An interesting topic to be discussed or 
pondered over 

What If...?
Richard Tearle

Most of you who are reading this (for which I thank you) will be aware of the recent anthology '1066 Turned Upside Down' in which nine prominent authors – all experts on that period – posed the question, 'What If...' A question which they answered with a short story based on that premise, each one with an alternative version of the known facts and examining what might conceivably have happened – but didn't. Suppose William had been shipwrecked or never made it to Pevensey.  Or a foreign power – albeit a fictional one in this case – had intervened and acted as mediators. If the battle had been delayed by a week, giving Harold a rest and enabling his forces from the north to reinforce his growing army.

Obtain from Amazon
e-book only
On such slender cords, real history hangs.

There is no doubt that the true outcome of the Norman invasion changed the direction in which England was going. Whether for better or worse in the long run is another matter  however, (and another Reader's Voice topic perhaps?)

So lets play a game, you and I. What other events in British history might have taken these islands into entirely different realms? Literally.

The most obvious one, to me, is the outcome of Bosworth field.  My immediate thoughts were 'Ha ha – no Tudors!' But what might have forced a different result? Another shipwreck involving Henry Tudor's fleet before the actual landing at Milford Haven? Stanley deciding not to switch sides at the crucial moment? Richard reaching and slaying Tudor and surviving the battle?

Interesting, for Richard died without any heirs – but had he survived, would he have been able to produce the 'missing' princes? Or  not? With a secure country, how would Richard have proceeded? Or would the so-called Wars of the Roses continued?

Allow me to throw some more at you:

What if ... Boudicca had been overall victorious over the Romans?

What if ... King Alfred had been slain by the Vikings?

What if … Elizabeth I had married Robert Dudley (or anyone else for that matter) and had children?

What if … the Gunpowder Plot had succeeded?

What if … Waterloo had been lost?

What if … The Japanese had not attacked Pearl Harbour and thus brought America into the Second World War?

Answers, please, on the back of a Twenty Pound Note to the usual address *laugh*
Except, of course, there are no answers Which is why we ask, 'What If...'

There you are then, readers and writers alike, the Gauntlet has been thrown down: what events might have radically changed British history had one small thing have changed?


And, is there, dear authors, another anthology in there somewhere?

© Richard Tearle


  1. I love these What If scenarios - and would add a few of my own: What if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII a healthy son? What if Henry's elder brother Arthur had lived? Likewise, what if Charles I's elder bother had lived and become king? Moving closer to modern times, and perhaps appositely for this, Remembrance Sunday, imagine if Archduke Franz Ferdinand had survived the assassination attempt...

    1. Thanks Annie - thanks for replying: all good ones!!

  2. As the author of the "foreign power – albeit a fictional one in this case – [which] intervened and acted as mediators", I have to stick my oar in!

    For Romans, the big what if is if G J Caesar had not met his death in 44 BC. Eleven years earlier, in 55 BC, he crossed into Britain, claiming that the Britons had aided one of his enemies the previous year. His intelligence was duff, though. He gained a beachhead on the coast, but couldn't advance further; it's always a question of logistics when invading! He returned the following year with a larger force, advanced inland and established some alliances. However, the whatnot of fate intervened in the shape of poor harvests in Gaul which led to widespread revolts there. So Caesar was forced to leave Britain for the last time in 54 BC. Would Britannia have been different if he had succeeded or at least conquered a fair bit of the island?

    1. Thank you, Alison - and this has to be the ultimate 'What If', doesn't it? "1066 And All That" has it that there are only two important dates in British History - 55BC and 1066 itself. If events had changed at this early time, would the Britain we know today have ever evolved? How different would it have been? makes your head hurt, doesn't it!


We do not accept comments. If you need to contact Discovering Diamonds go to the CONTACT facility

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.