Growing up with the last name of Spencer, I have always been aware that I was related to the Spencers in England, including Princess Diana, her sons and grandchildren, as well as Winston Spencer Churchill. Of course, these relationships were on the Spencer side of my family, but recently, I have been stumbling upon, or in reality, tripping over royalty of the Pattan side of my family, as well as more direct ties to the English throne on the Spencer side of the family.
When I spoke to my Aunt Sandy Pattan about the king connection of the Pattan side, she said that she knew of Queen Victoria, who I had not found yet, by the way, but she was unaware of the kings in the family line, and was very surprised about where they came from…not the family background, but rather the global locations. The first one to show up was King Charles II of England, who is my 1st cousin 11 times removed. King Charles was actually the king of Scotland from January 30, 1649 to September 3, 1651, and then king of England, Scotland, and Ireland from May 29, 1660 until his death on February 6, 1685 from a stroke.
The next king to show up was King Frederick I of Prussia, who was my 2nd cousin 10 times removed. He was king from January 18, 1701 until his death on February 25, 1713 in Berlin. Next came King Louis XIV of France, who is my 3rd cousin 10 times removed. He was king from May 14, 1643 until his death on September 1, 1715 of gangrene. The next king to show up was King Frederick William II of Prussia, who is my 4th cousin 7 times removed. He was king from August 17, 1786 until his passing on November 16, 1797 in Potsdam, Germany. The next king was King Charles IV of Spain, who is my 4th cousin 6 times removed. He was king from December 14, 1788 to March 18, 1808. He did not end his reign upon his death, but rather, riots and popular revolt at the winter palace in Aranjuez, forced him to abdicate to his son, Ferdinand VII. He died on January 20, 1819 in Palazzo Barberini, Rome.
The next king to present himself was King Louis XVI of France, who is of course, related to an earlier king. King Louis XVI is my 4th cousin 6 times removed. He was king of France from May 10, 1774 to September 4, 1792, and oddly King of the French from September 4, 1791 to September 21, 1792. On August 13, 1792, an angry mob tried to kill the queen, thinking that she was too frivolous, but decided to go after the king instead. He tried to flee with his family to Paris, but was captured on August 13, 1792, and imprisoned. His titles were stripped from him on September 21, 1792. He died on January 21, 1793 by execution on the guillotine at just 38 years of age. Finally came Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, who is my 4th cousin 9 times removed. He was emperor from October 12, 1711 until his death on October 20, 1740, following a hunting trip on which he consumed a meal of poisonous death cap mushrooms.
I thought that finding out that my mom’s family was related to so many kings, and even an emperor, was going to be the most shocking thing, but for me, I think the most shocking thing was the way that some of these kings died. It showed me that the times that these kings lived in were not only dangerous in that many of the health issues that are curable now, weren’t back then. But more shocking for me was that fact that kings were sometimes no more safe than anyone else. To accidently eat poison mushrooms would be a horrible death, and I can’t imagine going through that, but to be executed by guillotine is one of the most gruesome things I can think of, and that was not totally uncommon back then.
In times past…long before the Cruise Craze occurred, the average person didn’t really travel by ship. Immigrants did, but mostly they spent their entire life’s savings to make the journey to a new country, and often they traveled in the steerage class…without all the amenities of the people in 1st class. As we saw on the movie Titanic, the 1st class passengers were treated like royalty, because they had a lot of money, while the others were kept separate…like they might rub off on the 1st class passengers, or get them dirty or something.
These days, the rich and famous don’t exactly take cruises. If they want to cruise, the get a yacht or they just fly to where they want to go, often in their own plane. If they are on a cruise ship, then they are really traveling incognito, because I have not noticed anyone rich or famous on my two cruises. Mostly I think that the cruise vacation gives the middle class citizen the chance to live like a king for a few days, and forget their problems for a while.
On the cruises I have taken, as well as the ones my family has taken, there are people from all walks of life, sharing this space and the amenities it offers for a little time of respite from their day to day working lives. And how cool is that!! There is no snobbery, and no special place to dine that only the rich can go. Everyone is treated like royalty. Although, unless you get a balcony room, there is one deck you don’t have access to. No great loss, if you ask me.
I find that quite refreshing really. So often, we are placed in classes, whether we like it or not. You can play golf and the club…if you can afford the fees. You can belong to this or that club…again, if you can afford it. And it is true that the people on a cruise ship must be able to afford the cost, but there are ways to keep the cost down and still have an amazing time. It is something you can save up for, and take your own opportunity to live like kings for a little while.
I think everyone should try this type of trip when they can. It gives you an opportunity to let someone else wait on you for a while, and all you do is sit back and enjoy the ride. It is such a great way to de-stress, and don’t we all need that once in a while? I know I do. Give it a try. It’s great to live like kings…even if it’s only temporary.