The Doctor seems to be working her way through the royal blood lines of England with the enthusiasm of a child with a football sticker album. James I is just the latest to be ticked off the list, but let’s look at the ones she’s met so far…
Richard I (King, 1189-1999) whom the First Doctor met during the crusades (1965’s The Crusade). Richard even knighted Ian so that the 1960s school teacher could rescue Barbara. Though he wound up throwing the Doctor out after presuming the Doctor had interfered in his plan to wed his sister to his enemy.
Henry VIII (King, 1509-1547) hasn’t ever appeared on screen. However we know from the dialogue in 2011’s The Impossible Astronaut that Amy Pond ‘accidentally’ married him. When you consider the Doctor was both Henry’s son-in-law (via Elizabeth I) and Amy’s son-in-law (via River Song) it means Amy was the Doctor’s mother-in-law twice over. And she snogged him. Which sounds like an episode of Jeremy Kyle waiting to happen.
Elizabeth I (Queen, 1558-1603) was, of course married to the Tenth Doctor in 2013’s The Day of the Doctor. It’s fair to say her feelings for him were mixed. On the one hand, she married him, had portraits painted of him, and named him Curator of the Undergallery. On the other hand, after waiting 41 years for him to return to consummate the marriage when she did see him again she instantly ordered him beheaded (2007’s The Shakespeare Code).
James I (King, 1603-1625) was Elizabeth’s first cousin, twice removed. This makes him the Doctor’s cousin-in-law too. It’s probably just as well she doesn’t bring that up in The Witchfinders though. He decides the Thirteenth Doctor is a witch but ultimately accepts she’s on the side of the angels, at least figuratively.
Charles II (King, 1660-1685) was James’s grandson. In The Impossible Astronaut we see him find the Doctor stark naked under the dress of a noblewoman called Matilda. And quite cross he is about it too.
The Modern Monarchs
Victoria (Queen, 1837-1901) was, thankfully, no relation of the Doctor’s at all. After she and the Tenth Doctor battled a werewolf together in Torchwood House (2006’s Tooth and Claw), however, she both knighted him and banished him. In fact, she set up the Torchwood Institute expressly to stop the Doctor returning.
Elizabeth II (Queen, 1952-) is Victoria’s great granddaughter. Strangely, she’s the one British monarch the Doctor goes out of their way to avoid. 1974’s Robot ends with the Fourth Doctor being invited by her to tea after he prevents a nuclear war. He promptly runs directly to the TARDIS to get out of the appointment. Almost ten years later the Seventh Doctor actually bumps into her at Windsor Castle (Silver Nemesis) but doesn’t recognize her and thinks she’s just some random woman. And in Voyage of the Damned she again thanks him for saving the world but he doesn’t stop to chat. In fairness, he had his hands full at the time.
The Not Once But Future Kings and Queens
Henry XII (King, ??). We don’t know much about this British monarch except that they ruled sometime between the 21st and 29th centuries. And that he used to be a drinking buddy of the Doctor’s in some unspecified incarnation (as described in 2010’s The Beast Below).
Elzabeth X (Queen, ??). We know that Liz Ten became Queen sometime in the 29th century. And that she stayed on the throne until at least the 52nd, passing Elizabeth II’s record by some margin. In the 31st century set The Beast Below she discovers, with the help of the Eleventh Doctor and Amy, that her memories are being deleted every ten years.
And finally a special mention of King John (King, 1199-1216). The Doctor’s never met him on screen. But she has met his robot duplicate from the planet Xeriphas, who was being used by the Master in a complicated plan to prevent the Magna Carta being signed for… reasons. For a complete non-explanation of those reasons, see 1983’s The King’s Demons.
Who’s next in line?
Despite this impressive line-up there’s still many names for the Doctor to cross off her list. Maybe, Henry III, founder of the House of Plantagenet? Or Charles I, who was ultimately executed following the Civil War? Or Edward VII, whose network of family ties with the royal families of Europe still failed to avert World War One? One thing is for sure, there will probably more aliens and madness than recorded in the history books.
The adventure continues…
Doctor Who continues this Sunday at 6.30pm GMT on BBC One and at 8pm EST on BBC America with It Takes You Away by Ed Hime. For further broadcast times in your region, check local listings. Series 11 stars Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yasmin Khan), Bradley Walsh (Graham O’Brien) and Tosin Cole (Ryan Sinclair).
It Takes You Away guest stars Kevin Eldon (Ribbons) and Eleanor Wallwork (Hanne) and is directed by Jamie Childs.
On the edge of a Norwegian fjord, in the present day, The Doctor, Ryan, Graham and Yaz discover a boarded-up cottage and a girl named Hanne in need of their help. What has happened here? What monster lurks in the woods around the cottage – and beyond?