Fact #10 - Answer

Lady Jane Grey is the shortest reigning British Monarch, but if you hop over the British Channel, you’ll discover two Kings of Europe who make nine days sound like a half-decent stint.

During the chaos of the French Revolution there were many abdications of the throne, where the reigning King or Queen officially took off their crown and handed it to the person next in the queue. On one such occasion, King Charles X was facing growing revolts from the people and the French parliament had someone in mind to take his place. In July 1830, Charles threw a curveball and chose a hereditary order of succession naming his son as the next King. Louis XIX was immediately captured by parliament officials, even before his dad signed the papers, and it took just twenty minutes to get the new king to abdicate. Poor guy, but he escaped to Scotland, so he was one of the few French noblemen to keep his head on his shoulders.

Let’s fast forward to 1908 and travel across Europe to Portugal. Luís Filipe of Portugal was the crown prince, meaning if something happened to his father, the King of Portugal, he would immediately become king. Something did, an assignation attempt by pro-republican rebels, and it was successful. The king died and the crown prince was mortally wounded. Filipe managed to hang in there for another 20 minutes before succumbing to his injuries, which meant he was technically the king for a painful 20 minutes.

More crazy facts about kings and queens:

  • Queen Victoria survived several assassination attempts. She even had a chain-mail parasol to protect her from gun fire at official engagements.
  • Jeanne de Clisson was a 14th century pirate queen. She sold her estates, raised an army, and took to the seas to battle the French king who executed her husband.
  • During World War I, King Albert of Belgium led the defence against the invading Germans, while the Queen served as a nurse and their sons enlisted in the army.

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