Death of Grand Duke Adolf-Friedrich VI of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.


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On this date in History, February 23, 1918, death of Grand Duke Adolf-Friedrich VI of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.


Grand Duke Adolf-Friedrich VI was born on June 17, 1882 in Neustrelitz the third of the four children of Grand Duke Adolf-Friedrich V and his wife Grand Duchess Elisabeth, (the third child of Friedrich I, Duke of Anhalt and Princess Antoinette of Saxe-Altenburg.) At the time of his birth his grandfather Grand Duke Friedrich-Wilhelm of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was on the throne and his parents were the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess. As the elder son of the Hereditary Grand Duke at birth Adolf Friedrich bore the title Hereditary Prince.


Hereditary Prince

The young hereditary prince was christened Adolf Friedrich Georg Ernst Albert Eduard in Neustrelitz on July 19, 1882 with holy water sent from the River Jordan in Palestine. The christening was part of a double celebration for Mecklenburg-Strelitz as the day also marked the 60th birthday of his grandmother Grand Duchess Augusta. Adolf Friedrich’s godparents were his two grandfathers Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Duke Friedrich I of Anhalt, his uncle the future Duke Eduard of Anhalt, his great aunts Duchess Ekaterina of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (born Grand Duchess of Russia) and Princess Maria Anna of Prussia and Duchess Agnes of Saxe-Altenburg (both born Princesses of Anhalt), his great uncles Prince George, Duke of Cambridge and Duke Ernst I of Saxe-Altenburg, the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Princess Helena of Schleswig-Holstein (born Princess of Great Britain), the future German Emperor Friedrich III and Grand Duke Friedrich-Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.  

Adolf Friedrich spent his childhood at the Carolinenpalais in Neustrelitz with his parents and siblings, Marie, Jutta and Carl-Borwin where he received private tutoring. From February 1, 1891 to December 11, 1898 he was tutored by the Protestant theologian Carl Horn, after which Adolf-Friedrich left Neustrelitz to continue with his studies at the Vitzthum-Gymnasium in Dresden where a fellow student was his kinsman the young Grand Duke Friedrich-Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. In January 1902 he moved to Munich to study law.


On July 30, 1898 Adolf-Friedrich was made a Lieutenant à la suite in the Royal Prussian Army’s Grand Ducal Mecklenburg Grenadier Regiment Number 89. As a future grand duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz he was expected to one day head of the regiment’s second battalion, the first and third battalions being headed by the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. However Adolf-Friedrich’s active army career did not begin until after the conclusion of his studies at which point he joined the Prussian Army’s 1st Uhlan Guards Regiment in Potsdam as a Lieutenant.

Hereditary Grand Duke

The first half of 1904 was a time of sadness for Adolf-Friedrich and the grand ducal family. In January he lost his maternal grandfather the Duke of Anhalt while in March his great uncle and godfather the Duke of Cambridge also died. It would be his third bereavement that would have the most impact on his life as with the death of his paternal grandfather Grand Duke Friedrich-Wilhelm on May 30, 1904 his father succeeded as grand duke with Adolf-Friedrich becoming heir apparent to the throne and Hereditary Grand Duke. From his paternal grandfather he inherited considerably less money than his siblings as he was in direct line to become grand duke and inherit the bulk of the grand ducal family’s wealth and estates.     

Thanks to the influence of his grandmother the Dowager Grand Duchess, who was born Princess Augusta of Cambridge, Adolf-Friedrich had a great admiration for Britain. He was present at a number of major British royal events including the funeral of Queen Victoria in February 1901, the coronation in 1902 and the funeral in 1910 of King Edward VII, and the coronation in 1911 of King George V. He spent the summers of 1912 and 1913 in Britain and became a well known and liked member of London society.


While hereditary grand duke Adolf-Friedrich was seen as one of the most eligible European princes of his day with a possible engagement a topic of newspaper gossip. With his close links to Britain he was at various times linked to King George V’s only daughter the Princess Mary, the king’s cousin Princess Patricia of Connaught and even the morganatic daughter of the British based Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich of Russia, the Countess Zia de Torby, who Adolf-Friedrich was regularly seen out with while in London. Other rumoured spouses were Emperor Wilhelm II’s only daughter Princess Viktoria Luise of Prussia, her cousin Princess Margarethe of Prussia and her future sister-in-law Princess Olga of Cumberland.

Reign as Grand Duke

Having spent ten years as heir apparent in 1914 Adolf Friedrich’s father fell seriously ill. On June 7, 1914 while receiving treatment in Berlin his father transferred governing power to Adolf-Friedrich. Four days later Grand Duke Adolf-Friedrich V died and he mounted the throne as Grand Duke Adolph-Friedrich VI. He had very little time to mourn the loss of his father and adjust to his new role as that August the First World War broke out and he had to fulfil the grand duchy’s obligations and lead Mecklenburg-Strelitz in support of the German Empire.


Although Mecklenburg-Strelitz was at war and Adolf-Friedrich VI a serving German officer, he was also a sovereign prince with a responsibility and duty to his subjects and as such continued to push for political reform in Mecklenburg just as his father had before him. When negotiations broke down with Mecklenburg-Schwerin over the subject in 1917 Adolf-Friedrich VI’s government contemplated repealing the union of the two states.

With Adolf-Friedrich VI having come to the throne while unmarried and without a son there was an issue surrounding the succession as his heir Duke Carl-Michael had indicated just before war broke out that he wished to renounce his rights to the succession. If there was no male heir to Mecklenburg-Strelitz then the grand duchy would merge with neighbouring Mecklenburg-Schwerin. During the war the topic of marriage was discussed by Adolf-Friedrich VI and his friend Princess Daisy of Pless, however in war time it was difficult to arrange a meeting with an eligible princess. Eventually the Princess of Pless identified her husband’s relative Princess Benigna Reuss of Köstritz as a suitable bride. As Adolf-Friedrich VI was agreeable to the match his Minister-President Heinrich Bossart began negotiations to bring about the marriage. However before an engagement could be announced there was the complication of a connection with a women whom Adolf-Friedrich VI needed to be freed from.

While heir to the throne and based in Potsdam, Adolf-Friedrich VI had a relationship with a Hungarian born woman named Margit Höllrigl. He was rumoured to have given her a marriage proposal so he could renounce his succession rights and allow his brother Duke Carl-Borwin to become grand duke instead. Any possibility of this happening ended suddenly in 1908 with the death of his brother which left the only other successor to the throne the Russian based Duke Carl-Michael. With the succession now uncertain it became essential for Adolf-Friedrich VI to remain heir and one day marry to ensure continuation of the dynasty and the independence of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. As such he attempted to pay off Höllrigl to release him from his promise. But because she was alleged to have been in possession of letters linking Adolf-Friedrich VI’s name with homosexual circles, the publication of which would have caused a great scandal, she was said to have attempted to extract more money from him.

One of the other women identified was the Italian opera singer Mafalda Salvanti who Adolf-Friedrich VI had invited to his summer residence in 1916 and 1917. Adolf-Friedrich VI was alleged to have been the father of her two sons Rolf and Horst Gérard although this claim has been shown to be untrue as letters from Adolf Friedrich to Salvanti, which only came to light around 2008, show that there was no real relationship between them and that they only knew one another after both Gérard boys had already been born. The story that Adolf-Friedrich VI was the father originated from a note written by a Hanseatic city diplomat who had been told the story by Adolf-Friedrich’s brother in law Prince Julius-Ernst of Lippe.

With the war entering a fourth year and his love affairs possibly going to become public knowledge, on the evening of 23 February 1918 Adolf-Friedrich VI left his residence in Neustrelitz to take his dog for a walk. He never returned and the next morning his body was found in the Kammer Canel with a gunshot wound to his temple bringing about a tragic end to Adolf-Friedrich VI four year reign which had been blighted by war. An autopsy found that he had drowned and no weapon was recovered from the scene.

The circumstances and reasons for his death are unclear although in his suicide note he hinted that a woman wanted to discredit him. Rumours surfaced after his death that the German Secret Service had discovered that he had been spying for Britain and that he had been given the choice of being tried as a traitor to Germany or taking his own life, although this story was refuted by his close friend the Princess of Pless. Writing about his passing in her memoirs the Princess of Pless noted “I think the loss of his Grandmother, the apparent endlessness of the War, his heart in England and his home in Germany, and the two countries fighting with each other, just tore him in pieces and he could stand it no longer. Then there was that terrible exhausting chronic hay fever, which, so I am told, leads to the utmost depression.” In the newspapers at the time both Mafalda Salvatini and Margit Höllrigl’s names were also mentioned in connection with his death. The princess who was lined up as his wife, Benigna Reuss of Köstritz, would remain single for the rest of her life dying on 20 February 1982. In 1926 Margit Höllrigl reappeared unsuccessfully suing Adolf Friedrich’s heirs for £162,000 which she claimed was the remaining balance of the £200,000 that Adolf Friedrich had allegedly agreed to pay her for compromising documents.    
With Adolf-Friedrich VI’s passing his childhood friend the Grand Duke Friedrich-Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin travelled to the neighbouring Mecklenburg-Strelitz to assume control of the government as regent until the issue of the possible succession to the throne of the Russian based Duke Carl-Michael could be resolved. With the civil war raging in Russia, Carl-Michael had fled to the Caucasus region so contacting him proved difficult. With the independence of Mecklenburg-Strelitz at stake Adolf-Friedrich VI had requested in his will that Duke Christian-Ludwig, second son of Friedrich-Franz IV, become grand duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz as it was thought unlikely that Carl-Michael would assume the throne having indicated before the war that he wished to renounce his succession rights. Ultimately the succession to the throne became irrelevant as the German revolution in November 1918 forced the Emperor, kings, grand dukes, dukes and princes from there thrones to make way for a republic in Germany. As such Adolf-Friedrich VI would prove to be the last grand duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Adolf-Friedrich VI is buried on Lovers Island in Mirow. In recent years some memorials to him have been unveiled in Neustrelitz.


This date in History: House of Stewart ascends the Scottish throne.


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On this date. In History, February 22, 1371: David II, King of Scots died and was succeed by his nephew as Robert II, King of Scots, first monarch of the House of Stewart (Stuart).

David II (March 5, 1324 – February 1371) was King of Scots from 1329 until his death, and the last male of the House of Bruce. Although David spent long periods in exile or captivity, he managed to resist English attempts to annex the Scottish kingdom, and left the monarchy in a strong position for his nephew.


David II was the elder and only surviving son of Robert I of Scotland and his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh. He was born on March 5, 1324 at Dunfermline Abbey, Fife. His mother died in 1327. In accordance with the Treaty of Northampton’s terms, David II was married on July 17, 1328 to Joan of the Tower, daughter of Edward II of England and Isabella of France, at Berwick-upon-Tweed. They had no issue.

David II died unexpectedly and at the height of his power in Edinburgh Castle on February 22, 1371. He was buried in Holyrood Abbey. At the time of his death, he was planning to marry his mistress, Agnes Dunbar(niece of Agnes Randolph, also known as “Black Agnes of Dunbar”). He left no children and was succeeded by his nephew, Robert II, the son of David’s half-sister Marjorie Bruce. He was the last male of the House of Bruce.


Robert II (March 2, 1316 – April 19, 1390) reigned as King of Scots from 1371 to his death as the first monarch of the House of Stewart. He was the son of Walter Stewart, 6th High Steward of Scotland and of Marjorie Bruce, daughter of the Scottish king Robert the Bruce by his first wife Isabella of Mar.

Edward Bruce, younger brother of Robert the Bruce, was named heir to the throne but he died without legitimate children on December 3, 1318 in a battle near Dundalk in Ireland. Marjorie by this time had died in a riding accident – probably in 1317. Parliament decreed her infant son, Robert Stewart, as heir presumptive, but this lapsed on March 5, 1324 on the birth of a son, David, to King Robert and his second wife, Elizabeth de Burgh. Robert Stewart inherited the title of High Steward of Scotland on his father’s death on April 9, 1326, and a Parliament held in July 1326 confirmed the young Steward as heir should Prince David die without a successor. In 1329 King Robert I died and the six-year-old David succeeded to the throne with Sir Thomas Randolph, Earl of Morayappointed Guardian of Scotland.

David was buried at Holyrood Abbey almost immediately but an armed protest by William, Earl of Douglas delayed Robert II’s coronation until March 26, 1371. The reasons for the incident remain unclear but may have involved a dispute regarding Robert’s right of succession, or may have been directed against George Dunbar, Earl of March and the southern Justiciar, Robert Erskine. It was resolved by Robert giving his daughter Isabella in marriage to Douglas’s son, James and with Douglas replacing Erskine as Justiciar south of the Forth. Robert’s accession did affect some others who held offices from David II. In particular, George Dunbar’s brother John Dunbar, the Lord of Fife who lost his claim on Fife and Sir Robert Erskine’s son, Sir Thomas Erskine who lost control of Edinburgh Castle.

This date in History: Coronation of King Edward VI of England & Ireland.


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Edward VI (October 12, 1537 – July 6, 1553) was King of England and Ireland from January 28, 1547 until his death. He was crowned on February 20 at the age of nine. Edward VI was the son of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour, and England’s first monarch to be raised as a Protestant. During his reign, the realm was governed by a Regency Council because he never reached his majority. The Council was first led by his uncle Edward Seymour, 1st Duke of Somerset (1547–1549), and then by John Dudley, 1st Earl of Warwick, from 1551 Duke of Northumberland.


Henry VIII died, aged 55 at the Palace of Whitehall on January 28, 1547 after a reign of ~ 37 years, 281 days. The Lord Chancellor, Thomas Wriothesley, announced Henry’s death to parliament on January 31 and general proclamations of Edward’s succession were ordered. The new king was taken to the Tower of London, where he was welcomed with “great shot of ordnance in all places there about, as well out of the Tower as out of the ships.” The following day, the nobles of the realm made their obeisance to Edward at the Tower, and Seymour was announced as Protector. Henry VIII was buried at Windsor on February 16, in the same tomb as Jane Seymour, as he had wished. Edward VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey four days later on Sunday February 20.

The ceremonies were shortened, because of the “tedious length of the same which should weary and be hurtsome peradventure to the King’s majesty, being yet of tender age”, and also because the Reformation had rendered some of them inappropriate.


On the eve of the coronation, Edward progressed on horseback from the Tower to the Palace of Westminster through thronging crowds and pageants, many based on the pageants for a previous boy king, Henry VI.

The young king He laughed at a Spanish tightrope walker who “tumbled and played many pretty toys” outside St Paul’s Cathedral.

At the coronation service, Cranmer affirmed the royal supremacy and called Edward a second Josiah, urging him to continue the reformation of the Church of England, “the tyranny of the Bishops of Rome banished from your subjects, and images removed”. After the service, Edward presided at a banquet in Westminster Hall, where, he recalled in his Chronicle, he dined with his crown on his head.

Edward VI’s reign would be short. After five years on the throne Edward VI died at the age of 15 at Greenwich Palace at 8pm on July 6, 1553. According to John Foxe’s legendary account of his death, his last words were: “I am faint; Lord have mercy upon me, and take my spirit”. He was buried in the Henry VII Lady Chapel at Westminster Abbey on August 8, 1553, with reformed rites performed by Thomas Cranmer. The cause of Edward VI’s death is not certain. As with many royal deaths in the 16th century, rumours of poisoning abounded, but no evidence has been found to support these.

Birth of Queen Mary I of England and Ireland, February 18, 1516.


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On this date in History. February 18, 1516, birth of Queen Mary I of England and Ireland.


Mary I (February 18, 1516 – November 17, 1558) was the Queen of England and Ireland from July 1553 until her death. She is best known for her aggressive attempt to reverse the English Reformation, which had begun during the reign of her father, Henry VIII. The executions that marked her pursuit of the restoration of Roman Catholicism in England and Ireland led to her denunciation as “Bloody Mary” by her Protestant opponents.

Mary was the only child of Henry VIII by his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, to survive to adulthood. Her younger half-brother Edward VI (son of Henry and Jane Seymour) succeeded their father in 1547 at the age of nine. When Edward became mortally ill in 1553, he attempted to remove Mary from the line of succession because he supposed (accurately) that she would reverse the Protestant reforms that had begun during his reign. On his death, leading politicians tried to proclaim Lady Jane Grey as queen. Mary assembled a force in East Anglia and deposed Jane, who was ultimately beheaded. Mary was—excluding the disputed reigns of Jane and the Empress Matilda—the first queen regnant of England.

When Mary ascended the throne after the death of her brother Edward VI, she was proclaimed under the same official style as Henry VIII and Edward VI: “Mary, by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, and of the Church of England and of Ireland on Earth Supreme Head”. The title Supreme Head of the Church was repugnant to Mary’s Catholicism, and she omitted it by Christmas 1553.

In 1554, Mary married the future King Felipe II of Spain, becoming queen consort of Habsburg Spain on his accession in 1556. Both Mary and Felipe were descended from legitimate children of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, by his first two wives, a relationship which was used to portray Felipe as an English king. Mary descended from the Duke of Lancaster by all three of his wives, Blanche of Lancaster, Constance of Castile, and Katherine Swynford. On her mother’s side Felipe and Mary were first cousins once removed.


Under the English common law doctrine of jure uxoris, the property and titles belonging to a woman became her husband’s upon marriage, and it was feared that any man she married would thereby become King of England in fact and in name. While Mary’s grandparents, Fernando II-V and Isabella I of Castile and Aragon (Spain’s) had retained sovereignty of their own realms during their marriage, there was no precedent to follow in England. Under the terms of Queen Mary’s Marriage Act, Felipe was to be styled “King of England”, all official documents (including Acts of Parliament) were to be dated with both their names, and Parliament was to be called under the joint authority of the couple, for Mary’s lifetime only.

England would not be obliged to provide military support to Felipe father in any war, and Felipe could not act without his wife’s consent or appoint foreigners to office in England.Felipe was unhappy at the conditions imposed, but he was ready to agree for the sake of securing the marriage. He had no amorous feelings toward Mary and sought the marriage for its political and strategic gains; Philip’s aide Ruy Gómez de Silva wrote to a correspondent in Brussels, “the marriage was concluded for no fleshly consideration, but in order to remedy the disorders of this kingdom and to preserve the Low Countries.”

Under Mary’s marriage treaty with Felipe, the official joint style reflected not only Mary’s but also Felipe’s dominions and claims: “Philip and Mary, by the grace of God, King and Queen of England, France, Naples, Jerusalem, and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, Princes of Spain and Sicily, Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Milan, Burgundy and Brabant, Counts of Habsburg, Flanders and Tyrol”. This style, which had been in use since 1554, was replaced when Philip inherited the Spanish Crown in 1556 with “Philip and Mary, by the Grace of God King and Queen of England, Spain, France, both the Sicilies, Jerusalem and Ireland, Defenders of the Faith, Archdukes of Austria, Dukes of Burgundy, Milan and Brabant, Counts of Habsburg, Flanders and Tyrol”.


During her five-year reign, Mary had over 280 religious dissenters burned at the stake in the Marian persecutions. After Mary’s death in 1558, her re-establishment of Roman Catholicism was reversed by her younger half-sister and successor Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn, at the beginning of the 45-year Elizabethan Era.


Death of George, Duke of Clarence. February 18, 1478.


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On this day date in History: February 18, 1478, the execution of George, 1st Duke of Clarence in the Bowyer Tower of the Tower of London. The Duke of Clarence was executed for treason on the orders of his brother Edward IV. He was 28 years old. Tradition states that George was executed by being drowned in a barrel of Malmsey wine – a method of execution chose by George himself. Both his surviving children – Edward Earl of Warwick, and Lady Margaret Pole – were later executed by the Tudors.


George Plantagenet, 1st Duke of Clarence, 1st Earl of Salisbury, 1st Earl of Warwick KG (October 21, 1449 – February 18, 1478) was the third surviving son of Richard Plantagenet, 3rd Duke of York, and Cecily Neville, and the brother of English Kings Edward IV and Richard III. He played an important role in the dynastic struggle between rival factions of the Plantagenets (House of Anjou) known as the Wars of the Roses. Though a member of the House of York (a cadet branch of the House of Anjou Plantagenet) he switched sides to support the Lancastrians, (House of Lancaster) before reverting to the Yorkists.

In 1477 Clarence was again a suitor for the hand of Mary, who had just become duchess of Burgundy. Edward objected to the match, and Clarence, left the court. The arrest and committal to the Tower of London of one of Clarence’s retainers, an Oxford astronomer named Dr John Stacey, led to his confession under torture that he had “imagined and compassed” the death of the King, and used the black arts to accomplish this. He implicated one Thomas Burdett, and one Thomas Blake, a chaplain at Stacey’s college (Merton College, Oxford). All three were tried for treason, convicted, and condemned to be drawn to Tyburn and hanged. Blake was saved at the eleventh hour by a plea for his life from James Goldwell, Bishop of Norwich, but the other two were put to death as ordered.

This was a clear warning to Clarence, which he chose to ignore. He appointed Dr John Goddard to burst into Parliament and regale the House with Burdett and Stacey’s declarations of innocence that they had made before their deaths. Goddard was a very unwise choice, as he was an ex-Lancastrian who had expounded Henry VI’s claim to the throne. Edward summoned Clarence to Windsor, severely upbraided him, accused him of treason, and ordered his immediate arrest and confinement.

Clarence was imprisoned in the Tower of London and put on trial for treason against his brother Edward IV. Clarence was not present – Edward himself prosecuted his brother, and demanded that Parliament pass a Bill of Attainder against his brother, declaring that he was guilty of “unnatural, loathly treasons” which were aggravated by the fact that Clarence was his brother, who, if anyone did, owed him loyalty and love. Following his conviction, he was “privately executed” at the Tower on 18 February 1478, by tradition in the Bowyer Tower, and soon after the event, the rumour gained ground that he had been drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.

Clarence married his wife Isabel Neville in Calais, at that time controlled by England, on July 11, 1469. Together they had four children:

* Anne of York (c. 17 April 1470), born and died in a ship off Calais.
* Margaret, 8th Countess of Salisbury (August 14, 1473 – May 27, 1541); married Sir Richard Pole; executed by Henry VIII.
* Edward Plantagenet, 17th Earl of Warwick (February 25, 1475 – November 28, 1499); the last legitimate Plantagenet heir of the direct male line; executed by Henry VII on grounds of attempting to escape from the Tower of London.
* Richard of York (October 6, 1476 – January 1, 1477); born at Tewkesbury Abbey, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire; died at Warwick Castle, Warwick, Warwickshire, where he was buried.

Birth of Friedrich-Wilhelm The Great Elctor of Brandenburg-Prussia.


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On this date in History: February 16, 1620. Birth of Friedrich-Wilhelm the Great Elector, Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia.

Friedrich-Wilhelm (February 16, 1620 – April 1688) was Elector of Brandenburg and Duke of Prussia, thus ruler of Brandenburg-Prussia, from 1640 until his death in 1688. A member of the House of Hohenzollern, he is popularly known as “the Great Elector” because of his military and political achievements. Friedrich-Wilhelm was a staunch pillar of the Calvinist faith, associated with the rising commercial class. He saw the importance of trade and promoted it vigorously. His shrewd domestic reforms gave Prussia a strong position in the post-Treaty of Westphalia 1648 German Holy Roman Empire along with political order of north-central Europe, setting Prussia up for elevation from duchy to kingdom, achieved under his son and successor, Elector Friedrich III of Brandenburg who became Friedrich I, King in Prussia in 1701.


Elector Friedrich-Wilhelm was born in Berlin to Georg-Wilhelm, Elector of Brandenburg, and Elisabeth Charlotte of the Palatinate of the Rhine. His inheritance consisted of the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the Duchy of Cleves, the County of Mark, and the Duchy of Prussia.

During the Thirty Years’ War, Georg-Wilhelm strove to maintain, with a minimal army, a delicate balance between the Protestant and Catholic forces fighting throughout the Holy Roman Empire. Out of these unpromising beginnings Frederick William managed to rebuild his war-ravaged territories. In contrast to the religious disputes that disrupted the internal affairs of other European states, Brandenburg-Prussia benefited from the policy of religious tolerance adopted by Frederick William. With the help of French subsidies, he built up an army to defend the country. In the Second Northern War, he was forced to accept Swedish vassalage for the Duchy of Prussia according to the terms of the Treaty of Königsberg.

Friedrich-Wilhelm was a military commander of wide renown, and his standing army would later become the model for the Prussian Army. He is notable for his joint victory with Swedish forces at the Battle of Warsaw, which, according to Hajo Holborn, marked “the beginning of Prussian military history.” However, the Swedes turned on him at the behest of King Louis XIV and invaded Brandenburg. After marching 250 kilometers in 15 days back to Brandenburg, he caught the Swedes by surprise and managed to defeat them on the field at the Battle of Fehrbellin, destroying the myth of Swedish military invincibility. He later destroyed another Swedish army that invaded the Duchy of Prussia during the Great Sleigh Drive in 1678. He is noted for his use of broad directives and delegation of decision-making to his commanders, which would later become the basis for the German doctrine of Auftragstaktik, and he is noted for using rapid mobility to defeat his foes.

Domestic policies

Friedrich-Wilhelm is notable for raising an army of 40,000 soldiers by 1678, through the General War Commissariat presided over by Joachim Friedrich von Blumenthal. He was an advocate of mercantilism, monopolies, subsidies, tariffs, and internal improvements. Following Louis XIV’s revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Friedrich-Wilhelm encouraged skilled French and Walloon Huguenots to emigrate to Brandenburg-Prussia with the Edict of Potsdam, bolstering the country’s technical and industrial base. On Blumenthal’s advice he agreed to exempt the nobility from taxes and in return they agreed to dissolve the Estates-General. He also simplified travel in Brandenburg and the Duchy of Prussia by connecting riverways with canals, a system that was expanded by later Prussian architects, such as Georg Steenke; the system is still in use today.


On December 7, 1646 in The Hague, Friedrich-Wilhelm entered into a marriage, proposed by Blumenthal as a partial solution to the Jülich-Berg question, with Luise Henriette of Nassau (1627–1667), daughter of Frederick Henry of Orange-Nassau and Amalia of Solms-Braunfels and his 1st cousin once removed through Willem the Silent. Their children were as follows:

1. Wilhelm-Heinrich, Electoral Prince of Brandenburg (1648–1649)

2. Carl, Electoral Prince of Brandenburg (1655–1674)

3. Friedrich III-I of Prussia (1657–1713), his successor

4. Amalie (1656–1664)

5. Heinrich (1664–1664)

6. Ludwig (1666–1687), who married Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł

On June 13, 1668 in Gröningen, Friedrich-Wilhelm married Sophie Dorothea of Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, daughter of Philipp, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Sophie Hedwig of Saxe-Lauenburg. Their children were the following:

1. Philipp-Wilhelm (1669–1711)

2. Marie Amelie (1670–1739)

3. Albrecht-Friedrich (1672–1731)

4. Carl-Philipp (1673–1695)

5. Elisabeth Sofie (1674–1748)

6. Dorothea (1675–1676)

7. Christian Ludwig (1677–1734)

Accession of Ferdinand III as Holy Roman Emperor.


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Ferdinand III (July 13, 1608 – April 2, 1657) was Holy Roman Emperor from February 15, 1637 until his death, as well as King of Hungary and Croatia, King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria. He was the last emperor to have real power over the Holy Roman Empire.


Ferdinand was born in Graz, the eldest son of Emperor Ferdinand II of the House of Habsburg and his first wife, Maria Anna of Bavaria. Educated by the Jesuits, he became Archduke of Austria in 1621, King of Hungary in 1625, and King of Bohemia in 1627.

In 1627 Ferdinand enhanced his authority and set an important legal and military precedent by issuing a Revised Land Ordinance that deprived the Bohemian estates of their right to raise soldiers, reserving this power solely for the monarch.

Having been elected King of the Romans in 1636, he succeeded his father as Holy Roman Emperor in 1637. He hoped to make peace soon with France and Sweden, but the war dragged on, finally ending in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia (Treaty of Münster with France, Treaty of Osnabrück with Sweden), negotiated by his envoy Maximilian von und zu Trauttmansdorff, a diplomat who had been made a count in 1623 by his father Ferdinand II.

During the last period of the war, in 1644 Ferdinand III gave all rulers of German states the right to conduct their own foreign policy (ius belli ac pacis) – the emperor hoped to gain more allies in the negotiations with France and Sweden. This edict, however, contributed to the gradual erosion of the imperial authority in the Holy Roman Empire.
After 1648 the emperor was engaged in carrying out the terms of the treaty and ridding Germany of the foreign soldiery. In 1656 he sent an army into Italy to assist Spain in her struggle with France, and he had just concluded an alliance with Poland to check the aggressions of Carl X Gustav of Sweden when he died on April 2, 1657. He was succeeded as Holy Roman Emperor by his second surviving son, Leopold I (1640-1705).

Marriages and children

On February 20, 1631 Ferdinand III married his first wife Archduchess Maria Anna of Spain (1606–1646). She was the youngest daughter of Felipe III of Spain and Margaret of Austria. They were first cousins as Maria Anna’s mother was a sister of Ferdinand’s father. They were parents to six children:
* Ferdinand IV, King of the Romans (8 September 1633 – 9 July 1654)
* Maria Anna “Mariana”, Archduchess of Austria (22 December 1634 – 16 May 1696). Married her maternal uncle Felipe IV of Spain.
* Philip August, Archduke of Austria (15 July 1637 – 22 June 1639)
* Maximilian Thomas, Archduke of Austria (21 December 1638 – 29 June 1639)
* Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor (9 June 1640 – 5 May 1705)
* Maria, Archduchess of Austria (13 May 1646)

In 1648, Ferdinand III married his second wife, Archduchess Maria Leopoldine of Austria (1632–1649). She was a daughter of Leopold V, Archduke of Austria, and Claudia de’ Medici. They were first cousins as male-line grandchildren of Karl II, Archduke of Austria, and Maria Anna of Bavaria. They had a single son:
* Karl Josef, Archduke of Austria (7 August 1649 – 27 January 1664). He was Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights from 1662 to his death.

In 1651, Ferdinand III married his 3rd wife Eleonora Gonzaga (1630–1686). She was a daughter of Charles IV Gonzaga, Duke of Rethel. They were parents to four children:
* Theresia Maria Josefa, Archduchess of Austria (27 March 1652 – 26 July 1653)
* Eleonora Maria of Austria (21 May 1653 – 17 December 1697), who married first Michael Korybut Wiśniowiecki, King of Poland, and then Charles Léopold, Duke of Lorraine.
* Maria Anna Josepha of Austria (30 December 1654 – 4 April 1689), who married Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine.
* Ferdinand Josef Alois, Archduke of Austria (11 February 1657 – 16 June 1658)

HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark has died.


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HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark, The Prince Consort, has died at. at Fredensborg Palace on the evening of February 13, 2018.


Prince Henrik of Denmark (born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat (June 11, 1934 – February 13, 2018)was the husband and consort of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

Henrik was born in the French commune of Talence to the old French family the Laborde de Monpezats. His family had spent many years in Vietnam, but left the country following the defeat of the French in the First Indochina War. After being educated in France, Henrik served in the French Army during Algerian War. Prior to his marriage with Margrethe, he worked in the diplomatic service. Henrik married Margrethe at the Church of Holmen on 10 June 1967 and became her consort when she succeeded her father, King Frederick IX, as monarch of Denmark on 14 January 1972.

He had two sons, Crown Prince Frederik (born 1968) and Prince Joachim(born 1969). He had eight grandchildren. Throughout his time as Prince consort, Henrik voiced his displeasure with fact that he never received the title of King.

The Queen and Prince Henrik had two children and eight grandchildren:

I. Crown Prince Frederik, born on 26 May 1968 at Rigshospitalet, with Crown Princess Mary:
* Prince Christian, born on 15 October 2005 at Rigshospitalet
* Princess Isabella, born on 21 April 2007 at Rigshospitalet
* Prince Vincent, born on 8 January 2011 at Rigshospitalet
* Princess Josephine, born on 8 January 2011 at Rigshospitalet

II. Prince Joachim, born on 7 June 1969 at Rigshospitalet, with Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg:
* Prince Nikolai, born on 28 August 1999 at Rigshospitalet
* Prince Felix, born on 22 July 2002 at Rigshospitalet
* Prince Joachim, with Princess Marie:
* Prince Henrik, born on 4 May 2009 at Rigshospitalet
* Princess Athena, born on 24 January 2012 at Rigshospitalet

On 13 February 2018, he was transferred from the Rigshospitalet to Fredensborg Palace, where the Danish Royal Court stated he wishes to spend the remaining days of his life. The Royal Court added that the condition of the Prince remains serious. On February 14, 2018, it was announced that Prince Henrik died peacefully in his sleep at Fredensborg Palace on the evening of February 13 surrounded by his wife and their two sons.

On this date in History: February 13, 1575, King Henri III of France is crowned at Reims


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Henri III (19 September 1551 – 2 August 1589; Alexandre Édouard de Valois of France) was King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1573 to 1575 and King of France from 1574 until his death in 1589. He was the last French monarch of the House of Valois.


Henry was born at the royal Château de Fontainebleau, the fourth son of King Henry II and Catherine de’ Medici and grandson of Francis I of France and Claude of France. His older brothers were Francis II of France, Charles IX of France, and Louis of Valois. He was made Duke of Angoulême and Duke of Orléans in 1560, then Duke of Anjou in 1566.

As the fourth son of King Henri II of France, he was not expected to inherit the French throne and thus was a good candidate for the vacant throne of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, where he was elected King/Grand Duke in 1573. During his brief rule, he signed the Henrician Articles into law, recognizing the Polish nobility’s right to freely elect their monarch. Aged 22, Henri abandoned Poland-Lithuania upon inheriting the French throne when his brother, Charles IX, died without issue.

France was at the time plagued by the Wars of Religion, and Henry’s authority was undermined by violent political parties funded by foreign powers: the Catholic League (supported by Spain), the Protestant Huguenots (supported by England and the Dutch) and the Malcontents, led by Henry’s own brother, the Duke of Alençon, which was a party of Catholic and Protestant aristocrats who jointly opposed the absolutist ambitions of the king. Henri III was himself a politique, arguing that a strong and religiously tolerant monarchy would save France from collapse.


Henri III was crowned at Reims on February 13, 1575 and the very next day he married Louise of Lorraine and I will have more to say on that tomorrow.

After the death of Henri’s younger brother Francis, Duke of Anjou, and when it became apparent that Henri would not produce an heir, the Wars of Religion developed into a succession crisis, the War of the Three Henrys. Henri III’s legitimate heir was his distant cousin Henri de Bourbon, King of Navarre, a Protestant. The Catholic League, led by Henri I, Duke of Guise, sought to exclude Protestants from the succession and championed the Catholic Charles, Cardinal of Bourbon, as Henri III’s heir.

In 1589, Jacques Clément, a Catholic fanatic, murdered Henri III. He was succeeded by the King of Navarre who, as Henri IV, assumed the throne of France after converting to Catholicism, as the first French king of the House of Bourbon.

On this date in History: February 13, 1660. Death of King Carl X Gustav and the accession of King Carl XI of Sweden.


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Carl X Gustav (Swedish: Karl X Gustav; 8 November 1622 – 13 February 1660), was King of Sweden from 1654 until his death. He was the son of John Casimir, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Kleeburg and Catherine of Sweden. After his father’s death he also succeeded him as Pfalzgraf. He was married to Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp, who bore his son and successor, Charles XI. Carl X Gustav was the second Wittelsbach king of Sweden after the childless king Christopher of Bavaria (1441–1448) and he was the first king of the Swedish Caroline era, which had its peak during the end of the reign of his son, Carl XI. He led Sweden during the Second Northern War, enlarging the Swedish Empire. By his predecessor Christina, he was considered de facto Duke of Eyland (Öland) before ascending to the Swedish throne.


His numbering as Charles X derives from a 16th-century invention. The Swedish king Carl IX (1604–1611) chose his numeral after studying a fictitious history of Sweden. This king was the fourth actual King Carl but has never been called Carl IV.

Soon after the estates opened on January 4, 1660, Carl X Gustav fell ill with symptoms of a cold. Ignoring his illness, he repeatedly went to inspect the Swedish forces near Gothenburg, and soon broke down with chills, headaches and dyspnoea. On January 15, court physician Johann Kösterarrived, and in medical error mistook Carl X Gustav’s pneumonia for scorbut and dyspepsia. Köster started a “cure” including the application of multiple enemata, laxatives, bloodletting and sneezing powder. While after three weeks the fever eventually was down and the coughing was better, the pneumonia had persisted and evolved into a sepsis by February 8.

On February 12, Carl X Gustav signed his testament: His son, Carl XI of Sweden, was still a minor, and Carl X Gustav appointed a minor regency consisting of six relatives and close friends. Carl X Gustav died the next day at the age of 37.


Charles X had one legitimate child by Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp: his successor Charles XI (1655–1697, reigned 1660–1697). By Märta Allertz he had an illegitimate son: Gustaf Carlson (1647–1708), who became Count of Börringe and Lindholmen Castle in Scania. He also had a number of other children, by different women, before his marriage.


Carl XI (November 24, 1655  – April 5, 1697 was King of Sweden from 1660 until his death, in a period of Swedish history known as the Swedish Empire (1611–1718).

Charles was the only son of King Carl X Gustav of Sweden and Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp. His father died when he was five years old, so Charles was educated by his governors until his coronation at the age of seventeen. Soon after, he was forced out on military expeditions to secure the recently acquired dominions from Danish troops in the Scanian War. Having successfully fought off the Danes, he returned to Stockholm and engaged in correcting the country’s neglected political, financial and economic situation, managing to sustain peace during the remaining 20 years of his reign. Changes in finance, commerce, national maritime and land armaments, judicial procedure, church government and education emerged during this period. Carl XI was succeeded by his only son Carl XII, who made use of the well-trained army in battles throughout Europe.