In the end it is all we have – aspirations – a steadfast longing, an earnest desire for a higher goal.

The earliest recorded use of the word ‘aspiration’ dates from c. 1600, and derives from an earlier use meaning ‘to strive for’ from the Latin aspirationem, meaning literally – to blow or breathe into.

aspirations - reaching for the sun and beyond
aspirations – reaching for the sun and beyond

Sir Anthony Van Dyck – Charles I (1600-49)

Sir Anthony Van Dyck - Charles I (1600-49)

I was looking at paintings and came across this ‘three views’ portrait by Van Dyck. The dates of the King surprised me. I had somehow thought he was older when he died. No reason to think that, and a little reflection maybe would have told me that he probably was not old when he died. But there we are.

Charles I was a Stuart, and Stuarts reigned until James II was exiled and William III and Mary Il of the House of Orange succeeded to bring stability to the throne in line with the ascendancy of Protestantism . Then came the House of Hanover with George I, with a short detour with Edward VII of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and then the House Of Windsor and through to Charles III, King of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

It has been said that the European wars were wars between cousins; the Romanovs in Russia, the Hohenzollerns in Prussia, and the Windsors in Britain. It’s a convenient but simplistic view, but it is probably true that the German Kaiser harboured some resentments within the family that motivated his actions.