January 16, 1942: Death of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn


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Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (Arthur William Patrick Albert; May 1, 1850 – January 16, 1942), was the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. He served as the Governor General of Canada, the tenth since Canadian Confederation and the only British Prince to do so. In 1910 he was appointed Grand Prior of the Order of St John and held this position until 1939.

Arthur was educated by private tutors before entering the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich at 16 years old. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a lieutenant in the British Army, where he served for some 40 years, seeing service in various parts of the British Empire.

On his mother’s birthday (May, 24) in 1874, Arthur was created a royal peer, being titled as the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex. Some years later, Arthur came into the direct line of succession to the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in the German Empire upon the death in 1899 of his nephew, Prince Alfred of Edinburgh, the only son of his elder brother, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. He decided, however, to renounce his own and his son’s succession rights to the duchy, which then passed to his other nephew, Prince Charles Edward, the posthumous son of Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany.

At St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, on March 13, 1879, Arthur married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, the daughter of Prince Friedrich Charles of Prussia and Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt-Dessau. Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia was a great-niece of the German Emperor, Arthur’s godfather, Wilhelm I.

The couple had three children: Princess Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah (born January 15, 1882), Prince Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert (born January 13, 1883), and Princess Victoria Patricia Helena Elizabeth (born March 17, 1886), who were all raised at the Connaughts’ country home, Bagshot Park, in Surrey, and after 1900 at Clarence House, the Connaughts’ London residence.

Through his children’s marriages, Arthur became the father-in-law of Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden; Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife; and Sir Alexander Ramsay. Arthur’s first two children predeceased him; Margaret while pregnant with his sixth grandchild. For many years, Arthur maintained a liaison with Leonie, Lady Leslie, sister of Jennie Churchill, while still remaining devoted to his wife.

In 1900 he was appointed as Commander in Chief of the British Army in Ireland, which he regretted; his preference being to join the campaign against the Boers in South Africa. In 1911, he was appointed as Governor General of Canada, replacing the Earl Grey as viceroy. He occupied this post until he was succeeded by the Duke of Devonshire in 1916. He acted as the King’s, and thus the Canadian Commander-in-Chief’s, representative through the first years of the First World War.

The Duke of Connaught with his granddaughter Princess Ingrid of Sweden

The Duke of Connaught with his granddaughter Princess Ingrid and her husband the future King Frederik IX of Denmark. They are the parents of Denmark’s current monarch, Queen Margrethe II

After the end of his viceregal tenure, Arthur returned to the United Kingdom and there, as well as in India, performed various royal duties, while also again taking up military duties. Though he retired from public life in 1928, he continued to make his presence known in the army well into the Second World War, before his death in 1942. He was Queen Victoria’s last surviving son.

Christening of future Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. In the back on the far left is HRH the Duke of Connaught creating a link to history.

January 15, 1882: Birth of Princess Margaret of Connaught, Crown Princess of Sweden.


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Princess Margaret of Connaught (Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah; January 15, 1882 – May 1, 1920) was Crown Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Scania as the first wife of the future King Gustaf VI Adolph of Sweden.

Princess Margaret was the elder daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, and his wife Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. Her father, The Duke of Connaught was third son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her husband Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Princess Margaret’s mother, Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, was the daughter of Prince Friedrich-Charles of Prussia (1828–1885), the son of Charles of Prussia (1801–1883) and his wife Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (1808–1877). Her mother was Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt (1837–1906), daughter of Leopold IV of Anhalt-Dessau. Louise Margaret of Prussia‘s father, was a nephew of the German Emperor Wilhelm I, husband and a double cousin of the German Emperor Friedrich III, the husband of her sister-in-law, Victoria, Princess Royal.

Princess Margaret was born at Bagshot Park and baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on March 11, 1882 by Archibald Campbell Tait, Archbishop of Canterbury. She was also confirmed in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle in March 1898. Princess Margaret was known as “Daisy” to her family.

When Princess Margaret of Connaught was 23 and her younger sister Princess Patricia of Connaught was 18, both girls were among the most beautiful and eligible princesses in Europe. Their uncle, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom wanted his nieces to marry a European king or crown prince.

In January 1905, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught visited Portugal, where they were received by King Carlos and his wife, Amélie of Orléans, whose sons Luís-Filipe, Duke of Braganza and Prince Manuel entertained the young British princesses. The Portuguese expected one of the Connaught princesses would become the future Queen of Portugal. No marriage proposal materialized.

The Connaughts continued their trip to Egypt and Sudan. In Cairo, they met Prince Gustaf-Adolph of Sweden, the future Gustaf VI Adolph of Sweden, grandson of the Swedish King Oscar II. Originally, Margaret’s sister Patricia had been considered a suitable match for Gustaf-Adolph; without his knowledge, a meeting was arranged with the two sisters.

Gustaf-Adolph and Margaret fell in love at first sight; he proposed at a dinner held by Lord Cromer at the British Consulate in Egypt and was accepted. Margaret’s parents were very happy with the match. Gustaf-Adolph and Margaret married on June 15, 1905 in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. The couple spent their honeymoon at Adare Manor in County Limerick, Ireland, and arrived in Sweden on July 8, 1905.

One of Margaret’s wedding presents was the Connaught tiara, which remains in the Swedish royal jewellery collection today.

After her arrival in Sweden, Margaret, who in Sweden was called “Margareta“, received lessons in the Swedish language, and asked to be educated in Swedish history and social welfare. After two years, she spoke good Swedish. She was also eager to find out more about Sweden, and on many occasions went on incognito trips.

Margaret was also interested in art, and was an admirer of the works of Claude Monet. She photographed, painted, and took a great interest in gardening. She and her spouse received Sofiero Palace as a wedding gift, and they spent their summers there and made a great effort creating gardens in an English style on the estate; her children participated in their improvement.

During World War I, Margaret created a sewing society in Sweden to support the Red Cross. The society was called Kronprinsessans Centralförråd för landstormsmäns beklädnad och utrustning (“The Crown Princess’s central storage for clothing and equipment of the home guard”), which was to equip the Swedish armed forces with suitable underwear.

When paraffin supplies ran low she organized a candle collection, and in November 1917 she instituted a scheme to train girls to work on the land. She also acted as intermediary for relatives separated by the war. With her help, private letters and requests to trace men missing in action were passed on. She was also active in her work on behalf of prisoners. She aided prisoners of war in camps around Europe, especially British nationals. Margaret’s efforts during the war were pro-British, in contrast to mother-in-law’s strictly pro-German attitude.

At 2 o’clock in the morning on Saturday, May 1, 1920, her father’s 70th birthday, Crown Princess Margaret died suddenly in Stockholm of “blood poisoning” (sepsis). Some time before this she had suffered from measles, which aggravated her ear, and she underwent surgery to remove a mastoid. Since the previous Sunday, she had been suffering from pain in her face from something below her eye, and doctors decided to perform another procedure. On Thursday, symptoms of erysipelas appeared under her right ear.

She fell gravely ill on Friday night when symptoms of sepsis became evident, and she died within hours. At the time, she was eight months pregnant with her sixth child. In announcing her death during traditional International Workers’ Day celebrations, Swedish Prime Minister Hjalmar Branting said: “the ray of sunshine at Stockholm Palace has gone out” (Solstrålen på Stockholms slott har slocknat).

In Britain, there had been reports, vicious rumors, that Margaret was unhappy in Sweden and that her death actually had been a suicide.

Princess Margaret was buried according to her specific and detailed wishes, written in 1914. She asked to be buried in her wedding dress and her veil, with a crucifix in her hands, in a simple coffin made from English oak and covered in British and Swedish flags. She requested that there should be no lying-in-state after her death.

As mentioned her death occurred on her father’s 70th birthday and she died 30 years before her husband’s accession to the throne of Sweden. Through her daughter, Princess Ingrid of Sweden who married King Frederick IX of Denmark Princess Margaret was the Grandmother of the current Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Queen Margrethe II was named after her grandmother and, like her grandmother, is known as Daisy within the family.

On 3 November 1923 at St. James’s Palace Crown Prince Gustaf-Adolph married Lady Louise Mountbatten, formerly Princess Louise of Battenberg. Her father, Prince Louis of Battenberg, who was an admiral in the British Royal Navy, renounced his German title during the First World War and anglicised his family name to “Mountbatten” at the behest of King George V.

He was then created the first Marquess of Milford Haven in the peerage of the United Kingdom. From 1917, therefore, his daughter was known as “Lady Louise Mountbatten”. Her mother was Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Lady Louise was a sister of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and of Princess Alice of Battenberg, who was the mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. She was also a niece of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna of Russia. Lady Louise was also a first cousin once removed from her husband’s first wife, Princess Margaret of Connaught.

Ferdinand I of the Two-Sicilies: Creation of the Kingdom


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The Kingdom of the Two-Sicilies was formed when the Kingdom of Sicily merged with the Kingdom of Naples, which was officially also known as the Kingdom of Sicily. Since both kingdoms were named Sicily, they were collectively known as the “Two Sicilies” (Utraque Sicilia, literally “both Sicilies”), and the unified kingdom adopted this name.

The Kingdom of Naples also known as the Kingdom of Sicily, was a state that ruled the part of the Italian Peninsula south of the Papal States between 1282 and 1816. It was established by the War of the Sicilian Vespers (1282–1302), when the island of Sicily revolted and was conquered by the Crown of Aragon, becoming a separate kingdom also called the Kingdom of Sicily. In 1816, it reunified with the island of Sicily to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

The territory of the Kingdom of Naples, corresponded to the current Italian regions of Campania, Calabria, Apulia, Basilicata, Abruzzo, Molise and also included some areas of today’s southern and eastern Lazio.

The term “Kingdom of Naples” is in near universal use among historians, but it was not used officially by the government. Since the Angevins remained in power on the Italian peninsula, they kept the original name of the Kingdom of Sicily (regnum Siciliae). At the end of the War of the Vespers, the Peace of Caltabellotta (1302) provided that the name of the island kingdom would be Trinacria (regnum Trinacriae). However, this usage did not become established, and the island kingdom became known as the Kingdom of Sicily.

In the late Middle Ages, it was common to distinguish the two Sicilies by noting its location relative to the rest of Italy and the Punta del Faro, i.e., the Strait of Messina. The peninsular kingdom was known as Sicily citra Farum or al di qua del Faro (on this side of Faro), and the island kingdom was known as Sicily ultra Farum or di la del Faro (on the other side of Faro). When both kingdoms came under the rule of Alfonso the Magnanimous in 1442, this usage became official, although Ferdinand I (1458–94) preferred the simple title King of Sicily (rex Sicilie).

By the late Middle Ages, the Kingdom of Sicily citra Farum had become known colloquially as the Kingdom of Naples (regnum Neapolitanum or regno di Napoli). It was sometimes even called the regno di Puglia, the kingdom of Apulia. In the 18th century, the Neapolitan intellectual Giuseppe Maria Galanti argued that Apulia was the true “national” name of the kingdom. By the time of Alfonso the Magnanimous, the two kingdoms were sufficiently distinct that they were no longer seen as divisions of a single kingdom. Despite being repeatedly in personal union, they remained administratively separate. In 1816, the two kingdoms finally merged to form the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.

January 14, 1892: Death of Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale


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Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (January 8, 1864 – January 14, 1892) was the eldest child of the Prince and Princess of Wales (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) and grandson of the reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria. From the time of his birth, he was second in the line of succession to the British throne, but never became king because he died before his father and grandmother.

Albert Victor was born two months prematurely on January 8, 1864 at Frogmore House, Windsor, Berkshire. He was the first child of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and his wife Alexandra of Denmark, daughter of was Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (King Christian IX of Denmark) and her mother was Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel.

Following his grandmother Queen Victoria’s wishes, he was named Albert Victor, after herself and her late husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. As a grandchild of the reigning British monarch in the male line and a son of the Prince of Wales, he was formally styled His Royal Highness Prince Albert Victor of Wales from birth.

From October 1889 till May 1890 Prince Albert Victor toutred India. On his return from India, Albert Victor was created Duke of Clarence and Avondale and Earl of Athlone on May 24, 1890, Queen Victoria’s 71st birthday.

Prospective brides

Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine

Several women were lined up as possible brides for Albert Victor. The first, in 1889, was his cousin Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, but she did not return his affections and refused his offer of engagement. She would later marry Emperor Nicholas II of Russia, another of Albert Victor’s cousins, in 1894.

Princess Hélène of Orléans

The second, in 1890, was a love match with Princess Hélène of Orléans, the third of eight children born to Prince Philippe VII , Count of Paris, and Infanta Maria Isabel of Spain, daughter of Prince Antoine, Duke of Montpensier and Infanta Luisa Fernanda of Spain. Antoine was the youngest son of Louis-Philippe I, the last King of France, and Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily. Infanta Luisa was the daughter of Ferdinand VII of Spain and her grandfather’s fourth wife Maria Christina of the Two Sicilies. All four of her grandparents and seven of her eight great-grandparents were members of the French Royal House of Bourbon.

Engagement photo of the Duke of Clarence and Princess Mary of Teck

At first, Queen Victoria opposed any engagement because Hélène was Roman Catholic. Victoria wrote to her grandson suggesting another of her grandchildren, Princess Margaret of Prussia, as a suitable alternative, but nothing came of her suggestion, and once Albert Victor and Hélène confided their love to her, the Queen relented and supported the proposed marriage. Hélène offered to convert to the Church of England, and Albert Victor offered to renounce his succession rights to marry her.

To the couple’s disappointment, her father refused to countenance the marriage and was adamant she could not convert. Hélène travelled personally to intercede with Pope Leo XIII, but he confirmed her father’s verdict, and the courtship ended. On June 25, 1895, at the Church of St. Raphael in Kingston upon Thames, Hélène married Prince Emanuele Filiberto of Savoy, 2nd Duke of Aosta (1869–1931).

In late 1891, the Prince was implicated as having been involved with a former Gaiety Theatre chorus girl, Lydia Miller (stage name Lydia Manton), who committed suicide by drinking carbolic acid. In 1891, Albert Victor wrote to Lady Sybil St Clair Erskine that he was in love once again, though he does not say with whom, but by this time another potential bride, Princess Mary of Teck, was under consideration. Mary was the daughter of Queen Victoria’s first cousin Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck. Queen Victoria was very supportive, considering Mary ideal—charming, sensible and pretty. On 3 December 1891 Albert Victor, to Mary’s “great surprise”, proposed to her at Luton Hoo, the country residence of the Danish ambassador to Britain. The wedding was set for February 27, 1892.

as plans for both his marriage to Mary and his appointment as Viceroy of Ireland were under discussion, Albert Victor fell ill with influenza in the pandemic of 1889–92. He developed pneumonia and died at Sandringham House in Norfolk on January 14, 1892, less than a week after his 28th birthday. His parents the Prince and Princess of Wales, his sisters Princesses Maud and Victoria, his brother Prince George, his fiancée Princess Mary, her parents the Duke and Duchess of Teck, three physicians (Alan Reeve Manby, Francis Laking and William Broadbent) and three nurses were present. The Prince of Wales’s chaplain, Canon Frederick Hervey, stood over Albert Victor reading prayers for the dying.

The nation was shocked. Shops put up their shutters. The Prince of Wales wrote to Queen Victoria, “Gladly would I have given my life for his”.

50th Anniversary of the Death of King Frederik IX of Denmark and the accession of Queen Margrethe II


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Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of King Frederik IX of Denmark and the accession of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark to the Danish throne upon her father’s death.

King Frederik IX died at the age of 72 after a reign of almost 25 years.

Frederik IX (Christian Frederik Franz Michael Carl Valdemar Georg; March 11, 1899 – January 14, 1972) was King of Denmark from 1947 to 1972.

Born into the House of Glücksburg, Frederik was the elder son of King Christian X and Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He became crown prince when his father succeeded as king in 1912. As a young man, he was educated at the Royal Danish Naval Academy.

During Nazi Germany’s occupation of Denmark, Frederick acted as regent on behalf of his father from 1942 until 1943.

In the 1910s, Alexandrine considered the two youngest daughters of her cousin Emperor Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia and Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, as possible wives for Frederik, until the execution of the Romanov family in 1918. In 1922, Frederik was engaged to Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark, his second cousin. They never wed.

Instead, on March 15, 1935, a few days after his 36th birthday, Frederik was engaged to Princess Ingrid of Sweden (1910–2000), a daughter of Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf (later King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden) and his first wife, Princess Margaret of Connaught.

They were related in several ways. In descent from Oscar I of Sweden and Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden, they were double third cousins. In descent from Emperor Paul I of Russia, Frederik was a fourth cousin of Ingrid’s mother.

They married in Stockholm Cathedral on May 24, 1935. Their wedding was one of the greatest media events of the day in Sweden in 1935, and among the wedding guests were the King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, the King Leopold III Queen Astrid of Belgium and the Crown Prince Olaf and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway.

Changes to the Act of Succession

As King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid had no sons, it was expected that the king’s younger brother, Prince Knud, would inherit the throne, in accordance with Denmark’s succession law (Royal Ordinance of 1853).

However, in 1953, an Act of Succession was passed, changing the method of succession to male-preference primogeniture (which allows daughters to succeed if there are no sons).

This meant that his daughters could succeed him if he had no sons. As a consequence, his eldest daughter, Margrethe, became heir presumptive. By order of March 27, 1953 the succession to the throne was limited to the issue of King Christian X.

Frederik became king on his father’s death in early 1947. During Frederik IX’s reign Danish society changed rapidly, the welfare state was expanded and, as a consequence of the booming economy of the 1960s, women entered the labour market.

The modernization brought new demands on the monarchy and Frederik’s role as a constitutional monarch. Frederik IX died on January 14, 1972, and was succeeded by his eldest daughter, Queen Margrethe II.

On her accession, Queen Margrethe II, became the first female monarch of Denmark since Margrethe I, ruler of the Scandinavian kingdoms in 1375–1412 during the Kalmar Union.

In 1967, Margrethe married Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, with whom she had two sons: Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.

Margrethe is known for her strong archaeological passion and has participated in several excavations, including in Italy, Egypt, Denmark and South America. She shared this interest with her grandfather Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, with whom she spent some time unearthing artefacts near Etruria in 1962.

As of 2021, Queen Margrethe II has, as sovereign, received 42 official state visits and she has undertaken 55 foreign state visits herself. In addition to this, the Queen and the royal family have made several other foreign visits. Support for the monarchy in Denmark has been and remains consistently high at around 82%, as does Margrethe’s personal popularity.

January 13, 1883: Birth of Prince Arthur of Connaught.


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Prince Arthur of Connaught (Arthur Frederick Patrick Albert; January 13, 1883 – September 1938) was a British military officer and a grandson of Queen Victoria. He served as Governor-General of the Union of South Africa from 20 November 1920 to 21 January 1924.

Prince Arthur was born on January 13, 1883 at Windsor Castle. His father was Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. His mother was the former Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia.

Arthur was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on February 16, 1883, and his godparents were Queen Victoria (his paternal grandmother), the German Empress (his great-great aunt, for whom his paternal aunt Princess Beatrice stood proxy), Prince Friedrich Leopold of Prussia (his maternal uncle, who was represented by the German Ambassador Count Münster), Princess Henry of the Netherlands (his maternal aunt, who was represented by Countess Münster), the Duke of Cambridge (the Queen’s cousin), and the Duke of Edinburgh (his paternal uncle, whose brother the Prince of Wales represented him).

The Duke and Duchess of Connaught with their children: Prince Arthur, Princess Margaret (taller) and Princess Victoria Patricia

Arthur was the first British royal prince to be educated at Eton College. He was known to his family as “young Arthur” to distinguish him from his father.

Military career

Prince Arthur was educated at Eton College, but left there early to join the Royal Military College, Sandhurst at the age of sixteen years and two months. From there he was commissioned into the 7th (Queen’s Own) Hussars as a second lieutenant in May 1901.

He saw his first active posting the following year. After the end of the Second Boer War in June 1902, most of the British troops left South Africa, but the 7th Hussars were posted there to keep the peace. Prince Arthur and 230 men of his regiment left Southampton in the SS Ortona in October 1902, and arrived at Cape Town later the same month.

Prince Arthur spent several months stationed at Krugersdorp. In 1907, he was promoted to the rank of captain in the 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys). He became the honorary Colonel-in-Chief of this regiment in 1920.

During the First World War, Prince Arthur served as aide-de-camp to Generals Sir John French and Sir Douglas Haig, the successive commanders of the British Expeditionary Force in France and Belgium. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1919 and became a colonel in the reserves in 1922.

In October 1922, Prince Arthur was promoted to the honorary rank of major general and became an aide-de-camp to his first cousin, King George V.

Prince Arthur of Connaught and Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife

Since the king’s children were too young to undertake public duties until after the First World War, Prince Arthur carried out a variety of ceremonial duties at home and overseas.

On October 15, 1913, Prince Arthur married his cousin Princess Alexandra, 2nd Duchess of Fife (May 17, 1891 – February 26, 1959) at the Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace, London.

Princess Alexandra was the eldest daughter and heir of the Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife and Louise the Princess Royal, the eldest daughter of King Edward VII and Alexandra of Denmark. As such, the couple were first cousins once removed. They had a son, Alastair.

The couple were attended by five bridesmaids: The Princess Mary, Princess Maud of Fife, Princesses Mary, Helena, and May of Teck.

Later life

After the accession of his cousin, King George V, Prince Arthur and his aging father were the most senior male members of the Royal Family over the age of 18 to reside in the United Kingdom. As such, he undertook a wide variety of royal duties on behalf of the King, and acted as a Counsellor of State during periods of the King’s absence abroad.

In 1906, by order of the King, he vested the Meiji Emperor of Japan with the Order of the Garter, as a consequence of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance. In 1918, he was a guest aboard the Japanese battlecruiser Kirishima when she voyaged from Japan to Canada. He visited Tokyo and then Nagoya and was welcomed at Tsuruma Park and the Buntenkaku, and then traveled on to Kyoto.

In 1920, Prince Arthur succeeded Viscount Buxton as governor-general and commander-in-chief in South Africa. The Earl of Athlone succeeded him in these posts in 1924. Upon returning to Britain, Prince Arthur became involved in a number of charitable organizations, including serving as chairman of the board of directors of Middlesex Hospital. Like his father, the Duke of Connaught, he was active in the Freemasons, becoming Provincial Grand Master for Berkshire in 1924.

Prince Arthur of Connaught died of stomach cancer at age 55 on September 12, 1938. He is buried in the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore. One of his last public appearances was at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in May 1937. His father, the Duke of Connaught, survived him by four years.

Prince Arthur’s only son, Alistair, who used the courtesy title Earl of MacDuff after 1917, succeeded his paternal grandfather as 2nd Duke of Connaught and Strathearn and Earl of Sussex in 1942.

Although Alistair was born a Prince of the United Kingdom with the style His Highness in 1914 he lost that title in 1917.

In letters patent dated November 20, 1917, George V undertook further restructuring of the royal styles and titles by restricting the titles of Prince or Princess and the style of Royal Highness to the children of the sovereign, the children of the sovereign’s sons, and the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales.

This excluded Alastair, who was a great-grandson of a former sovereign but was not the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales. It further stated that all titles of “the grandchildren of the sons of any such Sovereign in the direct male line (save only the eldest living son of the eldest son of the Prince of Wales) shall have the style and title enjoyed by the children of Dukes.”

Ferdinand I of the Kingdom of the Two-Sicilies. Part II.


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King Ferdinand IV-III of Naples and Sicily returned to Naples soon after the wars with France and ordered a few hundred who had collaborated with the French executed. This stopped only when the French successes forced him to agree to a treaty which included amnesty for members of the French party.

When war broke out between France and Austria in 1805, Ferdinand signed a treaty of neutrality with the former, but a few days later he allied himself with Austria and allowed an Anglo-Russian force to land at Naples.

The French victory at the Battle of Austerlitz on December 2, enabled Napoleon to dispatch an army to southern Italy. Ferdinand fled to Palermo (January 23, 1806), followed soon after by his wife and son, and on February 14, 1806 the French again entered Naples.

Napoleon declared that the Bourbon dynasty had forfeited the crown, and proclaimed his brother Joseph King of Naples and Sicily. But Ferdinand continued to reign over Sicily (becoming the first King of Sicily in centuries to actually reside there) under British protection.

Parliamentary institutions of a feudal type had long existed in the island, and Lord William Bentinck, the British minister, insisted on a reform of the constitution on English and French lines. The king indeed practically abdicated his power, appointing his son Francis as regent, and the queen, at Bentinck’s insistence, was exiled to Austria, where she died in 1814.


The Restoration of Naples and Sicily were part of the workings of the Congress of Vienna.

The Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815 was an international diplomatic conference to reconstitute the European political order after the downfall of the French Emperor Napoleon I. It was a meeting of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich, and held in Vienna from November 1814 to June 1815

The Congress restored the Papal States to Pope Pius VII. King Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia was restored to Piedmont, its mainland possession, and also gained control of the Republic of Genoa. In Southern Italy, Napoleon’s brother-in-law, Joachim Murat, was originally allowed to retain the Kingdom of Naples, but his support for Napoleon in the Hundred Days led to the restoration of the Bourbon Ferdinand IV to the throne.

January 12, 1519: Death of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor


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Maximilian I (March 22, 1459 – January 12, 1519).

Maximilian was the son of Friedrich III, Holy Roman Emperor, and Eleanor of Portugal, a Portuguese infanta (princess), daughter of King Duarte of Portugal and his wife Eleanor of Aragon.

He ruled jointly with his father for the last ten years of the latter’s reign, from c. 1483 until his father’s death in 1493.

Maximilian was elected King of the Romans on 16 February 16, 1486 in Frankfurt-am-Main at his father’s initiative and crowned on April 9, 1486 in Aachen. Much of th Austrian territories and Vienna were under the rule of king Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, as a result of the Austrian–Hungarian War (1477–1488). Maximilian was now a king without lands. After the death of king Matthias, from July 1490, Maximilian began a series of short sieges that reconquered cities and fortresses that his father had lost in Austria.

Maximilian was never crowned by the pope, as the journey to Rome was blocked by the Venetians.

In 1508, Maximilian, with the assent of Pope Julius II, took the title Erwählter Römischer Kaiser (“Elected Roman Emperor”), thus ending the centuries-old custom that the Holy Roman Emperor had to be crowned by the Pope.

Maximilian expanded the influence of the House of Habsburg through war and his marriage. In 1477 Maximilian married Mary of Burgundy, the only child of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, and his wife Isabella of Bourbon, she inherited the Burgundian lands at the age of 19 upon the death of her father in the Battle of Nancy on 5 January 1477. She spent most of her reign defending her birthright; in order to counter the appetite of the French king Louis XI for her lands.

Maximilian and Mary’s wedding contract stipulated that their children would succeed them but that the couple could not be each other’s heirs. Mary tried to bypass this rule with a promise to transfer territories as a gift in case of her death, but her plans were confounded. After Mary’s death in a riding accident on March 27, 1482 near the Wijnendale Castle, Maximilian’s aim was now to secure the inheritance to his and Mary’s son, Philipp the Handsome.

Maximilian lost his family’s original lands in today’s Switzerland to the Swiss Confederacy. Through marriage of his son Philipp the Handsome to eventual Queen Joanna of Castile in 1498, Maximilian helped to establish the Habsburg dynasty in Spain, which allowed his grandson Charles to hold the thrones of both Castile and Aragon, and he was the eventual successor to the Imperial Throne of the Holy Roman Empire.

The historian Thomas A. Brady Jr. describes him as “the first Holy Roman Emperor in 250 years who ruled as well as reigned” and also, the “ablest royal warlord of his generation.”

After 1517 Maximilian began to focus entirely on the question of his succession. His goal was to secure the throne for a member of his house and prevent François I of France from gaining the imperial throne.

In 1501, Maximilian fell from his horse and badly injured his leg, causing him pain for the rest of his life. Some historians have suggested that Maximilian was “morbidly” depressed: from 1514, he travelled everywhere with his coffin.

Maximilian died in Wels, Upper Austria, on January 12, 1519 at the age of 59. The death of Maximilian seemed to put the succession at risk. However, The Fugger family provided Maximilian a credit of one million gulden, which was used to bribe the prince-electors. However, the bribery claims have been challenged. At first, this policy seemed successful, and Maximilian managed to secure the votes from Mainz, Cologne, Brandenburg and Bohemia for his grandson Charles.

Maximilian’s son, Philipp the Handsome (King Felipe I of Castile by right of his wife) had died in 1506. The resulting “election campaign” was unprecedented due to the massive use of bribery. Within a few months the election of his grandson as Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was secured. Charles had also succeeded his maternal grandfather, King Fernando II-V of Aragon and Castile in 1516 and became King Carlos I of a united Spain. With his election as Emperor, Charles V ruled an empire as vast and as powerful as that of Charlemagne ‘s centuries earlier.

January 12, 1751: Birth of Ferdinand I, King of the Two Sicilies. Part I.


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Ferdinand I (January 12, 1751 – January 4, 1825), was the King of the Two Sicilies from 1816, after his restoration following victory in the Napoleonic Wars. Before that he had been, since 1759, Ferdinand IV of the Kingdom of Naples and Ferdinand III of the Kingdom of Sicily. He was also King of Gozo. He was deposed twice from the throne of Naples: once by the revolutionary Parthenopean Republic for six months in 1799 and again by Napoleon in 1805, before being restored in 1816.

Ferdinand was the third son of King Carlos VII of Naples and V of Sicily by his wife, Maria Amalia of Saxony. On August 10, 1759, Carlos succeeded his elder brother, Fernando VI of Spain, becoming King Carlos III of Spain, but treaty provisions made him ineligible to hold all three crowns. On October 6, he abdicated his Neapolitan and Sicilian titles in favour of his third son Ferdinand because his eldest son Felipe had been excluded from succession due to illnesses and his second son Carlos was heir-apparent to the Spanish throne. Ferdinand was the founder of the cadet House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies.


Ferdinand was born in Naples and grew up amidst many of the monuments erected there by his father which can be seen today; the Palaces of Portici, Caserta and Capodimonte.

Since Ferdinand IV-III of Naples was eight upon his accession to both thrones, a regency council presided over by the Tuscan Bernardo Tanucci was set up. The latter, an able, ambitious man, wishing to keep the government as much as possible in his own hands, purposely neglected the young king’s education, and encouraged him in his love of pleasure, his idleness and his excessive devotion to outdoor sports.

Ferdinand’s minority/childhood ended in 1767, and his first act was the expulsion of the Jesuits. The following year he married Archduchess Maria Carolina of Austria, the thirteenth child of Empress Maria Theresa and her husband, Holy Roman Emperor Franz I.

By the marriage contract the queen was to have a voice in the council of state after the birth of her first son, and she was not slow to avail herself of this means of political influence.daughter of Empress Maria Theresa

Archduchess Maria Carolina was the de facto ruler of her husband’s kingdoms. Maria Carolina oversaw the promulgation of many reforms, including the revocation of the ban on Freemasonry, the enlargement of the navy under her favorite, Sir John Acton, and the expulsion of Spanish influence.

She was a proponent of enlightened absolutism until the advent of the French Revolution, when, in order to prevent its ideas gaining currency, she made Naples a police state.

Although peace was made with France in 1796, the demands of the French Directory, whose troops occupied Rome, alarmed the king once more, and at his wife’s instigation he took advantage of Napoleon’s absence in Egypt and of Nelson’s victories to go to war.

Ferdinand IV-III marched with his army against the French and entered Rome (November 29), but on the defeat of some of his columns he hurried back to Naples, and on the approach of the French, fled on December 23, 1798 aboard Nelson’s ship HMS Vanguard to Palermo, Sicily, leaving his capital in a state of anarchy.

When, a few weeks later the French troops were recalled to northern Italy, Ferdinand sent a hastily assembled force, under Cardinal Ruffo, to reconquer the mainland kingdom. Ruffo, with the support of British artillery, the Church, and the pro-Bourbon aristocracy, succeeded, reaching Naples in May 1800. After some months King Ferdinand returned to the throne.

The king, and above all the queen, were particularly anxious that no mercy should be shown to the rebels, and Maria Carolina (a sister of the executed Marie Antoinette, Queen of France) made use of Lady Hamilton, Nelson’s mistress, to induce Nelson to carry out her vengeance.

January 11, 1372: Death of Eleanor of Lancaster, Countess of Arundel


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Eleanor of Lancaster, Countess of Arundel (sometimes called Eleanor Plantagenet; September 11, 1318 – January 11, 1372) was a member of the English Royal Family and the fifth daughter of Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster and Maud Chaworth.

Her father, Henry, 3rd Earl of Leicester and Lancaster (c. 1281 – 1345) was a grandson of King Henry III (1216–1272) of England and was one of the principals behind the deposition of King Edward II (1307–1327), his first cousin. Henry, 3rd Earl of Leicester and Lancastern was the younger son of Edmund Crouchback, 1st Earl of Lancaster, Earl of Leicester, a son of King Henry III by his wife Eleanor of Provence. Henry’s mother was Blanche of Artois, Queen Dowager of Navarre.

Eleanor married first on November 6, 1330 John de Beaumont, 2nd Baron Beaumont (d. 1342), son of Henry de Beaumont, 4th Earl of Buchan, 1st Baron Beaumont (c.1288-1340) by his wife Alice Comyn (1289-3 July 1349).

Henry de Beaumont was the grandson of John of Brienne, King of Jerusalem and later Latin Emperor of Constantinople by his third wife, Berengaria of Leon, making Henry a second cousin of Edward II of England.

John de Beaumont died in a jousting tournament on April 14, 1342. They had one son, born to Eleanor in Ghent whilst serving as lady-in-waiting to Queen Philippa of Hainault:

Henry de Beaumont, 3rd Baron Beaumont, (1340 — 1369), the first husband of Lady Margaret de Vere (d. 15 June 1398), the daughter of John de Vere, 7th Earl of Oxford by his wife Maud de Badlesmere. Henry and Margaret had one son, John de Beaumont, 4th Baron Beaumont KG (1361-1396).

Second marriage

On February 5, 1345 at Ditton Church, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, she married Richard FitzAlan, 3rd Earl of Arundel.

His previous marriage, to Isabel le Despenser, had taken place when they were children. It was annulled by Papal mandate as she, since her father’s attainder and execution, had ceased to be of any importance to him. Pope Clement VI obligingly annulled the marriage, bastardized the issue, and provided a dispensation for his second marriage to the woman with whom he had been living in adultery (the dispensation, dated March 4, 1345, was required because his first and second wives were first cousins).

The children of Eleanor’s second marriage were:

1.) Richard (1346–1397), who succeeded as Earl of Arundel
2.) John Fitzalan (bef 1349 – 1379)
3.) Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury (c. 1353 – 19 February 1413)
4.) Lady Joan FitzAlan (1347/1348 – 7 April 1419), married Humphrey de Bohun, 7th Earl of Hereford
5.) Lady Alice FitzAlan (1350 – 17 March 1416), married Thomas Holland, 2nd Earl of Kent (Thomas Holand)
Lady Mary FitzAlan (died 29 August 1396), married John Le Strange, 4th Lord Strange of Blackmere, by whom she had issue
6.) Lady Eleanor FitzAlan (1348 – d 29 Aug 1396) married Sir Anthony Browne.

Later life

Eleanor died at Arundel and was buried at Lewes Priory in Lewes, Sussex, England. Her husband survived her by four years, and was buried beside her; in his will Richard requests to be buried “near to the tomb of Eleanor de Lancaster, my wife; and I desire that my tomb be no higher than hers, that no men at arms, horses, hearse, or other pomp, be used at my funeral, but only five torches…as was about the corpse of my wife, be allowed.”

The memorial effigies attributed to Eleanor and her husband Richard Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel in Chichester Cathedral are the subject of the celebrated Philip Larkin poem “An Arundel Tomb.”