So there is to be another royal birth in the UK with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expecting their 3rd child who will become 5th in line to the throne.
This got me thinking which monarch of England/Great Britain had the most children. So being the sad Muppet that I am I had a look. I started at King William I and went up to the present day. Since 1066 there have been 41 monarchs who had 215 legitimate children between them. Of these, 9 had no children (mainly as they died young or never married). So who was the most prolific monarch? Well the winner is……. King James II. He had 20 children by 2 women. He had 8 children by Anne Hyde including Queen Mary II and Queen Anne, and 12 by Mary of Modena including James the Old pretender (the father of Bonnie Prince Charlie).
The man who is supposedly had the most amount of children was Genghis Khan. It is alleged he fathered over 1000 children, and as many as 2500. It’s a wonder he had time for all the fighting he did. Good job he didn’t have to raise them all at home. Can you imagine all the shoes lines up by the door?
The most prolific European Monarch was either King Augustus of Poland (1670 – 1733) or King Philip IV of Spain (1605 – 1665). Augustus is rumoured to have fathered between 356 and 382 children (only one of which was legitimate) and Philip had 13 legitimate children and 30 illegitimate. Whether these figures are true or not is conjecture as unless the recognised the children we can never be sure.
But it’s not just royalty who had large families. It was not unusual for a couple to have 10 children before the modern times. The most I’ve found in my family is 12. So I took to the internet and found out in the UK the couple who had the most children was John and Elizabeth Mott of Monks Kirby, Warwickshire. Between 1676 and 1720 the couple had 42 live children. Can you imagine having that many children? It must have been crowd control. I suppose the raised each other. Assuming Elizabeth was say 20 when she got married she either popped one out every year for the rest of her life or she must have had multiple, multiple births. Poor woman would have needed a cushion.
But surprisingly other couples have produced more kids. In Russia between 1725 and 1782 Mr Vassiyev fathered 87 children. By his first wife he had 69 children. There were 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quads. So in total she was only pregnant 27 times, but even so. When his first wife died My Vassiyev remarried and had 18 more children from 8 births. Wife 2 had 6 sets of twins and 2 sets of triplets. The couples must have needed ear plugs and deep pockets to raise them all. I know there were none of the things kids want these days, but just feeding and clothing them all must have cost a fortune. They must have been producing most of the food they ate themselves and the kids must have lived in hand me downs.
In nature it’s not uncommon for animals to have lots of children as unfortunately most will not survive infancy. It’s not uncommon for mice to have around 10 pups at a time and can have up to 10 broods a year so that’s 100 kids a year. Since mice only live about a year that make them more prolific than the Vassiyev’s. But then I suppose the mouselets are on their own within weeks so it does make life so much easier for Mr and Mrs Mouse.
Whatever the number of kids in a family the award should definitely go to Mrs Vassiyev for producing so many kids!