September 27, 1590: Death of Pope Urban VII after a 12 day reign


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Pope Urban VII (August 4, 1521 – September 27, 1590), born Giovanni Battista Castagna, was Bishop of Rome Pope of the Catholic Church, and sovereign ruler of the Papal States from September 15 to 27, 1590. His thirteen-day papacy was the shortest in history.

Giovanni Battista Castagna was born in Rome in 1521 to a noble family as the son of Cosimo Castagna of Genoa and Costanza Ricci Giacobazzi of Rome.

Castagna studied in universities all across Italy and obtained a doctorate in civil law and canon law when he finished his studies at the University of Bologna. Soon after he became auditor of his uncle, Cardinal Girolamo Verallo, whom he accompanied as datary on a papal legation to France.

He served as a constitutional lawyer and entered the Roman Curia during the pontificate of Pope Julius III as the Referendary of the Apostolic Signatura. Castagna was chosen to be the new Archbishop of Rossano on 1 March 1, 1553, and he would quickly receive all the minor and major orders culminating in his ordination to the priesthood on March 30, 1553 in Rome. He then received episcopal consecration a month after at the home of Cardinal Verallo.

He served as the Governor of Fano from 1555 to 1559 and later served as the Governor of Perugia and Umbria from 1559 to 1560. During the reign of Pius IV, he settled satisfactorily a long-standing boundary dispute between the inhabitants of Terni and Spoleto. Castagna would later participate in the Council of Trent from 1562 to 1563 and served as the president of several conciliar congregations.

He was appointed as the Apostolic Nuncio to Spain in 1565 and served there until 1572, resigning his post from his archdiocese a year later. He also served as the Governor of Bologna from 1576 to 1577. Among other positions, he was the Apostolic Nuncio to Venice from 1573 to 1577 and served also as the Papal Legate to Flanders and Cologne from 1578 to 1580.

Pope Gregory XIII elevated him to the cardinalate on December 12, 1583 and he was appointed as the Cardinal-Priest of San Marcello.


After the death of Pope Sixtus V, a conclave was convoked to elect a successor. Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany had been appointed a cardinal at the age of fourteen but was never ordained to the priesthood.

At the age of thirty-eight, he resigned from the cardinalate upon the death of his older brother, Francesco in 1587, to succeed to the title. (There were suspicions that Francesco and his wife died of arsenic poisoning after having dined at Ferdinando’s Villa Medici, although one story has Ferdinando as the intended target of his sister-in-law.) Ferdinando’s foreign policy attempted to free Tuscany from Spanish domination.

He was consequently opposed to the election of any candidate supported by Spain. He persuaded Cardinal Alessandro Peretti di Montalto, grand-nephew of Sixtus V, to switch his support from Cardinal Marco Antonio Colonna, which brought the support of the younger cardinals appointed by the late Sixtus.

Castagna, a seasoned diplomat of moderation and proven rectitude was elected as pope on September 15, 1590 and selected the pontifical name of “Urban VII”.


Urban VII’s short passage in the office gave rise to the world’s first known public smoking ban, as he threatened to excommunicate anyone who “took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose”.

Urban VII was known for his charity to the poor. He subsidized Roman bakers so they could sell bread under cost, and restricted the spending on luxury items for members of his court. He also subsidized public works projects throughout the Papal States. Urban VII was strictly against nepotism and he forbade it within the Roman Curia.


Urban VII died in Rome on September 27, 1590, shortly before midnight, of malaria. He had reigned for 13 days. He was buried in the Vatican. The funeral oration was delivered by Pompeo Ugonio. His remains were later transferred to the church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, on September 21, 1606.

His estate, valued at 30,000 scudi, was bequeathed to the Archconfraternity of the Annunciation, for use as dowries for poor young girls.

Titles of Royalty and Nobility within the British Monarchy: King


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Today begins a new series examining the titles of Royalty and Nobility within the British Monarchy.

I will begin by defining what a monarchy is and also the role of the sovereign King or Queen. Although this definition of monarchy can also fit that of an Emperor, reigning Grand Duke or Prince, in this instance it defines a King or Queen Regnant.

King is the title given to a male monarch. The English term king is derived from the Anglo-Saxon cyning, which in turn is derived from the Common Germanic *kuningaz. The Common Germanic term was borrowed into Estonian and Finnish at an early time, surviving in these languages as kuningas.

King George VI of the United Kingdom

A monarch is a head of state for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority and power in the state, or others may wield that power on behalf of the monarch.

Usually a monarch either personally inherits the lawful right to exercise the state’s sovereign rights (often referred to as the throne or the crown) or is selected by an established process from a family or cohort eligible to provide the nation’s monarch. Alternatively, an individual may proclaim themself monarch, which may be backed and legitimated through acclamation, right of conquest or a combination of means.

If a young child is crowned the monarch, then a regent is often appointed to govern until the monarch reaches the requisite adult age to rule. Monarchs’ actual powers vary from one monarchy to another and in different eras; on one extreme, they may be autocrats (absolute monarchy) wielding genuine sovereignty; on the other they may be ceremonial heads of state who exercise little or no direct power or only reserve powers, with actual authority vested in a parliament or other body (constitutional monarchy).

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom

A monarch can reign in multiple monarchies simultaneously. For example, between 1603 and 1707 the monarch ruled England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Although the monarch was the sovereign of these states they were not politically united and they continued as separate states, they shared the same monarch through personal union.

There are two types of Kings. A King Regnant and a King Consort. Regnant is a term that means reigning and holding sovereign power. In a Constitutional Monarchy sovereign power is vested in the reigning monarch even if that power is executed by other governmental figures such as a Prime Minister.

In British history there has been only one instance of a King Consort in England; that was King Felipe II of Spain the husband of Queen Mary I of England.

In Scotland King François II of France and Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, were King Consorts to Mary I of Scotland.

When Queen Mary I of England came to the throne as the first Queen Regnant of England, under the English common law the 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.

That is what happened. Felipe II of Spain was technically a “King Consort” but under the terms of Queen Mary’s Marriage Act, Felipe II was in practice a joint sovereign to be styled “King of England” in 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.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom

That’s one of the reasons Elizabeth I never married, she did not want to share power with her husband. William III was a joint sovereign with his wife Mary II. George of Denmark, not an ambitious man, didn’t push to be made King Consort.

This was challenged with Queen Victoria who wanted to make Albert her King Consort but Parliament squashed that idea. In 1858 Queen Victoria created the title Prince Consort for Prince Albert and this is the only time so that this title was used for the husband of a Queen Regnant.

That brings us to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Jure uxoris had long ceased to being a factor and tradition had evolved to where a Consort of a Queen Regnant wasn’t made a King Consort. Philip was created Duke of Edinburgh on the eve of his marriage to Princess Elizabeth and, as Queen, created him a Prince of the United Kingdom in his own right, making the title Prince Consort unnecessary.

When it comes to addressing either a King Regnant or a King Consort there is absolutely no difference, no distinction, whatsoever and both are simply refered to as “His Majesty the King” despite the differences.

As there are two types of Kings there are also two types of Queens.* The first type of Queen is called a Queen Regnant. A Queen Regnant is a female monarch who rules in her own right and usually becomes queen by inheriting the throne upon the death of the previous monarch.

Some examples of Queen Regnants are: Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – 2022), Queen Victoria (1837 – 1991) and Queen Mary II (1689 – 1694).

The next type of Queen is a Queen Consort. Simply, A Queen Consort is the wife of a reigning king. Let me state further, all wives of reigning Kings in British history have been a Queen Consort.

King Felipe II of Spain and England

A Queen Consort usually shares her spouse’s social rank and status. She holds the feminine equivalent of the king’s monarchical titles and may be crowned and anointed, but historically she does not formally share the regnant’s political and military powers, unless on occasion acting as regent.

When it comes to addressing either a Queen Regnant or a Queen Consort there is absolutely no difference, no distinction whatsoever, and both are simply refered to as “Her Majesty the Queen” despite the differences.

* There is also a Dowager Queen and a Queen Mother. A Queen Dowager is a former Queen Consort who is the widow of a king, and a queen mother is a former Queen Consort who is the mother of the current monarch. Queen Elizabeth II’s mother was a former Queen Consort who didn’t care for the title Queen Dowager and instead took the title of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

His Majesty the King

Queen Adelaide, wife of King William IV and was known as a Dowager Queen (or Queen Dowager) after his death in 1837. Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary were the wives of King Edward VII had King George V respectively and despite being Queen Mothers neither formally took that title.

Just to restate when addressing a monarch of the United Kingdom whether they are a King Regnant, King Consort or a Queen Regnant or a Queen Consort they are addressed as His/Her Majesty the King or Queen and no distinction is made between a Regnant or a Consort.

Blog Update & Schedule. My Rant.


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From the Emperor’s Desk:

Im taking several days off and will be back on Tuesday, September 27. The passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom has been a huge emotional rollercoaster for me. Ive been doing a lot of writing on various subjects related to the Queen and the British Monarchy in general. In the days after the death of the Queen I was very active on my Twitter Account that was connected to this blog and related Facebook page.

It was extremely stressful! The amount of misinformation is staggering! Not only that there are many people that refused to listen to the accurate information. I posted several times my article “The Princess of Wales is not Princess Catherine”. One person on Twitter said “You can post as many articles on the proper usage of titles all you want, but since the press called Diana, Princess Diana I am going to give Catherine that same honor and call her Princess Catherine”. Another person, a few actually, call the Duchess of Sussex “Princess Meghan” or Queen Meghan. This is what I am up against.

On my Facebook page that is connected to this blog I made a post on how the then Duke of Cambridge was also now the Duke of Cornwall. In that post I mentioned that the Duke of Cambridge and Cornwall was now “the heir to the throne “.

Some follower of the page viscously attacked me for saying that Prince William was now heir to the throne. He said that William has always been the heir to the throne since birth! I mentioned that Prince William had been second in line to the throne since birth but was now first in line to the throne.

The follower said I was wrong and that there was no excuse for my mistake and that the knowledge was not secretive and that my mistake showed my ignorance about royalty and that I am an insult to the Royal Family and my followers.

It’s very strange and ironic. In any topic of study or occupation being accurate is a necessity. My job as an historian is to be accurate. However, with Royalty people have an issue with historians being accurate.

What I will do concerning issues of historical accuracy, such as the proper usage of titles, is to write about it here on my blog and role model proper usage of titles and other information.

Also on Twitter my news feed was flooded with hatred toward the Duchess of Sussex. I try and stay out of the drama. First of all there is a lot of gossip and misinformation on this topic and since it is a semi private matter there is much that goes on behind closed doors that we don’t know about. For me not enough to choose sides and form an opinion. As an historian I try to remain neutral and will observe as it plays out.

But one thing does bother me is the vitriol and the massive amount of hatred that boils down in nothing but extreme cyber bullying. I don’t want to be involved in that and I cannot fix it.

But you know what? I don’t care anymore. I will no longer correct misinformation concerning royalty on social media. It’s a toxic environment. Yesterday someone, referring to the Imperial State Crown, said it was made in the year 1400. No it was not. The frame of the Imperial State Crown was built in 1937 for the Coronation of King George VI. The jewels used in the crown are of various ages, some older than 1400.

A couple of people refered to the late Queen as HRH Queen Elizabeth instead of Her Majesty but I just kept moving along.

Prior to being on the internet and starting this blog and related Facebook page in 2012 I used to do all of this on my own, privately for my own enjoyment, since 1977. I did go to college and got advanced degrees in European History where I focused on European Royalty, but I miss those days of just enjoying this subject on my own.

I have toyed around with shutting down my European Royal History Facebook page but as long as there are no longer personal attacks I will keep it open. Personal attacks on this blog are very rare and I don’t want to close it down because I also want to keep open the access to all the articles I wrote.

Thanks for reading my rant.

Before the Queen passed away I was in the midst of a series of articles on the various pretenders to the French Throne. But I have more things I want to write on the British Monarchy before I get back to that subject.

Some of the subjects I will write about starting next Tuesday are:

1. A series on the British titles of Royalty and Nobility, thier history and proper usage

2. I will write a blog post on my thoughts on the passing of the Queen

3. My support for the principle of Constitutional Monarchy

On Twitter I ran into some anti-monarchists views and calls for the monarchy to be abolished…mostly by Americans…so I want to address those issues.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you next week!


September 21, 1411: Birth of Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York


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Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York (September 21, 1411 – December 30, 1460), also named Richard Plantagenet, was a leading English magnate and claimant to the throne during the Wars of the Roses. He was a member of the ruling House of Plantagenet.

Richard of York was born on September 21, 1411, the son of Richard, Earl of Cambridge (1385–1415), and his wife Anne Mortimer (1388–1411). Both his parents were descended from King Edward III of England (1312–1377): his father was son of Edmund, 1st Duke of York (founder of the House of York), fourth surviving son of Edward III, whereas his mother Anne Mortimer was a great-granddaughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, Edward’s second son.

After the death in 1425 of Anne’s childless brother Edmund, Earl of March, this ancestry supplied her son Richard, of the House of York, with a claim to the English throne that was arguably superior to that of the reigning House of Lancaster, descended from John of Gaunt, the third son of Edward III.

Richard had an only sister, Isabel. Richard’s mother, Anne Mortimer, died during or shortly after his birth, and his father the Earl of Cambridge was beheaded in 1415 for his part in the Southampton Plot against the Lancastrian King Henry V.

Within a few months of his father’s death, Richard’s childless uncle, Edward, 2nd Duke of York, was slain at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, and so Richard inherited Edward’s title and lands, becoming 3rd Duke of York. The lesser title but greater estates of the Mortimer family, along with their claim to the throne, also descended to him on the death of his maternal uncle Edmund Mortimer, 5th Earl of March, in 1425.

Richard of York already held a strong claim to the English throne, being the heir general of Edward III while also related to the same king in a direct male line of descent. Once he inherited the vast Mortimer estates, he also became the wealthiest and most powerful noble in England, second only to the king himself. An account shows that York’s net income from Welsh and marcher lands alone was £3,430 (about £350,000 today) in the year 1443–44.


In December 1459 the Duke York, the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury suffered attainder. Their lives were forfeit, and their lands reverted to the king; their heirs would not inherit. This was the most extreme punishment a member of the nobility could suffer, and the Duke of York was now in the same situation as Henry of Bolingbroke (the future King Henry IV) in 1398.

Only a successful invasion of England would restore his fortune. Assuming the invasion was successful, the Duke of York had three options: become Protector of England again, disinherit the king’s son so that York would succeed, or claim the throne for himself.

On June 26, Warwick and Salisbury landed at Sandwich. The men of Kent rose to join them. London opened its gates to the Nevilles on July 2. They marched north into the Midlands, and on July 10, they defeated the royal army at the Battle of Northampton (through treachery among the king’s troops), and captured Henry, whom they brought back to London.

The Duke of York remained in Ireland. He did not set foot in England until September 9 and when he did, he acted as a king. Marching under the arms of his maternal great-great-grandfather Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, he displayed a banner of the coat of arms of England as he approached London.

A Parliament called to meet on October 7, repealed all the legislation of the Coventry parliament the previous year. On October 10, the Duke of York arrived in London and took residence in the royal palace. Entering Parliament with his sword borne upright before him, he made for the empty throne and placed his hand upon it, as if to occupy it.

He may have expected the assembled peers to acclaim him as king, as they had acclaimed Henry Bolingbroke in 1399. Instead, there was silence. Thomas Bourchier, the Archbishop of Canterbury, asked whether he wished to see the king. York replied, “I know of no person in this realm the which oweth not to wait on me, rather than I of him.” This high-handed reply did not impress the Lords.

The next day, Richard advanced his claim to the crown by hereditary right in proper form. However, his narrow support among his peers led to failure once again. After weeks of negotiation, the best that could be achieved was the Act of Accord, by which York and his heirs were recognised as Henry’s successors.

However, in October 1460 Parliament did grant York extraordinary executive powers to protect the realm, and made him Lord Protector of England. He was also given the lands and income of the Prince of Wales, but was not granted the title itself or made Earl of Chester or Duke of Cornwall. With the king effectively in custody, York and Warwick were the de facto rulers of the country.

Final campaign and death

While this was happening, the Lancastrian loyalists were rallying and arming in the north of England. Faced with the threat of attack from the Percys, and with Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI, trying to gain the support of the new King of Scotland, James III, York, Salisbury and York’s second son, Edmund, Earl of Rutland, headed north on December 2.

They arrived at York’s stronghold of Sandal Castle on December 21, to find the situation bad and getting worse. Forces loyal to Henry VI controlled the city of York, and nearby Pontefract Castle was also in hostile hands. The Lancastrian armies were commanded by some of York’s implacable enemies such as Henry Beaufort, 3rd Duke of Somerset, Henry Percy, 3rd Earl of Northumberland and John Clifford, 9th Baron de Clifford, whose fathers had been killed at the Battle of Saint Albans, and included several northern lords who were jealous of York’s and Salisbury’s wealth and influence in the North.

On December 30, York and his forces sortied from Sandal Castle. Their reasons for doing so are not clear; they were variously claimed to be a result of deception by the Lancastrian forces, or treachery by northern lords who York mistakenly believed to be his allies, or simple rashness on York’s part.

The larger Lancastrian force destroyed York’s army in the resulting Battle of Wakefield. The Duke of York was killed in the battle. The precise nature of his end was variously reported; he was either unhorsed, wounded and overcome fighting to the death or captured, given a mocking crown of bulrushes and then beheaded.

Edmund of Rutland was intercepted as he tried to flee and was executed, possibly by Clifford in revenge for the death of his own father at the First Battle of St Albans. Salisbury escaped, but was captured and executed the following night.

York was buried at Pontefract, but his head was put on a pike by the victorious Lancastrian armies and displayed over Micklegate Bar at York, wearing a paper crown. His remains were later moved to Church of St Mary and All Saints, Fotheringhay.


Within a few weeks of Richard of York’s death, his eldest surviving son was acclaimed King Edward IV and finally established the House of York on the throne following a decisive victory over the Lancastrians at the Battle of Towton. After an occasionally tumultuous reign, he died in 1483 and was succeeded by his twelve-year-old son, Edward V, who was himself succeeded after 86 days by his uncle, York’s youngest son, Richard III.

Richard of York’s grandchildren included Edward V and Elizabeth of York. Elizabeth married Henry VII, founder of the Tudor dynasty, and became the mother of Henry VIII, Margaret Tudor and Mary Tudor. All future English monarchs would come from the line of Henry VII and Elizabeth, and therefore from Richard of York himself.

September 21, 1957: Death of King Haakon VII of Norway


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Haakon VII (August 3, 1872 – September 21, 1957) born Prince Carl of Denmark; he was the King of Norway from November 1905 until his death in September 1957.

Prince Carl was born on August 3, 1872 at his parents’ country residence, Charlottenlund Palace north of Copenhagen, during the reign of his paternal grandfather, King Christian IX.

He was the second son of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark (the future King Frederik VIII), and his wife Louise of Sweden. His father was the eldest son of King Christian IX and Louise of Hesse-Cassel, and his mother was the only daughter of King Carl XV of Sweden (who was also king of Norway as Carl IV), and Louise of the Netherlands.

At birth, he was third in the succession to the Danish throne after his father and older brother, but without any real prospect of inheriting the throne. The young prince was baptised at Charlottenlund Palace on September 7, 1872 by the Bishop of Zealand, Hans Lassen Martensen. He was baptised with the names Christian Frederik Carl Georg Valdemar Axel, and was known as Prince Carl (namesake of his maternal grandfather the King of Sweden-Norway).

HM King Haakon VII of Norway

Prince Carl belonged to the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (often shortened to Glücksburg) branch of the House of Oldenburg. The House of Oldenburg had been the Danish royal family since 1448; between 1536 and 1814 it also ruled Norway, which was then part of the Kingdom of Denmark-Norway.

The house was originally from northern Germany, where the Glücksburg (Lyksborg) branch held their small fief. The family had links with Norway beginning from the 15th century. Several of his paternal ancestors had been kings of Norway in union with Denmark and at times Sweden.

They included Christian I of Norway, Frederik I, Christian III, Frederik II, Christian IV, as well as Frederik III of Norway who integrated Norway into the Oldenburg state with Denmark, Schleswig and Holstein. His subsequent paternal ancestors had been dukes in Schleswig-Holstein. Christian Frederick, who was King of Norway briefly in 1814, the first king of the Norwegian 1814 constitution and struggle for independence, was his great-granduncle.

Prince Carl was educated at the Royal Danish Naval Academy and served in the Royal Danish Navy.

On July 22, 1896, in the Private Chapel of Buckingham Palace, Prince Carl married his first cousin Princess Maud of Wales. Princess Maud was the youngest daughter of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, and his wife, Princess Alexandra of Denmark, eldest daughter of King Christian IX and Queen Louise. The wedding was attended by the bride’s grandmother, the 77-year-old Queen Victoria.

After the wedding, the couple settled in Copenhagen, where Prince Carl continued his career as a naval officer. The bride’s father gave them Appleton House on the Sandringham Estate as a country residence for his daughter’s frequent visits to England. It was there that the couple’s only child, Prince Alexander, the future Crown Prince Olav (and eventually King Olav V of Norway), was born on July 2, 1903.

Princess Maud of Wales, Queen of Norway

After the Union between Sweden and Norway was dissolved in 1905, a committee of the Norwegian government identified several princes of European royal houses as candidates for the Norwegian crown.

Although Norway had legally had the status of an independent state since 1814, it had not had its own king since 1387. Gradually, Prince Carl became the leading candidate, largely because he was descended from independent Norwegian kings. He also had a son, providing an heir-apparent to the throne, and the fact that his wife, Princess Maud, was a member of the British Royal Family was viewed by many as an advantage to the newly independent Norwegian nation.

The democratically minded Carl, aware that Norway was still debating whether to remain a kingdom or to switch instead to a republican system of government, was flattered by the Norwegian government’s overtures, but he made his acceptance of the offer conditional on the holding of a referendum to show whether monarchy was the choice of the Norwegian people.

King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway with Crown Prince Olav

After the referendum overwhelmingly confirmed by a 79 percent majority (259,563 votes for and 69,264 against) that Norwegians desired to retain a monarchy, Prince Carl was formally offered the throne of Norway by the Storting (parliament) and was elected on 18 November 18, 1905.

When Carl accepted the offer that same evening (after the approval of his grandfather Christian IX of Denmark), he immediately endeared himself to his adopted country by taking the Old Norse name of Haakon, a name which had not been used by kings of Norway for over 500 years.

Queen Maud of Norway with her great-niece Princess Elizabeth of York (future Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom)

In so doing, he succeeded his maternal great-uncle, Oscar II of Sweden, who had abdicated the Norwegian throne in October following the agreement between Sweden and Norway on the terms of the separation of the union.

On the morning of November 20, a large crowd gathered outside King Haakon VII and Queen Maud’s residence in Bernstorff’s Palace in Copenhagen. The attendees greeted the royal couple as they appeared in the window and started singing Ja, vi elsker dette landet.

Later the same day, King Christian IX of Denmark received a delegation from the Storting in an audience in Christian VII’s Palace at Amalienborg. The delegation conveyed the message that the king’s grandson had been elected King of Norway, while Christian IX expressed his consent to the election of Prince Carl.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and King Haakon VII of Norway

As king, Haakon VII gained much sympathy from the Norwegian people. Although the Constitution of Norway vests the King with considerable executive powers, in practice Haakon confined himself to non-partisan roles without interfering in politics, a practice continued by his son and grandson.

Norway was invaded by Nazi Germany in April 1940. Haakon rejected German demands to legitimise the Quisling regime’s puppet government, and refused to abdicate after going into exile in Great Britain. As such, he played a pivotal role in uniting the Norwegian nation in its resistance to the invasion and the subsequent five-year-long occupation during the Second World War. He returned to Norway in June 1945 after the defeat of Germany.

He became King of Norway when his grandfather Christian IX was still reigning in Denmark, and before his father and elder brother became kings of Denmark. During his reign he saw his father Frederik VIII, his elder brother Christian X, and his nephew Frederik IX ascend the throne of Denmark, in 1906, 1912 (also of Iceland from 1918 to 1944), and 1947 respectively. Haakon died at the age of 85 in September 1957, after having reigned for nearly 52 years. He was succeeded by his only son, who ascended to the throne as Olav V.

Speculating About The Coronation


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I hope it’s not too soon to talk about the Coronation of King Charles III.
So far the date for the Coronation has not been set but it will be sometime next year.
I heard that this will be more low key than his mother’s coronation.

HM The King

With that in mind I have some questions…

1. Do you think the gold State Coach of George III will be used? I hear it’s a rather bumpy ride and that might be too much for the King who will be 74 by then.

Golden State Coach

The Gold State Coach is an enclosed, eight-horse-drawn carriage used by the British Royal Family. Commissioned in 1760 by King George III, it was built in the London workshops of Samuel Butler. It was commissioned for £7,562 (£3.54 million = US$4.188 million in 2022, adjusted for inflation). It was completed in 1762.

This coach has been used at the coronation of every British monarch since George IV. The coach’s great age, weight, and lack of manoeuvrability have limited its use to grand state occasions such as coronations, royal weddings, and the jubilees of a monarch. Until the Second World War, the coach was the monarch’s usual transport to and from State Opening of Parliament.

2. Because of his age do you think the Crown of St. Edward may be too large and he’ll use the Imperial State Crown instead?

Crown of St. Edward

St Edward’s Crown is the centrepiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Named after Saint Edward the Confessor, versions of the crown have been traditionally used to crown English and British monarchs at their coronations since the 13th century.

The original crown was a holy relic kept at Westminster Abbey, Edward’s burial place, until the regalia was either sold or melted down when Parliament abolished the monarchy in 1649, during the English Civil War.

This St Edward’s Crown was made for Charles II in 1661. It is solid gold, 30 centimetres (12 in) tall, weighs 2.23 kilograms (4.9 lb), and is decorated with 444 precious and semi-precious stones. The crown is similar in weight and overall appearance to the original, but its arches are Baroque.

After 1689, it was not used to crown a monarch for over 200 years. In 1911, the tradition was revived by George V, and subsequent monarchs (except Edward VIII, who was not crowned at all) have been crowned using St Edward’s Crown. A stylised image of this crown is used on coats of arms, badges, logos and various other insignia in the Commonwealth realms to symbolise the royal authority of the monarch.

When not in use, St Edward’s Crown is on public display in the Jewel House at the Tower of London.

Imperial State Crown

3. Speaking of the Imperial State Crown… Do you think the Imperial State Crown will be modified for the King other than size?

The Imperial State Crown made for Queen Victoria in 1838 is the basis for today’s crown. Made by Rundell and Bridge in 1838 using old and new jewels, it had a crimson velvet cap with ermine border and a lining of white silk. It weighed 39.25 troy ounces (43.06 oz; 1,221 g) and was decorated with 1,363 brilliant-cut, 1,273 rose-cut and 147 table-cut diamonds, 277 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, 4 rubies, and the Black Prince’s Ruby (a spinel).

At the State Opening of Parliament in 1845, the Duke of Argyll was carrying the crown before Queen Victoria when it fell off the cushion and broke. Victoria wrote in her diary, “it was all crushed and squashed like a pudding that had sat down”. The empty frame of Victoria’s imperial state crown survives in the Royal Collection.

A new crown was made for the coronation of George VI in 1937 by Garrard & Co. The crown was adjusted for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953, with the head size reduced and the arches lowered by 25 mm (1 inch) to give it a more feminine appearance.

King George VI wearing the Imperial State Crown with the higher arches.

Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Imperial State Crown with the lowered arches.

4. What crown will be used for Queen Camilla?

Consort crowns

After the Restoration, wives of kings – queens consort – traditionally wore the State Crown of Mary of Modena, wife of James II-VII who first wore it at their coronation in 1685. Originally set with 561 hired diamonds and 129 pearls, it is now set with crystals and cultured pearls for display in the Jewel House along with a matching diadem that consorts wore in procession to the Abbey. The diadem once held 177 diamonds, 1 ruby, 1 sapphire, and 1 emerald. By the 19th century, that crown was judged to be too theatrical and in a poor state of repair, so in 1831 the Crown of Queen Adelaide was made for Queen Adelaide, wife of William IV, using gemstones from her private jewellery.

Queen Mary’s Crown

Thus began a tradition of each queen consort having a crown made specially for their use. In 1902 the Crown of Queen Alexandra, a European-style crown – flatter and with eight half-arches instead of the typical four – was made for Queen Alexandra, wife of Edward VII, to wear at their coronation. Set with over 3,000 diamonds, it was the first consort crown to include the Koh-i-Noor diamond presented to Queen Victoria in 1850 following the British conquest of the Punjab. Originally 191 carats (38 g) and set in an armlet, it was cut down to an oval brilliant weighing 105 carats (21 g), which Victoria mounted in a brooch and circlet.

The second was the Crown of Queen Mary; also unusual for a British crown owing to its eight half-arches, it was made in 1911 for Queen Mary, wife of George V. Mary paid for the Art Deco-inspired crown out of her own pocket and had originally hoped it would become the one traditionally used by future consorts. Altogether, it is adorned with 2,200 diamonds, and once contained the 94.4-carat (19 g) Cullinan III and 63.4-carat (13 g) Cullinan IV diamonds. Its arches were made detachable in 1914 allowing it to be worn as an open crown or circlet.

After George V’s death, Mary continued wearing the crown (without its arches) as a queen mother, so the Crown of Queen Elizabeth was created for Queen Elizabeth, wife of George VI, and later known as the Queen Mother, to wear at their coronation in 1937. It is the only British crown made entirely out of platinum, and was modelled on Queen Mary’s Crown, but has four half-arches instead of eight.

The crown is decorated with about 2,800 diamonds, most notably the Koh-i-Noor in the middle of the front cross. It also contains a replica of the 22.5-carat (5 g) Lahore Diamond given to Queen Victoria by the East India Company in 1851, and a 17.3-carat (3 g) diamond given to her by Abdülmecid I, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, in 1856. The crown was laid on top of the Queen Mother’s coffin in 2002 during her lying in state and funeral. The crowns of Queen Alexandra and Queen Mary now feature crystal replicas of the Koh-i-Noor, which has been the subject of repeated controversy, with governments of both India and Pakistan claiming to be the diamond’s rightful owners and demanding its return ever since gaining independence from the UK.

Love to hear your thoughts!

September 16, 1824: Death of Louis XVIII, King of France and Navarre


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Louis XVIII (November 17, 1755 – September 16, 1824) was King of France and Navarre from 1814 to 1824, except for a brief interruption during the Hundred Days in 1815. He spent twenty-three years in exile: during the French Revolution and the First French Empire (1804–1814), and during the Hundred Days.


Prince Louis Stanislas Xavier de Bourbon of France, styled Count of Provence from birth, was born on November 17, 1755 in the Palace of Versailles, a younger son of Louis, Dauphin of France, and his wife Maria Josepha of Saxony, daughter of Augustus III, Prince-Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, and Archduchess Maria Josepha of Austria (daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph I and Wilhelmine Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg).

Louis, Count of Provence was the grandson of the reigning King Louis XV. As a son of the Dauphin, he was a Fils de France. He was christened Louis Stanislas Xavier six months after his birth, in accordance with Bourbon family tradition, being nameless before his baptism.

By this act, he also became a Knight of the Order of the Holy Spirit. The name of Louis was bestowed because it was typical of a Prince of France; Stanislas was chosen to honour his great-grandfather King Stanislaus I of Poland who was still alive at the time; and Xavier was chosen for Saint Francis Xavier, whom his mother’s family held as one of their patron saints.

King Louis XVIII of France and Navarre

At the time of his birth, Louis Stanislas was fourth in line to the throne of France, behind his father and his two elder brothers: Louis Joseph, Duke of Burgundy, and Louis Augusté, Duke of Berry. The former died in 1761, leaving Louis Augusté as heir to their father until the Dauphin’s own premature death in 1765.

The two deaths elevated Louis Stanislas to second in the line of succession, while his brother Louis Augusté acquired the title of Dauphin.

On April 16, 1771, Louis Stanislas was married by proxy to Princess Maria Giuseppina of Savoy. The in-person ceremony was conducted on May 14 at the Palace of Versailles. Marie Joséphine (as she was known in France) was a daughter of Victor Amadeus, Duke of Savoy (later King Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia), and his wife Infanta Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain who was the youngest daughter of Felipe V of Spain and of his second wife Elisabeth Farnese.

A luxurious ball followed the wedding on May 20. Louis Stanislas found his wife repulsive; she was considered ugly, tedious, and ignorant of the customs of the court of Versailles. The marriage remained unconsummated for years. Biographers disagree about the reason.

The most common theories propose Louis Stanislas’ alleged impotence (according to biographer Antonia Fraser) or his unwillingness to sleep with his wife due to her poor personal hygiene. She never brushed her teeth, plucked her eyebrows, or used any perfumes. At the time of his marriage, Louis Stanislas was obese and waddled instead of walked. He never exercised and continued to eat enormous amounts of food.

Despite the fact that Louis Stanislas was not infatuated with his wife, he boasted that the two enjoyed vigorous conjugal relations – but such declarations were held in low esteem by courtiers at Versailles.

He also proclaimed his wife to be pregnant merely to spite Louis Augusté and his wife Marie Antoinette, who had not yet consummated their marriage. The Dauphin and Louis Stanislas did not enjoy a harmonious relationship and often quarrelled, as did their wives.

Louis Stanislas did impregnate his wife in 1774, having conquered his aversion. However, the pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. A second pregnancy in 1781 also miscarried, and the marriage remained childless.

On September 21, 1792, the National Convention abolished the monarchy and deposed Louis XVI, who was later executed by guillotine. When his young nephew, nominally Louis XVII died in prison in June 1795, the Count of Provence proclaimed himself (titular) king under the name Louis XVIII.

Following the French Revolution and during the Napoleonic era, Louis XVIII lived in exile in Prussia, England, and Russia. When the Sixth Coalition finally defeated Napoleon in 1814, Louis XVIII was placed in what he, and the French royalists, considered his rightful position.

However, Napoleon escaped from his exile in Elba and restored his French Empire. Louis XVIII fled, and a Seventh Coalition declared war on the French Empire, defeated Napoleon again, and again restored Louis XVIII to the French throne.

Princess Marie Joséphine of Savoy, Queen of France and Navarre

Louis XVIII ruled as king for slightly less than a decade. The government of the Bourbon Restoration was a constitutional monarchy, unlike the Ancien Régime, which was absolutist. As a constitutional monarch, Louis XVIII’s royal prerogative was reduced substantially by the Charter of 1814, France’s new constitution.

His return in 1815 led to a second wave of White Terror headed by the Ultra-royalist faction. The following year, Louis dissolved the unpopular parliament, referred to as the Chambre introuvable, giving rise to the liberal Doctrinaires. His reign was further marked by the formation of the Quintuple Alliance and a military intervention in Spain.


Louis XVIII’s health began to fail in the spring of 1824. He was experiencing obesity, gout and gangrene, both dry and wet, in his legs and spine. Louis died on 16 September 16 1824 surrounded by the extended royal family and some government officials. Since didn’t have a son or heir hewas succeeded by his youngest brother, Prince Charles Philippe, the Count of Artois, as King Charles X of France and Navarre.

Louis XVIII had no children and was the last French monarch to die while still reigning, as Charles X (1824–1830) abdicated and both Louis Philippe I (1830–1848) and Napoleon III (1852–1870) were deposed.

The Princess of Wales is not “Princess Catherine.”


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Like yesterday’s post concerning how is a Queen Consort is refered to, I will look at how a Princess of Wales is addressed.

Princess of Wales (Welsh: Tywysoges Cymru) is a courtesy title first held by the wife of a native Prince of Wales. Since the 14th century, it has been used by the wife of the heir apparent to the English and later British throne. The current title-holder is Catherine, wife of William, Prince of Wales.

From 1301 onward, the eldest sons of the Kings of England (and later Great Britain and the United Kingdom) have generally been created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, and their wives have been titled Princess of Wales.

HRH The Princess of Wales

Although not granted the title in her own right, the future Queen Mary I was, during her youth, invested by her father, King Henry VIII, with many of the rights and properties traditionally given to the Prince of Wales, including use of the official seal of Wales for correspondence.

For most of her childhood, Mary was her father’s only legitimate heir, and for this reason, she was often referred to as “the Princess of Wales”, although Henry VIII never formally created her as such. For example, Spanish scholar Juan Luis Vives dedicated his Satellitium Animi to “Dominæ Mariæ Cambriæ Principi, Henrici Octavi Angliæ Regis Filiæ”.

In modern times Welsh politicians suggested Princess Elizabeth (future Elizabeth II) be made Princess of Wales on her 18th birthday, but King George VI rejected the idea because he felt such a title belonged solely to the wife of a Prince of Wales and the Prince of Wales had always been the heir apparent.

Camilla, Charles III’s second wife, was the Princess of Wales from 2005 to 2022 but did not use the title due to its popular association with her husband’s first wife, Lady Diana Spencer.

Queen Elizabeth II of United Kingdom issued Letters Patent dated 21 August 1996, stating that any woman divorced from a Prince of the United Kingdom would no longer be entitled to the style “Royal Highness”. This has so far applied to Diana, Princess of Wales, and Sarah, Duchess of York. No longer being married to a Prince of the United Kingdom they are no longer

Thier Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales

When a British prince marries, his wife also becomes a British princess; however, she is addressed by the feminine version of the husband’s most senior title on his behalf.

For example, William, was created Duke of Cambridge by the Queen on the day of his marriage to Catherine Middleton. Upon the wedding she was called HRH The Duchess of Cambridge.

And as mentioned above when a British prince marries, his wife also becomes a British princess.

Then once Charles became King his eldest son was (briefly) officially styled His Royal Highness The Duke of Cornwall and Cambridge while his wife Catherine became Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall and Cambridge, omitting both the ‘prince’ and ‘princess’ titles and their first names.

When addressing a person with a peerage title, whether they be royal or a member of the aristocracy, first names are omitted and replaced with their Style (form of address) in this case His/Her Royal Highness. That is followed by thier title.

The next day when William was then created Prince of Wales, that became the senior title held in his own right, and he and Catherine are styled His/Her Royal Highness The Prince/Princess of Wales.

However, despite being a Princess of the United Kingdom as the wife of a British Prince a wife is not to be called Princess in front of her first name. That privilege is for members who are Prince/Princess of the Blood. In other words those born into the Royal Family.

Examples of this are: Princess Anne, the Princess Royal (HRH The Princess Royal), Princess Eugenie of York, Princess Beatrice of York and Princess Alexandra of Kent.

If William, or his brother Harry, had not been elevated to a peerage title then thier wives would have gone by thier husband’s first names. In this case, Princess William and Princess Harry. Remember the wife of a British Prince she is addressed by the feminine version of the husband’s most senior title on his behalf.

Another example of this case is Princess Michael of Kent, the wife of the King’s first cousin once removed, Prince Michael of Kent.

HRH The Princess of Wales

There is also the case when a princess of blood royal marries a British prince. She also becomes a princess by marriage and will be addressed in the same way; an example of this situation was the late Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife: when she married the cousin of her mother, Prince Arthur of Connaught, she became Princess Arthur of Connaught, Duchess of Fife.

Therefore in conclusion the current Princess of Wales is simply addressed simply as HRH The Princess of Wales. Since she was not born a Princess of the blood royal it is incorrect to refer to her as “Princess Catherine” just as it was incorrect to refer to Diana as “Princess Diana” despite how she was called by the Press.

Incidentally, calling her Catherine, Princess of Wales is also incorrect because, as we have seen, that would indicate that she was divorced.

Queen Consort: What Does The Title Mean?


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With accession of HM King Charles III of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland there is some confusion as to the title of his wife, the former Duchess of Cornwall.

His Majesty the King

The late Queen, Elizabeth II, in a statement marking her platinum jubilee, said she wants Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, to be known as the “Queen Consort” when he takes the throne.

Previously, when Charles, as Prince of Wales, married Camilla in 2005 she took the title Duchess of Cornwall (Duke of Cornwall being one of her husband’s secondary titles) instead of Princess of Wales, which she legally had but did not use out of respect for the late Diana, Princess of Wales.

It was also stated at the time that when Charles became King his wife would adopt the title Princess Consort instead of Queen. So the late Queen Elizabeth II stating her wish that the Duchess of Cornwall should be Queen Consort did pave the way for accepting Camilla as Queen.

Her Majesty the Queen

However, now that Camilla is Queen there seems to be mass confusion about her title. Both British and American Press are calling her “Queen Consort.” Heck, even the website for the British Monarchy is calling Camilla, Queen Consort.

It really is unnecessary.

Simply, A Queen Consort is the wife of a reigning king. Let me state further, all wives of reigning Kings in British history have been a Queen Consort.

A Queen Consort usually shares her spouse’s social rank and status. She holds the feminine equivalent of the king’s monarchical titles and may be crowned and anointed, but historically she does not formally share the regnant’s political and military powers, unless on occasion acting as regent.

There is another type Queen. This type of Queen is called a Queen Regnant. A Queen Regnant is a female monarch who rules in her own right and usually becomes queen by inheriting the throne upon the death of the previous monarch.

Some examples of Queen Regnants are: Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – 2022), Queen Victoria (1837 – 1991) and Queen Mary II (1689 – 1694).

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

A Queen Dowager is the widow of a king, and a queen mother is a former Queen Consort who is the mother of the current monarch. Queen Elizabeth II’s mother was a former Queen Consort who didn’t care for the title Queen Dowager and instead took the title of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Let me state again that Camilla is a Queen Consort as opposed to a Queen Regnant. That is not part of the debate or question.

But what is at issue is how to address her or how to reference her...

The truth is that when it comes to addressing either a Queen Consort or a Queen Regnant there is absolutely no difference, no distinction, whatsoever and both are simply refered to as “Her Majesty the Queen” despite the differences.

I’m going to repeat this for emphasis: The truth is that when it comes to addressing either a Queen Consort or a Queen Regnant there is absolutely no difference, no distinction, whatsoever and both are simply refered to as “Her Majesty the Queen” despite the differences.

Many online seem to believe that the title “Queen Consort” has been created specially for Camilla and that this is something new. It is not. Camilla is one of a long line of Queen Consorts as the wife of British Kings.

These include: Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII, Queen Mary, wife of King George V, just to name a few.

I believe however, calling Camilla “Queen Consort” may serve two purposes. The first is to differentiate her from Queen Elizabeth II and not to confuse people. Second, using the title Queen Consort may help people get used to her having this new title.

King Felipe II of Spain, King of England and Ireland

Incidentally there are also King Regnants and King Consorts. However, England has had only one King Consort. King Felipe II of Spain who was a King Consort during his marriage to Queen Mary I, daughter of King Henry VIII.

In Scotland there have been two King Consorts. Both were husband’s of Queen Mary I of Scotland. Her first husband was King François II of France and the second was Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley.

The Lying In State of Queen Elizabeth II and the History of Westminster Hall


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The body of her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is now lying in state at Westminster Hall.

Westminster Hall, the oldest existing part of the Palace of Westminster, was erected in 1097 by King William II (‘William Rufus’), at which point it was the largest hall in Europe. The roof was probably originally supported by pillars, giving three aisles, but during the reign of King Richard II, this was replaced by a hammerbeam roof by the royal carpenter Hugh Herland, “the greatest creation of medieval timber architecture”, which allowed the original three aisles to be replaced with a single huge open space, with a dais at the end.

The new roof was commissioned in 1393. Richard’s master builder Henry Yevele retained the original dimensions, refacing the walls, with fifteen life-size statues of kings placed in niches. The rebuilding had been begun by King Henry III in 1245, but by Richard’s time had been dormant for over a century. In Westminster Hall, the favourite heraldic badge of Richard II – a white hart, chained, and in an attitude of rest – is repeated eighty-three times, without any of them being an exact copy of another.

The largest clearspan medieval roof in England, Westminster Hall’s roof measures 20.7 by 73.2 metres (68 by 240 ft). Oak timbers for the roof came from royal woods in Hampshire and from parks in Hertfordshire and from that of William Crozier of Stoke d’Abernon, who supplied over 600 oaks in Surrey, among other sources; they were assembled near Farnham, Surrey, 56 kilometres (35 mi) away. Accounts record the large number of wagons and barges which delivered the jointed timbers to Westminster for assembly.

Westminster Hall has served numerous functions. Until the 19th century, it was regularly used for judicial purposes, housing three of the most important courts in the land: the Court of King’s Bench, the Court of Common Pleas and the Court of Chancery. In the reign of Henry II (1154–89) a royal decree established a fixed siting of judges in the Hall.

In 1215, Magna Carta stipulated that these courts would sit regularly in the Hall for the convenience of litigants. In 1875, the courts were amalgamated into the High Court of Justice, which continued to have chambers adjacent to Westminster Hall until moved to the then new Royal Courts of Justice building in 1882.

In addition to regular courts, Westminster Hall also housed important state trials, including impeachment trials and the state trials of King Charles I at the end of the English Civil War, William Wallace, Thomas More, Cardinal John Fisher, Guy Fawkes, the Earl of Strafford, the rebel Scottish lords of the 1715 and 1745 uprisings, and Warren Hastings.

The St Stephen’s Porch end of the Hall displays under the stained glass window the Parliamentary War Memorial listing on eight panels the names of Members and staff of both Houses of Parliament and their sons killed serving in the First World War; the window itself, installed in 1952, commemorates members and staff of both Houses who died in the Second World War. In 2012, a new stained glass window commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee was installed opposite this window, at the other end of the hall.

George IV’s coronation banquet was held in Westminster Hall in 1821, the last of its kind; no such banquet has been held since.

Westminster Hall has also served ceremonial functions. From the twelfth century to the nineteenth, coronation banquets honouring new monarchs were held here. The last coronation banquet was that of King George IV, held in 1821; his successor, William IV, abandoned the idea because he deemed it too expensive.

The Hall has been used as a place for lying in state during state and ceremonial funerals. Such an honour is usually reserved for the Sovereign and for their consorts; the only non-royals to receive it in the twentieth century were Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts (1914) and Winston Churchill (1965). In 2002 the hall was used for the lying in state of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and in 2022 the hall was used for the lying in state of Queen Elizabeth II.

The two Houses have presented ceremonial Addresses to the Crown in Westminster Hall on important public occasions. For example, Addresses were presented at Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee (1977), Golden Jubilee (2002) and Diamond Jubilee (2012), the Accession of Charles III (2022), the 300th anniversary of the Glorious Revolution (1988), and the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War (1995).

It is considered a rare privilege for a foreign leader to be invited to address both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall. Since the Second World War, the only leaders to have done so have been French president Charles de Gaulle in 1960, South African president Nelson Mandela in 1996, Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, U.S. president Barack Obama in 2011 and Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi in 2012.

President Obama was the first US president to be invited to use the Hall for an address to Parliament and Aung San Suu Kyi was the first non-head of state to be given the accolade of addressing MPs and peers in Westminster Hall.