The murder of Thomas Becket at the altar of Canterbury Cathedral is one of the most notorious episodes in English history. But how did this infamous murder come about? In this special episode we take an in-depth look at the quarrel between Henry II and Thomas Becket that turned to tragedy, going through the whole life of Becket, the friendship with Henry II, who was to blame for the prolonged dispute and who came out on top in the end.
Scotland was a conquered country in 1296, but if Edward I thought the Scots would go quietly then he had another thing coming! Almost from nowhere, William Wallace stepped onto the scene and led the resistance against English rule, becoming Guardian of Scotland. But could this unknown figure defeat Edward and liberate Scotland? Can the real William Wallace live up to the heroic legend of Scottish history? And is any of Braveheart actually true?
In a one-off bumper edition special episode we review Aragorn (AKA Strider, Elessar, etc.), one of the main characters in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. As a special birthday request, we decided to give Aragorn the usual Rex Factor treatment meted out to kings and queens, going over his life and reign before reviewing him by various factors before deciding whether he had the Rex Factor. One of us is a LOTR fan and the other is not, so will Aragorn be able to win both of us over?
After being chosen to be King of Scots in 1292, John Balliol had a tough job on his hands. He had not been raised for kingship, the nobility were divided and, most worryingly of all, Edward I of England had established himself as feudal lord of Scotland and was determined to make this clear to all concerned. Could Balliol restore Scotland's prosperity and remain independent from England or would the task be too big for him to face?
A largely forgotten figure in Scottish history, Margaret the Maid of Norway's "reign" would be a pivotal turning point in Scottish history. After Alexander III died in accident in 1286 without an heir, his only descendent was Margaret, his three year-old granddaughter who had never set foot in Scotland. A special group known as the Guardians of Scotland sought to preserve the peace of the kingdom for Margaret, but at the cost of involving King Edward I of England, who would prove to be something of an ogre in Scottish history, starting by presiding over "The Great Cause' to determine the future of the Scottish succession. Would Edward take this chance to snatch the kingdom? Would the Guardians preserve the peace? Would Margaret make it to Scotland?
Incredibly, Ali is control! Ali guides Graham through his university dissertation on Edward I and how his Crusade shaped his campaigns in Wales and the building of his magnificent Welsh castles. Also featuring our first ever interview with Professor Michael Prestwich who literally wrote the book on Edward!
Alexander III was only just approaching 8 years when his father died in 1249, resulting in a divisive minority and the king of England, Henry III, playing an increasingly strong role in Scottish affairs. As king, Alexander would need to restore order among his barons, finish his father's work in subduing the Western Isles and assert his independence against Henry III and (far more ominously) the looming black cloud on the horizon of Scottish history that is Edward I. A tough job, but was Alexander III up to the task and worthy of the Rex Factor?
(Parental Guidance - there may be some juicy scandal!)
Alexander II seems to have been something of a man on mission, determined to remove all the grey areas in Scotland by imposing his authority across the whole country. Previously rebellious or non-Scottish areas like Moray, Caithness and Galloway were firmly on the royal radar while Norway would now have to worry about their control over the Western Isles. Throw in an invasion of England after King John repudiated Magna Carta and you have a very busy reign, but has Alexander II bit off more than he can chew?
While Ali was off sailing, Graham was interviewed by Jen Crawford from Podbean's Podcasting Smarter podcast, talking about Rex Factor, how the show is put together, crowdfunding and, of course, remembering to #RememberAed.
William the Lion's life and reign was defined when as a teenager in 1157 he had the earldom of Northumbria taken away by Henry II. From then on, it was his life's ambition to get it back but he had the mighty Plantagenets standing in his way. With trouble brewing in Galloway, Moray and Caithness, it would not be an easy task, but with a name like William the Lion, could it be possible?