Sunday, 20 January 2008

Willie, Willie, Harry, Ste: Remembering the Monarchs

Viola and I have been watching a lot of period drama recently. We loved Cranford and enjoyed Sense and Sensibility. In the last episode of the latter, the youngest daughter spends the episode trying to remember the kings and queens of England. I thought to myself, "What she needs is a mnemonic." The one I was taught by my Dad was "Willie, Willie, Harry, Ste, Harry, Dick, John, Harry three . . ." The Guardian's Notes and Queries provides the full version of this and other enjoyable mnemonics:

Willie, Willie, Harry, Steve, Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three, Edward One, Two, Three, Dick Two, Henry Four, Five, Six, then who? Edward Four, Five, Dick the Bad, Harrys twain and Ned, the lad. Mary, Lizzie, James the Vain, Charlie, Charlie, James again. William and Mary, Anne o'Gloria, Four Georges, William and Victoria. Edward Seven, Georgie Five, Edward, George and Liz (alive).
A little googling reveals some interesting variants. For anyone with some spare time, it would be a lot of fun to chart these in synopsis.

1 comment:

SteveA said...

Thanks very much. i learned around half of this rhyme some forty years ago at school and it has always annoyed me that I didn't know the rest of it. now i can learn the whole thing and be a regular smart alec!!

Thanks again for posting it.

Steve A
S.W. Scotland