This is sort of a commentary on Ceras' musings regarding her head-canon regarding HRE, and it's part of a series, as you can tell by the title. I will be tackling Germany in a future installment soon, and, yes, it does have some bearing on exactly what room I stayed in when I was living in Ludwig's house two decades ago (that's why it's called head-canon, folks).
So why try to tackle who England is? It's pretty much consensus, isn't it? Arthur has brothers, one of whom is Scotland, with the others presumably being Wales and Ireland or Northern Ireland; Himaruya said so, right? A consensus has developed: Grandpa Rome came over, if not with Julius than with Claudius, met a wee little Arthur, all painted blue and cursing in Celtic, and proceeded to do his best to civilize the tyke and his brother Wales. Rome never quite got to their other brothers Ireland and Scotland, but no Grandpa is perfect.
Uh, no. Himaruya might be pretty decent on the history of Central Europe, but it's obvious he's never studied British history. Arthur's not that old. He never met Rome. And his modern-day brothers are adopted ones, except for Northern Ireland and Sealand. If that's the case, I hear you say, explain the "genetic" relations and justify this one, bucko.
You asked for it.
Look at the British Isles at the time of the Claudian Conquest. You can justify the existence of a number of young nation-tans. A huge number of them, in fact. If you attempt to justify all of them, you're going to get as much of a headache as you would trying to figure out the German states. Let's keep it simple and hold the number down to six. We have two in what we now call Ireland. Let's call them Hibernia and Ulster, just to use terms familiar to modern audiences. The other four are in the eastern island. In the north, there's a strange guy who speaks an incomprehensible language and has loads of tattoos named Pictland; if he was still alive today, he'd work at Hot Topic. Then there's Momma Britannia, who has four children, two of whom still live with her. Those two, let's call them Cymru and Strathclyde. Cymru has been given the south, Strathclyde the north. The two that don't live with her anymore were named Armorica and Basque (with Picardy now a semi-canonical character, this is justified).
Oh, yeah, Ulster is not Northern Ireland, but that's getting ahead of ourselves. With that statement, you may have figured why I started reversing edits that said that Northern Ireland was England's older brother. Younger, yes, but not older. But let's get back to the point.
Rome came over with Claudius and, as his wont, seduced Momma Britannia, but was a good guy at heart and "adopted" Cymru and Strathclyde as his own, just as he had Gaul, Hispania, and Lusitania (I'm really accepting Candeceres' Portugal as head-canon; it's the best-developed Portugal that we're going to get until Himaruya creates one). Rome meant well, but he did tend to neglect Momma Britannia in comparison to his other girlfriends (and after the major PMS moment of the Boudican Revolt, you can kind of understand why...well, I'm a guy, so I can understand why). Cymru and Strathclyde got a major dose of what it was like to be Roman. Pictland and the Irish twins never did.
Rome, caught up in his own troubles, abandoned Momma Britannia and the boys once and for all in 410. In 476, he was killed by Germania. At roughly the same time, back in the Isles, the following happened:
- Ulster got tired of sharing his island with his brother, and made the crossing to the bigger island, establishing an enclave in the western portion of Pictland's territory and renaming himself Dal Riada.
- Momma Britannia left, fading into legend. Rome's paramours had a tendency to do that.
- Two families, members of Germania's huge brood (the guy was a total man-whore), came to the island and took root. One family called themselves the Angles and went straight for the center of the island. This family was a married couple named Deira and Bernicia (they eventually had a son named Northumbria and a younger son who simply called himself East), and their sister Mercia. The other family was the Saxons (not to be confused with Saxony), and like certain other Germanics in the future, they tended to name themselves after their locations in the south of the island (the exception was the oldest brother Kent). East, South, and West carved out their own territories.
And it's little West that we want to concentrate on. Pretentious little blond brat with big eyebrows, that West. Called himself "Gewisse" at the time because it made him sound important or something. Well, thanks to the Saxon family, Cymru was pushed into the western bulge of the island and became a pretty tough guy thanks to the rough territory and rougher people. Cymru actually took a liking to the little brat, and adopted him as a brother. Cymru still had a close relationship with his sister Armorica, who was starting to call herself Brittany in tribute to her mother, but they lived apart. Strathclyde was cut off from Cymru due to the Angle family. You can see why Cymru took West under his wing, so to speak. It was Cymru who introduced West to his unusual religion, something called Christianity. It took a while, and it took a little help from Kent, who was the first to convert, but eventually West became Christian.
Cymru also told West of his legends and songs. One that struck West's fancy was about Cymru's greatest warrior, a dux bellorum (not a king) whose name translated as "great bear". The image appealed to West's ego, and he liked the sound of the name, so he took the name for himself and insisted on being called "Arthur". That wasn't the only renaming young Arthur did. He and Cymru, as all brothers do, had a falling-out. Arthur told Cymru, "We are no longer brothers. You are now foreign to me." Arthur began using his language's word for "foreign" as an insulting name for Cymru: welisc. As a token of the separation, Arthur changed his formal name from West to Wessex, signifying his independence.
It was around then that Wessex decided to pick a fight with the member of the Angle family that bordered his territory to the north. Mercia, though, was no pushover. She was still non-Christian and had some pretty bad-ass leaders (seriously, look up Penda and Offa and begin fanboying them). Wessex found that his brothers and sisters to the east were easier targets. Eventually, he took all their territory and pushed them to the margins.
Meanwhile, up north, Dal Riada was breaking from his Irish roots and beginning to call himself Scotland. He and Pictland went into a war to the death. Pictland actually almost won at one point, but eventually Scotland gained a bad-ass leader of his own named Kenneth MacAlpin. Scotland killed Pictland outright, destroying his culture in the process. After the death of Pictland, Scotland ran into someone he never expected to see: Strathclyde was still alive, despite all efforts by the Angle family to kill him. Strathclyde accepted Scotland's protection, thankful that it was a fellow Celt and not one of those icky Germanics. Northumbria had converted to Christianity and became rather bookish, which upset his aunt Mercia (and left him totally helpless when Norway came along). And East Anglia...oh, poor East Anglia. He got a visit from everyone's favorite blond psychopath Denmark.
By the ninth century, everybody was in trouble. Norway was able to reach a modus vivendi with Scotland and Ireland, and they lived together rather peacefully. Northumbria had given into Norway rather easily, and also lived peacefully with him (look up "Jorvik"). But Denmark went on a rampage. At first, Denmark went after land; he had recently got a boss named Gorm who unified the Danish lands, and he was looking to expand. Denmark found a room for East Anglia in his house. Mercia went into hiding. The only one left who could stand up to him was little Wessex, who was just starting to reach puberty. And it didn't look very good. Arthur had had a powerful boss named Egbert, who actually tamed Mercia's fury. But Egbert died, and his sons had rather bad luck. It came down to Egbert's fourth and youngest son. If Arthur couldn't protect him...that would be it for him. Fortunately, the two boys, one nation, one human, had incredible reserves of strength and talent. The human even taught Wessex how to cook, although the former had this tendency to burn cakes. Somehow, someway, they not only drove Denmark out, but set the stage to drive out the Angle family as well (it would be an incredible irony that an expanded Wessex ended up taking their name for his). Is it any wonder that, when Arthur found a little boy with incredible strength in a faraway land, that he named that boy Alfred after his long-deceased human friend?
Over the next century, the newly-dubbed England became rich. Unfortunately, when Denmark smells money, you know what happens. Not being able to conquer the lad, Denmark decided to go the extortion route, bleeding England dry with threats of pillage. It got to the point that England eventually gave up, and spent years in Denmark's house when Denmark's boss, a teenager himself, ended up marrying the much-older widow of England's boss (and you thought cougars were a modern phenomenon; look up "Emma of Normandy" for more details about her and Canute). England moved out eventually, but it was only for a short time. His new boss, the cougar's son by her first husband, was a bit strange. He not only maintained a vow of celibacy, but he grew up around a bizarre nation. Imagine if Norway had been educated by France...that was Normandy. And after this boss died...well, that leads to 1066 and all that. England ended up moving into Normandy's house until France decided in the early 13th Century to have Normandy move in with him. England actually didn't like that very much, and...oh, well, we all know about the Hundred Years' War and what led up to it.
So, to summarize:
England was not a son of Britannia. He was originally Wessex. He's a Saxon. He never met Rome, and may never have met Britannia.
Wales and Strathclyde are genetic brothers, sons of Britannia; Cornwall is Wales' nephew, Brittany's son. Uncle and nephew were both able to keep Arthur out for a long time, but they eventually succumbed, Cornwall in the 10th Century and Wales in the 13th Century.
Scotland and Ireland are brothers.
England's genetic brothers and sisters are Kent, Sussex, and Essex. Wales, Scotland, and Ireland are adopted brothers.
England was not conquered by France in 1066. He was conquered by Normandy, who is a distant cousin of Norway.
The Angle family and Saxon family are still alive and living in Arthur's house. Wales and Scotland have rooms there, but prefer to live alone. Arthur still keeps a room for Ireland out of nostalgia.
So, what about Northern Ireland? I can imagine that Arthur found a small boy near the battlefield at the Boyne in 1690 (viz. the situation in Battle For America), but gave him to Scotland to raise, since he was occupied with Alfred at the time. Northern Ireland may or may not be related to Ireland.
I know that a lot of people are not going to like this. Heck, I know that even more people are going to hate it when I support the case that HRE is not, has never been, and will never be Germany. But that's the beauty of this fandom: different views can thrive and be supported, and all you need is the proper knowledge of history.