity and idiosyncrasies. These eccentric British monarchs, with their peculiar behaviors, interests, and personalities, have added a colorful dimension to the story of the British royal family. While some were known for their peculiarities, others were admired for their determination to be themselves in a highly structured and traditional institution. Their eccentricities serve as a reminder that even in the most formal of settings, individuality and uniqueness can find their place in history.


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