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British RoyalsFeaturesHistoryInsight

History of unlucky royal names: John

King John
Public Domain, Wiki Commons

There are many names that some consider unlucky and in royal circles this is something various ruling dynasties have wished to avoid at all costs. From superstitions to strange goings on during their reigns, Royal Central is taking a look at the history behind some such monikers and why it is unlikely that we will see them re-used by any future monarchs.

If you ask most royal historians who they believe the unluckiest monarch was, they will likely say King John. John, who was the youngest surviving son of King Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, was on the throne from May 27 1199 to October 19 1216. 

On December 24 1166, King John I was born at Beaumont Palace in Oxfordshire, England.

Nicknamed John Lackland, as he was never expected to inherit any land, he is believed to have been a clumsy and problematic king. As one of the youngest sons of Henry II, John had never expected to come to the throne, however after the shock death of his brother, King Richard I, he inherited the crown.

King John is perhaps best remembered for losing the crown jewels.  He is also famous for signing the Magna Carta and not keeping his promises to protect various groups, resulting in the revolt of the Barons.

The King was married twice, first to Isabella, Countess of Gloucester (1189-1199) and secondly to Isabella, Countess of Angoulême. He had five children with his second wife, including, King Henry III, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, Joan, Queen of Scotland, Isabella and Eleanor, Countess of Leicester. The king also had two illegitimate children, Richard FitzRoy and Joan, Lady of Wales.

According to royal historians, King John was a cruel and selfish man and is frequently villainised in popular culture, such as in the Robin Hood stories. John was succeeded by his son Henry III upon his death.

On October 19th 1216, King John I died in Newark Castle, Nottinghamshire at the age of 49, reportedly from dysentery after eating too many peaches. He is buried at Worcester Cathedral.

Since then, the name John has been rarely used by British royals.