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The signatures of England’s kings and queens since Richard II….

from https://twitter.com/usefulcharts – Matt Baker @usefulcharts

Well, it has to be from Richard II, because I believe he was the first monarch to actually sign anything. But I’m not stating that as if it’s carved in stone! And the signatures I’m concerned with here are from Richard II to Henry VII, because their reigns cover the period in which I am most interested.

I have always been fascinated by the handwriting of our monarchs. Not so much the recent ones, or indeed those after the first Tudor, but certainly the Plantagenets (including York and Lancaster). The above image is, as the caption states, the work of Matt Baker. His page is fascinating, with charts for all sorts of things. Well worth a visit.

Anyway, to the signatures. Can we, as amateurs, read anything into the way these monarchs wrote their names?

The first one is, as I’ve already stated, Richard II. Well, it’s not a very confident signature. More the hand of someone who is trying hard to be something he is not. In my opinion. He spent his reign in turmoil, and wanted peace when his aristocracy wanted war. Never the twain…

Henry IV comes next. Hard to say what his moniker tells us. It looks shifty to me, as if the only thing he’s going to really give away is the R at the end. But then, he usurped Richard’s throne, and maybe it always weighed upon him. Certainly I don’t think he was a happy man.

Then Henry V. Heavens, that’s a bold, businesslike signature, with a firm line underneath. Definitely not a man to mess with.

Henry VI is very neat, and those two loops are identical. Absolutely. Very measured, when I would have thought measured was one of the last things he was. He was too fragile for that. I think so, anyway.

Edward IV’s looks as if he wrote it when under the influence. It’s hard to make out his name amid all those illegible letters. He was a man who did not relish the mundane chores of being king, and to me his signature looks impatient.

Edward V should be next, Not Richard III. Edward’s boyish signature is…um, very long. Certainly not that of someone who was ready to be king. Which he wasn’t, of course. Ready, I mean. And then he didn’t become king anyway, as we know.

Richard III’s signature is precise and thoughtful, as is his writing in general. He was clearly educated, intelligent, and not one to rubber stamp anything. He’d go through the small print. And he was also innovative, prepared to cut through red tape and make the law fairer to the common man. So nothing like Shakespeare’s awful caricature.

Henry VII’s resembles the tracks of a large, very guarded spider. Finding the actual man in among all those loops would never be easy…which is probably the way Henry wanted it. His character was as hooded as his eyes. He was in there somewhere, but he didn’t let many people inside. Another usurper who always had to glance over his shoulder.

The above are my opinion, and no doubt many of you disagree. I’d like to hear your comments!

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3 thoughts on “The signatures of England’s kings and queens since Richard II….

  1. I did several posts analysing Richard’s and others’ handwriting – the first is here: https://murreyandblue.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/signs-of-the-times-the-handwriting-of-richard-iii/
    The signature of Richard that has been used here is when he was writing to the Doge of Venice, I believe, and not typical. The height of the first R in particular is exaggerated because he wants to appear powerful. His writing shows a need to be in control and intelligence, as you say.
    I agree with much of your analysis. I think Richard II’s looks childlike – I wonder what age he was when he wrote this – as does Edward V’s. The middle zone is dominant, indicating a love of material things and luxury, typical for young people.
    Henry IV’s definitely shows deception and secrecy – it is illegible.
    Henry V’s suggests creativity to me.
    Henry’s is naive-looking, modest and I think he may have been gay(!)
    Edward IV’s shows a mercurial nature and Henry VII is very large when seen in context and shows overcompensation and an inferiority complex. There are figure 8s in the signature which shows his preoccupation with money and riches.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. halfwit36 on said:

    I don;t put much fath in graphology, as all the books tell me my handwriting shows criminal tendencies. To me it’s just chicken scratches.
    On the other hand, my horoscope says I am a natural leader. What to believe?

    Liked by 2 people

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