20 April 2004

Edward I loses his 'throne' after Scots outcry

Buckingham Palace has backed down over a claim that Edward I - known as 'the Hammer of the Scots' - was king of Scotland.

The Palace's website listed the Scottish crown as among his titles in a section entitled 'Monarch of the Month', but Royal staff have changed the entry after historians expressed outrage.

The section now says that the arch-enemy of William Wallace 'regarded himself as sovereign lord of the kings of Scotland' and no longer includes king of Scotland among his list of titles, which include king of England, Wales and the Isle of Man. However, Professor Ted Cowan, a leading Scottish historian who last week criticised the 'Anglo- centric' description of Edward, described the change to the website as 'feeble'.

A spokeswoman for the Palace said: 'We decided to put that he regarded himself as sovereign lord, which is open to dispute but probably more accurately reflects the position.

'I think the rest of it is a matter for interpretation. History is always a matter of interpretation.'

But Prof Cowan, of Glasgow University, was unimpressed. 'I think it's feeble but it's quite good to know the Palace can admit there was an error and that it has done something to remedy the situation,' he said. 'To say Edward regarded himself as sovereign lord, it implies a sense of legitimacy: if a king believes something, it's more valid than what a 'rebel' like Wallace believes.

'The only word I can say to describe it is 'spin'. And anyone writing about history has to remember history has a relevance to the present.'

I checked. The palace website is also sadly misleading in not mentioning that Mel Gibson fathered the heirs of Edward II.

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