Death of Queen Elizabeth I of England & Ireland. March 24, 1603.


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On this date in History: March 24, 1603, Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland died at Richmond Palace aged 69 after a reign of 44 years. She was the last member of the House of Tudor and also its longest reigning member. Her 44-year reign was a prosperous time, the arts flourished and it became known as a Golden Age.


Elizabeth’s reign is known as the Elizabethan era. The period is famous for the flourishing of English drama, led by playwrights such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, and for the seafaring prowess of English adventurers such as Francis Drake. Some historians depict Elizabeth as a short-tempered, sometimes indecisive ruler, who enjoyed more than her share of luck.

Towards the end of her reign, a series of economic and military problems weakened her popularity. Elizabeth is acknowledged as a charismatic performer and a dogged survivor in an era when government was ramshackle and limited, and when monarchs in neighbouring countries faced internal problems that jeopardised their thrones. Such was the case with Elizabeth’s rival, Mary, Queen of Scots, whom she imprisoned in 1568 and had executed in 1587. After the short reigns of Elizabeth’s half-siblings, her 44 years on the throne provided welcome stability for the kingdom and helped forge a sense of national identity.


Elizabeth’s senior adviser, William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, died on August 4, 1598. His political mantle passed to his son, Robert Cecil, who soon became the leader of the government. One task he addressed was to prepare the way for a smooth succession. Since Elizabeth would never name her successor, Cecil was obliged to proceed in secret. He therefore entered into a coded negotiation with James VI of Scotland, who had a strong but unrecognised claim.

Cecil coached the impatient James VI to humour Elizabeth and “secure the heart of the highest, to whose sex and quality nothing is so improper as either needless expostulations or over much curiosity in her own actions”. The advice worked. James’s tone delighted Elizabeth, who responded: “So trust I that you will not doubt but that your last letters are so acceptably taken as my thanks cannot be lacking for the same, but yield them to you in grateful sort”. In historian J. E. Neale’s view, Elizabeth may not have declared her wishes openly to James, but she made them known with “unmistakable if veiled phrases.”


The Queen’s health remained fair until the autumn of 1602, when a series of deaths among her friends plunged her into a severe depression. Elizabeth had moved to Richmond Palace in January 1603 and surrounded herself with friends and ladies in waiting with whom she was familiar. Her health had deteriorated badly and she was very frail, yet at first she refused to retire to bed.

When Robert Cecil told her that she must go to bed, she snapped “Must is not a word to use to princes, little man”. She died on 24 March 1603 at Richmond Palace, between two and three in the morning. A few hours later, Cecil and the council set their plans in motion and proclaimed James VI of Scotland, the new King of England.

While it has become normative to record the death of the Queen as occurring in 1603, following English calendar reform in the 1750s, at the time of the Quuen’s death England observed New Year’s Day on 25 March, commonly known as Lady Day. Thus Elizabeth died on the last day of the year 1602 in the old calendar. The modern convention is to use the old calendar for the date and month while using the new for the year.


Three Events in History, March 16.


, , , , , , , , , , ,

Three significant events on this date in History. March 16.

The Netherlands, March 16, 1815.

Prince Willem VI of Orange-Nassau becomes King of the Netherlands.

Willem I (Willem Frederik, Prince of Orange-Nassau; August 24, 1772 – December 12, 1843) was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg.


Prince Willem VI was the ruler of the Principality of Nassau-Orange-Fulda from 1803 until 1806 and of the Principality of Orange-Nassau in the year 1806 and from 1813 until 1815. In 1813 he proclaimed himself Sovereign Prince of the United Netherlands. He proclaimed himself King Willem I of the Netherlands and Duke of Luxembourg on March 16, 1815. In the same year on June 9, Willem I became also the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and after 1839 he was furthermore the Duke of Limburg. After his abdication in 1840 he styled himself King Willem-Frederik, Count of Nassau.

On October 1, 1791, Prince Willem VI of Orange-Nassau married his cousin Princess Wilhelmina of Prussia, in Berlin. Princess Wilhelmine was the fourth child of eight born to King Friedrich-Wilhelm II of Prussia and Queen Frederica-Louisa (the daughter of Ludwig IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, and Caroline of Zweibrücken). Her upbringing was dominated by the strict regime of her great-uncle, Friedrich II the Great, but in general very little is known about her youth. The marriage was arranged as a part of an alliance between the House of Orange and Prussia, but it was also, in fact, a love match and became very happy.

Sweden, March 16, 1792

Assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden.


Gustav III (January 24, 1746 – March 29, 1792) was King of Sweden from 1771 until his assassination in 1792. He was the eldest son of King Adolf-Frederik of Sweden and Queen Louise Ulrika (a sister of King Friedrich II the Great of Prussia), and a first cousin of Empress Catherine the Great of Russia by reason of their common descent from Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin, and his wife Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach.

Gustav III married Princess Sophia Magdalena of Denmark, by proxy in Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen, on October 1, 1766 and in person in Stockholm on November 4, 1766. Sophia Magdalena of Denmark was the eldest daughter of Frederik V of Denmark and his first wife Louise of Great Britain. Louise of Great Britain was Queen of Denmark and Norway from 1746 until her death, as the first wife of King Frederick V. She was the youngest surviving daughter of King George II of Great Britain and Caroline of Ansbach. Gustav III was first impressed by Sophia Magdalena’s beauty, but her silent nature made her a disappointment in court life. The match was not a happy one, owing partly to an incompatibility of temperament, but still more to the interference of Gustav’s jealous mother, Queen Louisa Ulrika.


Gustav III’s war against Russia and the implementation of the Union and Security Act in 1789 helped to increase a hatred against the king among the nobility that had been growing ever since the coup d’état in 1772. A conspiracy to have the king killed and reform the constitution took place within the nobility in the winter of 1791-92. Among those involved were Jacob Johan Anckarström, Adolph Ribbing, Claes Fredrik Horn, Carl Pontus Lilliehorn and Carl Fredrik Pechlin.
The assassination of the king took place at a masked ball at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm at midnight on March 16, 1792. Gustav had arrived earlier that evening to enjoy a dinner in the company of friends. During dinner, he received an anonymous letter that contained a threat to his life (written by the colonel of the Life guards Carl Pontus Lilliehorn), but, as the king had received numerous threatening letters in the past, he chose to ignore it. After dining, he left his rooms to take part in the masquerade.

Soon upon entering, he was surrounded by Anckarström and his co-conspirators, Count Claes Fredrik Horn and Count Adolf Ludvig Ribbing. The king was easily spotted, mainly due to the breast star of the Royal Order of the Seraphim that glowed in silver upon his cape. The conspirators were all wearing black masks and accosted him in French with the words: Bonjour, beau masque (“Good-day, fine masked man”). Anckarström moved behind the king and fired a pistol-shot into the left side of his back. The king jumped aside, crying in French: Ah! Je suis blessé, tirez-moi d’ici et arrêtez-le (“Ah! I am wounded, take me away from here and arrest him!”)

The king was carried back to his quarters, and the exits of the Opera were sealed. Anckarström was arrested the following morning and immediately confessed to the murder, although he denied a conspiracy until informed that Horn and Ribbing had also been arrested and had confessed in full.
The king had not been shot dead; he was alive and continued to function as head of state. The coup was a failure in the short run. However, the wound became infected, and on March 29, the king finally died with these last words: Jag känner mig sömnig, några ögonblicks vila skulle göra mig gott (“I feel sleepy, a few moments’ rest would do me good”)

Ulrica Arfvidsson, the famous medium of the Gustavian era, had told him something that could be interpreted as a prediction of his assassination in 1786, when he visited her anonymously – a coincidence – but she was known to have a large network of informers all over town to help her with her predictions, and she was in fact interrogated about the murder.

The king was succeeded on the throne by his eldest son who became King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden.

England. March 16, 1660

The Long Parliament is dissolved.


The Long Parliament was an English Parliament which lasted from 1640 until 1660. It followed the fiasco of the Short Parliament which had been held for three weeks during the spring of 1640, and which in its turn had followed an 11-year parliamentary absence. In September 1640 writs were issued summoning a parliament to convene on 3 November 1640 by King Charles I. The parliament was summoned to pass financial bills, a step that was necessary as a result of the cost of the Bishops’ Wars. It received its name from the fact that through an Act of Parliament, it could be dissolved only with the agreement of the members, and those members did not agree to its dissolution until after the English Civil War was close to the end of the Interregnum on 16 March 1660.

It sat from 1640 until 1648, when it was purged by the New Model Army. In the chaos following the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658, General George Monck allowed the members barred in 1648 to retake their seats, so that they could pass the necessary legislation to allow the Restoration and dissolve the Long Parliament. This cleared the way for a new Parliament to be elected, which was known as the Convention Parliament. Some key members of Long Parliament, such as Sir Henry Vane the Younger and General Edmond Ludlow, barred from the final acts of the Long Parliament, claimed it was not legally dissolved; its final votes a procedural irregularity (words used contemporaneously “device” and “conspiracy”) by General George Monck to ensure the restoration of King Charles II of England, Scotland and Ireland. On the restoration the general was awarded with a Dukedom.

Marriage of Prince Albert-Edward, Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.


, , , , , , , , , , ,

On this date in History: March 10, 1863. Marriage of Prince Albert-Edward, Prince of Wales and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.


In September 1861, Albert-Edward, Prince of Wales was sent to Germany, supposedly to watch military manoeuvres, but actually in order to engineer a meeting between him and Princess Alexandra of Denmark, the eldest daughter of Prince Christian of Denmark (future King Christian IX) and his wife Louise of Hesse-Cassel. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert had already decided that Albert-Edward and Alexandra should marry.

They met at Speyer on September 24 under the auspices of his elder sister, Victoria, Princess Royal who had married the Crown Prince Friedrich-Wilhelm of Prussia in 1858. Albert-Edward’s elder sister, acting upon instructions from their mother, had met Princess Alexandra at Strelitz in June; the young Danish princess made a very favourable impression. Albert-Edward and Alexandra were friendly from the start; the meeting went well for both sides, and marriage plans advanced.


Once widowed, Queen Victoria effectively withdrew from public life. Shortly after Prince Albert’s death, she arranged for Albert-Edward to embark on an extensive tour of the Middle East, visiting Egypt, Jerusalem, Damascus, Beirut and Constantinople. The British Government wanted Albert-Edward to secure the friendship of Egypt’s ruler, Said Pasha, to prevent French control of the Suez Canal if the Ottoman Empire collapsed.

It was the first royal tour on which an official photographer, Francis Bedford, was in attendance. As soon as Albert-Edward returned to Britain, preparations were made for his engagement, which was sealed at Laeken in Belgium on September 9, 1862. Albert-Edward married Alexandra at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on March 10, 1863. He was 21; she was 18.

Accession of Queen Anne of England, Scotland & Ireland.


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

On this date in History. Death of King William III-II of England, Scotland and Ireland, Stadholder of the Netherlands and Prince of Orange and the accession of his sister-in-Law/cousin Anne.


Anne (February 6, 1665 – August 1, 1714) was the Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland between March 8, 1702 and May 1, 1707. On May 1, 1707, under the Acts of Union, two of her realms, the kingdoms of England and Scotland, united as a single sovereign state known as Great Britain. She continued to reign as Queen of Great Britain and Ireland until her death. Anne remained Queen of Ireland in the form of a personal union with the British Crown and wouldn’t be politically united with Great Britain until 1801.

Anne was born at 11:39 p.m. on February 6, 1665 at St James’s Palace, London, the fourth child and second daughter of the Duke of York (afterwards James II and VII), and his first wife, Anne Hyde. Her father was the younger brother of King Charles II, and her mother was the daughter of Lord Chancellor Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon. At her Anglican baptism in the Chapel Royal at St James’s, her older sister, Mary, was one of her godparents, along with the Duchess of Monmouth and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Gilbert Sheldon. The Duke and Duchess of York had eight children, but Anne and Mary were the only ones to survive into adulthood.

Since Anne’s uncle Charles II, had no legitimate children, her father, James, Duke of York was thus heir presumptive to the throne. His suspected Roman Catholicism was unpopular in England, and on Charles’s instructions Anne and her elder sister, Mary, were raised as Anglicans. Three years after he succeeded Charles, James was deposed in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Anne’s sister and Dutch Protestant brother-in-law and cousin William III of Orange became joint monarchs. Although the sisters had been close, disagreements over Anne’s finances, status and choice of acquaintances arose shortly after Mary’s accession and they became estranged. William III-II and Mary II had no children. After Mary II’s death in 1694, William III-II reigned alone until his own death in 1702, when Anne succeeded him.


Anne’s second cousin George of Hanover (her eventual successor) visited London for three months from December 1680, sparking rumours of a potential marriage between them. Historian Edward Gregg dismissed the rumours as ungrounded, as her father was essentially exiled from court, and the Hanoverians planned to marry George to his first cousin Sophia Dorothea of Celle as part of a scheme to unite the Hanoverian inheritance. Other rumours claimed she was courted by Lord Mulgrave (later made Duke of Buckingham), although he denied it. Nevertheless, as a result of the gossip, he was temporarily dismissed from court.


With George of Hanover out of contention as a potential suitor for Anne, King Charles II looked elsewhere for an eligible prince who would be welcomed as a groom by his Protestant subjects but also acceptable to his Catholic ally, Louis XIV of France and Navarre. The Danes were Protestant allies of the French, and Louis XIV was keen on an Anglo-Danish alliance to contain the power of the Dutch. A marriage treaty between Anne and Prince George of Denmark, younger brother of King Christian V, (sons of King Frederik III of Denmark and Norway and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg) Anne’s second cousin once removed, was negotiated by Anne’s uncle Laurence Hyde, who had been made Earl of Rochester, and the English Secretary of State for the Northern Department, Robert Spencer, 2nd Earl of Sunderland. Anne’s father consented to the marriage eagerly because it diminished the influence of his other son-in-law, William of Orange, who was naturally unhappy at the match.

Bishop Compton officiated at the wedding of Anne and George of Denmark on July 28, 1683 in the Chapel Royal. Though it was an arranged marriage, they were faithful and devoted partners. They were given a set of buildings, known as the Cockpit, in the Palace of Whitehall as their London residence, and Sarah Churchill was appointed one of Anne’s ladies of the bedchamber.. Within months of the marriage, Anne was pregnant, but the baby was stillborn in May. Anne recovered at the spa town of Tunbridge Wells, and over the next two years, gave birth to two daughters in quick succession: Mary and Anne Sophia.

Anne’s seventh pregnancy resulted in the birth of a son at 5 a.m. on July 24, 1689 in Hampton Court Palace. As it was usual for the births of potential heirs to the throne to be attended by several witnesses, the King and Queen and “most of the persons of quality about the court” were present. Three days later, the newborn baby was baptised Prince William Henry after his uncle King William III by Henry Compton, Bishop of London. The King, who was one of the godparents along with the Marchioness of Halifax and the Lord Chamberlain, Lord Dorset, declared him Duke of Gloucester, although the peerage was never formally created.


Prince William, Duke of Gloucester was viewed by contemporaries as a Protestant champion because his birth seemed to cement the Protestant succession established in the “Glorious Revolution” that had deposed his Catholic grandfather James II-VII the previous year. Prince William died close to 1 a.m. on July 30, 1700, with his parents beside him. In the end, the physicians decided the cause of death was “a malignant fever”. An autopsy revealed severe swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck and an abnormal amount of fluid in the ventricles of his brain: four and a half ounces of a limpid humour were taken out.” A modern diagnosis is that Gloucester died of acute bacterial pharyngitis, with associated pneumonia. Had he lived, though, it is almost certain the prince would have succumbed to complications of his hydrocephalus.

Although Anne had ten other pregnancies after the birth of Gloucester, none of them resulted in a child who survived more than briefly after birth. The English parliament did not want the throne to revert to a Catholic, so it passed the Act of Settlement 1701, which settled the throne of England on a cousin of King James, Sophia, Electress of Hanover, and her Protestant heirs.

During her reign, Anne favoured moderate Tory politicians, who were more likely to share her Anglican religious views than their opponents, the Whigs. The Whigs grew more powerful during the course of the War of the Spanish Succession, until 1710 when Anne dismissed many of them from office. Her close friendship with Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, turned sour as the result of political differences. The Duchess took revenge in an unflattering description of the Queen in her memoirs, which was widely accepted by historians until Anne was re-assessed in the late 20th century.

Anne was plagued by ill health throughout her life, and from her thirties, she grew increasingly lame and obese. Despite seventeen pregnancies by her husband, Prince George of Denmark, she died without surviving issue and was the last monarch of the House of Stuart. Under the Act of Settlement 1701, which excluded all Catholics, she was succeeded by her second cousin George I of the House of Hanover, whose maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Stuart, Queen of Bohemia, was a daughter of James VI and I.

Death of King Pavlos of Greece


, , , , , , , , , ,

Pavlos was born at Tatoi Palace in Athens, the third son of King Constantine I of Greece and his wife, Princess Sophia of Prussia. He trained as an army officer at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst and later at the Hellenic Military Academy in Kypseli, Athens. Paul was an army officer cadet in the Coldstream Guards and Lieutenant with the Evzones.


From 1917 to 1920, Pavlos lived in exile with his father, Constantine I. From 1923 to 1935, he lived in exile again in England, this time with his brother, George II. He worked briefly in an aircraft factory under an alias, and through Viscount Tredegar.

On January 9, 1938, Pavlos married Princess Frederica of Hanover, his first cousin once removed through Friedrich III, German Emperor and Victoria, Princess Royal, and second cousin through Christian IX of Denmark, at Athens. They had three children:
* Sophia, Queen of Spain (born 1938).
* Constantine II, King of the Hellenes (born 1940).
* Princess Irene of Greece and Denmark (born 1942).


Pavlos returned to Greece in 1946. He succeeded to the throne in 1947, on the death of his childless elder brother, King George II, during the Greek Civil War (between Greek Communists and the non-communist Greek government). In 1947 he was unable to attend the wedding of his first cousin, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh to the future Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom as he was suffering from typhoid fever.

By 1949 the Civil War was effectively over, with the Communist insurgents ceasing the majority of their operations, and the task of rebuilding the shattered north of the country began

In the 1950s Greece recovered economically, and diplomatic and trade links were strengthened by Pavlos’ state visits abroad. He became the first Greek Monarch to visit a Turkish Head of State. However, links with Britain became strained over Cyprus, where the majority Greek population favored union with Greece, which Britain, as the colonial power, would not endorse. Eventually, Cyprus became an independent state in 1960.


In December 1959, Prince Maximillian of Bavaria presented King Otto’s coronation regalia to King Pavlos. It had been almost a century since they were last in Greece.

Meanwhile, republican sentiment was growing in Greece. Both Pavlos and Frederica attracted criticism for their interference in politics, frequent foreign travels, and the cost of maintaining the Royal Family. Pavlos responded by economising and donated his private estate at Polidendri to the State.

In 1959, he had an operation for a cataract, and in 1963 an emergency operation for appendicitis. In late February 1964, he underwent a further operation for stomach cancer, and died about a week later, March 6, 1964 in Athens. He was succeeded by his son, Constantine II.

Henry VI, King of England & Lord of Ireland is deposed. March 4, 1461.


, , , , , , , , , , ,

Henry VI (December 6, 1421 – May 21, 1471) was King of England and Lord of Ireland from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. The only child of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, (daughter of Charles VI of France and younger sister of Isabella of Valois the widow of Richard II). Henry VI succeeded to the English throne at the age of nine months upon his father’s death, on August 31, 1422; he was the youngest person ever to succeed to the English throne. A few weeks later on October 21, 1422 in accordance with the Treaty of Troyes of 1420, he became titular King of France upon his grandfather Charles VI’s death. His mother, Catherine of Valois, was then 20 years old. As Charles VI’s daughter, she was viewed with considerable suspicion by English nobles and was prevented from playing a full role in her son’s upbringing.and succeeded to the French throne on the death of his maternal grandfather Charles VI shortly afterwards. The subject of Henry VI’s claim to the French throne is a topic for another blog entry.


Henry VI inherited the long-running Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453), in which Charles VII of the House of Valois who contested his claim to the French throne. The early reign of Henry VI, during which several people were ruling for him, saw the height of English power in France, but subsequent military failures, the desertion of England’s allies, and a faltering economy resulted in the decline of English fortunes in the war. Upon assuming personal rule in 1437, Henry VI found his realm in a difficult position, faced with diplomatic and military reverses in France and divisions among the nobility at home.

In the later years of Henry’s reign, the monarchy became increasingly unpopular, due to a breakdown in law and order, corruption, the distribution of royal land to the king’s court favourites, the troubled state of the crown’s finances, and the steady loss of territories in France.

In the midst of military catastrophes in France and of a general breakdown in law and order in England, the king’s cousin Richard, Duke of York, led an increasingly popular league of disaffected elements aiming to reform the government. He challenged the authority of the unpopular queen Margaret (widely held to be the real hand behind Henry VI’s decisions) and of the king’s clique of councillors, accusing them of misconducting the war in France and misruling the country.

Upon reaching his 21st year in 1442, and thus the legal age of majority, Henry VI saw the question of his marriage gain importance in English politics. The heir presumptive at the time, the King’s uncle Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, (the fourth and youngest son of Henry IV, King of England and his first wife Mary de Bohun, the brother of King Henry V, and the uncle of Henry VI) saw his public image become severely damaged after his wife Eleanor Cobham was arrested and tried under charges of witchcraft in 1441. This scandal seems to have highlighted the need for Henry VI to produce heirs of his own, and public focus began to place itself on the King and potential marriage plans.

The first major proposal was to marry the King to a daughter of John IV, Count of Armagnac, a powerful noble in southwestern France who had been at odds with the Valois crown for a while, and whose lands were located very closely to the English territories in Guyenne. Already on good terms with the English since 1437, Armagnac would benefit from a strong alliance which would protect him from threats by Charles VII, while the English could use his lands as a defensive buffer zone against French attacks. The English took long to make a final decision, however, and when Charles VII invaded Gascony in 1442, the frightened Count of Armagnac seemed to change his mind. The prospect for the marriage and alliance was destroyed when Armagnac’s lands were invaded by Charles VII’s forces in 1443.


Cardinal Beaufort and the Earl of Suffolk persuaded the king that the best way of pursuing peace with France was through a marriage with Margaret of Anjou, the niece of King Charles VII. Henry agreed, especially when he heard reports of Margaret’s stunning beauty, and sent Suffolk to negotiate with Charles, who agreed to the marriage on condition that he would not have to provide the customary dowry and instead would receive the land of Maine from the English. These conditions were agreed to in the Treaty of Tours in 1444, but the cession of Maine was kept secret from parliament, as it was known that this would be hugely unpopular with the English populace. The marriage took place at Titchfield Abbey on April 23, 1445, one month after Margaret’s 15th birthday.

After the death of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester on February 23, 1447, Richard, Duke of York, became the heir presumptive to King Henry VI until the birth of Henry’s son Edward in 1453. In 1449, the Duke of Somerset, leading the campaign in France, reopened hostilities in Normandy (him having been one of the main advocates for peace), but by the autumn had been pushed back to Caen. By 1450, the French had retaken the whole province, so hard won by Henry V.

In 1451, the Duchy of Aquitaine, held since Henry II’s time, was also lost. In 1452, the Duke of York was persuaded to return from Ireland, claim his rightful place on the council and put an end to bad government. His cause was a popular one and he soon raised an army at Shrewsbury. The court party, meanwhile, raised their own similar-sized force in London. A stand-off took place south of London, with York presenting a list of grievances and demands to the court circle, including the arrest of Edmund Beaufort, 2nd Duke of Somerset. The king initially agreed, but Margaret intervened to prevent the arrest of Beaufort.

In October 1452, an English advance in Aquitaine retook Bordeaux and was having some success but by 1453, Bordeaux was lost again, leaving Calais as England’s only remaining territory on the continent. However, on hearing of the final loss of Bordeaux in August 1453, Henry experienced a mental breakdown and became completely unresponsive to everything that was going on around him for more than a year. (Henry may have been suffering from a form of schizophrenia, according to modern experts, as he reportedly demonstrated other symptoms of schizophrenia, especially hallucinations.) He even failed to respond to the birth of a son and heir, who was christened Edward. Henry may have inherited a psychiatric condition from Charles VI of France, his maternal grandfather, who was affected by intermittent periods of insanity during the last thirty years of his life.

The Duke of York, meanwhile, had gained a very important ally, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, one of the most influential magnates and possibly richer than York himself. On Christmas Day 1454, King Henry VI regained his senses. Disaffected nobles who had grown in power during Henry’s reign, most importantly the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury, took matters into their own hands. They backed the claims of the rival House of York, first to the control of government, and then to the throne itself (from 1460), due to York’s better descent from Edward III. It was agreed that the Duke of York would formally become Henry’s successor, despite York being older.

York was also named regent as Protector of the Realm in 1454. The queen was excluded completely, and Edmund Beaufort was detained in the Tower of London, while many of York’s supporters spread rumours that Edward was not the king’s son, but Beaufort’s. Other than that, York’s months as regent were spent tackling the problem of government overspending.

Edward of York, eldest son of Richard, Duke of York, carried on a factional struggle with the king’s Beaufort relatives. He established a dominant position after his victory at the First Battle of St Albans in 1455, in which his chief rival Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, was killed. However, Henry’s Queen, Margaret of Anjou, rebuilt a powerful faction to oppose the Yorkists over the following years. In 1459 Margaret moved against the Duke of York and his principal supporters—his brother-in-law Richard Neville, Earl of Salisbury, and Salisbury’s son Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, who rose in revolt.

The Yorkist leaders fled from England after the collapse of their army in the confrontation at Ludford Bridge. The Duke of York took refuge in Ireland, while Edward went with the Nevilles to Calais where Warwick was governor. In 1460 Edward landed in Kent with Salisbury, Warwick and Salisbury’s brother William Neville, Lord Fauconberg, raised an army, and occupied London. Edward, Warwick and Fauconberg left Salisbury besieging the Tower of London and advanced against the king, who was with an army in the Midlands, and defeated and captured him in the Battle of Northampton. York returned to England and was declared the king’s heir by parliament (in the Act of Accord), but Queen Margaret raised a fresh army against him, and Richard, Duke of York was killed at the Battle of Wakefield on December 30, 1460, along with his second surviving son Edmund, Earl of Rutland, and the Earl of Salisbury.

This left Edward, now Duke of York, at the head of the Yorkist faction. He defeated a Lancastrian army at Mortimer’s Cross in Herefordshire on February 2-3, 1461. He then united his forces with those of Warwick, whom Margaret’s army had defeated at the Second Battle of St Albans (February 17, 1461), during which Henry VI had been rescued by his supporters. By this point, however, Henry VI was suffering such a bout of madness that he was apparently laughing and singing while the battle raged.

Richard, Duke of York, had restricted his ambitions to only becoming Henry’s heir, but Edward now took the more radical step of proclaiming himself king on March 4, 1461. He then advanced against the Lancastrians, having his life saved on the battlefield by the Welsh Knight Sir David Ap Mathew. He defeated the Lancastrian army in the exceptionally bloody Battle of Towton in Yorkshire on 29 March 1461. Edward IV had effectively broken the military strength of the Lancastrians, and he returned to London for his coronation. King Edward IV named Sir David Ap Mathew Standard Bearer of England and allowed him to use “Towton” on the Mathew family crest.

Edward IV failed to capture Henry and his queen, who fled to Scotland. During the first period of Edward IV’s reign, Lancastrian resistance continued mainly under the leadership of Queen Margaret and the few nobles still loyal to her in the northern counties of England and Wales. Henry VI, who had been safely hidden by Lancastrian allies in Scotland, Northumberland and Yorkshire, was captured by King Edward in 1465 and subsequently held captive in the Tower of London.

Birth of Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz


, , , , , , ,

Today in 1778 Duchess Frederica was born in Hanover. She was the daughter of the future Grand Duke Carl and Duchess Friederike. Through her third marriage with Prince Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland she became Queen consort of Hanover in 1837.


Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (full name: Friederike Louise Caroline Sophie Charlotte Alexandrine) (March 3, 1778 – June 29, 1841) was a German princess who became, by marriage, princess of Prussia, princess of Solms-Braunfels, Duchess of Cumberland in the Peerage of Great Britain and Queen of Hanover (in the German Confederation of the Rhine, the successor state to the Holy Roman Empire) as the consort of Ernst-August I of Hanover (the fifth son and eighth child of King George III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, King of Hanover.

She was born in the Altes Palais of Hanover as the fifth daughter of Carl II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and his first wife, Frederica, daughter of Prince Georg-Wilhelm of Hesse-Darmstadt. Her father assumed the title of Grand Duke of Mecklenburg on June 18, 1815. Duchess Frederica was the niece of her future mother-in-law, Queen Charlotte (formerly Duchess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz), through her father.

First marriage

Frederica’s parents were anxious to arrange advantageous marriages for all their daughters, and used family connections to bring this about. Queen Frederika Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt, wife of King Friedrich-Wilhelm II of Prussia was a first cousin of Frederica’s mother. Frederica’s parents broached with the Prussian royal family the idea of marriage between their children, and the Prussians were not averse. On March 14, 1793, the Princesses of Mecklenburg-Strelitz “coincidentally” met the Prussian King Friedrich-Wilhelm II at the Prussian Theatre in Frankfurt-am-Main. He was immediately captivated by the grace and charm of both sisters, Frederica and Louise. The pending marriage negotiations received traction, and within weeks, the matter was settled: Frederica’s elder sister Louise would marry Crown Prince Friedrich-Wilhelm and Frederica would marry his younger brother Prince Ludwig.

The double engagement was celebrated in Darmstadt on April 24, 1793, only a few weeks after the sister fortuitously met their future father-in-law at the theatre. On December 24, Louise and Crown Prince Friedrich-Wilhelm were married in the Royal Palace of Berlin; two days later, on 26 December, Frederica and Prince Ludwig were also married at the same venue.

Unlike her sister, Frederica did not enjoy a happy marriage. Although her husband died from diphtheria in 1796, only three years after the wedding, Ludwig was said to have preferred the company of his mistresses and completely neglected his wife, or at least, that is her version; in response, she allegedly began an affair with her husband’s uncle Prince Ludwig-Ferdinand. Despite her husband’s alleged neglect, Fredrica did bear him three children in as many years: Friedrich in 1794; a short-lived son, Carl, in 1795; and a daughter, Frederica, in 1796.

In 1797, Frederica and her cousin Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, seventh son of King George III of Great Britain by his wife Queen Charlotte (Frederica’s paternal aunt), became unofficially engaged. The Duke of Cambridge asked the consent of his father to the marriage. The King did not refuse his consent but asked his son to wait until the ongoing war with France was over. The relationship eventually ended, with rumors circulating that either Adolphus had offered to release Frederica from the engagement, or – as Queen Charlotte believed – Frederica had jilted him for another man


Second marriage

In 1798 Frederica became pregnant. The father was Prince Friedrich -Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels. The prince recognized his paternity and requested her hand in marriage, a proposal that was quickly granted in order to avoid scandal. On 10 December of that year, the couple was married in Berlin and immediately moved to Ansbach. Two months later, in February 1799, Frederica gave birth to a daughter who only lived eight months. Prince Friedrich-Wilhelm disappointed and embittered, resumed his old dissipated lifestyle and became an alcoholic. In 1805 he resigned his military posts for “health reasons”. Frederica had to maintain her family with her own resources after her brother-in-law, King Friedrich-Wilhelm III of Prussia, refused to restore her annual pension as a dowager princess of Prussia. Frederica’s older brother-in-law and head of the family, Wilhelm-Christian, Prince of Solms-Braunfels, advised her to get a divorce, with his full approval. She and her husband nonetheless refused.

Third marriage

In May 1813, during a visit to his uncle Duke Carl in Neustrelitz, Prince Ernest-Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, the fifth son of King George III of Great Britain, met and fell in love with Frederica. Duke Charles made it clear to his daughter that her separation from the Prince of Solms-Braunfels was absolutely logical, and that he saw a marriage with an English prince as a great opportunity for her. During the next months Frederica considered the intentions of Ernest-Augustus and the possible effects on her own situation. When, after the victory of the allies in the Battle of Leipzig, Ernest Augustus spent some days in Neustrelitz, he was greeted enthusiastically.

Some time later Frederica asked the Prussian king for approval for her divorce from Prince Friedrich-Wilhelm of Solms-Braunfels. All parties agreed, including the Prince of Solms-Braunfels, but Friedrich-Wilhelm II’s sudden death on April 13, 1814 precluded the need for a divorce. The prince’s demise was considered by some as a little too convenient, and some suspected that Frederica had poisoned him. In August, the engagement with Ernest-Augustus was officially announced. After the British Prince Regent gave his consent to the wedding, Frederica and Ernest Augustus were married on 29 May 1815 at the parish church of Neustrelitz. Some time later, the couple traveled to Great Britain and married again on August 29, 1815 at Carlton House, London.

Queen Charlotte bitterly opposed the marriage, even though her future daughter-in-law was also her niece. She refused to attend the wedding and advised her son to live outside England with his wife. Frederica never obtained the favor of her aunt/mother-in-law, who died unreconciled with her in 1818. During her marriage to Ernest-Augustus she gave birth thrice, but only a son survived, who would eventually become King Georg V of Hanover.

Queen of Hanover

On 20 June 1837 King William IV of the United Kingdom and Hanover died without issue. His heir was Princess Victoria, only daughter of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, but because Hanover had been ruled under semi-Salic Law since the times of the Holy Roman Empire, she could not inherit the Hanoverian throne. The next male descendant of the late king was the Duke of Cumberland, Frederica’s husband, who then became King Ernst-August I of Hanover, with Frederica as his Queen consort.

After a short illness, Queen Frederica of Hanover died in 1841 at Hanover.

The Court master builder Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves was instructed by the King to build a mausoleum for his wife and himself in the garden of the chapel at Herrenhausen Palace. He also gave royal orders for the transformation of a central square near the Leineschloss and renamed it Friederikenplatz in her honor.Bir

Death of Queen Anne, Wife of James I-VI of England, Scotland & Ireland


, , , , , , , ,

On this date in History death of Queen Anne, the wife of King James VI of Scotland and I of England, March 2, 1619.


Anne of Denmark (December 12, 1574 – March 2, 1619) was Queen consort of Scotland, England, and Ireland by marriage to King James VI and I. Anne was the second daughter of King Frederik II of Denmark and Norway, Duke of Schleswig and his wife Sophia of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, (a descendant of King John of Denmark, and also his own first half-cousin, through their grandfather, Frederik I, King of Denmark and Norway. Sophia was the daughter of Ulrich III, Duke of Mecklenburg-Güstrow and Elizabeth of Denmark).

Anne married James in 1589 at age 15 and bore him three children who survived infancy, including the future Charles I. She demonstrated an independent streak and a willingness to use factional Scottish politics in her conflicts with James over the custody of Prince Henry and his treatment of her friend Beatrix Ruthven. Anne appears to have loved James at first, but the couple gradually drifted and eventually lived apart, though mutual respect and a degree of affection survived.

In England, Anne shifted her energies from factional politics to patronage of the arts and constructed her own magnificent court, hosting one of the richest cultural salons in Europe.


The death of Prince Henry in 1612 at the age of eighteen, probably from typhoid, and the departure for Heidelberg of the sixteen-year-old Princess Elizabeth in April 1613, after marrying Elector Frederick V of the Palatine, further weakened the family ties binding Anne and James. Henry’s death hit Anne particularly hard; the Venetian ambassador was advised not to offer condolences to her “because she cannot bear to have it mentioned; nor does she ever recall it without abundant tears and sighs”. From this time forward, Anne’s health deteriorated, and she withdrew from the centre of cultural and political activities, staging her last known masque in 1614 and no longer maintaining a noble court. Her influence over James visibly waned as he became openly dependent on powerful favourites. Though she was reported to have been a Protestant at the time of her death, evidence suggests that she may have converted to Catholicism sometime in her life.

By late 1617, Anne’s bouts of illness had become debilitating; the letter writer John Chamberlain recorded: “The Queen continues still ill disposed and though she would fain lay all her infirmities upon the gout yet most of her physicians fear a further inconvenience of an ill habit or disposition through her whole body.” In January 1619, royal physician Sir Theodore de Mayerne instructed Anne to saw wood to improve her blood flow, but the exertion served to make her worse. James visited Anne only three times during her last illness, though Prince Charles often slept in the adjoining bedroom at Hampton Court Palace and was at her bedside during her last hours, when she had lost her sight. With her until the end was her personal maid, Anna Roos, who had arrived with her from Denmark in 1590. Queen Anne died aged 44 on March 2, 1619, of a dangerous form of dropsy.


Historians have traditionally dismissed Anne as a lightweight queen, frivolous and self-indulgent. However, recent reappraisals acknowledge Anne’s assertive independence and, in particular, her dynamic significance as a patron of the arts during the Jacobean age.

Queen Anne was buried in King Henry VII’s Chapel, Westminster Abbey, on May 13, 1619.

Henri IV was crowned King of France at the Cathedral of Chartres on February 27, 1594.


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On this date in History: Henri IV was crowned King of France at the Cathedral of Chartres on February 27, 1594.

Henri IV (December 13, 1553 – May 14, 1610), also known by the epithet “Good King Henry”, was King of Navarre (as Henri III) from 1572 to 1610 and King of France from 1589 to 1610. He was the first monarch of France from the House of Bourbon, another branch of the Capetian dynasty (through Louis IX, as the previous House of Valois had been through Philippe II). He was assassinated in 1610 by François Ravaillac, a fanatical Catholic, and was succeeded by his son Louis XIII.


Henri was born in Pau, the capital of the joint Kingdom of Navarre with the sovereign principality of Béarn. His parents were Queen Joan III of Navarre (Jeanne d’Albret) and her consort, Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme. Although baptised as a Roman Catholic, Henri was raised as a Protestant by his mother, who had declared Calvinism the religion of Navarre. As a teenager, Henri joined the Huguenot forces in the French Wars of Religion. On June 9, 1572, upon his mother’s death, the 19-year-old became King of Navarre.

At Queen Joan III’s death, it was arranged for Henri to marry Margaret of Valois, daughter of Henri II and Catherine de’ Medici. The wedding took place in Paris on August 18, 1572 on the parvis of Notre Dame Cathedral.

Henri became heir presumptive to the French throne in 1584 upon the death of François, Duke of Anjou, brother and heir to the Catholic Henri III of France who had succeeded Charles IX in 1574. Because Henri of Navarre was the next senior agnatic descendant of King Louis IX, King Henri III of France had no choice but to recognise him as the legitimate successor. Salic law barred the king’s sisters and all others who could claim descent through only the female line from inheriting. Since Henri of Navarre was a Huguenot, the issue was not considered settled in many quarters of the country, and France was plunged into a phase of the Wars of Religion known as the War of the Three Henries. Henri III of France and Henri III of Navarre were two of these Henries.

The third was Henri I, Duke of Guise, (the eldest son of François, Duke of Guise, and Anna d’Este. His maternal grandparents were Ercole II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, and Renée of France, herself the second daughter of Louis XII of France and Anne of Brittany) who pushed for complete suppression of the Huguenots and had much support among Catholic loyalists. The Catholic League accepted Henri, Duke of Guise because of his staunch Catholicism, despite his claim to the throne being in contention with the Salic Law for his claimed descent from Louis XII of France, his great-grandfather, was through the female line. Political disagreements among the parties set off a series of campaigns and counter-campaigns that culminated in the Battle of Coutras.

In December 1588, Henri III of France had Henri I of Guise murdered, along with his brother, Louis Cardinal de Guise. Henri III thought that the removal of Guise would finally restore his authority. Instead, however, the populace were horrified and rose against him. In several cities, the title of the king was no longer recognized. His power was limited to Blois, Tours, and the surrounding districts. In the general chaos, the king relied on King Henri of Navarre and his Huguenots.

The two kings were united by a common interest—to win France from the Catholic League. Henri III acknowledged the King of Navarre as a true subject and Frenchman, not a fanatic Huguenot aiming for the destruction of Catholics. Catholic royalist nobles also rallied to the king’s standard. With this combined force, the two kings marched to Paris. The morale of the city was low, and even the Spanish ambassador believed the city could not hold out longer than a fortnight. But Henri III was assassinated shortly thereafter (August 2, 1589) by a fanatical monk.


When Henri III died, Henri of Navarre nominally became king of France. The Catholic League, however, strengthened by support from outside the country—especially from Spain—was strong enough to prevent a universal recognition of his new title. Most of the Catholic nobles who had joined Henri III for the siege of Paris also refused to recognize the claim of Henri of Navarre, and abandoned him. He set about winning his kingdom by military conquest, aided by English money and German troops. Henri’s Catholic uncle Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon, was proclaimed king by the League, but the Cardinal was Henri’s prisoner at the time. Henri was victorious at the Battle of Arques and the Battle of Ivry, but failed to take Paris after besieging it in 1590.

When Cardinal de Bourbon died in 1590, the League could not agree on a new candidate. While some supported various Guise candidates, the strongest candidate was probably the Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain, the daughter of Felipe II of Spain, whose mother Elisabeth had been the eldest daughter of Henri II of France. In the religious fervor of the time, the Infanta was recognized to be a suitable candidate, provided that she marry a suitable husband.

The French overwhelmingly rejected Felipe II’s first choice, Archduke Ernest of Austria, the Emperor’s brother, also a member of the House of Habsburg. In case of such opposition, Felipe indicated that princes of the House of Lorraine would be acceptable to him: the Duke of Guise; a son of the Duke of Lorraine; and the son of the Duke of Mayenne. The Spanish ambassadors selected the Duke of Guise, to the joy of the League. But at that moment of seeming victory, the envy of the Duke of Mayenne was aroused, and he blocked the proposed election of a king.

The Parlement of Paris also upheld the Salic law. They argued that if the French accepted natural hereditary succession, as proposed by the Spaniards, and accepted a woman as their queen, then the ancient claims of the English kings would be confirmed, and the monarchy of centuries past would be nothing but an illegality. The Parlement admonished Mayenne, as Lieutenant-General, that the Kings of France had resisted the interference of the Pope in political matters, and that he should not raise a foreign prince or princess to the throne of France under the pretext of religion. Mayenne was angered that he had not been consulted prior, but yielded, since their aim was not contrary to his present views.

Despite these setbacks for the League, Henri remained unable to take control of Paris.

On July 25, 1593, with the encouragement of his great love, Gabrielle d’Estrées, Henri permanently renounced Protestantism and converted to Roman Catholicism—in order to obtain the French crown, thereby earning the resentment of the Huguenots and his former ally Queen Elizabeth I of England. He was said to have declared that Paris vaut bien une messe (“Paris is well worth a mass”), although there is some doubt whether he said this, or whether the statement was attributed to him by his contemporaries. His acceptance of Roman Catholicism secured the allegiance of the vast majority of his subjects.

Since Reims, the traditional location for the coronation of French kings, was still occupied by the Catholic League, Henri IV was crowned King of France at the Cathedral of Chartres on February 27, 1594. He did not forget his former Calvinist coreligionists, however and was known for his religious tolerance. In 1598 he issued the Edict of Nantes, which granted circumscribed toleration to the Huguenots.

Death of Grand Duke William IV of Luxembourg


, , , , , , ,

On this date in History, February 25, 1912 the death of Grand Duke William IV of Luxembourg and the accession of his eldest daughter as Grand Duchess Marie-Adélaïde of Luxembourg.

William IV (William Alexander; April 22, 1852 – February 25, 1912) reigned as the Grand Duke of Luxembourg from November 17, 1905 until his death. He succeeded his father, Adolphe.


William IV was a Protestant, the religion of the House of Nassau. He married Infanta Marie Anne of Portugal, believing that a Roman Catholic country ought to have a Roman Catholic monarch. Thus his heirs have been Catholic. Infanta Marie Anne of Portugal was the fifth child and second-youngest daughter of the deposed King Miguel of Portugal and his wife Princess Adelaide of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Rosenberg. As such, she was titled and styled from birth as an infanta of Portugal. At the time of her birth, her father had been exiled, and the family lived as guests in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

From 1815 to 1839, the grand duchy of Luxembourg was ruled by the kings of the Netherlands as a province of the Netherlands. Following the 1839 Treaty of London, Luxembourg became independent but remained in personal union with the Netherlands. Following the death of his sons, King Willem III, had no male heirs to succeed him. In the Netherlands, females were allowed to succeed to the throne in 1887. Luxembourg, however, followed salic law which barred females from succession. Thus, upon William’s death, the crown of the Netherlands passed to his only daughter Wilhelmina while that of Luxembourg passed to Adolphe, in accordance with the Nassau Family Pact.

Grand Duke Adolphe died in 1905 and was succeeded as Grand Duke by his son, William IV. However, the Salic Law did not last in Luxembourg. At the death of Prince Nikolaus-Wilhelm of Nassau-Weilburg, uncle of Grand Duke William IV in 1905, the only other legitimate male in the House of Nassau-Weilburg was William IV’s cousin, Georg Nikolaus, Count of Merenberg, the product of a morganatic marriage. So in 1907, William declared the Counts of Merenberg non-dynastic, naming his own eldest daughter Marie-Adélaïde (1894–1924) as heir presumptive to the grand ducal throne. She became Luxembourg’s first reigning grand duchess upon her father’s death in 1912, and upon her own abdication in 1919, was succeeded by her younger sister Charlotte (1896–1985). Charlotte’s descendants reign until the present day.

He was the last monarch of Luxembourg to die whilst still on the throne.


Marie-Adélaïde (Marie Adelheid Thérèse Hilda Wilhelmine; June 14, 1894 – January 24, 1924), reigned as Grand Duchess of Luxembourg from 1912 until her abdication in 1919. She was the first Grand Duchess regnant of Luxembourg (after five grand dukes), its first female monarch since Duchess Maria Theresa (1740–1780, who was also Austrian Empress) and the first Luxembourgish monarch to be born within the territory since Count John the Blind (1296–1346).

Named as heir presumptive by her father Grand Duke William IV in 1907 to prevent a succession crisis due to his lack of a son, Marie-Adélaïde became Grand Duchess in 1912. She ruled through the First World War, and her perceived support for the German occupation forces led to great unpopularity in Luxembourg as well as neighbouring France and Belgium. In 1919, on the advice of Parliament and after enormous pressure from the Luxembourgish people, she abdicated on January 14, 1919 in favour of her younger sister Charlotte who managed to save the monarchy and the dynasty in a national referendum (September 28, 1919).

After abdicating, Marie-Adélaïde retired in a monastery in Italy, before leaving due to ill health. She died of influenza in Germany on January 24, 1924 at the age of 29.